I’m completely thrilled to finally be able to talk about something that I’ve been working on quietly but passionately for the past year. This January has seen the US launch of a range of quite brilliant products from Dove, products specifically designed to suit eczema and dry skin conditions.
But that’s not all.
The accompanying promotional materials for the new Dove DermaSeries range feature a selection of beautiful and positive images of amazing women with visible skin conditions from eczema to psoriasis, complete with their stories of how they have battled with their confidence, self-esteem and management of their condition. Shall I say that again? Dove, the massive global skincare brand is advertising products for eczema by using and showing people with eczema:
After my first few blog posts for beczema five years ago about eczema management, body confidence and the real need for more images of people with visible skin differences in the media, I never could have dreamt that I would be invited to consult for a company that actually has the power to change the way the condition is perceived. But that is exactly what happened.
When I began writing beczema I’ll be honest, I felt quite alone. My facial eczema was at its worst and I felt a little hopeless about ever finding a way to get rid of it, so I decided to address the only thing that I could change – and that was my attitude towards the condition and the way I was going to present myself to the world. My eczema was up there for the world to see – there was absolutely nothing I could do about that, but I didn’t have to hide and I certainly didn’t have to feel any shame. I felt the eczema and I did it anyway!
Since that day, a number of amazing things have happened. I have actually found a way of managing this condition so that I rarely experience flare-ups (based on a foundation of self-care and genuine self-love) but also slightly inconvenient when doing a photoshoot with the intention of visually representing eczema! I have made some incredible online flakey friends, (hello Carly Findlay, Ruth Holroyd), but most importantly I have witnessed a groundswell of body confident images of skin conditions from individual bloggers like me and amazing organisations such as the British Skin Foundation. Images like these:
And it turns out we were not going unheard. We spoke. Dove listened.
Last year, I was invited to work alongside Dove to contribute to a campaign which at its heart aims to address body confidence and self-esteem for those suffering with visible dry skin conditions. The products themselves cover the full range of face and body washes, moisturising creams and balms and I can hand on heart say that they are genuinely effective – soothing, deeply moisturising and fragrance free. (Sadly for us Brits though, just in the US at the moment.)
Take a look at Dove’s US site and have a read of their stories.
Stories like Christine’s.
Skin is the biggest part of your confidence and, at times, eczema has broken mine. But then again, when you’ve been down such a dark path, you appreciate the times you have good skin even more. The confidence eczema can take away, it can add in even greater volumes on good days.
The campaign is backed-up by a series of guides on how to look after dry skin, how to manage stress before and during a flare-up and how to go about maintaining and boosting self-esteem and confidence.
Dove asked me to offer my advice and also to make a film to support the campaign. Read my advice on caring for eczema skin on the Dove website where I discuss the challenge of creating a skin-care routine that keeps my very dry skin as moisturised as possible and talk about the effects my skin has had on my confidence. Here’s the film:
The Dove DermaSeries face wash is now a permanent fixture in my daily eczema care routine along with a carefully crafted selection of products that I use to nourish, moisturise and soothe my skin and to nip flare-ups in the bud. I now listen to my body very attentively and care for it like I would do for my own child. I have managed to fine tune this system so that I now – very happily – rarely experience flare-ups. But when I do, I don’t hide away, I tackle it head on with some firmly established methods of boosting my confidence and self esteem.
It’s been a real thrill to be a part of this campaign and to meet some fantastic people along the way, people who really care about the way that skin conditions are represented in the media and who have actually listened to our deepest concerns and insecurities. Now I guess we just need to see some pictures of men; after all, eczema doesn’t discriminate.
Here’s wishing everyone happy skin. xoxo