What is the best moisturizer to use for eczema?

Choose a fragrance-free hypo-allergeneic moisturizing cream or ointment.
Choose a fragrance-free hypo-allergeneic moisturizing cream or ointment.

Take a look at your local supermarket/pharmacy’s skin care section and you can easily get overwhelmed by the different moisturizer options.  There are many different brands, and formulations.  Creams, lotions, and ointments, oh my!

So what are some guidelines to follow when choosing a moisturizer for eczema?

Your moisturizer should be hypoallergenic.  The last thing you want is for your moisturizer to give you an allergic reaction on your skin.

  • Your moisturizer should be fragrance-free.  Fragrances are a leading cause of skin contact allergies.
  • Look for creams or ointments.  Your moisturizer should not be thin and watery.  It should be thick. Why? because then it can seal and lock in your skin’s moisture.  If your moisturizer is thin and watery, the water will evaporate off, leaving little protectant on your skin. Ointments are great, but some people don’t like the oily feel.

Here are some of my favorite moisturizers (and no! I have no conflicts of interest and am not paid by these companies!):

  • Vanicream moisturizing cream – This one is hypoallergenic and fragrance free and comes in a big tub.
  • Cerave moisturizing cream – This cream includes ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid which help protect the skin and seal in moisture.
  • Aveeno eczema therapy – The moisturizing cream contains colloidal oatmeal.  It is not as thick as the above creams, but many patients have found this to be a very pleasant cream
  • Vaniply ointment – I like how this one comes in a travel size which I can stick in my purse to moisturize my hands or lips on the go.
  • Aveeno healing ointment or Aquaphor healing ointment – I’ve also found this very handy for the hands or lips on the go.
  • Neutrogena Norwegian formula hand cream – This is slightly less greasy than other ointment but thicker than a cream.  It also comes in a size that is easy to throw in my purse or keep at the desk.  I frequently use this after washing my hands or when I don’t have a separate chap stick around.
  • Plain old Vaseline petroleum jelly – Inexpensive and a great sealant!  The skin will feel a little greasy afterwards, but it’s supposed to!

What are some of your favorite moisturizers? 

Want to learn about the proper way to apply moisturizer?  The answer is HERE.

Split earlobe? Enlarging pierced ear hole? You can fix it!

Stretched ear piercing.
Stretched ear piercing.

Have your earlobes split?  Or is your pierced ear hole enlarging and you don’t like it?  Or did you purposefully stretch our your ear hole and now regret it?  Not to worry, you can get these issues fixed.

Earlobes can split if you’ve worn heavy earrings for a while, if someone pulls on an earring (ouch!), or if you’ve had an infection or rash around this earring area.  Big earring holes can happen with time from the weight of the earring or with trauma to the area.  If you opted for a larger gauge ear piercing in the past or purposefully stretched out your ear piercing with tunnels or plugs, this can be reversed as well.

So what can you do to fix a split earlobe or enlarged piercing hole?

Arrange for a consultation with a plastic surgeon or dermatologic surgeon who performs earlobe repairs.  These procedures are usually done under local anesthesia and you can go home afterwards.  The surgeon will fix the split earlobe or wide ear hole, cutting out a small part of skin that is affected and reassembling.  You will likely have small stitches after the procedure.  After the repair is completely healed, you can choose whether you want to re-pierce your ears.

New Year’s Skin Care Resolutions for 2014

Hello 2014!

Up here in the Northeast, we’ve been greeted with 2 feet of snow to ring in the new year.  With travel restrictions in effect, it’s the perfect time to roll out our top 10 skin care resolutions for 2014!

#10. Wear sunglasses when you’re out in the sun.  Sunglasses with the proper UV protection will protect your eyes from damaging UV rays and also help prevent wrinkles and brown spots from forming.  Also, they will allow you to not squint as much — which can also lead to crow’s feet wrinkles too!

Image from wikipedia user Serenity.
#9. Frequent handwashing can lead to dryness and a rash.  Wear gloves when doing household chorse. Image from wikipedia user Serenity.

#9. Wear gloves when doing household chores.  For those of us bearing the brunt of chores like washing the dishes, doing laundry, dusting, polishing, etc, gloves can be a game changer in preventing exposure to irritants and excess water.  Gloves don’t have to be expensive — those thin disposable plastic food handlers’ gloves come in handy.

#8. Moisturize!  After you step out of the shower, pat dry and remember to moisturize.  How do you moisturize? How do you choose a moisturizer?  Check out our 2013 post answering these questions here.

#7. Get enough sleep.  Easier said than done but make a schedule for yourself (and your kids) and try to stick to it.  Our bodies’ repair mechanisms work hard as we’re asleep.  Our body is a machine that needs to repair itself from wear and tear.  This includes wear and tear to the skin.

Choose a fragrance-free hypo-allergeneic moisturizing cream or ointment.
#8. Keep your skin moisturized and thus smoother and more comfortable.

#6. Make sure to keep hydrated.  This means drinking enough water each day so that you don’t end up with cotton mouth (and smelly breath) and chapped lips.  This will help maintain your skin turgor to keep your skin looking healthy.  This will help a lot against the blustery winds and dry air in the wintertime.

#5. Get your moles checked.  Your primary care physician or dermatologist should check your skin for skin cancer.

#4. Do monthly self-skin examinations.  The Skin Cancer Foundation has step-by-step instructions along with what to look for here.  If you are a woman, you can do these self-skin exams at the time of your monthly self-breast exam.

#3. Remove your makeup before going to bed.  So you got ready before your night out, putting on makeup on your eyes, face, etc.  After your night out, you may just want to hit the sack.  Before you do so, make sure to remove your makeup – especially that eye makeup!  Leaving on your makeup can clog your pores, and irritate your skin and eyes.  Feeling lazy? Find handy makeup remover wipes like these from Neutrogena or Almay.  Or go for a convenient wipe off cleanser like this one from Shiseido.

#2. Wear your sunscreen.  Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun leads to skin cancers and old, wrinkly skin.  In 2013, researchers in Australia showed that sunscreen keeps your skin looking young!  We recommend daily SPF30 or greater.  Make sure you know how to use sunscreen properly.  Many people do not apply sunscreen frequently enough or do not apply enough (one shotglass full for the entire body).  Also, make sure your sunscreen covers UVA and UVB.

#1. Stop smoking.  Work with your primary care physician to get extra help in quitting tobacco.
#1. Stop smoking. Work with your primary care physician to get extra help in quitting tobacco.

#1. Are you a smoker?  Don’t forget the 2013 photos from the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons showing the photographs of twins where one was a smoker and the other a non-smoker.  Let the photos speak for themselves.  Save your skin (and your health)! Look younger! Don’t smoke!