In the wintertime, my eczema can make me want to rip apart the skin on at least three different parts of my body. Lately, it’s my legs, my back, and my neck that feel the itchiest (or, more accurately, like they’re crawling with ants on top of a poison ivy rash). The feeling gets worse at night: It’s normal for me to wake up to find my bed sheets stained with drops of blood and discover scabs in the shape of nail marks etched into various parts of my body.
“Itchy” has been my default state of being for the last 24 years that I’ve been afflicted with eczema. Most creams and lotions that claim to help eczema tend to focus on healing dry skin, and while eczema certainly makes my skin dry, more than anything else, it makes me extremely itchy, so I’ve always struggled to find my anti-itch fix. Slathering regular lotion on top of itchy skin really just makes me slippery (not soothed). Even over-the-counter cortisone and prescription ointments that I get from my dermatologist don’t quiet the itch.
In fact, the only thing that’s ever worked for me is CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion, something I randomly picked up in the drugstore. The label claims that 100 percent of people who tried it experienced relief for “even their most severe itch” (it was only later when I read closely that I discovered the study only included 34 people, but still). What truly convinced me was that the label promised to stop my itchy feeling in two minutes. Ambitious, but it was cheap enough that I had nothing to lose.
Reader, this lotion is a damn miracle. Whenever I feel like I’m about to claw myself, I grab it, and in under two minutes (yes, the label’s right), I’m no longer itchy. I now dutifully keep it on my nightstand, in my purse, and on my desk at work — and rub it all over the itchy area. Because there’s no hydrocortisone (a.k.a. steroid) in the CeraVe, I slather it on at will without fear of developing a dependency — the cream uses a calming ingredient called pramoxine hydrochloride instead. It helps especially when I wear wool sweaters and lace bras, both of which irritate my skin, but are so cute that I refuse to stop. Now I don’t have to.