Yes, my skin is bougie! And she’s been that way for as long as I can remember. What makes my skin such a high-maintenance primadonna? Well, simply put, I got eeeeeecz’ma!
Living with eczema has meant, for me, a long history of expensive appointments with dermatologists, expensive steroid prescriptions, expensive soaps and moisturizers, and long, time-consuming regimens. See what I mean? Bougie!
In September 2015, I went through something called topical steroid withdrawal. (I encourage you to look into it if you’ve been using steroids for a long time, or if you only find temporary relief through constant use.) It left my skin raw, weeping, crusty, flaky…downright hellish. It was the worst my skin had ever been. There were days when my skin was too fragile to even use a traditional wash cloth. Yes; I had to wash my body with my hands!
After that experience, I ditched the steroids and vowed to never use a steroid to manage my eczema again. I went with a more natural approach, monitoring what I eat and what products I use. I turned into a professional ingredient-reader, turning every product over and diving deep into its makeup before buying.
I want to be able to pronounce every ingredient in my products. Some of my products are specially formulated over the counter pharmaceuticals. But for the most part, I can read, and probably eat without being overly concerned, my skin products. There are days when I moisturize with straight up olive oil.
Healing & Enjoying Life
Since turning to a natural approach, my healing has been up and down. A winding path rather than the straight and narrow. But overall, my skin has improved. My ankles are by far my trouble area. They give me the most angst. I used to be embarrassed when people asked, “were you burned?” or “what happened?” These flaws have a way of really coming for my confidence. But I had to make a conscious decision to show my skin and myself some grace. I had to get to the point where I was a-ok walking around ashy, if necessary. For a Black woman like me, that is a no-no. But there was no way I could put on that highly scented $5 body lotion with shimmer that sis (kindly) offered. *Shudders* I can feel my skin on fire! I know my skin better than that.
I was searching through Skin Deep’s line and the lavender cleanser caught my eye. I love lavender because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, it smells divine! Then, the soap has 6 PRONOUNCABLE ingredients. That’s right up my alley. So I’m going to try it and I feel good about that.
I’m learning everyday to trust my unique healing process and to be more accepting of the body package that I come in. Don’t get me wrong my ankles still annoy the bejesus out of me. (For real, why has color disappeared? Eczema is really gonna steal my melanin like that?!) But I can’t allow it to keep me from enjoying my life.
If nothing else, living with this skin has taught me to:
- Always have a budget
- Give myself time and space to heal and grow
- Know that a lil’ flake here and there takes nothing from my awesomeness!
My skin still demands the best, organic products money can buy. And my regimen can very well be time-consuming between bath time and bandages. She’s still bougie. And that’s cool with me.