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Rowan Fenelon discusses her battle with facial eczema and how it has made buying skincare difficult for her.

My Battle with Skincare and Facial Eczema

Everybody has their own battle with their skin: dryness, acne, oily or wrinkles. Each battle can require different treatments and a search to find what is right for you.

However, skincare for me can be a bit more of a challenge. From birth, I have had eczema. When I was younger, it was mostly in the usual places: back of the elbows, back of the knees and hands. As I got older, my eczema became predominantly in one place: my face.

I only started to get facial eczema when I was around 16, and over the years it has got increasingly worse. I have always known some of my allergies: oranges (no Aperol for me), most washing powders, and perfumed products, and there’s probably another array of things I haven’t worked out. Now, whenever I encounter something that I am allergic to, it turns up on my face. I mostly react around my eyes and mouth – so it is sometimes painful to eat.

I recently went travelling (I am very lucky that I managed to go before the pandemic), and my facial eczema got pretty bad. My facial eczema was definitely not as bad as some may get on their bodies, but my face was red, puffy, itchy, and sore. It honestly put me in the worst mood. Putting makeup on was a bit of a disaster, but something I too often did in the pursuit of a picture-ready face.

Navigating hostel life can be hit or miss, but the probability that the sheets had been washed in something my skin doesn’t like was high. The heat, humidity and then extreme air conditioning can all be not great settings for skin too. So, on reflection, it may have been a recipe for disaster for my skin. I also definitely did not take enough care of my skin; routine went out the window.

After returning from travelling, I was determined to get more ‘into skincare’. Usually, I just washed my face in the shower, used micellar water to remove makeup and used a pretty heavy-duty moisturiser that I’m sure most beauticians would baulk at. I realised this routine probably wasn’t helping the condition of my skin. 

However, when I attempted to buy products when I got home, I got lost. There are so many brands and products, everybody has their favourites, and I’ve got to be aware of what my skin might react to.

So, it made buying skincare a bit of a minefield.  I look for companies with a clear number of ingredients and with absolutely no artificial perfume. I recently bought a new serum and eye cream, at the same time – going against my own advice of only trying one new product at once. After investigation, it is clear that the eye cream is a no go. That’s £10 down the drain, but that’s just the price to pay if I want to find products that work for me.

I’m excited about PERLcosmetics; they’re transparent about their ingredients and explain the purpose of each one. They’re handmade by someone who cares about what they’re doing and about sustainability. Facial eczema is not something most people will experience, but we should all care about what we are putting on our skin – so look out for when PERLcosmetics starts releasing their products!

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