Cambodia Declared War On My Skin

3 steps I'm taking to help it get back to back to its normal, mollycoddled state.
Publish date:
May 17, 2013
sensitive skin, travel, aveeno, irritation, dermalogica, recovery

My skin is a spoiled brat. It’s the only part of my body that gets pampered with the really good, expensive stuff. I can’t help it, really. Maybe if I saw my stomach lining or my liver more often, I’d be nicer to them.

I like to think I can rough it out; I’ve inhaled street food in markets in Cambodia without so much of a stomach rumble, hitchhiked a boulder truck in China without getting murdered (thank God), amongst other things I’ve done in pursuit of adventures and stories in my back pocket.

But while the rest of me can rough it out, my skin--the spoiled brat of my body--can’t.

I came home after spending the week in Cambodia with angry, red bumps on my face, insect bites all over me, and of course, an eczema epidemic on my skin.

I couldn’t wait to wash my face and slather myself with potions. And I did. Here’s how you, too, can handle your own overindulged skin when it’s out of whack.


Wash your face with tap water--distilled or Evian if you want to be fancy--and use a facial wash that is gentle, like Dermalogica’s Ultracalming Cleanser. Forget about your Clarisonic or scrubs or anything for now. You don’t want your skin to get even angier.


While I couldn’t tell whether the bumps on my skin were eczema or some other kind of rash, I knew I had to calm my skin down.

I started with blending fresh aloe vera and cucumber into a paste before chilling the concoction in the freezer for several minutes. I put it all over my face and neck and tried very hard to stay still for as long as I could.

I put a teensy bit of Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream on my face and their Skin Relief Overnight Cream on my limbs before climbing in to bed.


I had to go out on the morning after I got home, and I had to almost restrain myself from my own concealer. It’s hard, you guys. You can’t sleep because you’re itching, and you can’t scratch because it’s your face, and now you end up with under-eye rings the size of China.

But your skin is not in a state where you should put anything on other than what’s most necessary, which for me, is sunscreen.

Obviously, you should also refrain from touching your skin as much as possible. I ran an ice cube on my face when the itch was unbearable, and repeated the chilled aloe-and-cucumber mask several times over the weekend.

The skin on my face is now back to normal, but the eczema on my limbs is still there. I’ll just consider it one big battle scar while I kick back with my SK II mask on my face.

Is your skin spoiled, too? What’s your go-to recovery routine when it’s acting like a brat?