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Featured Skin

6 Truths About Acne That May Surprise You

Which 5 statements about ACNE are TRUE?

Find clues in VMV Hypoallergenics’s weekly livestreams and IGTV!

  • ? Acne is an inflammation of the follicle.
  • ? Skin conditions like keratosis pilaris, pityrosporum folliculitis, ingrown hair, and others can be confused for acne.
  • ? Acne means your skin is dirty.
  • ? Oily skin is something that needs to be fixed.
  • ? Things that cause acne include pore-cloggers; substances that irritate the pore including allergens, disinfectants and PPEs; inflammatory food; poor sleep; stress; hormones; some medications, bacteria, fungi, mites, genes.
  • ? Because “Comedogens” are tested and graded consistently, you can generally trust ratings that you see on the internet.
  • ? “Comedogens” are more accurately determined by human skin tests, not Rabbit Ear Assays which are old and inconsistent.
  • ? Acne only affects teens and people with oily skin.
  • ? Because so many things can cause acne, and some skin conditions can look like acne but aren’t, you should see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • ? Antibiotics and other medications to manage acne are *never* necessary.
  • ? Coconut oil, stearic acid, and stearyl alcohol are not comedogenic.

 ANSWERS: ?????? are TRUE.

TRUE: ? Acne is an inflammation of the follicle.

Acne usually starts as a comedone (plugged hair follicle). Sebum production follows, then an overgrowth of a microbe in the follicle (innate bacteria, fungi, or mites), which leads to more inflammation and the formation of papules, pustules, and/or cysts.

TRUE: ? Skin conditions like keratosis pilaris, pityrosporum folliculitis, ingrown hair, and others can be confused for acne.

Many bumps and lesions can be confused for acne, which is why it’s so important to get an accurate diagnosis from a dermatologist.

TRUE: ? Things that cause acne include pore-cloggers; substances that irritate the pore including allergens, disinfectants and PPEs; inflammatory food; poor sleep; stress; hormones; some medications, bacteria, fungi, mites, genes.

Acne has LOTS of possible causes. And unless you identify it or them accurately, you might be treating the wrong thing.

TRUE: ? “Comedogens” are more accurately determined by human skin tests, not Rabbit Ear Assays which are old and inconsistent.

A surprising number of ingredients flagged as “comedogens” online aren’t because many websites use results of old, outdated, inaccurate Rabbit Ear Assays as their reference. Plus, “comedogens” only clog the hair follicle to cause comedones. “Acnegens” do the same thing AND cause irritation and inflammation. For acne prevention, you need non-comedogenic (based on newer, more accurate human controlled trials) as well as the absence of top contact irritants and allergens to prevent the irritation that eventually leads to inflammation and acne.

TRUE: ? Because so many things can cause acne, and some skin conditions can look like acne but aren’t, you should see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Definitely. Your dermatologist will take a more complete history and possibly ask for tests or even a cross-consultation with another specialist. Because acne is inflammatory, what will help are the classic anti-inflammatory things you should be doing anyway: no junk food, lots of fresh veggies and fruit, proper sleep, and stress management. But which topical products will work for your acne, and if you need an oral medication, is best determined by your dermatologist.

TRUE: ? Coconut oil, stearic acid, and stearyl alcohol are not comedogenic.

Based on those more reliable Human Controlled Trials, none of these ingredients are comedogenic or acnegenic.

For more, check out Lots Of Comedogenic Ingredients Aren’t Actually Comedogenic, and What You Really Need To Prevent Acne.


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

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Allergen, Not An Allergen Featured

VAPING: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Allergen

Vaping

Smoking isn’t good for your skin, lungs, or anything else. Once touted as the safer alternative, vaping or using e-cigarettes has turned out to be as dangerous, with some additional health risks. For skin in particular, both the e-liquids (or “vape juice”) and vaping device contain several top contact allergens.

E-liquids normally contain propylene glycol as a preservative and diluent. They also contain flavor concentrates, many of which are allergens. When heated and inhaled, they can cause airborne contact dermatitis in those sensitive to these flavors (or fragrances related to them). These flavors and fragrances are also potent photo-allergens and can cause airborne photo-contact dermatitis (hyperpigmentations). An article published in the journal Dermatitis pointed out that the vegetable glycerin used in these e-liquids is made of plant-derived oils, some of which (like soybean) have a high nickel content. Nickel has been the number one contact allergen for decades.

Vaping devices vary in design but several feature contact allergens like colored components and rubberized surfaces.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, or for more privacy (such as when asking us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results) contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.

