Author Topic: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!  (Read 19823 times)

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Offline jennyjenny

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Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 02:58:08 AM »
Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum but everyone seems so helpful and knowledgeable; I was hoping you guys could help me out with a few eczema questions I have  :)

I've had eczema since I was a kid but for some reason ever since coming to college (I'm 20 now) it has flared up and became unbearable! I'm going to school in Boston and have lived here since high school so it can't be the change in environment..  I now get skin infections all the time (I've had herpes zoster, a form of shingles, twice on my face in the past year) and have really bad eczema on the back of my hands which never goes away despite the many nights I apply maximum strength cortizone creams to it. When I'm not itchy, my skin is dry and scaley..it makes me feel so unattractive especially because my boyfriend has baby smooth skin  :( 

I saw a dermatologist last year who I loved and she loaded me up with all the works.. cortizone creams/ointments of every strength, tubs of vanicream and aquaphor and all kinds of lotions, anti-itch pills and allegra, and those served as temporary relief but I'm still stratching my life away.  Somebody please help me and answer some of my questions..it would be much appreciated!

1. Elidel and Protopic (steroid cream alternatives) have never worked for me. Why? Has this happened with anyone else?

2. On vacation in Hawaii last year, after a couple days of relaxing and beach-going, my skin was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT eczema-free and baby soft... does this mean I have to move to a tropical temperate island to get relief?

3. Aquaphor/Vaseline have always seemed too greasy for me to use and I feel gross with them slathered on, but I'm so desperate I just bought tubs of both of them.  Do they work and how are they different? Will using Vaseline really clog up your pores and make them dry out more easily?

4. Even though my legs aren't itchy, they are dry, rough and scaley.. not sexy at all.  I can't even shave them because it gives me razor burn and THAT makes me break out..how do I make them soft?

I just want to be a normal 20 year old girl..sigh...
Thanks for your help/support everyone!

<3 Jenn
i used to have trouble finishing things, but now

Offline paborn

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #1 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 03:17:27 AM »
My dematologist told me that people with dermatology problems go on vacation to the Dead Sea, Jordon to get a cure to there problems. Something about the climate and the salt/mineral content of the water.

Offline MarieC

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #2 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 03:20:24 AM »
Regarding Hawaii, I believe it's one of the "healthiest" places to live, in the top 10. Their air quality is one of the best and something about living on the coast or something in that sort has a calming effect on the body-therefore calmer immune systems = calmer skin.

Offline phina

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #3 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 03:34:34 AM »
Maybe it's the stress. Going to college can be quite stressful.
My skin improves a lot whenever I go on vacation. A change of environment and leaving all the boring routines help a lot.  ;)
My niece told me a secret: 10+10+10=30.

Offline MarieC

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #4 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 03:37:45 AM »
Yep, stress definitely phina :)

Offline Paradise

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #5 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 03:43:23 AM »
:hi: jenn,

Welcome to SkinCell from another New Englander (Bostonian)!

1. I have only used Protopic for a little while on some area of my face but I had stopped because it did not do much for me. 

2. The air quality and the salt water in the tropics does have an amazing healing effect on our skin.  By all means, move to the tropics if it's feasible for you  ;)  Also, I find it personally the more relaxing you let yourself be, the better off your skin and overall health will be.

3. I only use vaseline when my skin is very dry because it is as you said greasy.  Have you tried something like Curel (fragrance free) or Aveeno colloidal oatmeal?  I know some of us here love them and they're pretty good for our eczematic skin.

4. What shaving cream do you use (if any)?  I would say don't use regular soap to shave because soap in and of itself dries out skin.
-Paradise zzz

Offline lurker

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #6 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 04:21:38 AM »
:hi: Jenny,

  Welcome to SkinCell!

   I'm a New Englander also, actually not too far from Boston, go there every now and again...  Good colleges there ;)

  I'm kinda on sabbatical from this site right now but I wanted to answer your questions as best I can:

  1.  Protopic and Elidel don't work for everyone.   It may be that there is another factor in your eczema that is overwhelming these medicines, but really there are people who don't get any benefit from these two.

  2.  Hawaii vs. Boston  - well, some folks here said it already, the air is much better in Hawaii.   I also want to add that the sun is sometimes beneficial to eczema sufferers, and if it helps you should get more sun on your skin.  If this really is of benefit, then you might be a good candidate for UV light treatment.

