Monday, June 6, 2016

Sensitive Skin in Israel

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This post is for all those people out there who have found themselves in Israel, and have sensitive skin, like me (and other family members as well).

Before making aliyah, I had gotten really used to being able to buy all sorts of fragrance free, chemical free skin products. And other products, too. Like All Free & Clear laundry detergent. I used white vinegar to clean things and to soften my laundry, and I bought it in large gallon size jugs at superstores... Having sensitive skin had become normal, and I had found a number of ointments and prescription medications that helped even when I  had an unexpected eczema flare up.

And then, we made aliyah.

I knew before I came that my prescription ointment wasn't available. I brought 2 large tubes with me (sadly, it's all gone by now, and I have not found a good alternative yet).

I loaded 365 brand fragrance free shampoos and conditioners onto our lift (those lasted the first couple of years), as well as a bunch of various fragrance free soaps I'd bought on sale. I brought a year's worth of laundry detergent, hoping I'd solve the problem in the first  year.

the lift. it had SO many random things in it!

And aquaphor. I brought a couple of tubs, but I hadn't realized I couldn't get it here. The local equivalent is actually formulated quite differently and is just not the same. And without it, my skin is not happy. (And yes, I've tried every other cream out there that doesn't have obnoxious scents added to it, they are not doing it for me!)

For the longest time, I've been finding people to shlep Aquaphor to Israel for me. And then, this past week I discovered that iHerb actually sells it! Yes, you'd think I'd know, except that iHerb carries so many thousands of items that I can't keep track of it all.

And right now, Aquaphor is a "brand of the week" so that caught my eye - and of course, I stocked up on some. This is a major help!

Some of the other things we use: I now buy Ecofriend laundry detergent, it is lightly scented, but it doesn't linger. I actually cut the amount in half and use it together with 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda in the detergent compartment (I buy baking soda for 10 shekels/kg from a spice store in the Teverya shuk). White vinegar is available in large bottles from certain stores, so we stock up from time to time, and i use it instead of fabric softener. It helps rinse out any residue that got left behind from the detergent, and that's SO important for sensitive skin!

We often buy shampoo and conditioner from iherb. And soap - sometimes we get liquid soaps from iherb too, and sometimes from local places, but often we get these blocks of olive oil soap that seem to have no added fragrances for 5 shekels or so (at the shuk). We also like to buy Dead Sea Salt/Mud Soaps. They are made in Israel and can be found in lots of stores. But unscented ones are harder to come by, so lately, I toss one of these unscented ones into any iHerb order I make!

I've heard from a few people about diapers here and how their sensitive skin babies can react really badly to some of them! We had this, too, in America, where some of our babies could only wear one or two specific brands of diapers (we learned the hard and painful way). It's not an Israel specific thing - and there's no hard and fast rule about which ones are safe and which are not. Except cloth. Those are generally safe, but not everyone is going to cloth diaper... If your baby has sensitive skin, you'll have to conduct trials to find out which disposable diapers are ok to use!

And that is how we do things here, for those with sensitive skin!

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