Problem Skin – My Skin, My Problem…

27 Apr

I’ve always suffered with my skin. As a child it was eczema on my arms and legs. In my teenage years my skin was so dry my face looked like it was covered in lichen. As an adult I combined the two and had dry skin that would often break out in eczema when I was stressed…but on my face this time. Over the years I have used more cleansers and creams than I could possibly remember, but nothing has really worked effectively.

I’d always imagined that during pregnancy I would get the oft foretold ‘glow’, and that I would finally know what it was like to have something approaching normal facial skin. Oh, how wrong I was!…

I didn’t think it was possible but my skin got drier, it got red and sore, my occasional facial eczema (stress related) became a permanent fixture on my chin, and something new happened too…I got zits. I’ve never really had spots before, so I didn’t really factor them in and blamed my appearance on eczema alone.

red face collage

These photos (from my 15th week of pregnancy) don’t even do it justice…My skin looked AWFUL.

Even on the days where it wasn’t sore (and I went about my day mostly unaware of it), it still looked bad enough for people to point it out to me. Just in case you didn’t know, telling someone how awful their totally unavoidable skin problem is does nothing but cause them to become painfully re-aware of what they’d forgotten they saw in the mirror that morning. It does not help. Try not to do it.

Other than special occasions I never really wear make-up other than mascara, but suddenly I was so concious of how I looked that I was wearing concealer and foundation every day. Most of the time it didn’t even make it look much better, but it helped me to want to leave the house in the morning. The stupid thing is that I was so busy at work that I forgot how I looked whether I wore it or not.

...15 weeks pregnant, wearing my Baby on Board badge and LOTS of make up...

…15 weeks pregnant, wearing my Baby on Board badge and LOTS of make up…

Eventually I saw a doctor about it, hoping that he would give me some miracle cure, seeing as I couldn’t use steroid cream anymore because, you know, pregnant. He seemed to take great exception to my self-diagnosis of eczema (oh, I’m sorry! It’s only my body! I can’t possibly know what’s wrong with it after living in it for over thirty years!) and told me that it was acne and acne alone that was causing my problem. He suggested washing in hot (very hot) water, using a harsh cleanser, and only putting oil-free moisturisers on my face.

Ridiculous. I decided to ignore his ‘advice’.

Instead, I treated the eczema because I could deal with the spots (I’m pregnant after all…spots are a common affliction when your hormones are going RARRR) but I couldn’t deal with the angry, sore redness, nor the comments and looks of pity. I tried a few different cleansers and moisturisers until I settled on a combination that felt good on my skin. These now form the basis of my pregnancy skincare regime…

problem skin

The Cetaphil cleanser is brilliant as you don’t need to use water to remove it (sometimes water seems to aggravate the redness) and the moisturiser leaves my skin feeling brilliant, but it can dry out quite quickly, so I top it off with Lush’s Skin Drink (my pre-pregnancy moisturiser).

Palmer’s Stretch Mark Lotion is fabulous for my dry skin (and hopefully for stretch marks!). It’s really thick and although I didn’t used to like the smell of cocoa butter I have gotten used to being chocolate scented. My only problem with it is that

I use the coconut oil in the bath, on my scalp, sometimes under my other two moisturisers…everywhere really! Some people use it on it’s own, but I find that oils don’t do enough for my skin and I need creams too. This isn’t to say that the coconut oil doesn’t work fabulously to support the rest of my skincare regime. I have a little metal dish in the bathroom that I scrape the solid oil into (using a teaspoon), then I float it in some warm water in the sink to melt it down.

All this effort seems to be paying off and the redness/cracking of the eczema has now completely gone, although I probably owe a lot to the fact that I’m now well into the second trimester of pregnancy and am finally getting a bit of a ‘glow’.

problem skin collage

I’ve still got the spots as you can see, but if I try to get rid of those with conventional methods I’ll probably end up aggravating the eczema again. It’s not worth it…I can deal with the spots and the redness that comes with them.

