How Eczema affected this college athlete and inspired him to create his own brand.
My name is Kevin Niehoff and I have struggled with eczema for over 10 years. If you have sensitive eczema-prone skin, you know how challenging it can be to establish a simple skin routine. There’s nothing worse than having to deal with it and have it on display for all to see and it can be a massive hit to your self confidence. I grew up like most active young boys, always outside playing sports with absolute zero care for my skin and never thought about using any form of skincare. When you don’t see a problem you don’t think you need take care of anything. It wasn’t until I enrolled into The Ohio State University to play football that my skincare journey truly began.
My freshman year I began to get these inflamed red breakouts all over my face. At first I thought it was from my sweaty football equipment, but after making sure I always sanitized my equipment the problem never went away. Like most men, I went to the women in my life to get skin advice. My mom and sister gave me some 7 step skincare routine that I knew I was never going to stick too. My skin got so bad that I finally ended up having to see a dermatologist and that’s when I was diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis, a form of eczema.
What is Eczema?
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a condition that can be triggered by a range of factors, including allergens, irritants, and stress. It is most common in children, but it can affect people of all ages, appearing on any part of the body but is most common on the face, neck, hands, and legs. Eczema flare-ups may come and go intermittently, with periods of relief followed by flare-ups.
Confidence and Mental Health Impact
Playing college football I would consider myself a confident individual, but being diagnosed back in 2012 was the first time I really started to understand how personal insecurities can impact your mental health and confidence. Back then, men expressing themselves and the acceptance of mental health was less prevalent as it is today. Personal insecurities were not something I grew up thinking were fine to talk about. You would just have to deal with it yourself. Taking the next step in your life, moving off to college, competing at a high level of athletics, and then getting crazy red break outs all over your face when you are trying to make new friends was tough. It got so bad that I was the kid hiding makeup below my bathroom sink because it was the only way to conceal my breakouts.
Mental health is nothing to be ashamed about as everyone deals with their own personal battles. Men taking care of their skin has made really improved in being accepted in society now, but it should have never been demonized. Everyone has skin! It took me awhile to be comfortable in my own skin and not always try to compare myself to others. It’s hard in todays society when we constantly compare, but what I have learned is that everyone brings something to the table. If you can just focus on doing what makes you happy, what’s best for you, and only compete with the man in the mirror to create the best version of yourself you will be much happier.
How I Handle My Eczema?
After seeing a a dermatologist for over 10 years I have finally found the skincare routine that works great for my skin. When you are diagnosed with Seborrheic Dermatitis you understand there isn’t a cure. You have to develop a basic skincare routine to manage the condition. Everyone’s skin is different and no one routine or product works for everyone. For me and what all the dermatologists I have seen have told me, is that less is more. You don’t need 10 products in your skincare routine to be effective and many times over doing it ends up making your skin worse.
With eczema, sticking with the basics and using the highest quality ingredients that are proven to be safe for sensitive skin has worked best for me. My daily routine consists of using a gentle cleanser in the morning after I shower, applying a Multi-Functional Moisturizer that has ingredients at active levels to target multiple concerns such as dry skin, wrinkles, dark circles, redness & irritation, and then the final most important step is applying an SPF as my skin is extra sensitive to the sun. Just by adopting this basic routine has allowed me to control my eczema and mitigate having to use the steroid topicals that I absolutely hate to use as the leave my face greasy and can dry my skin out.
Creating PrettyBoy, the First Male Skincare Brand to be Accepted by the National Eczema Association
Dealing with eczema almost half my life I never found skincare products that truly resonated with me or products that I truly enjoyed using. The are a million skincare brands targeting women, but none for men that were high quality enough that I could use for my eczema or a brand that spoke to me as an active male. Men are completely different consumers than women, and yet there wasn’t a brand the catered to men’s specific skincare needs. Men want simplicity, no more than 3 products, they want a product that performs and uses the highest quality ingredients, a brand that speaks to them, and a texture that is lightweight non-greasy that keeps there skin hydrated all day. Products they will want to consistently use.
Male focused brands just continue to slap on hyper masculine branding on poor formulated products with routines that are longer or include unnecessary products that men will never stick too. So partnering up with my best friend who battled his own skin issues, we decided to set a new standard in men’s skincare by creating the 1st male brand accepted by the National Eczema Association, PrettyBoy. A lifestyle brand men can resonate with, built the way we want. High performing, simple, lightweight non-greasy products that blend in immediately. Spend less time worrying about our skin and focus on creating the best version of yourself. PrettyBoy is the nike of skincare. What use to be an insult when being called “prettyboy” is now the fuel for our brand. Every guy is a pretty boy today. We all eat healthy, workout, and want to look our best. It’s time men start prioritizing there largest organ in their body and have the access the highest quality products to keep their money maker looking fresh.
Check out PrettyBoy today.