Mandy Moore On Her Eczema: “I Wanted To Tear My Face Off”

Mandy Moore On Her Eczema: “I Wanted To Tear My Face Off”

Mandy Moore is the picture of fall. When I meet her inside a hotel suite on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she’s dressed in a high-neck burnt orange velvet slip dress and tall brown leather boots. Her hair is blown out, her voluminous curtain bangs highlighted with a teeny bit of blonde.

The last time we spoke (on Zoom back in 2021), the actor’s hair was very blonde. I told her I thought the blonde was fun. “You’re very kind,” she replies, although she’s clear that she will not be returning to her blonde glory. Actually, in general, Moore is very pared down these days. “Less is more is always going to be my philosophy,” she says.

Plus, at this stage Moore is much too busy to maintain a single-process blonde. “My kids are two and a half and almost four; we’re in the thick of it,” she says. “My oldest just started preschool, my youngest is about to start walking. We’re moving imminently. There are a lot of moving parts but it’s so much fun.”

Sitting in front of me with a soft smile and eggplant purple eyeshadow rimming her hazel eyes, Moore appears glowing and rested. But when I ask about her health and skin specifically (which is glowing), she tells me about a tricky skin condition she’s been quietly managing ever since we saw her on This Is Us.

On her recent skin diagnosis

While on set, Moore tells me there were times when she felt like her face was on fire. “I started noticing red, patchy, peeling spots on my face,” she explains of how her mystery condition was first presented. “I feel lucky that I’m in a line of work where things can get covered, but that doesn’t take away the discomfort. I was constantly thinking about it while I was on camera. I wanted to tear my face off. It itched so bad.”

In 2019, Moore was diagnosed with Atopic dermatitis, or eczema. “I thought, okay, I’m working a lot, wearing a lot of makeup and prosthetic makeup, maybe it has something to do with that. [I thought], maybe I’m having some sort of allergic reaction,” she says. “But when I threw the kitchen sink at it and the symptoms just kept persisting, I was like, it’s time to go to the dermatologist, where I was diagnosed.”

 For Moore, the eczema diagnosis came as a “relief” because she had an answer and could develop a management plan with her dermatologist. 

On spreading awareness around eczema

Now, after a few years of living with her eczema condition, Moore is partnering with Incyte on Moments of Clarity, a campaign that will highlight stories of other people with eczema to help spread awareness of the condition and treatment options. According to Incyte, eczema affects over 21 million people in the US alone. Still, many people are still confused about eczema, what it is and how to treat it.

“We’re really talking about the barrier and the seal of the skin,” explains dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra, MD, simplifying the condition for anyone unfamiliar. “Your skin’s function as an organ is to keep the outside world out. But people who have Atopic dermatitis or eczema have little cracks and openings and fissures in their skin that other people don’t have. As a result, all these things like irritants and bacteria that are meant to be on the outside [of the skin] find their way in.” 

When the skin barrier is compromised, it can look and feel all sorts of ways. “How your skin reacts is different from anyone else,” Dr. Batra continues. “You should see a dermatologist if your symptoms are really bothering you, if you’re itching, if your skin feels tight, if you have red, scaly patches. There are treatments.”

On her eczema treatment plan

No, this is not an ad for eczema medication. Moore says she’s not on any prescriptions. Her condition “waxes and wanes” but she’s mindful of triggers. “There are things that exacerbate it, and I’ve learned over the years what those triggers are,” she explains. Moore cites stress, cold, dry weather, and diet as key factors to keep an eye on. “I found there’s a real correlation in diet,” she explains. “My skin is always going to react a little bit better when I’m getting omega-3s and probiotics. The gut connection to the skin is important. So yogurt and kefir and things that are fermented, like sauerkraut and kimchi, tend to react really well with my skin.”

Dr. Batra says there’s empirical evidence to back Moore’s experience with eating kefir and having clearer skin. “We’re learning more and more about the gut and the skin and microbiome and how promoting the flora in both can improve the barrier in the skin and can help Atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory conditions as well,” Dr. Batra explains.

On her “clean” beauty routine

With topical skincare and beauty products, Moore began “paring down” her routine. The focus became “clean beauty and simplifying things,” Moore explains. “I love to try new things as long as they’re clean,” she explains. Her personal barometer for ‘clean beauty’: “I use anything that’s free of synthetics, dyes, and fragrances — it doesn’t have to be everything super fancy. This time of year, I’ll lean on oil-based products because they help keep the moisture in my skin.”

Moore says that her favorite face oil is the Furtuna Biphase Moisturizing Oil. “I notice an immediate difference in my skin,” she says. Other ‘clean’ makeup brands she likes are Rituel De Fille and Iris & Romeo. “I love all their products,” she says. “I’m wearing the concealer and the little pots are so cute and fun.” Really, she’s not wearing a lot. “I find the minimal things that work to do that three-minute face,” Moore adds.

On the ’90s trends she doesn’t want back

Because Moore is a legend for her ’90s style (“Candy“? Iconic.) I have to ask her what she thinks of the recent revival of lip gloss and low-rise jeans. 

“I understand that everything is cyclical, but I’m like, we’re here again already?” Moore laughs. “It doesn’t feel vintage enough, but I guess it is. There are certain things I see out in the world, like butterfly clips, and I’m like, that wasn’t good the first go around. Low rise jeans? There are just things that I’m not going to subscribe to as an almost 40 year old woman. It’s just not for me; I’ll leave it to the kids. But if you can pull it off and you feel confident, go for it.” 

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