  3.  Not too sure about Vaseline making people dry out more easily.  I do think it can clog pores if you rub it in your face, but that's only from my personal experience, some folks here swear by Vaseline and it doesn't clog their pores.  Might be how you apply it, I don't know.   As for Aquaphor, it is essentially the same (but more expensive) but contains mineral oil and lanolin.   I cannot use Aquaphor (or Eucerin) because of the lanolin - I'm allergic.   It is hard to tell if you are allergic because when I use lanolin products I just get eczema...

  4.  You could actually try rubbing Vaseline on your legs...  You should see the scaling decrease with longer use.  Apply immediately after you step out of the shower while your legs are still wet, this will lock in the moisture.  I think if you do this you will see results in about 2-3 days...

Please feel free to post any questions you may have, I'm sure the fine folks here will be able to respond to them with helpful advice and heartfelt support.

  - lurker

Offline jennyjenny

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #7 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 04:42:52 AM »
Thanks to everyone for the speedy replies! So glad I found this forum  :P

Haha, I suppose it might be the stress of college life..more likely it's the stress of my relationship. I began seeing my boyfriend about the same time my skin flared up, and he's just about the most stress I've ever had in my life.  So much drama  :-X

Regarding location:

I've lived in many places in my life, the longest of which was Tokyo where I lived for 8 years growing up.  My skin never was a problem there.

- When we moved to a suburb of Boston, my eczema did not flare up there either..only mildly.
- My parents now live in San Diego, and whenever I return home my eczema flares up (change in environment perhaps) and then improves if I stay there long enough.

It's really too bad.. I love traveling but it doesn't seem like my skin is willing to take the stress...

Anyways, anyone suffering from Eczema, I urge you to take a vacation to Hawaii and confirm my theory that it is a miracle zone for Eczema sufferers! ;)
i used to have trouble finishing things, but now

Offline MarieC

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #8 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 04:45:58 AM »
Yes, jenny, I'm dying to go to Hawaii, I'm from California. Soo beautiful and a great relaxing environment/people I hear. And if it will help my skin- even better  ;)

Regarding the relationship thingy, I also started gettin worse eczema when I first got with my hubby (i was 19) and it was a lot of fighting etc at first... so I definitely see that as a contributor to my eczema getting bad at the time etc.

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #9 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 04:49:34 AM »
Hi Jenny :hi: Welcome to SkinCell!

I agree with all Lurkers comments.  Aside from moisturizing within 3 minutes of showering, every morning rub a light layer of vaseline on all your dry areas. Even if you wipe it off before you dress a protective layer will remain. At night moisten areas with a warm damp cloth and apply again before bed.  This stuff is greasy but the results do make it worthwhile.  Invest in some very lightweight 100% cotton jammies and wear these to protect your bedding and furniture.  You will find at the worst you may need to spend some evenings with a book while you 'soak in.'  I cover a chair with sheets and settle in after a bath to absorb.  After an hour I change and get on with my life again ;). Never let yourself dry out.  I bath frequently when my skin is at it's worst.  I find a good soak followed quickly with an all over application is very beneficial for my extremely dry skin. Sometimes I will bath 2-3 times a day for a couple of days. If you try this routine for a week you will see results.  I am one of those that swear by vaseline, I am very lucky that it doesn't clog my pores.  My skin is so dry it's hard to tell if I have pores (upside is no pimples :)).

You've started college and may be exposed to irritants that you've managed to avoid before.  Old buildings, even what the cleaners use on the floors could be your trigger.  It could be stress, it could be your age (I believe that hormones can play a role and I'm not limiting that to the well known 'gender' hormones), it could be a different food in your diet.  There are so many things that can affect us.  Everyones skin is unique.  You will need to find something that works for you.

Good luck :hugs:
RFD

PS. Drink LOTS of water
« Last Edit: Thursday July 07, 2005, 04:51:10 AM by RFD »

Offline phina

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #10 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 05:25:26 AM »
You've started college and may be exposed to irritants that you've managed to avoid before. 

This is just too true to me. My skin got worse after I started my job. I suspect it's the central air-conditioning, the photo-copier, the printer... And the pollutants in the street.  :P
My niece told me a secret: 10+10+10=30.

