As the CEO and Co-Founder of Bloomeffects (and from my years of experience in the skincare industry), I naturally possess slightly more knowledge around skin and skincare than the average person. However, my daily life with eczema is still a constant challenge.
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This was me last week preparing for our launch on air @qvc In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I felt it necessary to share with you the immediate changes and precautionary actions @bloomeffects is taking to protect our team and customers. These were not easy decisions for us but I know they are the right ones to ensure that we are prioritizing everyone’s health and safety. QVC: * 3/20 on-air show has been postponed due to the travel ban that has been put in place from EU-US. The next show will be confirmed in the next month and I’m excited to make our debut soon! * In the meantime we will focus on .com and support on our digital channels. We launched on QVC.com last week please check us out! Amsterdam Spring Event and Pop-Up: * We have decided to postpone activities until next years tulip season. The Amsterdam team will function locally to manage private trips to the fields while avoiding group gatherings and following WHO & CDC heightened hygiene protocols. If you are in the local area and would still like to see the tulip fields for a private session please DM @bloomeffects What we are doing as a company @bloomeffects: Travel: * All business travel has been canceled Our NYC Office: * We are being flexible, encouraging our team to work from home and to avoid taking public transportation * We are encouraging best practices in hygiene and safety precautions and to not work/rest if feeling ill Our Retail Partners: * We have been and will continue to uphold any direction that comes from the retailers * Our freelance staff will refrain from live demos and making handmade samples/testers * Instead of in-person visits and trainings, we will instead send out "trainings in a box" (complete with product and education) and virtual trainings where possible As always the well-being of our Bloomeffects community is our top priority. Please continue to connect with us through Instagram or Bloomeffects.com Kim 💕🌷
What is eczema?
It is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by itchy, dry, and scaly skin that is often sore and inflamed as a result of constant scratching. Eczema is linked to a hypersensitive immune system where a flare up can be triggered by allergens and environmental conditions.
My experience with eczema growing up (and still now)
I'm a second generation Asian-Australian and extremely atopic. What does this mean? It means that I have always had allergies, causing eczema and asthma, which usually all happen at the same time. Having Asian genes and being raised in a Western society, I realize now, is a major contributor to my sensitivities - I'm just not genetically primed for the diet or climate.
As a kid, my mum was always taking me to dermatologists and allergy specialists, trying new creams/lotions, diets, and routines - like wearing only cotton, washing my clothes with special detergents and cool, short showers and no hot baths. I tried it all. There was no miracle cure, and nothing really worked except persisting with the right combination of habits, lifestyle choices and treatment regime.
How I manage my eczema
It’s taken me my whole life, but I’ve figured out some super effective strategies that have helped me manage my eczema and limit/prevent flare ups on a daily basis. Of course, if I lived in a bubble and didn't have any stressors, I could avoid a flare up or skin reaction. But what life is that? Routines and regimes are hard to keep and my only advice, like any commitment, is to stick to it. If you have a bad day or week, get back on the horse and don’t beat yourself up about it.
I began keeping a diary of all of my daily activities, including diet. It was a pain to do, but it sure did help! This allowed me to track factors that could trigger a flare up, such as alcohol, lack of sleep, stress and menstruation, without having to go to the dermatologist for yet ANOTHER allergy test. I found that my triggers were a lack of sleep, stress, the season (dust/pollen during hayfever season) and my diet - living in Holland makes it hard to resist Dutch cheese!
From this information though, I was able to develop a solid plan of attack - see below!
