Acne and eczema are caused by different issues and manifest in different ways, but unfortunately they can sometimes coincide, which is obviously no fun at all for the poor sufferer!
Eczema is characterised by red, inflamed, itchy and sore patches of skin. It’s a result of an over-sensitive, over-reactive inflammatory response system coupled with a faulty skin barrier. Long-term it’s best managed with life-style changes, avoidance of triggers and plentiful emollients to keep dry or damaged skin well-hydrated.
Acne is an overproduction of sebum, leading to blocked and then infected pores and characterised by spots, bumps and inflammation. Ironically, sebum, a natural oil that the skin produces to keep itself protected and resilient, is something that eczema-sufferers tend to underproduce.
So what do they have in common and what can you do to treat both at the same time?
Well, both involve inflammation. In order to reduce the risk of the skin getting irritated and inflamed, you can make various changes to both your skincare regime and your lifestyle that should help with both eczema and acne.
Keep it simple: avoid soap, toiletries or haircare with perfumes, SLS, additives which are known irritants, and highly synthetic products. Stick to unfragranced, mild ranges designed for sensitive skin and find yourself a soap-free cleanser that your skin tolerates.
Keep it cool: wash in luke-warm water, keep baths and showers short, moisturise after bathing. Avoid extreme heat or extreme cold and get used to regulating your temperature with fans and loose light clothing.
Moisturise regularly: use gentle, light, nourishing creams daily to keep skin topped up with EFAs, nutrients and vitamins it needs to maintain and normalise its regular cycle of regeneration. Our Daily Moisturising Cream is idea for both eczema and acne because it is non-comedogenic (ie won’t block pores) but is rich enough in essential fatty acids to keep skin soft and supple.
Keep it clean: if you want to avoid the microbial infections that both acne and eczema sufferers are susceptible to, try some natural antiseptic in the form of tea tree oil! You shouldn’t use it neat, but if you have acne on your forehead, scalp or back, you can try our award-winning Scalp Oil; it’s a blend of purifying tea tree and nourishing borage, with nettle, hemp seed and other fantastically nutritious oils. Patch test first if you have eczema as well, as eczema can make skin sensitive to essential oils.
Treat different areas with different products: if the acne is on your face and the eczema is behind your knees, you can use different products on each. Products for acne need to be light, non-clogging, and cleansing; for the eczema you can use an intensively moisturising ointment like Skin Salvation. The aim is to normalise skin cell production and avoid irritating the area, but you can swap products according to what's needed when and where.
Lower your stress levels! Stress can exacerbate both acne and eczema, so please take your relaxation seriously, even if this seems an impossible task. Little steps are better than none, so find yourself five minutes to do some long, slow breathing or take a walk in the fresh air. Exercise can really help you inside and out, so consider eczema-friendly workouts if possible.
Getting a decent night’s sleep can really help too! Sleep tracking apps are useful ways of making sure you’re actually getting the hours you need.
Revamp your diet: both acne and eczema can be aggravated by poor diet, whether that’s because you’re eating foods that trigger inflammation or because your diet is lacking the nutrients and probiotics it needs to maintain a healthy gut. Investigate what works for you and keep yourself well fed with the good stuff. This also means making sure you’re drinking enough water, and not over-drinking that well-known inflammatory, alcohol!
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream
with shea butter and calendula
Balmonds Scalp Oil
with tea tree, nettle, borage & rosemary
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.