Kerry Washington has lived with eczema since she was a child. « I’ve struggled with sensitive, dry skin since before I can remember, » she recently said. Yahoo! Life. Now, at 46, the actor has found some relief, thanks in part to an ingredient that seems to show up in every cleanser, serum and cream.
« I’m learning to really embrace hyaluronic acid, » she said. « It’s really transformed how I can take care of my skin and how my skin looks and feels. » (Note: Washington is a Neutrogena ambassador and hyaluronic acid is the brand’s signature ingredient.)
Science supports it on this point: eczema, a disease that affects approximately 31 million people in the United States, usually manifests as dryness, itching, and inflammation, often due to a compromised skin barrier – the protective layer of your skin that keeps out harmful substances and good things, like moisture necessary, inside. Locking in hydration with an ingredient like hyaluronic acid, a humectant that attracts a ton of water to the surface of the skin, can be essential not only for managing breakouts, but also for maintaining that overall healthy barrier.
Because some forms of eczema can be triggered by allergens and irritants, like perfumes and dyes, it generally responds best to gentle skin care, as SELF has previously reported. Other soothing ingredients that can relieve itchy, dry or otherwise sensitive skin include glycerin (another humectant that reduces moisture loss), ceramides (which strengthen skin structure), oatmeal colloidal (an anti-inflammatory) and petroleum jelly (an occlusive that seals in moisture and acts as a protective barrier), among others.
For Washington, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Body Creamis « really effective, » she said Todayand she likes it too Hydro Boost Gel-Creamshe said The Zoe Report. (The star ingredient in both moisturizers is, you guessed it, hyaluronic acid.) As for the rest of her routine, the 46-year-old keeps it simple with cleanser, sunscreen during the day, and retinol during the day. night.
For occasional breakouts, she turns to pimple patches. « I can be a bit picky when it comes to blemishes, which is such a bad habit, » she said. « I think it comes from, when I was a kid, having eczema and always itching and scratching – that kind of sensory and tactile stuff. »
Apart from slathering on lotions, Washington said Yahoo! Life that its radiance also comes from a global focus on well-being: sleep, hydration, exercise, meditation, work.
She particularly struggles with stress (a known trigger for eczema) and does her best to manage it with lots of self-care, including therapy. Getting enough rest is also important. « Taking care of the skin is really a holistic job, » she said. « Sometimes it [looks] like cocooning in my bubble bath and relaxing.