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Our CEO and Co-founder @kimmivanhaaster's skin revelation- please read! I'm a second generation Asian-Australian and extremely atopic. What does this mean? It means that I have always had allergies, causing eczema and asthma, which usually all happen at the same time. Having Asian genes and being raised in a Western society, I realize now, is a major contributor to my sensitivities - I'm just not genetically primed for the diet or climate of a Western society. I've tried almost everything from avoiding dairy, dust and pets, to avoiding provocative things like citrus, tomatoes and fragrance. As a kid, mum was always taking me to dermatologists and allergy specialists, trying new creams/lotions, diets, and routines - like wearing only cotton, washing my clothes with special detergents and cool short showers with no hot baths. I tried it all. Nothing seemed to really work. If I lived in a bubble and didn't have any stressors I could avoid a flare up or skin reaction, but what life is that? Above on the left is my skin after a flare-up from a combination of stress, eating the wrong foods and bad sleeping habits. On the right is me now, on a good day, after consistently using the Royal Tulip Nectar daily. Developing the Royal Tulip Nectar for our @bloomeffects range was game-changing for me - I found my skin healing, and gradually becoming less sensitive, less rashy, smoother, softer, brighter and more even. Being unable to use cortisones for my skin during my pregnancy meant that I was forced to rely solely on the Nectar to heal and soothe my skin. My baby is now almost 3 months old, and I am still off the cortisones, using the Nectar religiously and could not be happier with the results! In no way am I saying that the Nectar is a treatment for these skin conditions, but I wanted to share my imperfectly perfect skin journey with you all. Kim xoxo
My tips to avoid a flare up
- A quick cool shower - I avoid taking long hot showers and baths. Honestly a hot shower does give me momentary relief, like an all-over scratch. I always end up feeling worse afterwards because I am left drier, itchier and more inflamed.
- Find a skincare regime that works - this takes a lot of trial and error, but it’s worth it when you find it.
- Introduce new items one at a time - if you do change up your regime, introduce new products slowly so that you can easily identify the culprit of a flare-up.
- Avoid fragrance - fragrance is my enemy! I avoid fragrance in ALL products, from laundry detergent to hand soap and of course, skincare. This is one of the main reasons why Bloomeffects is completely fragrance free. I still love perfume though, so I will spray a little onto my clothes (not directly on my skin).
- Eat well - on a good day* I can comfortably avoid dairy, alcohol, citrus and anything high in acid like tomatoes. For me, the diet part is the most challenging. *Please note that this is on a ‘good day’, which is unfortunately rare to come by because I love my food way too much (don’t we all?).
- Don’t scratch - throughout the day I try not to touch my face, scratch or do anything to irritate my skin, which is very challenging. I even sit on my hands if I feel like I need to scratch. I wear my hair up to avoid scratching the back of my neck and scalp, and I consciously avoid "itchy" materials like wool - I prefer cotton.
My current skincare routine
My morning beauty routine is pretty simple. It involves using the SK II Essence (only on my T-zone), a new Bloomeffects serum we are developing for later in the year (top secret!) & the tiniest amount of Royal Tulip Nectar. Then I apply my SPF & makeup. I also use fragrance free body lotion on other areas of my body before getting dressed in the morning. You can actually watch it here
At night I ALWAYS remove my makeup with our Royal Tulip Cleansing Jelly, then cleanse again to wash the day away! I apply the Royal Tulip Nectar as a sleep mask I use the excess on any uncomfortable skin areas, like the back of my neck and inside of my elbows.
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Our CEO and Co-founder @aussiegoesdutch has just given birth to a baby girl (YAY!) and has been using our Royal Tulip Nectar throughout her whole pregnancy, and now motherhood, to keep her skin nourished and hydrated! A HUGE congratulations to @aussiegoesdutch and @vanhaaster87 for welcoming a gorgeous baby girl into the world 💙💙 Shout out to all the moms out there taking care of themselves AND everyone else around them- not all superheroes wear capes 🙊⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #bloomeffects #skincare #crueltyfree #fieldtoface #cleanbeauty
My take home message
Try to commit to one whole month of recording your daily routine and skin condition. Then review to see if any patterns are forming. I can't stress this enough! If you have a good skin day, note what you did and do it again. With a chronic skin condition like eczema, consistency really is key!