For more:

On the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.

To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.

Main References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59

2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009

3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.

4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97

5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.

6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.

7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.

8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 

9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.

10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.

11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.

13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99

14. Holland TE, de la Feld S. E-cigarette Dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2019 Jul/Aug;30(4):272.

Want more great information on contact dermatitis? Check out the American Contact Dermatitis SocietyDermnet New Zealand, and your country’s contact dermatitis association.


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Allergen, Not An Allergen Featured

BOREDOM & STRESS: Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Not An Allergen

Boredom & Stress

Neither boredom nor stress is in patch test trays and neither is a top contact allergen. Both can lead to inflammation, however. Boredom can encourage unhealthy choices — eating junk food (which does mean lots of allergen exposure), spending all day on the couch (ditto) bingeing on our favorite shows, staying up later and later, drinking more and more, sleeping less and less — and stress is inflammatory.

Inflammation isn’t always bad. A fever is an inflammation and exercise is pro-inflammatory. The body needs inflammation sometimes to fight off infection and keep itself healthy. Like nature, much of our body’s systems require a delicate balance to function well. But too much inflammation is a real problem: it is linked to almost every health issue there is from depression to obesity, heart disease and cancer. In skin, inflammation is closely linked to acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and other problems.

The great news is that the “antidotes” to boredom and stress are anti-inflammatory and benefit you in more ways than inflammation hurts you. An increasing number of clinical studies shows that positivity, a gratitude journal, meditation, yoga and similar practices reduce physical inflammation. A UC Davis study has linked meditation to an increase in telomerase, an enzyme fundamental to the long-term youth of cells. Another from Johns Hopkins showed that happier people are a third to 50% less likely to have a heart attack compared to those who were unhappy. Some studies suggest that happier people may be better able to resist getting a cold when exposed to certain viruses. Better overall health and a less inflammatory lifestyle also impact the skin positively in multiple ways — not just in the inherent glow that so many of us notice but in the skin’s actual tissue. A recent study (pending publication) on two groups of psoriasis patients showed that an anti-inflammatory diet reduced inflammation in biopsied tissue samples.

While an occasional night enjoying cocktails with friends or spending a day on the couch could help relieve stress, keep them as treats (not your norm). Actively practicing happiness — daily exercise, getting 7-8 hours of sleep, meditation, a gratitude journal, eating healthily — helps you fight boredom, stress, and inflammation, creating a beneficial, self-sustaining cycle of calm, positivity, and health.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, or for more privacy (such as when asking us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results) contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.

For more:

On the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.

To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.

Main References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59

2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009

3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.

4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97

5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.

6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.

7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.

8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 

9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.

10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.

11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.

13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99

14. Jacobs, T.L., et al., Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators. Psychoneuroendocrinology (2010), doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.09.010 and Positive psychological changes from meditation training linked to cellular health. UC Davis News and Information. Nov. 3, 2010.

15. Yanek, LR, Kral, BG,, Moy, TF, Vaidya, D, Lazo, M, Becker, LC, Becker, DM. Effect of Positive Well-Being on Incidence of Symptomatic Coronary Artery Disease. American Journal of Cardiology. Volume 112, Issue 8 , Pages 1120-1125, 15 October 2013.

Want more great information on contact dermatitis? Check out the American Contact Dermatitis SocietyDermnet New Zealand, and your country’s contact dermatitis association.


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Allergen, Not An Allergen Featured

BOOZE (LIQUOR): Allergen or Not An Allergen?

Not An Allergen

Booze (Liquor)

Liquor — whisky, bourbon, vodka, gin, tequila, rum and their cousins — are not top contact allergens. Some people can have a type B-cell allergy to alcohol (normally determined by a prick test) and if you do, don’t drink it. But this type of allergy operates differently from a skin contact allergy (type T cells are involved, and it’s determined by a patch test).

Some alcohols (like benzyl alcohol and cinnamic alcohol) are published contact allergens, but liquors aren’t. Even ethyl and isopropyl alcohol are irritants but not contact allergens. Not that anyone is applying liquor on their skin but, just in case the idea occurs to you, don’t. While not top contact allergens, they’d irritate your skin and dry it out.

If you have sensitive skin, what would be more of a concern are artificial mixers which tend to contain flavors, fragrances, dyes, and/or preservatives. For the same reason, avoid booze that has added artificial flavors (flavors are related to fragrance) like liquor with cinnamon, for example. Fresh flavors, mixers and garnishes might also be a problem if you’ve patch tested positive to lemon, limes, orangesmint, roses, and other fresh additions to popular cocktails — several plants, fruits and flowers are top contact allergens.

