Atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, is one of those skin conditions that can feel isolating. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only one with dry, itchy, flaky skin, but that’s not the case. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, 30 percent of people in the U.S. have some form of eczema, including beloved actress and singer Mandy Moore.
The 39-year-old recently partnered with Incyte on their Moments of Clarity campaign to help empower others with the condition to speak to a dermatologist so they can find relief from symptoms. We sat down with Moore and Santa Monica dermatologist Sonia Batra, MD, who both emphasized the importance of connecting with a dermatologist to identify the right treatment for you.
How has living with eczema impacted your personal and professional life?
“Before I knew what it was, I would feel uncomfortable, especially with a job that’s public-facing and being on camera often. Everyone’s skin-care journey and eczema journey are really different, but being someone with my job, showing up not looking your best and not feeling your best and being conscious of how uncomfortable your face is, is just not a great place to be.”
Has your skin care and beauty routine changed since being diagnosed?
“I keep it very, very simple. My skin-care routine is pared down. I feel like I threw the entire kitchen sink at my skin over the years trying to combat [eczema], and that didn’t work,” says Moore.
Even just being a mother now, I’m just focusing on clean beauty and keeping things as simple as possible. It’s funny, before that, I hadn’t really thought much about clean beauty and skin care—it just wasn’t on my radar in quite the same way.”
What helps soothe your skin when it’s irritated from eczema?
“It’s a range of things. A couple of years ago I noticed the skin on my face, especially around my eyes, was really red, itchy, inflamed and peeling. I just assumed, ‘Well I work a lot, and I’m wearing a lot of makeup—maybe it has something to do with that, maybe it’s an allergic reaction.” The symptoms persisted, and finally, after a while, when nothing seemed to be soothing it in any real constructive way, I went to a dermatologist and was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis.
I found that the few lifestyle changes that I’ve made happen to help a lot. It’s good to notice and understand the things that trigger it. When it starts to get colder and drier, the breaking down of that skin barrier can happen. It’s important to keep the moisture in my skin, which is something I have to focus on. Stress is obviously a big trigger I noticed.
I notice the mind-body connection and the connection with the gut as well. So I’m trying not to stress out about it. Knowing now, being armed with this knowledge of ‘okay, I have eczema. I am going to have flare-ups throughout the year’ and just knowing what it is has been helpful.”
Recent studies show people feel embarrassed and avoid social activities due to their eczema. Has it impacted your confidence at all?
“Absolutely. Over the years, it has impacted my confidence and how I feel I present myself to the world. I would be showing up to work not feeling great. I’m lucky I work with incredible professionals who can help cover things, but it doesn’t take away the discomfort. I think that’s why I’m so passionate about empowering other people to learn that there are options out there.”