But that’s not all…

As well as dry skin, I’ve also developed a VERY dry scalp (not all over, just a few inches into my hairline from my forehead). It’s not dandruff, and anti-dandruff shampoo dries my scalp out more. I’ve started to use this haircare combo as the shampoo is moisturising for dry scalps…

problem skin2

…it doesn’t really cure my problem on its own, but it definitely helps to control it (especially if I use it every day). One thing that has REALLY helped cure the dryness is rubbing coconut oil into my scalp and leaving it on for a while (anywhere up to an hour) until I wash my hair. I do have to shampoo a couple of times to make sure it’s all out though.

Once I decided to pour a few tablespoons of liquid coconut oil onto my scalp as conditioner, with the idea of shampooing it afterwards. I don’t recommend you do this. One shampoo was not enough! I had to attempt to dry it to discover this though…I say ‘attempt’ because I could barely get a brush through my oil-laden hair, and it was so slick with oil that it didn’t really dry! Three shampoos later and it was almost verging on clean.

My last problem skin complaint is my hands…

problem skin12

…which, as you can see, look like those of a crone. They are the product of dry skin AND a slight obsession with hand washing (lots of soap and very hot water). I try to moisturise them as often as I can, but it only takes a few washes and a few forgotten applications of cream for them to go back to looking like dusty tissue paper.

I’ve been using this…


…on the recommendation of my best friend. It was fabulous the first time I used it but I am beginning to find that it’s not creamy enough and it isn’t rehydrating my skin as well as it was. It’s one good point seemed to be that it sinks in very quickly and doesn’t leave your hands oily/greasy as other creams can do (Body Shop Hemp hand cream and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter hand cream to name two), but perhaps my skin needs the oil sitting on it? I don’t really like it’s orange-medicine smell either, and I avoid applying it before eating as I find it so pungent I can almost taste it.

I think that once this (quite expensive) tube is done I shall go back to one of the more oily hand creams and see how that goes…even if I do end up leaving finger prints and smudges on everything…

One thing I don’t do is drink enough water. I know that if I drank more I’d find that my skin (and my energy levels) would be far better. I tell myself I’m going to drink more and make a concious effort to do it, but then I end up engrossed in a book, or the TV, or lying in the bath and I realise that I’ve spent a whole evening without drinking anything at all! I have a water bottle that I carry with me at work but I forget about it and end up having little more than a sip from it while I’m on the shop floor.

Everyone tells me that I need to get better at drinking more, so I’m going to try harder to take their advice. Maybe I can think of some ingenious ways that people like me can get into the habit of having a full two litres a day…

My quest for happy skin continues.


Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy, Reviews


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2 responses to “Problem Skin – My Skin, My Problem…

  1. njstevensonwalling

    April 27, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Beautiful lady, folk are so flipping mean with their random comments 😦
    Have you ever tried calendula oil? The weleda oil, not cream.
    I’d really really recommend trying slathering coconut oil all over your face (removes make up and grime) and gently removing with a hot wash cloth or muslin if that’s too abrasive, then slather on the calendula oil. Scalp wise, do lush still do the solid coconut conditioner? That is super gentle…also their snake oil massage bar stinks but if you do it once a week or so may really help. And do get a hand butter in a tin or hand cream for after you’ve washed your hands 🙂
    Cherry cordial by Belvoir makes me drink more water, as plain water can be so meh sometimes! Hope some of this helps, soreness sucks anyway without the added pregnancy bleh Xx

    • onegirlandacampervan

      April 28, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Thank you for all the suggestions! I haven’t tried any of the products you’ve mentioned so i shall hit up my local shops. Stratford upon Avon has a fab Lush store and Weleda stockist…I’ve just remembered that all I’ve drunk all day is coffee and fanta so I’m off to drink a pint of Oceanspray squash (not quite as posh as Belvoir though 😉 but very nice).

      Thank you again 🙂 xxx


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