A final note: even if you’re not allergic to alcohol, drink it in moderation. Besides the obvious reasons, it is also inflammatory and inflammation can cause, trigger, or worsen many skin conditions, from acne to eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and more.

If you have a history of sensitive skin, don’t guess: random trial and error can cause more damage. Ask your dermatologist about a patch test.

To shop our selection of hypoallergenic products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. Need help? Ask us in the comments section below, or for more privacy (such as when asking us to customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results) contact us by email, or drop us a private message on Facebook.

For more:

On the prevalence of skin allergies, see Skin Allergies Are More Common Than Ever and One In Four Is Allergic to Common Skin Care And Cosmetic Ingredients.

To learn more about the VH-Rating System and hypoallergenicity, click here.

Main References: 

Regularly published reports on the most common allergens by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group and European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (based on over 28,000 patch test results, combined), plus other studies. Remember, we are all individuals — just because an ingredient is not on the most common allergen lists does not mean you cannot be sensitive to it, or that it will not become an allergen. These references, being based on so many patch test results, are a good basis but it is always best to get a patch test yourself.

1. Warshaw, E.M., Maibach, H.I., Taylor, J.S., et al. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012. Dermatitis. 2015; 26: 49-59

2. W Uter et al. The European Baseline Series in 10 European Countries, 2005/2006–Results of the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Contact Dermatitis 61 (1), 31-38.7 2009

3. Wetter, DA et al. Results of patch testing to personal care product allergens in a standard series and a supplemental cosmetic series: An analysis of 945 patients from the Mayo Clinic Contact Dermatitis Group, 2000-2007. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Nov;63(5):789-98.

4. Verallo-Rowell VM. The validated hypoallergenic cosmetics rating system: its 30-year evolution and effect on the prevalence of cosmetic reactions. Dermatitis 2011 Apr; 22(2):80-97

5. Ruby Pawankar et al. World Health Organization. White Book on Allergy 2011-2012 Executive Summary.

6. Misery L et al. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7.

7. Warshaw EM1, Maibach HI, Taylor JS, Sasseville D, DeKoven JG, Zirwas MJ, Fransway AF, Mathias CG, Zug KA, DeLeo VA, Fowler JF Jr, Marks JG, Pratt MD, Storrs FJ, Belsito DV. North American contact dermatitis group patch test results: 2011-2012.Dermatitis. 2015 Jan-Feb;26(1):49-59.

8. Warshaw, E et al. Allergic patch test reactions associated with cosmetics: Retrospective analysis of cross-sectional data from the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, 2001-2004. J AmAcadDermatol 2009;60:23-38. 

9. Foliaki S et al. Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Nov;124(5):982-9.

10. Kei EF et al. Role of the gut microbiota in defining human health. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2010 Apr; 8(4): 435–454.

11. Thavagnanam S et al. A meta-analysis of the association between Caesarean section and childhood asthma. Clin Exp Allergy. 2008;38(4):629–633.

12. Marks JG, Belsito DV, DeLeo VA, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch-test results, 1998 to 2000. Am J Contact Dermat. 2003;14(2):59-62.

13. Warshaw EM, Belsito DV, Taylor JS, et al. North American Contact Dermatitis Group patch test results: 2009 to 2010. Dermatitis. 2013;24(2):50-99

Want more great information on contact dermatitis? Check out the American Contact Dermatitis SocietyDermnet New Zealand, and your country’s contact dermatitis association.


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Beauty Healthy Living Skin Tip of the Week

Top 40 Skin, Makeup, Health & Happiness Tips!

Pause, please. 

40 years of published and awarded research on skin, hypoallergenicity, and clinically-effective care has led us more and more to this fact: what affects the skin is far more than what is applied on it.

Science is showing just how interdependent — how linked — all aspects of our health are. The care of skin cannot be separated from what we eat, how often we exercise, underlying health conditions, and how well we sleep and manage stress.

It’s time to pause, review, and share some of the most proven ways to care for all aspects of health — skin, body, and mind.

Categories
Skin

Top Recommendations for Patients With Eczema

Eczema is characterized by inflammation, barrier defect, blistering, itching, and very dry skin. Eczematous skin can get so dry that it cracks…and then microbial infection can become an additional problem.

