I’ve written about my wackadoo skin condition before in this blog. In case you missed it, I have a complicated combination of atopic dermatitis and eczema, though many sources say these are the same condition with different names. Basically, I have hypersensitive skin that can turn bright red, itchy and painful within hours after exposure to one of many allergic triggers. I’ve never taken a photo of myself in full-on breakout but try to imagine a turtleneck shirt made of red pain and you might get the drift.
Here are some of my known triggers:
Fragrance – anything labeled FRAGRANCE or MASKING FRAGRANCE, or, in one case, FLAVOR (AROMA)
Nickel – buhbye cheap jewelry!
Aloe – I know right???
Neomycin – Just means I can’t use Neosporin
Stress – It’s a common trigger for all autoimmune conditions. I do meditation, exercise, get lots of sleep, blah blah blah….
Yes, I’ve been to the doctor. Cortisone creams and cortisone shots don’t work. I don’t have skin cancer, but I had to have scary biopsies to prove it. I went on a nickel-free diet for a while (no beans, leafy greens, nuts, blah blah blah). Pretty much I’m never sure when something will trigger me. I’ve gotten rid of most of the crap in my house but that’s the thing with allergies and autoimmune stuff – it’s a MOVING TARGET.
Last week, I had probably the worse batch of eczema yet – from my cheeks to the tops of my breasts, around the sides of my neck, plus grapefruit-sized patches on my inner elbows were red, inflamed, itchy, and thirteen kinds of uncomfortable. It was like having a skin graft from Satan. When it’s bad like this, I don’t like to go out, I don’t like to do much of anything but feel sorry for myself. Also, when I feel upset about something, I want to DO SOMETHING about it. If I’m upset about my weight, for example, I go drink a gallon of water and hit the gym immediately. If I’m upset about the house being a mess, I clean it. When ye olde devil skin makes an appearance, I tend to overapply whatever unguent on hand – this week I had tea tree ointment (it’s pretty good for healing up broken skin or sores) and a non-steroidal version of hydrocortisone which was actually very nice.
Last week both Husband and I did some research and found various treatments. Such as:
Zantac – It’s for GERD or acid reflux but the off-label use reduces inflammation. Worth a try and it’s the one Husband is lobbying hard for. I’ve been taking it once a day for about a week.
Probiotics – Since this is essentially an autoimmune disorder, the idea is that probiotics (live googly thingies that live in your gut and make things happy all over the body) will stablize the systemic inflamation I’m dealing with. I got some and take them once a day.
Gluten-free diet – See above
Tanning – I haven’t actually DONE this one yet but both anecdotal and researched evidence suggest that a couple of sessions twice a week for maybe 5 minutes can provide enough UV light to prevent flare ups. I’ve never gone to a tanning bed in my LIFE. I’m Irish – we don’t tan, we pink. Or we freckle. However, UV doses that low don’t show adverse effects and can be beneficial in many ways – better mood, better overall feelings, etc.
Probiotic skin cream – Yeah, ok, this was a desperation move. I don’t think this is my magic pill answer, but somewhere in my research I found stories of probiotic skin cream helping eczema. I got a $10 jar from the Internets. I’ve only used it once but…we’ll see.
I shall keep you updated as updates become available. Care to place a bet on which will work?