Happy Friday, readers! Today I wanted to share a my healthy skin story with you. This post is not sponsored in any way; these are my honest opinions.
In the winter of 2013, I suddenly started experiencing terrible eczema flareups. What started as a small red spot on the right side of my nose quickly spread all over my face, chest, and the insides of my elbows. It was so uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. I never wanted to leave the house, especially after well-meaning friends and coworkers started asking about it. I visited my doctor that January, and she prescribed a low dose hydrocortisone cream. Per her instructions, I would use it every day for a week, then take three weeks off before starting the cycle again. My skin looked better during the weeks that I used the cream, but on the off weeks, the eczema came back, redder and itchier than ever. So she started to prescribe more potent hydrocortisone. It didn’t improve.
You can see in this photo how red my skin was around my mouth and chin:
I decided to do some research about hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is the medical name for the steroid hormone cortisol. It’s normally produced in the adrenal gland. Katja Hoehn’s Human Anatomy and Physiology says that cortisol functions to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system, and aid in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Cortisol does this by preventing the release of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. Cortisol is commonly known as the “Stress Hormone”. Drugs.com warns that prolonged hydrocortisone use can negatively impact the nervous system, increase one’s susceptibility to infection, and produce various endocrine disorders. My doctor didn’t tell me any of this.
I needed my eczema to stay under control, but I didn’t want to use increasingly potent doses of hydrocortisone to no avail. I tried everything. Oatmeal baths, every brand of moisturizer, switching soaps/body washes/shampoos, only showering in cold water, cutting sugar and grains out of my diet. Around this time, I was diagnosed with an allergy to dairy protein, and while a dairy-free diet helped, the eczema kept returning. I tried product after product, and even the most “Sensitive Skin” formulas made me break out in hives. I became increasingly anti-social and isolated as I desperately tried to heal my skin.
That summer, my mom suggested that we look into a natural beauty store in a nearby town for remedies. At that point, I had honestly given up, so my expectations were very low when I visited Becca Rose in Mystic for the first time. The staff, I think, could sense I felt defeated by my skin but they weren’t ready to give up. They walked me to a wall of Zum Bar Goat’s Milk Soaps and colorful metal tins of Zum Rub. They suggested the Tea Tree-Citrus line of Zum products and I left with a little paper bag full of products that would change my life.
The first time I showered with the Zum Bar, I noticed a difference. My skin didn’t feel nearly as tight or irritated as it normally did post shower. My skin was noticeably less red. I was floored. I worked a little Zum Rub into the insides of my elbows and waited. The flaky, itchy skin I was used to stopped flaking within two uses. TWO! Within a week, the redness and irritation was gone completely. I became a reluctant believer.
Zum Bars and Zum Rub are both made from (you guessed it) goat’s milk and pure essential oils. Goat’s milk contains good fats that help keep skin balanced and moisturized. Tea Tree oil is known for its naturally antiseptic properties (the added citrus in the Tea Tree-Citrus Zum line smells so fresh and clean). While I thought the “essential oil fad” was a hokey attempt to sell people things that didn’t do anything, here I was, experiencing the clear-as-day benefits of essential oils at work.
When I started using the Zum Face Oil, that’s when it really changed for me. My skin didn’t just go back to normal, it improved. It started looking healthy. The rare acne breakout, even around my period, became nonexistent. Strangers started commenting on my skin!
The first time I returned to Becca Rose after my skin started to look and feel better, I almost cried. I didn’t have the words to explain to the staff how much they positively impacted my life. Their kind words and expertise in a variety of skin health issues were absolutely invaluable to me.
I have my eczema under control now! The occasional flareup (especially during the summer when I get sweaty) is manageable in a way I didn’t think was possible four years ago. I use the Almond and Dragon’s Blood Zum Rubs on other parts of my body to help heal stretch marks, scars, and dry ankles and knees. If you’re dealing with uncontrollable eczema, I would strongly consider getting allergy tested and giving the Zum products a try! And if you’re ever in Mystic, visit Becca Rose!
Where are you on your healthy skin journey? Let me know below in the comments!