Possibly no celebrity has been as honest and open as Jessica Simpson. The multi-hyphenate has been an open book throughout her career, quite literally, her memoir released earlier this year Open Book spared no detail and she was a reality star before that was even a thing. She’s called out body-shamers and been transparent about her insecurities, motherhood, relationships, and everything in-between. Things in quarantine have not changed how she handles these.
After a post-pregnancy eczema flare-up left her too insecure to share photos with her newborn, she made a call to her doctor. The call led her to Eucrisa, a steroid-free eczema treatment that was strong enough to save her skin, but safe enough to use on babies. Byrdie caught up with Jessica to discuss her eczema journey, turning 40, body shaming, and the habit that’s keeping her sane in quarantine.
I'm always open about my insecurities so it wasn't necessarily like I was trying to hide the fact that I had eczema.
While we watched the pop star share all on reality T.V., hit the stages, and star in movies, the last thing we expected to learn was that she had struggled with eczema. "I'm always open about my insecurities so it wasn't necessarily like I was trying to hide the fact that I had eczema. I had it as a kid, and then I had it in junior high and high school, mild to moderate,” she opens up to Byrdie. The Texas heat and humidity made a clever cover for the bumps and rashes that came with eczema which mostly affected her arms but her post-natal flare-up disrupted her life in the most unexpected way. “[…] My husband Eric [Johnson] was taking pictures of us to send out on a mass group text to everybody and it was a really sweet picture, but then when I looked at it I realized I hadn't looked at myself in a very long time," she explained.
“I wouldn't let him send out the pictures because I had a very intense eczema flare-up. I hadn't experienced that in a very long time. I honestly was like 'Is this actually coming back?' or 'Does it never leave?' So I called my doctor immediately. I wouldn't let Eric send out the picture. I was really upset." Eucrisa was her doctor’s solution. She saw results from the eczema treatment within two weeks, while she argues this isn’t the case for everyone, she swears by the fragrance-free cream. “[…] It was a natural collaboration because right now, with everybody in isolation, everybody's talking about skincare which I am very into right now more than ever. I decided it was important for anybody that is experiencing any bumps and they don't know what it is to have the eczema conversation with your doctor.”
The star is also no stranger to public scrutiny. Earlier on in quarantine, she responded to a recent Vogue article on the Met Gala where a former editor claimed that she was "spilling out" of her dress that evening. In true Jessica-fashion, she responded on Instagram with that infamous picture of Sofia Loren giving a sideways glance at a bustier Jayne Mansfield to clear things up. “I don't want any false narrative out there about me. Within releasing my memoir I was very honest. I have nothing to hide at all. I would own up to it if I was in that time doing something that was disrespectful, but I absolutely was not and my boobs were intact.”
This certainly wasn’t the first time her body was the topic of conversation, recalls another notorious incident that was a blast from the past. "The main shaming that I went through was the mom jeans incident, and everybody likes fixating on my weight,” Jessica shared. Photos of her performing in high-waisted mom jeans went viral and made her a target for hurtful comments about her weight. She recalls having to get on stage every night after the photos made headlines and her weight gain became a news story. So how does she respond to the body-shaming? Well for one she’s obviously not afraid to call them out, but she’s also made her clothing line inclusive because she knows "how badly it does hurt when you feel like, 'Oh, I can't wear that because they don't make it my size." She adds, "I've dealt with that too, having big boobs. I just try to make things in the collection that can accommodate all shapes and sizes.”
She also hit a milestone this past summer, turning 40. Right before her 40th birthday, she decided it was time to switch up her skincare routine and started using red light therapy. “I’m not opposed to [Botox] at all, and I admit to doing it randomly here and there, but I love red light therapy, I use a cap that makes your hair grow and thicker," she explains. “I use it now, after losing baby weight, you have loose skin. I use it on my stomach and it tightens my stomach so I am a big believer in red light therapy, it's anti-inflammatory and it's firming, and it's natural. I love it.”
During quarantine, she’s been keeping things low-key, incorporating fragrance-free products from Biologique into her routine, as many eczema sufferers avoid possibly irritating fragrances in products. Along with her quarantine skincare habits, she’s added journaling into her daily routine. “I started journaling every morning just to confront my fears, my thoughts, anything I want to celebrate. I just really confront myself every day in isolation.” She says, “I think that just confronting your own thoughts is very good therapy because once you get them on paper, it doesn't mean that it goes away forever but you've confronted it for that moment. And then you carry on through your day. Sometimes at night if I can't sleep I'll journal a little bit. So for me, it's been a lot of self-reflecting.” Same, Jessica. Same.