Coping With Eczema/ Dermatitis

This is not an easy post for me to compose, as I’ve just broken out with my worst yet rash of Atopic Dermatitis/ Eczema from working outside in the heat and sweating. When I work doing shoots outdoors (or indoors without proper AC), my skin gets REALLY upset. What exactly happens? First, I break out in rashes from the constant sweating, the skin gets red/ irritated, itchy, then as I fight with the “keep it dry” mantra using medicated Hydrocortisone ointment, bacteria moves fast and my ordeal is a lost battle. It will usually take more than a week for my skin to heal up, the areas where there are folds in my body such as the armpits, elbow and under chin become super sensitive, broken/ raw (it is so painful) not to mention terribly embarrassing to mention. Of course avoiding to sweat/ keeping areas dry keeps eczema at bay but I still have to function, like everyone else does in Singapore’s heat. The process for me personally, is a one step forward, two behind scenario. On my last trip to the USA, landing in dry California immediately stopped the eczema rash within two days. I was not sweating and perspiring the way I do in Singapore. Coincidence? You be the judge. Sweat is the rash trigger.

Today I met with my dermatologist and was told I have severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis better known as excessive underarm sweating, all just lovely right? I live in a very hot, humid climate, am always on the go and the sweat is non-stop from the car, outdoors and many public areas which do not have air circulating and I should mention I love to exercise and do high intensity cardio. The air conditioning of Singapore is not like it is in the USA which is mostly central (or the UK where it is perpetually mild so you hardly ever need AC), take this from me, it is a big struggle to stay dry for most. At the advice of the GP and my own intuition, I made the decision to start using Botox in the underarm areas to fight a real fight and cut the possibility of yet another rash. The process is tiny injections superficially into the nerves to stop the glands from perspiring excessively. Getting injections was very beyond painful because my armpits are broken out and tender since Friday last week when I spent a good 8hr shift doing makeup/ hair. On Monday, I started a course of antibiotics to stop the bacteria from growing.

The lesson I learned is, eczema/ atopic dermatitis is a horrible non-curable condition but there are things you can do to fight this nasty ailment. Use soap free products like Cetaphil cleanser and Dermalogica Ultra Calming serum (used in my chin area when I was itching and started feeling the red bumps, huge relief), as well as my other friend Hydrocortisone ointment 0.1% (prescribed by a dermatologist). Another nugget I found out is that there is medicated anti-perspirant. You bet I ordered myself some through Amazon (and a big thank you to my sister who will send it to me from CA). Last but not least, I now firmly believe in Botox! As I endured the multiple injections one by one as the kind doctor handed me a box of tissue (total of 50 mil injected), all I kept thinking was being rash and sweat free for a while (the suppression is temporary, probably 4-6 months and I am OK with that). Keeping calm, DRY and carrying ON.


My Facial Experience At AsterSpring Centres Singapore

The entrance of AsterSprings and the lovely staff

Having just travelled by air for more than 18 hours can cause havoc on the skin. Think the recycled air, lack of sleep, change of time zones and dehydration and being sat in middle seats most of the journey, less the ability to move and drink fluids, this was my case. It was time to sort my skin out after trying to recover from a bad case of jetlag and some unwanted hormonal breakouts. So I booked myself at AsterSpring Clementi for some much needed revamp. Before the facial, I filled out a rather extensive questionnaire plus I had my face analysed throughly. Some of the questions were as specific to my eating habits in regards to caffeine and alcohol. As I am familiar with the effects of certain foods and drinks on the skin when people come in for makeup, I was aware and understood the reasoning behind the questions. The therapist was trying to offer me the best suited facial for the needs of my skin as we talked about my answers. So, what were my needs and concerns? It is no suprise, I was dehydrated, have minor pigmentation and at the time had quite a bit of breakouts in the lower chin and around my mouth. Another super interesting fact was the spot positions, better explained to me in the Traditional Chinese Medicine method. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the spots on your face do not pop up randomly. The positioning of breakouts in the face is meaningful because in TCM different areas of the face relate to certain organs. The face is like a mirror of the body and mind (much like in Reflexology). My areas of TCM correlation are all in the lower intestine, colon and kidneys. I was in fact showing signs of dry skin and in need of a face detox, which is also how I felt on the inside. What I had done is called Face Mapping a procedure which divides the face into fourteen distinct zones and provides an objective view of the skin’s condition.

