Her unfiltered photos reveal she has a misunderstood skin condition millions of people struggle with as well.

By Claire Gillespie
September 15, 2020
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It’s not unusual to see celebrities bringing the glam on their social media feeds, but Elle Fanning’s Monday makeup look was a little different than the norm. In fact, she didn’t have any makeup on at all, and the “eye shadow” she referenced was actually eczema

“Eczema but make it eye shadow 😜,” Fanning wrote in the caption to three unfiltered selfies, with her hair swept back and every blemish on show. 

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, affects 1 in 10 Americans and normally develops by age 5, per the American Academy of Dermatology

“Eczema is a genetic condition where the skin barrier is not functioning as well as it should, making it more susceptible to environmental allergies, irritation, and infection. The skin cannot maintain hydration and becomes inflamed, leading to characteristic red, scaly rashes as well as significant itch,” Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, previously told Health

Fanning previously spoke to Glamour about her condition, revealing that she has “really bad eczema,” but tweaks her nightly bath to help manage her condition. 

“I itch constantly,” the Maleficent star said. “Like, I itch a lot, especially when I’m stressed or amped up and all that. It comes out really bad, so I do oatmeal baths. I’ll buy real oats and put them in the bath as well, which helps. I find it calms my skin.” 

To help relieve the itch, Dr. Zeichner recommends moisturizers containing hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin repairing ceramics. “You can also use heavy ointments that occlude the skin for extra hydration on your toughest spots,” he said. And after applying the topical treatment, wrapping the affected area with plastic wrap helps enhance penetration—and has the added bonus of stopping any greasy products from getting onto your clothing or bedding. 

And on the subject of those baths Fanning loves, it’s best to keep them short and lukewarm if you have eczema. “Ideally, you’ll limit your soak to no longer than 15 minutes a day, Whitney High, MD, an associate professor of dermatology and pathology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Denver, previously told Health. “We tell people to take good care of their skin by doing gentle bathing and not over-drying the skin.” 

As well as moisturizing regularly (and then some more), using a humidifier while you sleep can help put moisture back into the air and your skin, Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, previously told Health. Prescription topical steroid ointments or creams can help relieve the symptoms of eczema if over-the-counter remedies don’t work.

If Fanning was to share more of her eczema tips (and pics), she’d certainly have a captive audience. In the meantime, her fans have praised her for her candid selfies. “Thank you for not using like a dozen filters, its so nice seeing real normal skin texture on this app and it makes me feel good about myself (sic),” one follower wrote. Another commented, “Thank you for posting this! I struggle with eczema and it hurts my self esteem. It's so refreshing seeing public figures without the filters and makeup to show that we are all human.” 

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