What to do to keep skin with eczema smooth, happy, and healthy…and steroid free? Let’s start with what not to do.

What To Avoid:

  • Harsh soaps;
  • Hot water;
  • Frequent washing;
  • Drying alcohol (not all alcohol is drying);
  • Natural remedies (without your doctor’s ok) — many natural ingredients are common contact allergens;
  • Using topical steroids every day for a prolonged period of time — this can be dangerous to your skin and cause other serious health problems;
  • NOT using topical steroids if prescribed by your doctor;
  • Not taking other prescribed medication and not following your doctor’s instructions;
  • Using products with allergens, especially perfumes, dyes, preservatives or any other allergen identified by a patch testing.
  • Your allergens in everything else: skincare, makeup, shampoo, clothing, digital equipment, plants and fruits, house cleaning products, laundry detergent, room sprays, vaping, scented candles, etc.

Best Practices:

1) Practice Strict Allergen Avoidance.

Contact dermatitis is a common cause of eczema and flare-ups, which is why patch testing is standard in the diagnosis and management of the condition. Once you know what your allergens are, you can avoid them in your skincare, makeup, shampoo, conditioner, clothing, phone cases, house cleaning products and laundry soap, and more.

For more on common allergens, check out our popular Allergen-Not An Allergen tab. For products free of all or most common contact allergens, check out VMVHypoallergenics.com. If you would like customized product recommendations based on your particular patch test results, contact us or drop us a private message on Facebook

2) Less Is More, and Hypoallergenic Is Best.

The fewer products the better, and hypoallergenic products — without the top allergens as published by dermatologists who do lots of patch testing — are the safest options.

3) Your Dermatologist Is A Long-Term Partner, Not A Fling.

Your skin, as with all other organs, changes over time. If your eczema is being managed well, schedule an appointment with your doctor once or twice a year for a general checkup. Your patch test might need to be repeated because you may have developed new allergies (or outgrown others). And of course, follow your doctor’s instructions for flare-ups.

4) PRAM: Prevent, Repair, Antimicrobial, Moisture.

Normalizing eczema means babying your skin:

Prevent:

  • Avoid your allergens as strictly as possible.
  • Use very gentle cleansers, soaps, lotion…everything. Think “gentle” in terms of textures, too: no rough or abrasive fabrics or materials.
  • Look for products that are validated as hypoallergenic and that contain as few ingredients as possible.
  • Prevent flare-ups before they can even start by being consistent about your daily care and trying a steroid-free soothing balm or anti-inflammatory balm if you feel that there is a risk of a flare.

Repair:

  • The skin’s barrier layer becomes compromised in eczematous skin. Look for moisturizers that provide barrier repair like virgin coconut oil.
  • “Repair” here also means: quickly and properly address a flareup should an emergency happen. Your doctor may prescribe a topical steroid for a short amount of time. Immune-modulating and other anti-allergy drugs may be called for if the eczema is generalized or recurrent despite strict allergen avoidance. Antihistamines or centrally-acting medicines can help relieve severe itching.
  • Part of repair is normalizing skin quickly after a flare. Early on, apply virgin coconut oil (VCO) to soften the crust as it forms (the crust makes the skin dry, hard and itchy). Keep applying the oil for occlusion, giving skin a secondary barrier against water loss.

Antimicrobial:

Opportunistic bacteria and viruses can enter microscopic cracks in very dry skin to cause a secondary infection. This makes the management of eczema more difficult, and can make itching and dryness worse. Remember that some antimicrobials are allergens, too, so use a non-allergenic option like monolaurin) or ask your doctor for guidance as prescription drugs may be needed for a secondary infection.

Moisturize:

Avoid drying ingredients in skincare and be generous about applying occlusive, healthy moisturizers. It’s so important that layering moisturizers for extra protection is often recommended: follow a daily moisturizer with virgin coconut oil (VCO replaces the fatty acids that make up the skin’s cell walls which are destroyed with inflammation).

How To Care For Skin With Eczema

Based on what we know about eczema, we recommend this daily regimen:

  1. FACIAL CLEANSING: Red Better Deeply Soothing Cleansing Cream
  2. SHAMPOO & BODY CLEANSING
  3. CONDITIONER: Essence Skin-Saving Conditioner
  4. MOISTURIZERS:
  5. FOR CRUSTS OR VERY DRY PATCHES: Grandma Minnie’s The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm
  6. FLARE-UP PREVENTION: steroid-free Red Better Calm-The-Heck-Down Balm
  7. SUN & LIGHT PROTECTION, BARRIER PROTECTION: (physical sunscreens that double as a barrier cream to help prevent contact irritations)

?

