…or so they say.
This is one of those posts that takes a little longer to write than normal. And has come about as the result of a lot of thinking, rethinking and even a little soul-searching.
Just recently my troublesome skin has been even more troublesome than usual. I’ve forgotten what it felt like to have periods of relative normality. I used to have flare-ups, punctuated by periods when things were a little calmer. Now, ‘normal’ is angry, raised, sore and itchy on my back, chest, arms and legs.
Things came to a head when I decided to renew my steroid prescription to get a couple of weeks respite. I hadn’t used it since May and it had expired. This has been my habitual pattern for some time now. Use the steroids every 4-6 months for a couple of weeks. Experience 4-6 weeks of okayish skin. Slowly revert to ‘normal’ and then stick it out as long as possible before it starts waking me repeatedly at night and I give in.
Normally when I end up at the doctors I’m a bit wobbly, tired and tearful. This time I just felt really hacked off. I was fed up with being dictated to by my skin, fed up with feeling as if I was somehow to blame (perhaps if I just sleep more, eat better, have less of a life…). Then the GP looked at the flare up on my legs and said it didn’t look like eczema or seborrheic dermatitis at all. It looked like something else. I’m afraid I had a little paddy. No GP has ever agreed on what’s going wrong with my skin. I’ve had so many suggestions over the years and every single one of these conversations ends up with a steroid prescription and a feeling of helplessness.
Not this time.
This time I pushed back a bit. And as a result, I was referred to another GP at my surgery with a specialism in dermatology. He and I are now working together to try and figure this thing out. He thinks my upper body is affected by Seb Derm, but the flare-ups on my arms and legs are likely severe keratosis pilaris. Joy. He did refill my steroid prescription but he asked me not to use it yet. Instead, we’re trying out a new cream that uses both lactic acid and urea (and doesn’t contain too much horror to upset my skincare beliefs). And I’m sticking to simple plant-based body oils to keep my moisture levels topped up on the non-affected skin.
He also made me promise that I’d stop showering with any kind of detergent at all, even the really gentle, SLS-free ones. I’ll tell you more about how that works in a future post…!
And that’s my new regime. Indefinitely. I think it’s sort of working, but that doesn’t mean it’s a miracle cure and I’m some weeks away from drawing any conclusions.
And so I spent some time soul-searching. I’m a passionate advocate of green skincare and a big supporter of the incredible work being done by genuinely green brands. I haven’t changed my mind about the things I believe, I’ve just realised that my skin can’t tolerate constant chopping and changing. It needs simplicity and consistency. My skin and beauty blogging are just incompatible! Perhaps I had an inkling this was coming – just recently I’ve felt a little uninspired by the cornucopia that is my bathroom cabinets and a bit overwhelmed by the incredible amount of stuff I (‘m lucky enough to) have around.
So there are going to be some changes to NBC and I really hope you guys don’t mind if I take some time to figure it all out a bit. I can’t imagine anyone wants to read about using coconut oil to shower FOREVER 🙂 but I want to find a way to write interesting and positive posts without having an arsenal of “newness” to focus on. I will still be trying out new facial products (fortunately the skin on my face is still ok) but I’ll only change my routine occasionally.
I’m thinking that things are going to get a little pared back around here, particularly once I’ve worked my way through the backlist of things I’ve tried in the last few months. I want to spend a bit more time enjoying the brands I love the most instead of being constantly driven to try new things. I want to write more about aromatherapy. I want to find out if it’s even possible to be a beauty blogger if you can’t try new things all the time!
I have some ideas, but I’d also like to turn it over to you. I’m so grateful to all of you reading my little corner of the web and your comments and feedback make ALL of it worthwhile. What do you think? Would you like to read more on aromatherapy? Would you be ok with reading posts about products that I can’t try myself? Would you miss the shiny newness? Is there anything you’d really like to know about instead?
I’d love to know. And thank you, as ever, for reading.