She’s known for her roles on The Jamie Foxx Show and Coming to America, but there’s a side to Garcelle Beauvais that you may not know. Speaking to People, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star revealed that she struggles with a painful skin condition that affects 1-3% of adults worldwide,
“I was in my 30s when out of the blue I started getting these patches on my skin and they would be really itchy…I didn’t know what it was — like, ‘Did something bite me?’ It just kept coming up in different places, and the more I stressed about it, the more they’d come out. I didn’t know what to do.“
What is eczema?
Eczema refers to a group of inflammatory skin conditions characterized by flare-ups, itchiness, as well as red, dry, and cracked skin. It develops in childhood, and it is more likely to affect individuals with a history, personal or family, of asthma, environmental allergies, and/or food allergies.
If you’re curious as to what causes the inflammatory condition, per the Cleveland Clinic, eczema is caused by a combination of immune system activation, genetics, environmental triggers, and stress. For those who struggle with eczema, their immune system overreacts to external triggers, causing skin inflammation.
“I started getting the patches behind my knees and I wanted to crawl out of my skin because it’s so irritating,” says Beauvais, “I didn’t want to wear halter tops or shorts because you could see the dry, itchy patches.”
Types of eczema
While Beauvais did not specify which type of eczema she was living with, it’s important to note that eczema is the name for a group of inflammatory skin conditions. In fact, there are 7 types of eczema;
1. Atopic Dermatitis
This is the most common form of eczema. It is the kind that people are usually referring to when they say ‘I have eczema’. Atopic dermatitis can cause sleep issues as well as anxiety and depression symptoms, negatively affecting people’s lives.
2. Contact Dermatitis
It’s highly likely that we’ll each experience this at some point. Contact dermatitis, as the name suggests, is triggered by irritation or allergy, causing a rash to form on our skin.
Irritation triggers can be linked to skincare product ingredients or jewelry. Allergic triggers, on the other hand, are caused when your skin comes into contact with something you are allergic to.
Additional forms of eczema that are less common include;
3. Dyshidrotic eczema: Triggered by sweating or irritants like metals, causing a rash of small, itchy blisters on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and sides of the fingers.
4. Neurodermatitis: Linked to mental health issues and causes small itchy patches, often on the nape of the neck, arm, or leg.
5. Nummular eczema: Likely to experience it if there is a family history of atopic dermatitis. It causes coin-shaped spots to appear on the skin.
6. Seborrheic dermatitis: This form of eczema mainly affects your scalp, causing stubborn dandruff as well as scaly patches and red skin.
7. Stasis dermatitis: This type happens if you have issues in your veins, usually in the lower leg, causing skin discoloration, itching, and ulcers.
Living with eczema
Speaking further about her condition, Garcelle Beauvais shared how she’s managing her symptoms. She shared that she stays away from scented lotions, perfumes, and hot baths. However, being a star on a reality TV show means that she can’t escape stress, which of course triggers flare-ups,
“Oh, I always have breakouts during filming Housewives!” the author said with a laugh. “But I manage it as best as I can. I have to pick my battles!”
In addition to avoiding certain environmental triggers, there are other ways to mitigate your eczema symptoms. One of these includes adopting a skincare routine that includes moisturizers recommended by your dermatologist. These creams will help to ease inflammation and hydrate your skin.
In addition to keeping your skin moisturized, it’s also vital that you manage your stress levels, avoid harsh soaps or detergents, be conscious of sudden temperature changes and invest in a humidifier for your home.
Want to know more?
Eczema isn’t the only skin condition out there. In fact, rosacea is a chronic skin disease that affects millions of people around the world. Read more about the condition here.