There are very few positives I can take from having a child with eczema, but learning about my own skin and how to treat and protect it has been one of them.
We moved house last year and lost an ensuite bathroom in the process. That in itself was not terrible as I am not a fan of housework so one less loo to clean was good news to me. However, with MyItchyBoy’s eczema being bad at the time, I was conscious that us all sharing a bathroom meant that he would suddenly be exposed to products that we used on a daily basis: him bathing in the bath that we had stood in to have a shower, him picking up random bottles at the side of the bath to play with/empty out at will.
I realised that I would be forever cleaning the bath to make sure our shower gel had been properly washed away so it wouldn’t get into his bath water. But then, what about the cleaning product? There was a chance that his skin would react to constant exposure of that too, surely?
Both mine and husband’s skin get dry and I have had a few reactions to different toiletries. I am therefore always reluctant to try something new – after all, who wants to pay to get more spots or a rash on their cheeks? However, I now felt compelled to start hunting out new, more natural products. This would mean that MyItchyBoy would be less exposed to the chemicals that set his skin off if I flicked shampoo across the tiles without realising, or didn’t rinse the bath out sufficiently.
Since December, MyItchyBoy has given up baths and decided showers are the way forward, so I have less stress on the cleanliness of the bath. Nevertheless, I have found that switching to more natural products is beneficial to us all. MyItchyBoy and I now share a shampoo that works for both of us and between great skincare finds at the London Allergy Show in 2012 and the always-there-to-advise Sugarpuffish I have managed to find face creams, moisturisers, conditioners and sunscreens that work for us too. Whereas I used to think I had dry skin, I now realise that this was mostly due to the products I was using. I now use ones with no or few chemicals and my skin feels and looks so much better. I also hope the environment is also benefiting from us not putting so many chemicals down the plughole and the natural brands tend to have more environmentally-friendly packaging.
MyItchyBoy’s eczema has helped all our family realise that what we put on our skin is more important than we think. So, this year I have been watching with keen interest for the winners of the ‘Free From Skincare Awards’. I’m still new at discovering the brands that are out there (there are far more than I ever realised!) and the awards are a great way to get started as you can be sure you are choosing a product that has already been tried and tested by those in the know. Our thanks to Skinsmatter.com for these awards which raise awareness of what’s out there and for helping us to try and choose better options to add to the bathroom shelf this year.