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Renata Block, PA-C, Discusses Recent Interview With the Eczema Sample Store


Block spoke to the founder of the Eczema Sample Store over Instagram Live to bring more awareness to the company’s mission.

Photo courtesy of Renata Block, PA-C

Photo courtesy of Renata Block, PA-C

For many patients suffering from eczema or sensitive skin, it can be difficult to find the right products to treat the skin without causing irritation. Renata Block, MMS, PA-C, a board-certified dermatology physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine, LLC, in Chicago, Illinois, recently spoke to the founder of the Eczema Sample Store, a subscription service that brings smaller samples to patients trying to find the right products for their skin. Block provides an overview of her discussion from Instagram Live and a few of the top takeaways.

Dermatology Times®: How did you first hear about the Eczema Sample Store?

Renata Block, MMS, PA-C: I have a significant social media presence and was able to connect with the Eczema Sample Store through Instagram. I reached out to them regarding their important mission and to find a way to collaborate to get their message out.

Dermatology Times: As a brief overview, what is the Eczema Sample Store and how are they helping those with eczema?

Block: The Eczema Sample Store is a subscription box with product samples specifically designed for those who suffer from eczema or have sensitive skin. The samples come from various brands and product categories, allowing samplers to find what works for them. Eczema care can be costly, and samples are a great way to save money by allowing you to try a product on your skin first before paying for a full-sized product that you end up throwing away because it burned, caused a flare, or didn't work on your skin.

Dermatology Times: In your opinion, what are the main takeaways from your conversation?

Block: My top 5 takeaways are:

  1. All product categories (moisturizer, shampoo, laundry detergent, hand soap, lip balm, etc.) should be considered when caring for eczema and sensitive skin.
  2. Even those with eczema get acne, and there are some great options to try for acne care on sensitive skin, like the new OTC acne patches on the market or Rx that offer elegant formulations.
  3. Performing a "Poor man's patch test" is key to sampling products. You can first try a product for 1- 2 weeks on the inside of your forearm, on your elbow, or where you do not have a flare to see if it is something your skin will tolerate.
  4. Seasonal allergies like pollen can play a big part in eczema and sensitive skin flares, and it is essential to have products that help support your skin during each season.
  5. Chlorinated pools can make your eczema flare if the pH is too high. Since this information is often unknown, the best approach is to apply thick emollients before diving in and rinse immediately afterward, patting dry and reapplying the emollients to prevent eczema flares.

Dermatology Times: During your discussion, you mentioned the contact allergen of the year, lanolin, which is listed as an ingredient in some popular lotions and ointments. How are you and other dermatology professionals addressing lanolin concerns?

Block: Lanolin is always on the radar at the dermatology office. Bringing it to the forefront as "Allergen of the Year" provides a gentle reminder of its significance to patients sensitive to the ingredient. Patients love natural products, which lanolin is, but may need to realize how many products have this ingredient. From lip balms to lotions and cosmetics, it is everywhere. With any allergen, it can be a slow process before people notice it, and that is why it can be a challenging conversation with the patient because they have been adamant about using the same product for many years. Therefore, they don't think it is even a concern. However, because it is "Allergen of the Year," it is a great way to introduce it to the patient and provide them with educational materials about lanolin allergies in general.

[Editor's note: To view the full interview with the founder of the Eczema Sample Store, click here.]

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