Our favourite cosy jumpers are back out in rotation, we can finally start sleeping under doonas again and we’re swapping our bright manicures for deeper, wintry hues. The cooler months certainly have their perks, but the sudden dip in temperature can result in one major downside: dry skin. Unfortunately for many, painfully dry skin and associated skin conditions like eczema are yearlong, not just seasonal, afflictions.

At the recent launch of CeraVe in Australia (the cult pharmacy range beloved by celebrities and beauty editors alike), presenter Lauren Phillips led a panel of presenters including TV host Ksenija Lukich, dermatologist Dr. Eleni Yiasemides and Rachel McAdam, CeraVe Scientific Communications Manager. They discussed the best lifestyle and skincare tips (and must-have product) for defeating dryness. Get ready to take notes.

Developed with dermatologists

The brand was developed with dermatologists after experts noticed that many skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema and acne all had one thing in common – a deficiency in skin ceramides and in turn, a compromised skin barrier. Showcasing an advanced formulation of three essential, skin-identical ceramides with patented MultiVesicular Emulsion (MVE®) ‘slow-release’ delivery technology, CeraVe helps to actively restore the natural skin barrier. The acclaimed range of hydrating skincare products is highly efficacious and non-irritating due to the fragrance free, paraben free, and non-greasy formulations.

The low-down on eczema

It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of confusion out there as to what eczema actually is, what causes it, and how it’s related to having dry skin. “The way I explain it to patients is that they’re born with a defect in the barrier of their skin,” Dr. Eleni said. “It’s like you’ve got gaps [or] holes in the skin, and by having that you lose a lot of moisture. So, if your skin is very dry, having dry skin makes you itch and exacerbates your eczema.”

And its impact goes far beyond just the skin. “It also affects the quality of your sleep, because you’re scratching and uncomfortable, and that affects your ability to perform well at school and work,” she described. “It affects your development and even how tall you grow, because the body is using all this energy on the eczema.”

Dr. Eleni and Rachel McAdam

Pare it back

When it comes to combatting dry skin, the ‘less is more’ approach is definitely one to adopt. Dr. Eleni shared: “I get patients coming in with huge bags of stuff that they’re putting on their skin. And one of the main things I say is: no, no, no.” Plus, you don’t necessarily need to fork out half your pay packet on skincare – products like CeraVe deliver impressive results at an attractive price point. “It’s a really big myth out there that you need to spend a lot of money on fancy products, and that’s it got to be expensive to be doing anything,” she added.

Seek out ceramides

Certain ingredients are key to curing dry skin conditions – including ceramides, which have been getting a lot of attention in recent years thanks to their pretty impressive skin-healing properties. “We’ve known for some time that ceramides are deficient in eczema prone and dry skin,” explained Rachel. “[And] the ceramides that are included in CeraVe are the three ceramides that have been shown in hundreds of studies to be the ones that are deficient.”

Long-lasting hydration

And a key point of difference between other similar products is CeraVe’s clever delivery system, called MultiVesicular Emulsion Technology. “The products out on the market will be applied to the skin and the ingredients will be released all in one go, so if the patient doesn’t keep applying the moisturiser then they’ll lack hydration. But CeraVe’s MVE Technology ensures an ongoing release of lipids and ceramides over an extended period, for long-lasting skin benefits.”

Ksenija was one of the unlucky minority whose eczema only developed later in life. “I never had eczema until my twenties,” she shared. “I remember thinking this only came during childhood, so I’m one of about 10% that get it during adulthood.” Given that a large part of her job is to look flawless on camera, the condition was particularly unwelcome. “It becomes really difficult when you’re a television presenter and you’re on TV with eczema on your eyes,” explained Ksenija. “It’s extremely difficult to cover because everything you use sinks into the dry areas and sort of flakes off. It’s also uncomfortable putting makeup and product on top of dry, red skin.”

Socialising also became a struggle. “When I had it really severely on my hands, I remember shaking people’s hands and feeling really self-conscious that they could feel something really dry, and think it was something gross,” shared Ksenija. “I would be like, ‘No, no, no it’s just eczema! It’s fine, it’s not contagious or anything!’ So it does make you feel a little self-conscious.”

“At first, I didn’t know how to manage it, but really stripping things back and making things as simple as possible has helped it,” she says.

Food triggers

An important part of Ksenija’s fight against eczema was addressing her diet. “Finding what really triggers it was important,” she said. “For me it was citrus, like oranges and grapefruits.” But cutting out inflammatory foods is just part of the issue: “Finding the trigger was a key thing for me, [as was] having a moisturiser that would help heal when it was flared up.”

Take it with you

Keeping your moisture levels topped up at all times is also pretty essential, as Ksenija certainly knows: “I carry moisturiser with me everywhere, in every single room,” she explained. “I always try to keep my hands as hydrated as possible.”

Story by Tess Schlink, photography by CeraVe. In collaboration with CeraVe. CeraVe is available now at Chemist Warehouse.

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