Sjogren’s Syndrome and Skin Care

Lupe shares some tip’s tricks and product info to take better care of your skin. The skin is our largest organ and protects us from so much. Learn how she ensures her skin is well taken care of.

Lupe & Brian:     Welcome to another episode of Sjogren’s Strong.

Brian:    My name is Brian.

Lupe:     And this is Lupe.

Brian:    And today we’re going to talk about the largest organ of the body.

Brian:    So there’s one organ the body has that is not internal like our lungs, your heart. We wear it on the outside. Our skin is our largest organ.

Brian:    Adults carry approximately eight pounds of it. That’s 22 square feet of skin. This fleshy covering does a lot more than make us look presentable. In fact, without it, we dry up and evaporate.


Brian:    This week we’re going to discuss how we can better take care of our skin, which can be especially difficult with Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Brian:    We will reference several products in this episode and we want to be clear, none of them are sponsors of the show, yet.

Brian:    These are the products Lupe is currently using. We encourage you to try different products that you can find locally and keep track of how they work for you. Get a small journal and make a few notes so you can go back and review the pluses or minuses of each.

Brian:    So let’s start with the shower where we keep this wonderful organ clean.

Lupe:     Hey everybody, thanks for tuning back in. Why don’t you join me in the show?

Lupe:     So, I’m just going to talk about what works for me, you know, discuss a few tips and tricks that have worked for me throughout the years, trying to keep my skin hydrated.

Lupe:     So, step one, I get up in the morning and I hop a shower. Get ready for work. Wakes me up. I try not to use hot-hot water, So, it has to be warm water or cool water. Because if I use hot water, it seems to dry out my skin.

Lupe:     The first thing I do when I hop a shower is I shampoo my hair.

Brian:    So, as we’re all aware, taking care of our scalp is a little different than taking care of skin on the rest of our body. The scalp contains glands that produces lubricant to help hair as it grows.

Lupe:     So what my hair thoroughly washed, I rinse out the shampoo and I immediately apply conditioner. And I leave it in, until I’m done with everything else in the shower.

Lupe:     Like for example, I like brushing my teeth in the shower. I like flossing my teeth in the shower because, if I don’t do it in the shower, I feel like I’m not clean. And then like many of you, I shave my legs in the shower and I exfoliate, you know, use to loofa, um, I wash my body with it.

Lupe:     I actually use a moisturizing body wash and it’s by Olay and it has Shea Butter. And it leaves my skin really soft, so I really liked that. And then after I’m done with that I rinse out the conditioner and I leave a little bit in, just to help my scalp stay moisturized.

Lupe:     So, now that I’m done with my shower, I’m all clean. Instead of using the towel to dry myself off, I actually squeegee the excess water off of my body using my hands. Sometimes I even air dry and I actually apply lotion while my body is still a little bit damp. And mixing the water with the lotion, it just helps me a lot.

Brian:    So, one thing Lupe stopped doing and I actually loved the salt and pepper gray in her hair. Is she stopped dying her hair and this was on the recommendations of Dr Ryba. And I’ve done a little research trying to find a specific reasons or documentation of why.

Brian:    But he told us that the chemicals in hair dye is extremely harmful to somebody with Sjogren’s. Now we don’t know if that has to do with the meds and / or just the fact that she has Sjogren’s and it’s hard for her to produce moisture. So she stopped dying her hair.

Lupe:     My scalp was getting really itchy and dry. And the dye actually made it worse. After just a couple of minutes, my scalp was really, just, itchy. I couldn’t stand it. But you know, I was a little bit vain so I didn’t want to have gray. And one time I did go to the doctor and he said, you need to stop dying your hair. And so I actually listened to him. So it’s been a little over two years since I last dyed my hair and I don’t feel like my scalp is itchy anymore. So it helped me. I’m glad I stopped actually and it saves me money and time.

Brian:    Now I know you use two different products on your face. What’s that all about?

Lupe:     A friend of mine noticed that I had spots on my face. And I’m going to call them sun spots because I think that’s what they are. And she recommended a product, that I start using a product, called Nadinola.

Lupe:     I actually found it at Walmart, under $5. I think it’s like three something. And I only apply it to the spots on my face and it takes a few days to get rid of the spots, but the problem is that with that product it’s really harsh on your skin and it does dry it out and it leaves your skin red.

Lupe:     So, I stopped using that for a little bit and I went online, did a little bit of research and I started using Olay Regenerist. And it’s very moisturizing. It’s really gentle on your skin and the spots, it doesn’t get rid of them right away, but it does get rid of them. But I’m going to say it takes a couple of weeks. It doesn’t take days like the Nadinola, but um, those are options for you.

Lupe:     I don’t only use it on my face. If I have spots on my hands from the sun, I use it on, you know, whatever part of your body you want to use it on. It really works.

Brian:    As you all know by now we do a lot of outdoor activities. What are you using for sunscreen?

