I have written many articles over the years about my eczema, what sets it off, and what remedies work best for me. This post will cover everything as well as some updated views of mine.
What Is Eczema?
A chronic inflammatory skin condition, characterized by dry skin, with patches that are red and intensely itchy.
Eczema starts with itching irritated skin, you may notice swelling and a rash like fluid building under the skin (this part is Insanly itchy!) The fluid may start to seep and ooze which is very gross and the last thing you want to do it wash your hands eczema + water = bad. After this stage then comes severe dry skin, and when I say severe I mean cracking bleeding open wound like cuts on your hands, you may still have some of the fluid trapped too. This is very painful and may interfere with daily tasks such as; preparing food, cleaning, washing. Anything with your hands really, I can’t wear nail polish when I have eczema because the remover burns! I also have to remove my wedding bad because of the swelling and struggle to lift weights and pole dance because of how sensitive my skin it.
What Causes It?
Unfortunately many things. I went to see several doctors and even a dermatologist (Don’t bother with the dermatologist -In my opinion) They really couldn’t give me an answer, they just gave me Cortisone creme and that was all. I decided to figure it out myself and would recommend the same to anyone who suffers. I believe that any symptom our body has, wether it be; headache, stomach pain, rash, unusual lumps, its our bodies way of telling us that something is wrong, so instead of taking a pill or applying a creme; If you have a headache for example instead of taking a pill maybe you just need some water!
My Solution; I started with a food diary, and yes I know that it is a lot of work to do everyday but when you have severe eczema it really isn’t that much of a hassle, at the end of the day I would rate how bad my eczema was, I used a 1-10 scale.
After a few days you will begin to see a pattern, my eczema flared up really bad one night and I looked back in my food diary to see that I ate a lot of ice cream the day earlier, so I decided to cut back on refined sugar, and after a few more days my eczema settled down. I had found at least one of my triggers (I have many)
white flour & yeasts,
Change in weather/seasons,
heating and air condition.
Lotions & Makeup; Some lotions and cosmetics may have ingredients that you may be allergic to such as perfumes.
Laundry detergent, bleach as well as some fabrics.
How Can I treat it?
You can get a prescription from your doctor for cortisone creme, however use sparingly I have noticed thinning of my skin from prolonged use.
In the past I have suggested Zinc Oxide cremes such as Penaten and Sudocreme (Diaper Rash Cremes) Again I would now only recommend using these creme sparingly because they block your pores and you will need to exfoliate the product to remove it and you don’t want to do that.
I no longer get the eczema on my face and body, it always starts on my hands and as soon as I see it I make sure that I cut back on my sugar intake and drink more water, as that is what sets off my flare-ups. Also if it was to come back on my body, I would go to the solarium, sun rays are amazing! (If you live in a sunny place go lay in the sun a little).
As for my hands, I’m still struggling (I probably always will).
THE THREE STAGES OF ECZEMA.
Stage 1. Rash with a slight Itch
NO lotion! Do Not apply lotion or any emollient when you have the rash or fluid build up, you will only make it worse. Also try to avoid washing your hands, water is your enemy. You can wash your hands with a no-rince cleanser I personally like and use Cetaphil
Solution. Cortisone creme, Penaten creme
Stage 2. Cracking, Flaking, Dry, Sore Skin.
If you still have some fluid under your skin do not apply any lotion, you could continue with the cortisone creme if it seems to be working, if it isn’t then stop using it and try the Penaten. If your skin is severely cracking and bleeding I put band aids on my cuts for a few hours during the day so that they don’t get dirt in them. Continue to use Cetaphil for washing your hands, and cut back on sugary and over-processed foods.
Stage 3. Dry, Sensitive Skin, No More Large Cracks.
Once there is no more fluid build up in your skin then apply lotion, but be particular with which products you are applying. Don’t use a lotion that has water as the main ingredient, remember water is your enemy. Look for a good quality product I use lotions from Smell This Aromatherapy and Lush. Look at the product list, if it is full of chemicals then its probably not going to be very good for you, and No perfume.
How Can I Prevent It?
Prevention is an on-going thing;
a. As suggested above, start a food diary and identify what food items may flare up your outbreaks.
b. Invest in a good quality lotion and apply often to help keep your skin as healthy as possible.
c. Use rubber gloves when washing dishes and cleaning, avoid using harsh soaps, chemicals and hand sanitizers.