Check out the other posts in this series:

What Is Eczema?

What Causes Eczema?

Eczema Flare-Up? Here’s What To Do…


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Skin

Eczema Flare-Up? Here’s What To Do…

If you’re noticing a flare coming, try staving it off with a steroid-free soothing balm or anti-inflammatory balm. If you experience a flare-up, follow what your doctor prescribes.

First, practice mindfulness.

Eczema is an inflammatory condition. Panic and stress can fuel inflammation. Make your first action to practice your calming techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises.

Next, do what your doctor tells you…which is probably a steroid.

For emergencies, dermatologists will usually prescribe a topical steroid. For bad flare-ups, dermatologists may prescribe a steroid of moderate to high potency in a cream base for acute eczemas, and in an ointment base for chronic eczemas.

While a topical steroid may be necessary — which means you should use it as prescribed — remember that steroids are not meant for daily use over a long time (like a regular cream).

The goal is to quickly address the emergency, then move to softening the skin, and prioritize prevention to avoid future flare-ups as much as possible. Done right, strict allergen avoidance and a simple regimen that is ultra-gentle and prioritizes barrier repair should reduce your need for a steroid to one or two times a year, if that.

Then, focus on normalizing and getting back to prevention…

…by softening the dry skin that develops as the eczema moves into a subacute, then to a chronic phase.

Virgin coconut oil (VCO) applied at any phase of eczematous skin is soothing, and moisturizing. It is also, importantly, a gentle yet potent antimicrobial (secondary bacterial, fungal and even viral invaders can penetrate cracks in dry skin and worsen eczema and itchiness). VCO is also ideal for barrier repair because it replaces the fatty acids that that make up the skin’s cell walls which are destroyed with inflammation. Just remember to choose a 100% pure, organic virgin coconut oil, or one with monolaurin for additional antimicrobial protection.

All the above normalizes eczema, lessens inflammation, and helps remove dried-up crust, making the skin much less itchy. Once you’re in this phase, circle back to strict allergen and trigger prevention and your gentle regimen.

TIP: VCO is especially soothing on flaring skin when stored in the refrigerator here it naturally “butters” (it melts upon contact with skin). Or, use the VCO as a cold compress on eczematous skin.

Do NOT:

  • Ignore your doctor’s orders.
  • Reach for natural remedies without your dermatologist’s approval (many natural ingredients are common contact allergens).
  • Continue to use your topical steroid beyond what is prescribed to calm an acute flare-up.

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Check out the other posts in this series:

What Is Eczema?

What Causes Eczema?

Top Recommendations for Patients With Eczema


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Skin

What Causes Eczema?

Eczema causes include…

a. Contact dermatitis

From…

  • Allergens in skincare and makeup;
  • Clothing, jewelry, eyeglasses, accessories;
  • Phone and computer materials and protective cases;
  • Flowers, plants, and fruits;
  • Insecticides, dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, house cleaning solutions;
  • Airborne allergens from perfumes, room sprays, even vaping.

There are many more common contact allergens than you might think. This is why a patch test is normally done if eczema is suspected. For more on common allergens, check out our popular Allergen-Not An Allergen tab. For products free of all or most common contact allergens, check out VMVHypoallergenics.com. If you would like customized product recommendations based on your particular patch test results, contact us or drop us a private message on Facebook.

b. Atopic dermatitis:

Atopy means an inherited allergy. It is…

  • …Atopic dermatitis when the target organ is the skin;
  • …Rhinitis if the target is the nasal passage;
  • …Bronchial asthma if the target is the bronchial passages (the lungs).

c. Hereditary or acquired:

Because atopic dermatitis is hereditary, it often starts in infancy or early childhood.

Contact dermatitis, on the other hand, tends to develop later as we become more exposed to allergens in things that we use, touch, and are otherwise exposed to.

d. Nummular eczema…

…is caused by a combination of factors that include:

  • Atopic skin with bacterial contamination;
  • Insect bites;
  • Friction and irritation from rough materials; and/or
  • Allergic contact dermatitis.

These factors make the skin hyperactive, causing the large circular patches that characterize nummular eczema.

e. Seborrheic dermatitis

Also known as skin dandruff of the scalp or face often starts as scales. If irritated or secondarily infected (those opportunistic microbes again!), they can become eczematous.

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Check out the other posts in this series:

What Is Eczema?

