“Eh, my hands and legs are really itchy, but I don’t know why”.
“Are you sure it isn’t eczema?”
“Of course not. I’m 25 years old this year, how can it be eczema?”
Well, that statement did not age well at all, given how I visited the doctor shortly after this conversation, and was told that I had developed eczema.
I didn’t realise there was no cure to eczema
I’ve always thought of eczema as a childhood disease, and while it is relatively common, I didn’t think too much about it since I was never personally affected.
Out of sight, out of mind, right?
As a result, I never realised what people with eczema had to do to deal with their condition.
Did they have to be on medication? Or apply some kind of special cream? No idea.
This is why one fine day, when I started scratching my arms and legs, I thought: Surely it would go away in a few days?
During this time, my face also looked as if I were punched multiple times.
So imagine my surprise when I visited the polyclinic, and the doctor had to educate me on how atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, and while common in children, it can actually occur at any age.
The doctor also told me that there’s no actual cure for the condition (sad), and she would prescribe me a form of steroid cream and moisturiser to help relieve the itching and prevent new outbreaks.
On that day, I was thrown into a world that was once foreign to me: skincare products.
I was determined to not be reliant on steroids
The steroid cream that I was prescribed was useful, but was probably not the best solution in the long run.
Using topical steroids may grant me temporary relief, but using them too frequently results in the thinning of my skin, which is not great.
After a while, I tried to cut back on the use of the steroid cream, and tried to rely more on moisturising my skin constantly instead.
However, it didn’t quite work out, as my skin began to itch frequently once again.
Perhaps the moisturiser I was using was ineffective -- but whatever it was, I resolved to not rely on the steroids in the long term.
Hence, I decided to try out different moisturisers from different brands in order to find out what’s the best product for my skin.
Huh? I need special body wash too?
As I browsed the shelves at the trusty Watsons near my house, I faced a stumbling block.
Yes, I made the decision to try out as many brands of moisturisers as I needed in order to find the right one (much like a future spouse).
However, unlike a significant other, I actually have no idea what I want or need in a moisturiser.
Remember, I am a complete rookie at this whole eczema thing, so don’t judge me.
Realising my own cluelessness, I resorted to bringing my friend (the same friend that told me I MIGHT have eczema) along on my new-found skincare journey.
“So, are you looking at buying new body wash for your skin as well?”
“Huh, why would I need to do that?”
Imagine my friend’s look of sheer horror when she realised that while I was trying to shop for moisturiser to help my skin recover, I was still using regular body wash (the kind you buy because it’s the cheapest), instead of special products that help keep my skin from getting inflamed.
Something as simple as washing their face or taking a shower becomes a potential minefield for people with eczema.
Body wash, as I learned, was part of this as well.
I didn’t realise there were specific moisturising products for facial care
“Ok, I know you are really blur, but please tell me you realise you can’t use the moisturiser you use for your hands for your face”.
Until that moment, I never did realise that there were specific moisturising products, specifically for facial care.
I thought if the bottle is tagged “moisturising”, it must be good to go.
Well, I was enlightened.
Apparently the skin on my face and the rest of my body are rather different. The former is much more delicate, so it requires a very different form of product.
While body creams and face creams may have similar ingredients, they often have very different concentrations of them. Using them wrongly can lead to some unwanted side effects, like causing acne on your face.
I guess that makes sense, since I wouldn’t casually rub hand soap on my face.
I had to try different products one by one
Trying to find the best product to fit my skin was tough, given that I needed to try each product one at a time, to see whether it worked well or not.
Some of the stuff I tried didn’t seem to make a significant difference, while some even appeared to make my skin flare up even more.
The process was also proving to be rather expensive. After all, quality skincare products don’t come cheap. Plus, I’m basically buying new products every week.
After a while, I realised that I was in severe danger of going broke, and decided to look out for brands which give out free samples instead, so I can try out the products without breaking the bank.
That’s when I stumbled upon Suu Balm, a brand that is formulated at Singapore’s very own National Skin Centre, and more importantly, one that is willing to give away free samples.
Which is fantastic for people like me who are unsure of which products to use.
You can request for samples really easily, and the company will deliver them to you free of charge.
I chose the Suu Balm Original Eczema Starter Set, which came with samples of their body wash and moisturiser.
The result? It had a really cooling effect, and I didn’t feel the need to reapply as many times during the day, especially compared to other products I’ve tried.
The moisturiser was also really soothing on my skin, which was quite important, as I’ve a tendency to scratch until my skin bleeds (I lack self-control).
Suu Balm is providing a 20 per cent discount storewide
All in all, it was quite a pleasant experience, and I was eager to try more.
Diving into Suu Balm’s website, I realised that the brand sells a wide variety of products, spanning a range of body care, scalp care and facial care.
This was perfect, since I can get all my skincare products from the same place, making it more convenient for me (I dislike spending large amounts of time shopping).
I did some research, and found out that Suu Balm uses a special ingredient, menthol, in their products, which gives them their signature cooling sensation.
The menthol, which provides a pleasant minty smell, also aids in soothing itchiness quickly, which is perfect if you are like me, and cannot stop yourself from scratching.
I also found out that Suu Balm has a special line of products for children, which would have been useful if I developed eczema from a young age (like most other people suffering from eczema).
I ordered a bottle of Suu Balm’s dual cooling and moisturising body wash, which was awesome, since I can now get through a shower session without the soap hurting my skin.
From Suu Balm’s Facial Care line, I got a facial moisturiser and facial cleanser, which was helpful in ensuring that I no longer looked like I was brawling every other day (and losing the fight quite badly, I must add).
I also got a bunch of other stuff from Suu Balm, just in case.
If you want to get your hands on some of these products, Suu Balm is celebrating its 5th anniversary, and will be providing a 20 per cent discount storewide.
You can visit their store via this link, and use the promo code "sbturns5" to enjoy your 20 per cent discount (note that terms and conditions apply).
Now I regret buying everything before the sale.
Top image from Jason Fan.
This sponsored post by Suu Balm made the writer realise that although there is no cure to eczema, with the right skincare products, my skin does not need to feel awful.