I've dealt with eczema my whole life, and can tell you from personal experience that there's no worse time of the year to have this condition than winter. Once icy-cold temperatures strike, my skin breaks out and itchiness and irritation ensues, leaving my skin red and flaky all over. Over my eczema's tenure, I've tried a plethora of hydrating products to help with flakiness and flares, steering away from oil-based products as they've often made me break out. Which is why I'm so impressed by Kosterina's Extra Virgin Moisturizer ($30)—it's the only oil-based moisturized that hasn't caused my skin to flare up.
You probably know Kosterina for its decadent Grecian olive oils so delicious, you can practically drink them straight out of the bottle. But it's not just for eating—Kosterina takes the wonders of olive oil and makes beauty products, too, like lip balm, deodorant, and this very luscious face cream. Those antioxidants are just as powerful inside your body as they are on top of skin, too.
Since having eczema means that my skin's barrier is compromised, it's essential to restore hydration, which is exactly what Kosterina's Extra Virgin Moisturizer does, thanks to a heavy load of super hydrators and humectants. There's glycerin, a humectant that replenishes skin's hydration and moisture levels, while shea butter, an emollient, helps to soften skin, evening out rough textures and quelling inflammation. “The fatty acids from the shea butter have a calming, anti-inflammatory effect, which often improves itch,” Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group, previously told Well+Good.
I've used the moisturizer over the past three weeks, applying morning and night, and I've noticed more nourished, less patchy skin overall. Its hydration last between 5-8 hours (I reapply two more times after the first application.) I can pair it with my other serums just fine, whether they're oil-based or not. (Usually, I've found that non-comedogenic, oil-based serums absorb better into my dry skin.) However, since this is already an oil-based product, I prefer to pair it with non-oil options as to not double down on the emollients, including my Thayers Rose Petal Toner ($11) and Olay's Vitamin C + Peptide Serum ($30). Together, all three products leave my skin as soft as a marshmallow.
Since Kosterina's Extra Virgin Moisturizer is non-comedogenic, I don't have to worry about it clogging my pores (which is a plus for me and my sometimes pimple-prone forehead.) The moisturizer is packaged in a pump bottle that's blue and white, colors that are reminiscent of Santorini's domed churches and the Mediterranean sea. In terms of texture and scent, the moisturizer is like a slice of lemon cake: It's got a creamy consistency like cake frosting and smells like a lemon tree. Mmm.
All in all, the moisturizer has quickly become a go-to in my skin-care arsenal. It has kept my skin quenched during bone-chilling and dry days when my eczema just isn't having it, while keeping my skin barrier smooth and fresh. Now, it's the moisturizer I consistently reach for, and if you're struggling with eczema-prone skin, I'd recommend reaching for it, too.
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