I tend to play it safe when it comes to grooming and beauty products. Because I have eczema, my skin is prone to irritation. So especially when it comes to exfoliating products, I avoid anything that could upset my skin.
Eczema is a general term used to refer to a few different skin conditions, SELF explained previously, but usually it’s used to refer to atopic dermatitis, a condition that causes dry, itchy patches of skin that might also be red or crack or come with small, raised bumps. Eczema symptoms like these can be triggered by many different things, including allergens and irritating ingredients found in soaps, makeup, and skin-care products.
It’s crucial for people with eczema to use gentle products, which makes exfoliating eczema-prone skin a bit of a challenge. Exfoliating products remove dead skin cells, giving the skin a healthier, smoother, glowier look. But if they’re too harsh or used too often, they can disrupt the skin’s protective barrier, which is already vulnerable in people who have eczema.
I’m often resistant to even trying new products because even one use can trigger my eczema, which I’ve had since I was in high school. The red, itchy rash typically appears behind my knees, on the inside of my elbows, in the crease of my eyelids, and on the back of my neck. Once inflamed, it can feel impossible to resist the urge to scratch, which causes it to spread, so my best bet is always to try and avoid any flare-up at all.
In my previous experiments with exfoliating my eczema-prone skin, I’ve found that a loofa is too harsh and a washcloth too mellow, but anything else often proves too risky. In the past I’ve tried oatmeal bars, but they didn’t quite achieve the freshly scrubbed feel I was after. And liquid exfoliating cleansers have led to breakouts.
Enter the Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar Massaging Soap ($15, Amazon), a product that looks like a basic bar of soap but is actually so much more. It contains charcoal and jojoba beads, both of which are thought to act as natural exfoliatingand “detoxing” ingredients. The bar also contains glycerin, a humectant ingredient, which helps draw water into the skin and reduces the chances for irritation. Although the bar is targeted to men, it’s soap…so it’s genderless. In fact, I already use a men’s deodorant, so incorporating this bar into my routine wasn’t a stretch by any means.
One of the problems I encountered by sticking to the gentlest of products with the most basic of ingredients is that they did the most basic of jobs. With this bar I’ve noticed my skin is clean but also much clearer and smoother. In fact, it’s replaced my regular bar soap.
I use the bar daily directly over my whole body, skipping only my face. For that, I lather the bar into my palms and then apply from there to keep things ultra gentle while still reaping the benefits of the ingredients. Another winning aspect of the bar is that one side comes embossed with raised dots to give a gentle massage as you scrub, which has certainly enhanced my shower experience. After every shower, my skin feels revitalized in a way that regular bar soaps never left it; soft, dewy and moisturized.
After years of searching, this bar has come to the rescue and given me the exfoliating and cleansing results I’ve been seeking—without any irritation.Jack Black Charcoal Body Bar Massaging SoapWith charcoal, jojoba, and glycerin, this bar soap effectively cleans and gently exfoliates skin at the same time. Its bumps also give the skin a light massage.$15 at Amazon
Related:The 12 Best Eczema Creams to Soothe Dry, Itchy Skin10 Gentle Exfoliators Dermatologists Recommend for Sensitive SkinHow to Know When Your Dry Skin Is Actually Eczema