Lupe:     I actually use a product called CeraVe and I hope I’m saying that correctly. It’s spelled c, e, r, a, v, e. And it’s a sunscreen and I get it at CVS. And it has Zinc in it and I think that’s why I like it and I don’t know what the zinc does, but I feel that it really works, as far as protecting me from the sun. The thing about CeraVe is, it’s kind of expensive. It’s $18. To find a less expensive option, I actually also use Neutrogena. I prefer CeraVe, but Neutrogena is a really good option, as long as it has Zinc.

Brian:    So, I typically have some sort of lip product in my pocket, 24/7, at my desk, by the recliner, in the living room. And the weird thing is I haven’t purchased what I prefer using because Lupe’s been trying so many different lip products. So, she’ll buy something, try it for a day or two, doesn’t like it, gives it to me and you know, I use it till it’s gone. And one day I might be able to get back to my Burt’s Bees, which is my favorite.

Brian:    What are you using for your lips these days?

Lupe:     Well, I actually stopped using lipstick several years ago because I would apply it and within 10-15 minutes my body would absorb it. And I wouldn’t have any lipstick on anymore. So I thought why am I wasting my money on this?

Lupe:     So, I tried many, many different brands throughout the years and there’s three that I really like. I liked Chapstick because it’s really convenient. Comes with a cap, you can put it in your pocket, you know, it’s tiny. Um, and I like three flavors… I like all of them, but I like Cherry, Pomegranate and Raspberry.

Lupe:     And the reason why I liked those is because they give your lips a hint of color, you know, even though you don’t wear lipstick anymore. You know, I have to apply it after I eat after I drink water, so, I apply it a lot. So, I do keep it in my pocket, at my desk. Just you name it, everywhere, in my car. I have about 30 or 40, but don’t tell Brian.

Lupe:     I’ve also used O’keeffe’s Lip Repair and I really like it because it glides on and it stays on for a long time. So I like that.

Brian:    But I’m trying to get her to use up the Chapstick, so I can get back to what I prefer. But O’keeffe’s does have a really good feel on your lips, in both of our experiences. It’s a pretty good product and it’s priced about the same as Burt’s Bees. Three, four bucks….

Lupe:     Yeah, it’s pretty expensive. I’m going to say about that, four bucks, five, for one?

Brian:    Yeah. So Chapstick’s the cheaper option here. However, you know there are other products that feel better. So, we prefer them. Again, we’re trying to use up the 42 tubes of Chapstick we do have so I can get back to what I do.

Lupe:     Actually, you know what’s really funny, I have a ton in my drawer and I only give you the ones that aren’t pink, so that’s probably never going to happen. You’re never going to go back to Burt’s Bees.

Brian:    You know, my father used to eat whatever food we didn’t eat. We called him the human garbage disposal. I guess I’m just the uh, the lip balm disposal.

Lupe:     I guess so. Um, and one more, I also like using Carmex.

Lupe:     Carmex is a little thinner, so if it’s really, really warm, it’s softer and it seems to come off the lip. But for cooler weather it works really, really well and it doesn’t come into tube. It comes in a little tiny jar. So you either utilize your finger to, you know, apply some onto your finger and then transfer it to your lips. Or if it’s full enough you can just rub the little container across your lips and code them pretty well.

Lupe:     I think because it comes in a jar. I keep it at my desk, but Chapstick, I think it’s kind of a little more convenient, you know, you can put it in your pocket, anywhere. So anyways, that’s my take on that.

Lupe:     So, now onto the biggest square footage of our skin. We’ve got the majority of our body. What type lotions are you using these days?

Lupe:     Currently, I use two. I’ve used many different brands throughout the years and the one that I prefer right now is Lubriderm, normal to dry skin. And for me, I feel like it really moisturizes my skin.

Lupe:     And I apply it right after I get out of the shower and I don’t feel that I have to reapply unless I wash my hands or you know, sometimes it’s really dry and windy, like it’s been lately. And I do feel that I have to reapply, but for the most part, I think it keeps me hydrated most of the day. And I also like Aveeno, so I kind of alternate between Aveeno and Lubriderm, that’s my preference.

Brian:    On the topic of skincare when we shave, most people don’t shave properly or gently enough. And we can actually remove some of the layers of skin that our body has. And a lot of razors have a strip on them that helps moisturize and keep things smooth, so the razor glides across the skin. And the only reason I know this because I really don’t buy razors. I might shave and trim up my neck a couple of times a month. I like a little scruff on my face. So when I do need a razor, I steal hers.

Lupe:     Guurrrrr.

Brian:    So, talk to us about shaving in any particular products you use.

Lupe:     I think for the most part I use Daisy’s, the pink Daisy’s, that come in a packet of, what is it? Ten, 15 now. And I liked those because they have that little moisturizing stick.

Brian:    I did run out one time and I stole Brian’s because he’s still my first. So I stole one of Brian’s and it really irritated my skin because it didn’t have that moisturizing stick. And I’ve also bought non-brand, uh, the pink razors and they just don’t work as well, for me, as Daisy’s do. So, that’s what I prefer. And I don’t really have to use shaving cream with that. I feel like ah, the moisturizing stick does the trick for me. So that’s what I prefer, for that.