Eczema Flare-Up? Here’s What To Do…

Top Recommendations for Patients With Eczema


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Skin

What Is Eczema?

Eczema is…

…not any “sensitive skin.” Eczema is a general term for atopic dermatitis, which is the inflammation in the upper dermis of the skin.

This inflammation brings about “edema,” which is swelling from fluid retention. The fluid then moves upwards to the epidermis (the skin’s topmost layer), collects in between cells, and eventually becomes fluid-filled “bubbles” on the skin’s surface.

These bubbles get bigger, then enlarge, become blisters, dry up, and crust over, which is when they can get itchy and develop cracks. Opportunistic microbes can invade the skin through these cracks, causing more dryness and itching.

Redness is common, too, and indicates an active inflammation from…

  • The barrier defect inherent to atopic dermatitis; and/or
  • An offending product with an allergen — which is why patch testing and using validated hypoallergenic products are so important;
  • A secondary infection; or
  • Dry, crusty skin.

Removing the cause removes the inflammation and reduces the redness.

Note: Food can also contribute to redness. Scratch testing can help but positive results do not always correlate with the eczema flare-ups.

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Check out the other posts in this series:

What Causes Eczema?

Eczema Flare-Up? Here’s What To Do…

Top Recommendations for Patients With Eczema


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Featured Skin

Can’t Calm Rosacea? #candew!

Can’t make a moisturizer for über sensitive skin? #candew!

25% of women who have rosacea associate their skin irritation with the use of moisturizers.* Red Better Daily Therapy Moisturizer isn’t only ultra-gentle (sans all 76 common allergens) but also features specific therapeutic benefits like anti-cathelicidins,** anti-inflammatories and antioxidants (all important for rosacea management) and anti-microbials to target Demodex folliculorum.

A simple cleanser can’t make a difference, can it? #candew!

By reducing irritation and protecting the skin’s compromised barrier, as well as providing antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory therapy, the right cleanser can “enhance the overall management” of rosacea.”*

RedBetter-Globes-Cleanser-Splash-20160229

Can I ever get a facial if I have rosacea? #candew!

Our “Oh So N-ice” facial uses only our ultra-gentle formulations and anti-inflammatory Red Better products — plus strategic cool compresses — to soothe and relieve red or hyperreactive skin. It calms and cools, and treats skin to some quality time with reparative antioxidants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.

InSKIN-CalmRosacea-BerriesWtext-20160401

Rosacea can’t be successfully managed, can it? #candew!

Rosacea has a “complex, multifactorial pathophysiology”** — basically meaning it has several symptoms and many possible causes. Some of these include sensitivity due to the skin’s barrier dysfunction, photo-damage, too much cathelicidin (pro-inflammatory) in the skin, and certain mites called Demodex folliculorum. Management is possible but it does require, more than anything else, prevention: avoid sun and light exposure, use a powerful (yet allergen-free) mineral sun AND light screen (even indoor lights can cause a photosensitive reaction), proper skin care (avoid your allergens — get a patch test to be sure), and a good dermatologist (some cases may need medication).** Think you might have rosacea? Stay calm and follow these steps.

YOU NEED A DERMATOLOGIST 

Even experts are known to mistake one skin disease for another, and rosacea can look like other conditions to an untrained eye (you shouldn’t be self-diagnosing, no matter how confident you feel about your Google medical degree). Seek out a dermatologist —ideally one who specializes in rosacea.

ASK YOUR DERMATOLOGIST FOR A PATCH TEST 

“External irritants, which may be included in many poorly selected skin-care and cosmetic products, can exacerbate signs and symptoms of rosacea.”** Knowing which allergens you, in particular, are sensitive to, is incredibly empowering and helps you avoid exactly what you need to. A patch test saves you the confusion and frustration (and expense!) of random trial and error.

KEEP YOUR SKIN CALM 

There’s a reason why so many rosacea products contain antioxidants and ant-inflammatories — they help reduce inflammation and damage from oxidation. But some products with these important ingredients also contain allergens and irritants. Red Better has only antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and anti-microbials that are non-allergens, providing therapeutic benefits without the sensitizers known to trigger rosacea.

For more on rosacea, check out Rosacea Roundup and How To Manage Rosacea on Skintelligencenter.com.

*Draelos ZD. Facial hygiene and comprehensive management of rosacea. Cutis. 2004;73:183–187

**Del Rosso JQ, Baum EW. Comprehensive medical management of rosacea: an interim study report and literature review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2008;1:20–25