Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Eczema

body shop hemp hand cream for eczema

Although today's post was primarily meant to be a product review I realised that to fully explain why I’m writing about the product I’d need to get a little more personal and share more about my experience with eczema. The product I wanted to talk about – The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector – has made a huge difference to my eczema so I’m hoping that by sharing a bit more of my story this post may be able to help someone else out there with a similar issue.

I’ve always had small patches of eczema on and off but for several years now I’ve had an issue with particularly persistent eczema on my hands. In my case this wasn’t always just normal eczema and often became infected leaving me with bleeding and scabs that just wouldn’t clear up. Of course I’d tried out lots of different treatments from hand creams for dry skin to eczema specific off-the-shelf tubes at Boots and even prescription creams recommended by doctors. Unfortunately none of these options worked out for me that well and although some products did help a little, the results weren’t as good as I had hoped for and were never that long-lasting. For example, when I first used Salcura Zeo-Derm Skin Repair Moisturiser I saw a huge improvement very quickly, however after a few applications the effects would come to a halt leaving me with some improvement but not enough to provide long-lasting results.

Before discovering The Body Shop’s Hemp Hand Protector I was using the Zeo-Derm cream during the day and my prescription product overnight. Again, the prescription did help somewhat but didn’t provide lasting results and to be honest was a bit of a pain to use (it was an oily texture that required wearing cotton gloves overnight and the smell was very strong!). It also left the skin very flaky for the first few days of use (as shown in the left photo below) which was almost as uncomfortable to live with as the infected eczema itself!

Its obviously unpleasant and uncomfortable to have eczema anywhere and the hands are no exception but unfortunately it is an area thats difficult to hide. Over time I became very self-conscious of my hands even though it wasn’t something I could help, and at times I honestly thought it could be there forever. Although I was doing everything I could in the way of trying out products to improve it, I was still embarrassed when people would notice it and comment (sometimes very rudely - strangers can be mean).

So, here’s where the actual review part comes in… I picked up a tube of the Hemp Hand Protector whilst I was at a gift fair back in December. The lady with the stall next to mine was a Body Shop representative, selling mainly the Christmas range. I really loved the smell of the gingerbread products but knew it wouldn’t be wise to buy anything heavily scented that may irritate my eczema. After mentioning this to her she told me about the Hemp range’s hand cream that has proven popular with eczema sufferers. After testing out so many other products I wasn’t fully convinced that a high street hand cream with an RRP of £10 could really be the cure however with a half price offer I really had nothing to lose and thought it would be worth a try. The nice part of this story is that luckily, for me the Hemp Hand Protector has worked as well as the online reviews would suggest. I started using it in December, and although at the time my hands didn't look as bad as the July photo below, saw results straight away - this thick textured cream has cleared up most of the eczema within a short space of time, even getting rid of infected patches.

eczema
Yes, I really do wear that nail polish a lot!

I know it isn’t exactly pleasant to look at, but I wanted to share the photo above as it shows an example of how the eczema looked during one flare-up last year where I was using a prescription product. You can also see from the photos how I used to have a distinct line across the back of my hand where the soft skin stopped and the eczema began, which thankfully now has completely disappeared (on both hands) along with all of the infected patches that had appeared on my fingers.

For me it feels great to finally have my hands almost back to their normal selves, especially at this cold time of year where usually they would be at their worst and I’m amazed that I’ve achieved this with a high street product that was under my nose the whole time! I guess it’s really too soon to say whether this will be a long-term solution for me however I’m optimistic thanks to the results I’ve already seen. Yes, I do still have a couple of milder patches of eczema on my hands but now every time they start to itch I reach for the tube of hand cream and it seems to be doing the trick!

Obviously I can't guarantee that this product will work as well for anyone else as it has for me however I would 100% recommend giving it a try if you suffer with eczema or even very dry skin - plus, the website's reviews show that a lot of others have been just as pleased as I am. From experience I’d say that if you suffer from eczema quite badly and use this product on a regular basis (multiple times a day) then the large sized tube - 100ml - should last a couple of months. I’m now on my second tube, and have 3 backups (extreme, I know!) but so far haven’t picked up one at full price as there seem to often be promotions on - but even at the full price I’d say its definitely worth it!

I'm now looking to find an equally amazing product to combat the recurring patches of eczema that appear around my eyes. Since both my eyelids and the skin close to the waterline/tearduct are affected I can't safely use creams like this one to help - if you have any recommendations for clearing up eczema around the eyes please let me know in the comments!

If you made it to the end of that essay of a post, well done - I really hope it helps someone out there!
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