Brian:    So, as we work our way down the body, we’re now at the feet and I’m kind of a stickler for good foot care. And this was drilled into my head as a boy scout and then in the Marine Corps, especially in the infantry. We had to take really good care of our feet because they got us from point a to point b.

Brian:    And when it comes to the feet, it’s a great place to have dead and dry skin. In between our toes and crevices. And when you have those layers of skin that are barely hanging on and your feet get moist, it’s a breeding ground for all kinds of nastiness that we don’t want.

Brian:    So taking a washcloth and scrubbing vigorously in between each toe. It feels good because we’re removing all that dead, dry skin. And using a pumice stone on any calluses that are building up, is good to do, as well.

Brian:    So when we do apply lotions, we’re applying them to fresh live skin and not dead patches of skin on our foot. And a foot scraper; it kind of looks like a reverse cheese grater. If your feet are kind of callusy, utilizing that and getting rid of that dead, dry skin can be a big help, as well.

Brian:    What else do you do to take care of your feet?

Lupe:     So, for one, I stopped wearing flip flops because they hurt my feet. But not only do they hurt my feet, the heels of my feet, would get really dry and cracked because of that. So I stopped wearing them.

Lupe:     And also my Rheumatologist did say, stop wearing heels. Stop wearing open toe shoes and stop wearing flip flops because you’re hurting your feet.

Lupe:     So, I did that. But twice a week, two to three times a week. I do like soaking my feet in Epsom Salt. And with hot water, as hot as I could stand it. So, it softens calluses and I could use the pumice stone and I also used that little scrappy thingy that Brian mentioned.

Lupe:     You have to be really careful with that because one time I think I scraped too long and too deep and I actually broke skin. And you know, with my Sjogren’s it took me a couple of days to heal. So yeah, be gentle.

Brian:    And something else we found at Walmart, again, of all places and I believe it was under five bucks, is Heel Balm. And it’s a very thick lotion. It comes in a pump, it’s kind of a square, maybe roundish short jar. And again, being really thick, when you apply it to your feet I, we, both apply a lot of it. So, you can physically see it and not rub it in completely. And we just let our body soak it in. And it really helps keep the feet nice and moist, as well. So that’s another cool product. Again, Heel Balm and it comes in a pump.

Lupe:     So, after I soak my feet, I apply it generously and I actually wrap it in a bag. And my body, because it’s so dry, it soaks it up within, I’m going to say half an hour. And so then I apply lotion again and if I do that two to three times a week, my feet are actually really soft. So I would recommend that if you guys have the same problem.

Lupe:     Not 100 percent applicable to skincare. I noticed you’re not wearing nail polish and spending as much time when your toenails and fingernails as you once did.

Lupe:     I stopped wearing nail polish, I’m going to say maybe a couple of years ago. Because one time I got a really bad toe infection. I think I’ve mentioned before. I got a really bad toe infection and I lost my nail. After it healed, I polished my nails and after about three days I noticed redness and tenderness on my toe.

Lupe:     So, what did I do? I took off the nail polish and it actually had puss inside and I had to soak my feet and squeeze it out. And I think maybe I became allergic to the nail polish or maybe it wasn’t letting my toes breathe because I’m so dry. Um, I can’t explain it, but I just don’t use nail polish anymore.

Brian:    And you’ve heard this talk before about ruling things out. So we actually threw all the nail polish, we even through the nail polish remover away. We replaced it with the brand that she likes and the color that she likes. And we had the same effect. So we threw that out and we tried different brands and we still continued to have that problem.

Brian:    So, obviously, if you tell the doc, hey, it hurts when I do this, and he says, stop doing this. You know, we kind of listened to our bodies. And she stopped using nail polish for her hands and feet.

Lupe:     So, that’s actually, I just listened to my body. I’ve become really in tune with my body and if something is hurting me or bothering me, I stop doing it. I try something else and if the problem continues, I just cut it out completely.

Brian:    So, I think that about wraps up skincare. I hope we’ve covered anything. If anybody has tips or tricks that they use that we didn’t mention, please comment below. If you’re listening to this on or hit us up on Facebook or in the Facebook Group or Twitter and let us know what things you do to take care of your skin.

Brian:    Lupe, do you have anything else?

Lupe:     In today’s time? It’s easy to find a product that claims it will help, but we encourage you to find a simple journal and keep some basic notes.

Lupe:     You can log things like date, time, product, price. Initial impression of how it feels at the time. How it feels or helped after an hour, six hours and so on.

Lupe:     You can collect as much data as you feel appropriate, but try to keep it simple. This way you have notes to refer to, so you know what decisions should be made.

Lupe:     Please remember what works for some may not work for you and environmental factors play a part.

Lupe:     For example, skincare. You can call your water company or district and ask for water report. How hard is the water you are cleaning your skin with? This can affect how different lotions work.

Lupe:     After you try a few, refer to your journal and see which product had the best overall results.

Lupe:     Until next time, SIP CONSTANTLY AND STAY HYDRATED.

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