Offline Hvns

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #11 on: Thursday July 07, 2005, 06:28:53 AM »
Jenny sorry to hear your skin isn't behaving, I do hope you get relief soon.
Hvns
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Offline Lozicle

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #12 on: Friday August 05, 2005, 01:01:19 PM »
I'd agreed with you about Hawaii - although sadly I've never been there. However, whenever I spend any time in Greece in the sun and the sea my skin clears completey - goes like porcelain. It must be a combination of the effect of the sun and spending time on the beach. THe sand acts as an abrasive to smooth off your skin and the sea is the most natural antibactereal agent u will find !

Maybe there should be some kind of governement grant that would let us all move to Hawaii ! ::) ;D

Offline WBMKitKat

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #13 on: Monday August 08, 2005, 10:33:19 AM »
I know it's just over a month since this was posted, but here's my experience.  I'm almost 20 and have eczema for awhile.  It got worse it seems while I'm going to college.  The medicine I'm currently using now are:
Betamethasone for the body
Hydrocortisone 1% for the face
and Tacrolimus 0.1% for around the eyes

I was in such a mess before that I even had to take cortisone pills for 10 days only to regain control on my skin.  Though I'm still on heavy watch

Stress is one main factor that can cause your ecezema, but then again after I graduated from college it still occurs. 

It maybe the enviroment that you're in as well, not only the outside but also the inside of your room may contribute to your problem.  Though I'm not too sure on this.  I'm currently trying an air purifier to clean the air, vacuuming my room, and washing my beddings making sure I double rinse so detergent is at least minimum(well trying to do that though my laziness can get to me on this one).  So far it seems to be working, a I don't scratch as much.

For moisturizing, I found Cetaphil works quite well for me.  Though you'll have to try different kinds since it may react differently for you.  Make sure which ever product works the best for you, you put some on immediately after taking a bath/shower.  Also try not having a long shower, and also not too hot.  Despite your body being surround with water, if it's too hot your body will still sweat losing precious moisture that our skin needs.  Also, like soap careful when washing your hair with your shampoo.  The shampoo washes down your body and can act like some soaps that may dry or irritate the skin.

What you eat and drink may also help.  Depending what's your style of food, also contributes to your skin.  I think it went if you ate quite a bit of meat you should drink more water than a person who leans more to the vegetarian side.  I haven't done this myself, but try writing down what you eat during the week and see what you can do to improve your way of eating.

I don't know if that helps. I'm in the same boat as you are.  I often wonder why my girlfriend can stand looking at me, but she still supports me and is also trying to help find ways to get a hold of this problem.  Though I hope you do find a way to regain your self-esteem.
« Last Edit: Tuesday August 09, 2005, 11:01:37 PM by WBMKitKat »

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #14 on: Monday August 08, 2005, 10:35:28 AM »
Excellent advice there Kitkat!

 :)

Offline WBMKitKat

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #15 on: Monday August 08, 2005, 10:41:47 AM »
Thanks Gobe, again dont quote me on this, because all of this we have to find out ourselves.  Each person reacts differently to different treatments.  What I'm doing may not work for you but then again it may open a new way of getting control.  I can't wait till I have this under my control so I can start doing things that held me back, like cooking and baking and even swimming (even when I put lotion on right after I get out of the water, the chemicals in there hurt so much that I stop going)

Offline Lozicle

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #16 on: Monday August 08, 2005, 11:35:29 AM »
Some good advice there KitKat. One thing that my doctor did advise me to do was to try and take baths instead of showers (if you have the time) because they somehow dry your skin less. Something to do with the water running over your skin.
And it was cool baths too - the same principle as you said about the showers.  :)

Offline itchychick

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #17 on: Sunday September 04, 2005, 02:27:11 AM »
It's been a while since this was first posted, but if anyone's still following, I can add that my eczema disappeared within 2 weeks of arriving at the beach in Greece.

The sun actually supresses immune response in the body, which is why ultraviolet therapy is often helpful in treating immune-system based diseases like eczema.  Also, sea water acts as an antiseptic, destroying any bacteria on the skin which can slow the healing process.  This combination, along with the low-stress environment of being on holidays, is a magic bullet for me.

I've decided that if my e gets really bad this winter, I am going to run away to the Carribbean on for a week of "beach therapy" ;D  It's just too bad you can't make a health insurance claim for it.  I'm sure I've spent the equivalent of 10 Carribbean vacation on other eczema "remedies" that haven't been nearly as effective (or fun!)

Offline skyhi1846

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Hawaii not the cure
« Reply #18 on: Sunday September 04, 2005, 07:54:11 PM »
I can't say that living in Hawaii or lots of sun exposure lessen eczema outbreaks since I've lived in Hawaii my entire life and my activities afford me a great deal of exposure to the sun--probably enough to make me an excellent candidate for skin cancer.

