If you’re not a morning person, you may find it hard to roll out of bed in the morning. I’m not a morning person either, but the challenge is intensified by the pain I feel when I crack my eyes open in the morning on the worst days of an eczema flare-up.
If you’re an eczema sufferer like me, you’re probably familiar with this feeling of dread. Will my angry, red, flaking skin garner stares of disgust today? Bathtimes are a whole new hurdle to tackle altogether and even putting together an outfit requires a fair amount of consideration.
When your skin is raw, red and constantly crazy itchy, it’s only natural to try everything in your power to find a long-term solution or a “cure”. Anything to help ease the eternal itch I’m plagued by.
When it comes to eczema-friendly products, I’m possibly the biggest sceptic out there. Wet wraps, extreme diets, swimming in the sea – I’ve tried almost every trick in the book but still find myself face to face with weekly flare-ups thanks to Singapore’s hot humidity.
The original state of my eczema before I started the Suu Balm experiment
On bad days, I depend on steroid creams to gain quick relief. Skin thinning, a side effect of topical steroid overuse, is the least of my concerns when all I can feel is itch and pain. But after I found myself bleeding from an open cut after having gently grazed my elbow on a table corner, I knew I had to look for a safer alternative.
My next endeavour: trying out a dermatologist-approved skincare routine for a month.
Concocted by Adjunct Assoc Prof Tey Hong Liang, a senior consultant dermatologist at the National Skin Centre after 2 years of research, Suu Balm’s skincare range touts rapid itch relief through the use of menthol and a ceramide-based moisturiser to restore the skin’s natural barrier.
I’d never tried menthol-type products before, but I was excited to give it a shot.
An untimely flu infection, the erratic weather and my dusty office triggered a bad outbreak of rashes on day 1 of my experiment. When you’ve got eczema, a simple cold can often cause your immune system to go into overdrive.
For the entire week, I generously slathered Suu Balm’s Body Moisturiser all over my body and covered my problematic spots with a second layer of lotion just in case. I was glad that the moisturiser wasn’t too greasy and was quickly absorbed into the skin. This meant I didn’t have too much downtime between application and throwing on outfits in the morning.
I also applied the Cooling Itch Relief Facial Moisturiser to my face and nape of the neck where my eczema was particularly bad
The “cool feeling” of the menthol on my skin did wonders to alleviate the itch, and I found myself reapplying it every 2-3 hours on the go to stop myself from scratching – this helped to keep me from scratching my skin to the point of it bleeding.
Suu Balm’s moisturisers contain up to 5 types of ceramides which help to fortify the skin barrier, protecting it from environmental aggressors and keeping the moisture in – an essential element that is missing in cases of eczema.
While heading out to get lunch with my teammates, I was surprised to find myself yearning for the cooling effect of menthol as we walked under the scorching 12PM sun. The cooling effect was one of the things I really liked about the product as most of the heavy-duty moisturisers I’d tried had left me feeling sticky and gross in the hot weather.
Week 2 of flare-up on the neck: the rashes start to subside and it was itching less
I was also initially apprehensive about trying the facial cleanser. Would it sting? Would it aggravate my eczema further? I was incredibly relieved to find that Suu Balm’s facial cleanser did none of those. Containing no soap or sulphates, the product was non-foaming, creamy and of a thick consistency that felt soothing on my irritated skin.
After washing it off from my face, my skin felt clean but it wasn’t the type of squeaky clean that left my skin dry and tight as many other cleansers did.
It was in week 3 that I started to see significant improvements in my skin and my mood was a lot better too – daily showers became a breeze with the cream body wash also leaving a mild cooling effect that wasn’t as strong as that of the body moisturiser.
And while I’d celebrated the effect of the menthol in the hot weather, using the lotion in my air-conditioned office did make me slightly cold. So I decided to experiment with Suu Balm Kids’ Dual Rapid Itch Relieving and Restoring Ceramide Moisturiser because of its lower menthol content and that turned out to be a great alternative moisturiser on chilly nights.
At the end of the 3 weeks, I had stopped reaching out for my topical steroids in a fervent attempt to soothe my wounds. Instead, I relied on Suu Balm to relieve any itch I felt – the menthol would set in less than 5 minutes after application, and it was a welcome escape from the burning desire to scratch.
With scratching under control, it was like half the battle had been won. Now that I was healing well, all I had to do now was make sure that I was diligently keeping myself moisturised and far out of the reach of eczema triggers.
Now that the trial is over, I’m also glad to know that I can easily get these products off the shelves of Watsons, Guardian and Unity stores across the island and also online. If you’ve been struggling to manage your eczema flare-ups, you might want to give Suu Balm’s products a shot.
Suu Balm also has a kids range that is perfect for little ones suffering from flare-ups too
Their latest Facial Care range has the Gentle Moisturising Facial Cleanser (100ml) at $19.90 and the Cooling Itch Relief Facial Moisturiser (50ml) at $39.90.
The Dual Cooling & Moisturising Cream Body Wash (840ml) and Dual Rapid Itch Relieving & Restoring Moisturiser (75ml) and Facial Moisturiser are priced at $39.90 and $21.90 respectively.
To ease the pain of eczema expenses, use “TSL20” to get 20% off your Suu Balm purchases on their e-store from now till 31st December 2019.
While there isn’t a miracle cure for eczema just yet, with the help of some quality skincare and some determination on my part, I can still enjoy relatively itch-free days.
This post was brought to you by Suu Balm.
Photography by Sharlene Lau and Faith Toh.
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