Okay, heads out of the gutter, please. This is not that kind of discussion.
Honestly, I have found that petroleum jelly–and, I mean PURE petroleum jelly–has proven to be the only reliable product to effectively seal in moisture and seal out irritants when my eczema flare-ups are very bad. And, if you’ve seen the photo of me in my introduction post, that’s not quite as bad as they can get.
Now, again, I’m talking about pure petroleum jelly, which is simply a mixture of hydrocarbons, and nothing else. To my great dismay, the Vaseline brand seems to have flooded the retail shelves with Vaseline Cocoa Butter and Vaseline Baby both of which have added fragrance. Fragrance is a very bad thing for eczema sufferers. And, it appears that many of the stores in my local area are reducing the shelf space occupied by fragrance-free petroleum jelly. I’ve ended up shopping in the infants isle at a major discount store to find what I want as stock–during this bad economy–is not refilled as often as it may be needed (all stock, not just personal jelly products).
Despite that petroleum jelly is horribly inconvenient, greasy, occlusive, and a complete mess to apply, I have found that it does the best job of keeping what little moisture is already in my skin, in there, and helping to soften and protect the inflammation without causing complications. Well, the only complications it does seem to cause is with clothing and furniture and, well, anything I may come in contact with after I’ve coated my entire body with it.
I have tried many, many moisturisers, both over-the-counter and prescription, and I have not yet found one that can alleviate the tight, dry, tearing and burning sensations my skin has when the inflammation gets bad. Additionally, many of the moisturisers labelled “ultra-calming”, “calming cream”, and “intense repair”, basically do nothing of the sort. Not for me, at least. In fact, they tend to aggravate and exacerbate the inflammation making it necessary for me wash the stuff off, and call petroleum jelly to the rescue.
I’m sure that the manufacturers of these products have tested the calming and repairing effects on someone, or at least something, and it is certainly possible that they had never intended the products to be used to treat a medical disease like acute dermatitis. But, maybe, marketing should have been told something about leading desparate people to a false hope.
At least, there’s good ole petroleum jelly, still around when it’s needed.