In a vulnerable Instagram post this week, journalist and news anchor Katie Couric captures the reality of an eczema flare-up, a condition she’s had since childhood. The inflammatory skin condition can occur anywhere, often affects regions of skin like the hands, chest and neck, according to the Cleveland Clinic. In Couric’s case, her flare-up has impacted her face, causing her eyes to redden and swell.
“I can’t believe I let my team post this picture. Good Lord 🥴,” Couric writes, acknowledging how intimate the photo is.
According to Couric, the return of her eczema and allergic contact dermatitis led her to explore skincare options that would minimize flare-ups and keep her skin safe. “I’ve had eczema ever since I was a little girl, and as I’ve gotten older, it’s started to flare up again,” Couric writes. “I also deal with allergic contact dermatitis — safe to say, I have to be careful about what I put on my face. My search for treatment led me to @cherylleemdisme. Her products have really helped.”
Katie Couric Interviews Her Dermatologist
Taking us further inside her experience with eczema and treatment, Katie Couric also interviewed her own dermatologist, Cheryl Lee Eberting, MD. Alongside being a practicing dermatologist. Dr. Eberting also has her own sensitive skin-care line, which has become a standard treatment for Couric.
Couric has come a long way from the days of smelly ointments rubbed on childhood eczema. In fact, that’s a subject she asks her doctor to explore: why eczema and allergic contact dermatitis change over time.
“You don’t just spontaneously become allergic to something you’ve never been exposed to,” Dr. Eberting explains. “Your immune system has to be primed to become allergic to something, and then your immune system decides it’s going to be allergic to it, and then you develop the allergy. As we age, our immune systems become more dysfunctional and that leads to more allergies, unfortunately.”
But it isn’t just what causes eczema to flare up that can change over time. The location of those flare-ups can also shift.
“As I’ve gotten older, I tend to get eczema on my eyelids and in my nasolabial folds,” Couric explains.
Dr. Eberting explains that the flare-ups she’s experiencing are allergic contact responses, which gets exacerbated in areas with naturally higher pH, like skin folds. “The pH in the folds of your skin is even higher than elsewhere on the body,” Dr. Eberting says. “A high pH environment is conducive to the growth of bacteria. Then inflammation sets in, and the inflammation triggers allergies to chemicals that come in contact with the skin, and the skin barrier breaks down — it’s a vicious cycle!”
And those chemicals can range from common allergens like fragrances and essential oils, to metals like nickel and gold.
Katie Couric’s Skin Care of Choice
Dr. Eberting’s line of sensitive skin care products, Cheryl Lee MD, include baby-safe products that claim to have a 98% success rate. Focused on repairing the skin barrier and offering allergen-free cleansing, Couric has even been using the sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner from the line.
“I have to admit, sometimes I miss the sudsiness of my old shampoo, Dr. Lee,” Couric jokes.
You can learn more about dermatologist-recommended ways to treat eczema and the newest treatment options available here.