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For the past 14 years I have suffered from eczema. It tends to be discoid eczema on my forearms and lower legs but I’m also prone to getting it on my hands too.
It flares up from time to time and stress, the weather and my diet all seem to play a role. Sometimes using a steroid ointment from the Doctor is the only way to get some respite and allow it to clear.

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One of the biggest triggers is if I change from my regular laundry detergent, or stay at a hotel when they seem to use quite strong detergents.

For many years I have been using the Ecover range and in particular I find the Ecover Zero Non Bio Laundry Liquid a great help with my skin.
It is totally unscented, which I like, but even the regular Ecover detergents don’t have the strong chemical scent of mainstream laundry detergents, which I find very overpowering.

A while back I also recommended Ecover Zero to a friend whose child had eczema all over his body. Although his eczema didn’t clear completely at that time, they certainly felt there was an improvement over other products they’d tried.
I have used Surcare from time to time too and my skin seems to get on OK with that, however, I try to go for Ecover wherever possible due to its excellent eco credentials.

I have always avoided biological detergents as I believed that the enzymes in them might prove irritating, however, most of the time biological detergents also contain synthetic fragrance as well, so if you do react to the product it can be hard to know whether its the enzymes or the fragrance that are causing the problem.

On balance for now my top recommendation for the best laundry detergent for sensitive skin is Ecover Zero Laundry Liquid, and our friends at Big Green Smile UK stock the entire range.

Do you agree? I’d love to hear about your experiences and recommendations for the Best Laundry Detergent for Eczema Prone skin, please comment below and share your advice.

Organic Skin Care Tips for Winter

3 Mar 2017 00:00:00

Choose our organic skincare to sort out your winter skin problems

If your skin is feeling a little tired, don’t despair. You don’t necessarily have to throw away your whole routine and start from scratch to change things for the better. One or two simple upgrades to your current programme can show rapid improvements in skin condition, leaving you ready to face the spring with confidence.

After months of dealing with rapid temperature changes from toasty centrally heated homes to the icy chill as soon as you step outside, skin is often left feeling tight and dehydrated at this time of the year. A couple of drops of facial oil under your moisturiser, or even applied at the same time (simply pump both onto the back of your hand and mix before applying) will boost the moisturising effect of your current cream and banish tightness.

Cleansing too, can contribute to feelings of tightness, particularly if you live in a hard water area. Change from a foaming facial wash to a cream style cleanser but still use it in the same way, effectively “washing” your face with it, and you will immediately feel the difference in softer, more comfortable skin.

Pamper time seems to be being squeezed all the time (in my life at least), but if you can find 15 minutes to apply a scrub, followed by a mask, your skin will reward you with a beautiful healthy glow.

Scrubs should gently polish your skin, never scratch it, and once or twice a week is plenty. It can be tempting to scrub too hard, or to use a scrub too often, as skin feels so lovely and soft afterwards, but go easy. Overzealous scrubbing will leave skin red and sensitive, whereas a gentle scrub used twice weekly will slough away dull dead surface cells, leaving lovely fresh new cells on display.

Applying a scrub before you apply your hydrating mask means that none is wasted on skin cells that have had their day, and the newly revealed skin gets an intense moisture hit to help it look its very best and protect it from the elements. 

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Warmer weather and holiday sun can often make skin feel greasier that usual and your regular skin care routine might need a few tweaks to ensure clean and comfortable summer time skin. When the heat is on you need light as air formulations to instantly hydrate without a hint of greasiness and fresh cleansers and toners to leave skin feeling clean and clear.

See full details of each of our recommendations

Here’s our top picks for a summer routine to leave skin feeling fresh as a daisy.

If the warmer weather has you reaching for a face wash rather than your regular cleanser, Trilogy Balancing Gel Cleanser (£22.50) is a great choice. Although best for combination skin types its gentle formula won’t strip and can be a good summer choice for drier types too. 

Don’t rule out toners altogether though, as there’s nothing to beat the refreshing spritz of a gentle organic toner when summer weather’s left you hot and bothered. Barefoot Rosa Fina Facial Spritz (£17) is an exquisitely scented treat and as it’s a handy sized 30ml can even be taken as a carry on. Trilogy’s toner (£17.50) is beautiful too and comes in a bigger 100ml bottle to help your budget go further.

Much as we love the sun, it’s important not to forget to protect skin from its damaging rays and in summer a moisturiser with an SPF is a must. New for 2012 is Lovea’s SPF50 face cream (£15.99), which will give your skin ultimate protection in a certified organic formula. If SPF50 is a little too high for you, our perennial best seller is Green People Day Solution SPF15 (£14.95). A best seller for good reason, this is an organic beauty classic that suits all skin types and offers great value for money.  In the evening or when you want a break from your SPF cream, summer calls for ultra light moisturising lotion to hydrate your skin without overloading it with oil, as the warm weather causes us to perspire more and our skin can feel a little oilier in summer too. 