My therapist recommended I had an Intense Dermal Clear Facial a treatment that lasts about 80 minutes. For this treatment, a medical-grade facial machine is used (without any down time) and it involves ultrasound waves and high-impulse modes, combined with oxygen serum to stimulate skin cells. The Intense Dermal Clear Facial helps brighten the complexion and improve skin texture for glowing results. We started with deep cleansing followed by a lot of steam. I was also made aware that major extractions were necessary to clear all my blemishes out. At the end of the treatment I was given a double cooling multivitamin masque and an oxygen serum to further nourish my face after the extractions. I also had a lovely post pressure point head/ shoulder massage. During the session, I dozed off nicely and had a super relaxing time. My face for the next few days was a bit beaten, and I knew this was the course. A week later I was clear and glowing, as you will see through my before and after pictures. All the products used were Dermalogica and as I am a faithful follower of this fabulous skincare brand, I know it is good. Astersprings Centres are located islandwide in Singapore and this makeup pro highly endorses their service and facility!

(Left) before the facial, blemishes around the chin area, SO relaxed after the facial photo in the upper corner and lower corner photo is a week later, with makeup on and a super clear complexion. None of these photos are retouched!

Tried and Tested/ Dermalogica Clean Start Brighten Up spf 15

Not a fan of foundation first thing in the morning, need moisture, sun protection and love a natural way to even out your skin?  Then Dermalogica Clean Start Brighten Up spf 15 is for you!  I’ve just started using it and love it!  As soon as I get out of bed in the morning I apply it (after cleansing/ toning) especially aroud my eyes where I have some dark circles, works amazingly.  This sheer light moisturizer has the ideal combination of coverage and moisture.  It is a multi-tasking lotion with no artificial fragrance or mineral oils, excellent for those with sensitive skin.

*This is not a sponsored review.

October Bridal

Overly excited for the weeks to come, as I have a few brides coming up, all very unique and different weddings.  Some of the tips I’ve been giving brides to help them prepare for their big day include getting a gelish manicure which will last approx 2 weeks and makes your nails look amazing.  Gelish manis cost a little more money but are worth every penny, they won’t chip!  Another bit of advice is to prepare your skin which will be photographed loads – get a facial at least 1 and a half week before your actual wedding day.  Get yourself pampered not only it is a skin makeover, it will make your skin look gorgeous (I favor facials using Dermalogica).  Other good things to do include, a set of lash extensions which I can do for you.

Photo by Lin Safini, Makeup/ Hair by Norah and Model is Juliya shot at the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Natural Ingredients for Problem Skin

Since I’ve been back to humidity and heat, my skin has developed a form of Dermatitis/ Eczema in the form of rashes. Basically I perspire lots – working with heating electricals like hairdryers and curling irons, straighteners seems to make me sweat even more and in humid air, you can imagine the rest.  This is the very glam part of my job most people don’t see.

It was suggested by my GP that I use products which do not contain aluminium, soap and are as fragance free as possible (Sad face, I do love my fragances).  I’ve also switched to baby washing detergent and mostly cotton/ linen clothing.  In dry weather, I don’t seem to have this problem (California and UK weather, I miss you!).  Some of the relief has come in the form of products like Tom’s of Maine Lavender Deodorant and Avalon Organics Lavander Body Spray.  (I use a lot of Lavander for relaxation/ sleep as well as the amazing smell of essential oils). Lavender is calming and has cleansing and antiseptic properties.

And the worst part there is no Aveeno in Singapore and the choices for creams are limited and costly. Luckily my face seems to be holding out fine, thanks to Dermalogica, Korres and most of the moisturizers you hear me rave about.  I hope you find some of this info useful, I knew very little about skin irritation until now.

A night out and the aftermath

Late nights and drinking cause skin havoc.  How we face the aftermath is key! I try to drink at least a glass of water for every couple of alcoholic drinks, staying away from dark liquour and sticking to less fruity drinks (less sugar, hello). Alcohol dehydrates because it is a diuretic and causes our face/body to look and feel tired. Washing your makeup off and moisturizing, is a requirement no matter what. Before bed I wash my face with a gentle soap free cleanser, use makeup remover for the eyes. When I get up, I apply Dermalogica Age Smart Antioxidant Hydramist all over. This helps perking up and giving your face some much needed anti-oxidants.

Luckily living in Singapore there is fresh coconut water all over the place so the morning after I guzzle as much as I can handle. Coconut water works quite nicely with hangovers, it has no artificial additives and contains significant amounts of electrolytes. Avoid greasy food and most of all, give your body a good flushing, a steam or sauna session clears out toxins. And of course, I go outside makeup free, SPF 30+ on and wearing some large eyeglasses.