Anyone who deals with eczema is probably familiar with the moment during a bad flare-up where the itchiness is so intense, you're desperate enough to do anything to get relief — whether it's taking an oatmeal bath or going to bed with socks on your hands to prevent scratching in your sleep.
For Tatcha founder Vicky Tsai, the uncomfortableness of living with eczema is what has inspired the Indigo Overnight Repair 2-in-1 Serum in Cream Treatment, the brand's latest addition to its award-winning skincare collection. This treatment works to soothe and calm irritation caused by eczema, psoriasis, breakouts, or even sunburns, while strengthening the skin barrier and balancing the microbiome.
"Growing Tatcha has been a wonderful experience, but bootstrapping a high-growth company that launched the day I gave birth, there was a lot of stuff that happening in my life and it came through my skin as eczema," Tsai tells InStyle. "It started as one little patch on my hand. The doctors gave me steroids for it and then when I stopped taking the steroids, it came back far worse and ended up spreading to my entire body, excluding my face. I tried everything, including steroids and light therapy, but every year as winter approached it started creeping back up."
So, Tsai turned to the scientists at the Tatcha Institute in Japan to see if there were any natural ingredients that could potentially give her some relief from her eczema. That's where Japanese Indigo, the product's hero ingredient, comes into play. Tatcha fans may recognize this ingredient from the brand's cult-favorite The Rice Polish: Calming, The Indigo Cream, and Indigo Soothing Hand Cream.
"[The scientisits] told me about the concept of samurai blue," says Tsai. "Samurai used to wear dark clothing dyed dark blue from Japanese indigo plant and if they got cut, the fabric would stick to the wound and start healing."
Along with soothing Japanese indigo extract, the treatment includes hyaluronic acid and lipids to replenish and lock in moisture, and mondo grass root to help balance the skin's microbiome. Together, these ingredients can help relieve redness, irritation, and dryness. According to a four week clinical study by the brand, 76% of participants experienced an evenness in skin tone in one night.
To shop: $88; tatcha.com
Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City who has no affiliation with Tatcha, says that indigo can be calming for inflamed skin.
"Indigo extract is thought to soothe the skin as it contains tryptanthrin and indirubin, which are known to have calming properties," she explains. "By calming the skin, it is thought to help reduce irritation and improve the appearance of redness and dryness of the skin."
That being said, think of Tatcha's Indigo Overnight Repair as a product that can supplement prescribed eczema and psoriasis treatments. "While it has soothing and calming properties, it is not meant to replace the FDA-approved eczema and psoriasis treatments. It can be used in conjunction by those with dry, red, flaky or irritated skin given it has calming benefits," Dr Garshick says. "For those who experience eczema or dry skin, this may help to soothe the skin and boost hydration, while also being gentle on the microbiome as it contains mondo grass root."
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It's also worth noting that it's always best to do a patch test before incorporating any new product into ones routine, especially for those with sensitive or eczema-prone skin.
While it's taken over a decade for Tsai and the Tatcha team to get this formula just right, this launch couldn't come at a better time, since the pandemic isn't over and neither is the stress that has come with it. And stress can increase cortisol levels, which in turn can negatively impact the skin.
"Taking care of the skin is taking care of the mind, which is why there are so many rituals in Japan connected to taking care of the self through the skin, whether it's hot mineral baths or dry towel brushing," says Tsai.
Tatcha's Indigo Overnight Repair 2-in1 Serum in Cream Treatment is available now for $88 at tatcha.com, sephora.com, and in Sephora stores.
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