With the all important summer facial routine sorted you might want to consider summer options for body care too.

See full details of all of the products we recommend for summer

We love the new certified organic sunscreens from Lovea Bio with SPFs from 15 to 50, tanning sprays and after sun they have the complete package for the whole family at a great price. And for summer picnics, plane trips and other times when you might not have access to water to you’re your hand, Bentley Hand Sanitizer (£3.05) is a perfect handbag standby.

Lavera’s 2 in1 hair and body wash (£6.45) is a brilliant holiday buy to help downsize your bag but don’t forget that after the ravages of sun, sea and sand your hair might need a little extra TLC so why not treat it to a hair mask for either normal or dry hair?

And at the end of the day in the sun, it always feels so good to smooth on some body lotion and treat skin to much need moisture boost. If your budget can stretch the Dr Hauschka Body Moisturisers (from £22.95) are a real delight. Light fluid formulas that absorb instantly but leave skin as deeply hydrated as much heavier creams. 

Don’t forget if you need any advice on choosing the perfect products for you just contact us or call on 020 8465 5600, our skin care experts are always happy to help.

Happy Summer!

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

18 Oct 2009 16:00:20

There are many types of dermatitis - psoriasis, bullous and childhood dermatitis are but some. Perhaps one of the most common is allergic contact dermatitis caused by external compounds, preservatives, fragrances, or plants (ie poison ivy dermatitis).

If you've suffered from a red itchy rash on your finger after wearing rings that contain nickel or had itchy eyes with the application of mascara you may have a contact allergy. Today so many of us are exposed to chemicals in almost every aspect of our everyday life that some peoples immune systems are being triggered more easily by even small irritants. The thing about these types of allergies is that the skin won't necessarily react on first exposure; it can take a number of exposures before you're skin becomes sensitive.

The most common causes of allergy contact dermatitis are nickel, gold, synthetic fragrance, balsam of peru (found in skin care products and perfume), thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative used in vaccines), neomycin sulfate and bacitracin (topical antibiotics), formaldehyde (preservative in paper products, paints, building materials, medications and household cleaners), quaternium-15 (preservative found in skin care products and industrial products like paints, polishes and waxes) and cobalt chloride (metal found in medical products, hair dye, antiperspirants, and snaps, buttons and tools)

To find out if you have dermatitis take a patch test like the True Test which examines the skin's reaction to 29 different allergens. You skin care regime is one of the first places to look if you suffer from skin sensitivities and possibly allergic contact dermatitis.

Use an organic skin care range like Essential Care (which was created specifically for very sensitive skin), No Scent by Green People or SOS by Barefoot Botanicals. Removing allergy triggers from your life will slowly ease discomfort of skin irritations caused by this kind of dermatitis. It may not happen over night but within a few weeks your skin will be thanking you.
Summer is all but here and it's time to get your skin in tip top, fit for outdoor viewing shape! To make your prep time a little more efficient we've put together a list of all the essential summertime products to keep you looking and feeling beautiful and comfortable.

For many of us our bodies haven't seen the light of day in months so it's a good idea to start with the wax, exfoliate, tan regime to get key areas like your legs and bikini line into spiffing shape. Moom is an excellent natural waxing treatment - easy, safe, and ultra effective. See our natural waxing blog for ways to keep your body naturally hairless longer. Natural fake tans - somewhat of an oxymoron but yes they do exist. The Lavera Sun Sensitive Self Tanning Lotion for the body is certified by BDIH and is vegan as is their Summer Glow Self Tan for the face. To prepare your body for tanning exfoliation is a must if you want to avoid streaks and blotchy spots. Delicious organic body scrubs like the Sensuous Sugar Scrub by Green People and face scrubs like the Gentle Facial Exfoliant with Organic Rosehip Oil by Trilogy are great. Exfoliating brushes and anti-cellulite lotions (like Madara's Anti-Cellulite Cream) and oils (like Weleda's Birch Oil) also do wonders for preparing the skin for tanning.

Of course don't forget the sunscreen to prevent skin damage and premature aging. Lavera, Green People and Essential Care make a range of brilliant SPF formulations for the body, face, lips and little ones. Chemical free mineral sunscreens and after sun lotion are the best thing short of a hat and covering up to protect you from intense rays this summer.

For holiday time, rather than lugging around full size cleansers, toners, moisturises etc it's a good idea to invest in travel size products. Most of the leading organic skincare ranges now make travel size or trial size versions allowing us to travel light but still equipped!

Other good travel items like face wipes, insect repellent and baby sun spray may also be a good idea if travelling with a family.