If you have experienced eczema, you’ll know it comes with a tonne of ups and downs. It’s not just our skin which is affected by this broad term word used for an all encompassing skin condition, but our mental health too.
The term ‘eczema’ can sometimes be thrown around pretty flippantly in my experience, and sometimes treated as if it’s so common or normal that you don’t particularly deserve any in depth care or nurturing for it.
Only last week I was looking through some old hospital letters from various consultants and came across a letter following an appointment I’d had about a mystery patch of pink/red/purple pigmentation I had appear under the skin on my chest. I was seen by my GP who referred me to a specialist which resulted in a surprise biopsy. The consultant concluded (these exact words) “This is just eczema”. I explained what my eczema looked and felt like and that this was not it.
That was not eczema, nor a friend or relative of eczema, not in the slightest.
But this just went to show me that this was another case of labelling the skin with a word people are used to hearing, so maybe he thought I would understand what to do with that information because of my history of (actual) atopic eczema and contact dermatitis. The labelling itself can be quite damaging. Think of it as throwing another needle into the haystack you already have in front of you.
It’s daunting, exhausting, frustrating and was my main reason for creating Õrn Kuu after too many flare ups. I needed products to work on mega dry mega sensitive skin, I wanted products which felt incredibly luxurious to use, made the skin feel cared for and soothed a busy mind but without fragrance allergens. An enjoyable skincare ritual is like journalling or exercising, it’s a mind/body positive activity which stimulates the brain and our senses.
Having the skin and mind supported in these moments of need is a vital anchor, and a foundation to build upon.
When our skin suffers so does our mental health, and when we are not listened to it affects us even more. Stress can be a big skin flare up trigger with up to 80% of those with atopic eczema stating stress aggravates their itch. Thus the two are intrinsically linked, and often referred to as the ‘Brain-Skin Connection’.
Some additional resources I have found helpful at various moments are listed below. Particularly for the times when you’re struggling to keep your head above water, need to feel more skin positivity or feel your confidence slipping.
These resources are for supporting your inner peace and clarity, and also reducing your cortisol levels (your stress hormone).
‘After The Rain’ – Alexandra Elle
Gentle reminders for healing, courage and self-love. A staple go-to and never far from reach.
‘A Little Book of Self Care Breathwork’ – Nathalia Westmacott-Brown
Use the power of breath to energise your body and focus your mind, fantastic guide for easy breath exercises for all situations life may throw your way.
‘Wild Swimming’ – Daniel Start
For planning and finding you next swim spots – if you’re into wild swimming! I find it incredibly healing inside and out for both skin and mental state. Maybe take a leap and try it if you haven’t before!
‘Ten Percent Happier’ – Dan Harris – Podcast
Straight talk with lots of fantastic guest speakers to help you focus on sleeping better, reducing stress and boost concentration.
‘Breathe’ and ‘Happiful’ – Monthly Magazines
Wellness, happiness, and a breath of fresh air to read with huge doses of optimism. Both brilliant publications, I recommend finding a cosy corner, a cosy blanket, along with some tea & biscuits to accompany your magazine reading time.
Insight Timer – App
Using the timer function to design your own meditation, you can choose the duration, all the bells/gongs and ambient sound. And it’s free to use. There’s also a database of literally thousands of meditations.
Park Yoga is a charity that provides free community yoga sessions outdoors around the UK. You never need to book so theres no commitment if you’re not feeling it on the morning but it’s a great way to connect back to yourself and nature. All sessions are on Sunday mornings from May to September, it’s such a fantastic community.
I hope this post was super helpful, just remember you’re not alone!
Love Alice x