Don’t Believe the Hype on Hypoallergenic

There are a ton of products out there touted as being “hypoallergenic” or “for sensitive skin” or “unscented”.  As an eczema sufferer/one with exquisitely sensitive skin, one must be wary of claims so that you can buy things in good faith and have them work for your skin and not irritate it.  For example, you want to look for products that are “fragrance-free” rather than “unscented”.  Unscented may mean that the manufacturer has actually ADDED scent to neutralize other scents.  Fragrance-free simply means that no extra fragrance was added – the product may have a slight natural fragrance.

Below are some examples of products I’ve tried that sounded great for sensitive skin, but in actuality, were a big disaster for me.  Again, the disclaimer – I’m only one person.  I’m not here to demonize any products and I am not saying they’ll be bad for you, necessarily.  My skin may be a lot different from yours even if we both have eczema and sensitive skin.  I’m Caucasian, mid-20s, female, medium skin tone, dry skin in winter and combination skin in summer.  I am usually struggling with some type of dry patch or random little rashy breakout on my face.  To the products!!!!

Cera Ve Moisturizing Lotion:

This started a whole lot of badness for me.  Ok, it was winter, I was desperate, I saw this lotion (with the National Eczema Seal of Approval, yet!!) and figured it had to be awesome.  Tried it for a few weeks, it made my eczema WORSE and gave my face a horrid dry feeling.  Like feeling as if I was wearing a mask and the skin might crack if I smiled or raised my eyebrows.  My skin got so bad I went to the dermy (my personal slang for dermatologist 🙂 ), who said it might be the parabens in this product.  Stopped using it, got better, never looked back to Cera Ve again.  (I had also bought the Face Wash which, incidentally, had parabens as well.)  I hear this works awesome for many people, but not me.

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer, Aveeno Skin Relief Body Lotion

Aveeno always seems to project itself as being for people with sensitive skin.  The claims on these looked great – Ultra calming?  Yes!  I need calm!  Skin relief??  Yes Please!  My skin does indeed need relief!  Well.  The facial moisturizers are all pretty heavily fragranced.  I USED to be able to use them years ago, with pretty nice skin.  The last time I put it on, a couple months ago, my cheeks started itching wildly and I couldn’t wash the stuff off fast enough.  With the body lotion, this specific one has shea butter, and I’ve mentioned my trials with that stuff.  It probably would be wonderful if you didn’t have a shea butter sensitivity like me, though, as it really does moisturize all day.



California Baby Calendula Cream

I really did my research on this one.  I figured, tons of mothers of sensitive-skinned little babies can’t be wrong, can they?  This stuff is also EXPENSIVE so I was hesitant to buy it.  When I put this stuff on, sometimes it would sting so bad I would literally be hopping around the bathroom fanning my face, “Ouch!  Ouch!!!  OUCH!”  I still don’t really know what to think about this one.  On the one hand, it seemed like it may have improved some eczema patches.  On the other hand, it stung, and it contains lavender which, while smelling nice, isn’t an ingredient you want in skin care products.  I also found the natural lavender fragrance to have a gross smell since I used the stuff on my face and had to smell it all day.



Almay Nearly Naked Cover Up Stick

Excited for the prospect of a new concealer, I gave this a whirl this past winter.  Almay has been a brand that, overall, I have trusted for quite a few years makeup-wise.  They have a great mascara (without parabens!) called Get up and Grow that is waterproof (a must since I love to get my sweat on with exercise) AND makes your lashes look long yet still natural (I go for the cute athletic look, not the drag queen look).  I also use their liquid eyeliner and pencil eyeliner for special occasions.  These eyeliners DO have parabens but I haven’t determined yet if the small amount in them bothers my skin.

Anyhow, this cover-up stick was something awful.  I still don’t know what was in it that made me react, since it was touted (along with the whole brand) as being good for sensitive skin, but it completely rashed me out.  Then it was a vicious cycle of having to cover the rashes with more cover up, which made MORE rashes, until I figured the whole damn thing out in a few days and realized the cover up was bad news.  It DID cover nicely, though, so I was disappointed I had such a reaction to it.

Eczema friends out there, have YOU had any experiences like these with suggestions on what products to avoid?

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