This article originally appeared on INSTYLE.
If someone you’re meeting the first time is trying to avoid shaking hands, don’t write them off as being rude, they might just suffer from eczema. “The problem is eczema is that once you have that breakout you kind of have to ride it out,” says actress Tia Mowry who has battled with eczema for five years. “I remember the first flare up I had and it’s something that really messes with your self-esteem a little bit.”
Along with the dryness and uncomfortable itching, the skin condition can also be embarrassing—especially when it decides to show up on areas of your skin that are visible to everyone such as your hands. “You can have it on your skin, but sometimes you can have it on your hands,” explains Mowry. “The thing is it’s inflammation in your skin. Mine was little small bumps that would just itch and itch and I would scratch. My skin would start to peel and it would be embarrassing shaking people’s hands.
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In support of the dry skin condition that so many people deal with, Mowry has teamed up with the Eucerin, the bathroom staple brand for eczema sufferers everywhere to help them feel the difference when it comes to treating the condition and their attitudes towards it.
For Mowry, her flare-ups are connected to the stress of being a working mom, along with certain foods. In addition to slathering on non-greasy skincare helpers that are loaded with soothing and healing ingredients like Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Crème ($8; target.com) post-shower, and Eucerin Sensitive Skin Gently Hydrating Cleanser ($6; target.com) to wash her face, Mowry suggests practicing mindfulness to keep stress—and flare-ups—in check.
“The older you get the more you realize you have to start taking care of yourself and taking care of your health and well-being. I like to exercise like doing yoga, which really helps me calm down and lower my stress levels,” she says. “I’ve also just started actively meditating 10 minutes in the morning and at night and it’s so amazing how it calms down the nervous system. Certain foods also trigger it, for me it’s too much alcohol on a girls night out. I think the key is to just listen and pay attention to your body in regards to what foods you’re putting into your body.”
While it may be frustrating getting the dryness under control at first, Mowry’s biggest piece of advice is not to give up and to share your eczema experiences. “When you’re first figuring out what you have, of course it’s embarrassing, but the more share your experiences with it; it just makes you feel more confident,” Mowry says. “Not only that, whether you know it or not, you may be encouraging someone else.”