Are you comfortable in your own skin? I sat and thought about this for a whole episode of Scooby Doo this week as I was wondering what to write as an entry to Epaderm’s Ambassador Competition. You’ll know that I don’t enter competitions like this, ever, but as we do actually use Epaderm every day, I couldn’t resist this time. This is our entry.
As I watch my boys day by day, growing up together, my greatest wish for them – besides becoming whomever they want to be and being ridiculously happy, giving me dozens of grandchildren and never forgetting to visit me weekly – is that they journey through boyhood into their adult years feeling comfortable in their own skin.
I take tremendously good care of my skin – people often think I’m much younger than I am because of it. I might have some way to go on feeling comfortable emotionally in my own skin, but physically, if I could show you the way my skin feels when I go to bed every night, picture this. It’s a hippity hoppity bunny rabbit, cottontail bobbing as it kicks its fluffy little tootsies in the fresh air, rolling in meadow of dewy clover. I feel amazing. Besides drinking an ocean of water, this is my self care that I practice every day without fail, and it’s all because of my childhood.
ECZEMA AND DRY SKIN
You see, I grew up with a little sister, three years younger than me. I’ve always suffered with dry skin and used to complain to my mom about my face feeling tight and itchy and cry about it as soon as I was out of the bath, but from as far back as I can remember, my sister had severe eczema, from head to toe. In her hair, between her toes, behind her ears – her whole body flaked and itched day and night, like an arid desert. People would mistake her eczema for huge chunks of yellow dandruff in her hair and avoid her. She was incredibly self conscious for years, and although I had no idea what it felt like to be a parent way back then, now my heart breaks a little every time I think of my mom, bathnight after bathnight, with that huge tub of lard like substance, greasing my sister’s tiny body, who in turn would lie in bed, feeling quite disgusting as her pyjamas and sheets stuck to her [emollient creams were not like they are today] but knowing if she didn’t, children would be more unkind to her because of her appearance than they already were. Back then eczema was quite the stigma and although I too suffered with severely dry skin, I wasn’t like my sister. As I grew up, any sign of dryness on my own skin sent me into panic, and so as soon as I was old enough, the first ever product I bought was moisturiser, from Boots. It smelled of fresh leaves and everything clean, and I loved the way that it felt.
FOOTLOOSE AND FANTASTIC
Fast forward a few *cough* years, and although there’s not a day I haven’t taken care of what can at times be intensely dry skin on my face and hands when it’s been possible [being away with the Territorial Army before officer training was a bit tricky], the part of me I take the most care of, and the secret to me feeling happy in my own skin, is my feet.
Being a huge fan of barefoot living whenever I can, I feel instantly better when my feet are planted on the earth, but my poor feet do not like being deprived of moisture at all.
They suffered tremendously over the years – being constantly engulfed in running shoes and sweat wicking socks, army and rugby boots and then dragged along the beach in flip flops, my hard working feet get dry, and rough, and honestly, I feel cranky and angry when they’re like that.
Cracked, dry skin doesn’t make for a happy person, and ignoring it makes it worse. One night, when I found it impossible to sleep, I started moisturising them, and it felt amazing.
Whilst personally I thought it was a little bit odd, that I sat on my bed and rubbed cream into my feet to help me sleep [because genuinely, I can’t sleep without having hydrated feet], I kept it to myself like a hidden peccadillo, until I was involved in promoting National Feet Week Twitter last year. That’s where I discovered a whole host of people who confessed that they wished they did it too, and were going to try it. So many people are embarrassed by their feet, but they ignore them instead of doing anything about it. There were podiatrists up in arms over the amount of people who were just plain mortified to show their feet in public – or even in their own homes.
SENSITIVE SKIN IN THE FAMILY
My attitude towards my skin has passed to my boys too. Having seen sat on my bed, taking care of my feet since they were teeny, they wanted to be included too. We all squish onto my bed before bedtime and moisturise our feet. Jensen started joining in at around two years old, and then Lyoto – which is when we realised he had very sensitive skin.
His skin is so intolerant of many products that there are very few products his skin can tolerate without risking a red scald mark, and so we use epaderm solely for any skin issues that arise now. Lyoto is unable to use the sanitisers at school and so washes his hands constantly with the harsh school soap, and all three boys come home each day, their hands sore and cracked. Small red, rough and cracked hands are incredibly sad to see, and epaderm is like a warm hug to them when they get home.
Much like his stammer, Lyoto’s sensitive skin is a part of what makes him who as he is, and even on days when he’s decided to try washing his face with the hand soap that smells like sweeties because he loves it so much, or when he’s used the face paints he knows he shouldn’t but can’t resist joining in, and his face is patched with splotches as red as raspberries as he confesses he probably shouldn’t have done what he did, he gives a cheeky grin, taking it in his stride, proud of his very special skin.
I have to mention that using Epaderm has also given huge relief to my Dad, going through his Cancer treatments for the past few years. His skin becomes so dry and the cream soothes him so he can relax a little easier during the day and sleep better at night. You can play spot the Epaderm bottle around my parents’ house – they’re stationed in nearly every room – and in our home too. Gav’s hands used to be so sore and broken after washing up, and he tried so many creams before Epaderm, which he tried at my parents’ house, and now they’re so much healthier and happier.
So I take care of my skin with help from Epaderm, and I love that I’ve passed that part of me onto my boys – that skincare should be a part of everyday life for everyone, not just a beauty ritual for people who invest in hundred pound creams [I’ve been there] and certainly not just for women. Feeling comfortable in your own skin starts with *actually* feeling comfortable in your own skin, and Epaderm makes sure our family really does.