When I first began to spend more time in the sun doing water sports I developed urticaria (hives) that would devlop in the same areas and leave purplish scars. 

I've had a severe case of alopecia areata following the 3rd hepatitis B vaccine in the series.  The vaccine was required by a program I was attending in school and within 24 hours of the receiving the shot, large, round bald patches developed all of my scalp.  I was treated with Kenalog shots, 60 mg of prednisone daily, and Protopic for topical administration.

I now have eczema or contact dermatitis that has developed on the back of my hands and on my wrists.  It flares up, dries out, and then begins peeling.  At the moment it's spreading to between my fingers.

I've used a hydrocortisone spray (Cortaid), Benadryl spray, and oral Benadryl, which had provided temporary relief.  I discontinued using Bath & Body Works products (which appear to contain something that I've developed a sensitivity to) and I try to avoid using latex gloves at work.  I use Proteque and Kiehl's hand salve to protect me skin, but I still haven't found a good mousturizer that doesn't make my hands feel greasy.

Oddly enough, these skin disorders only began expressing themselves in the past five years.  I am now 31.  I've had hay fever and sinus problems since I was a child, but the skin problems are relatively new.

Just FYI, a lot of people in Hawaii have respiratory problems due to allergens that come from the plant-life and vog (volcanic fog) that we get here.  Many people can tell what direction the wind is blowing as soon as they wake up because when we have Kona winds they suffer from migraines and sinusitis.  Asthma is also a common problem here.

Offline itchychick

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #19 on: Sunday September 04, 2005, 08:04:49 PM »
Welcome Skyhi  :hi:  Sorry to hear about your eczema.  The search for a non-greasy hand cream has certainly been an ongoing quest for me too!

Interesting to hear about the high rate of asthma in Hawaii.  I'm sure so much of the asthma and allergy now has a lot to do with environmental conditions.

I do think the element of being on holiday, for me, had a lot to do with the improvement of my skin while on the beach - no stress, no schedules to conform to, and my husband around to help with the kids.  Happier kids and more relaxation all around resulted in a huge reduction in stress.

Has your alopecia gotten better?

Offline skyhi1846

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #20 on: Monday September 05, 2005, 07:48:48 AM »
Thanks itchychick!   :)  Gosh, sorry about all the typos in my post.  I agree that stress -whether it's psychological or physical (such as surgery), can lead to flare ups. 

The alopecia has resolved itself (knock on wood) and I hope to never have to take steroid medications again!  The side effects were less than desirable.  My face looked swollen, I was hungry all of the time, I had trouble sleeping at night, my body's wound healing abilities were impaired, and I devloped a UTI while on prednisone.  Ugh...it was like having super duper case of PMS for a month.

I'm certain that the eczema is a result of a work related exposure, but I'm not certain if it's caused by the soap, the alcohol hand rub, or the gloves (both latex and vinyl types) --or perhaps a combination of these substances.

I'm praying for some miracle drug or treatment to either relieve the itch permanently or do away with the disorder all together.  I think sun exposure helps, but salt water from the ocean makes the skin dry and flaky.  I can deal with having unattractive hands, but the itch can be pretty unbearable and especially at night.  Any recommendations???

Offline itchychick

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #21 on: Monday September 05, 2005, 02:38:54 PM »
Have you tried any antihistamines, like atarax or prescription strength Reactine?  they help me somewhat, and often enough to get me to sleep.  When my hands and feet get itchy nothing really helps enormously,  but I sort of take the approach to do everything possible, even if every step helps only a touch... This is my routine for those times:

-a soak in a bath with Aveeno powder
- really quick dry off so the skin is still quite damp
-slather on a thick moisturizer (I currently like the really thick one by Aveeno as it has some menthol and camphor in it and makes the skin tingly instead of itchy - at least for a while)
- take my antihistamines (sometimes a double dose - I checked with my doc on this)
-  If I'm still itchy, I try some deep breathing and visualization to help calm down, but I'm not very good at this :-\

This often at least gets me to sleep.  It's quite likely that I'll wake up scratching later, but it's a start.
Oh, and though I prefer having slightly longer nails, I find that keeping them really short minimizes the "accidental" scratching.  Hopes this gives you some ideas.

Oh yes,  I've found that a foot cream made by Gehwol for cracked feet is really good at softening and healing, especially overnight.  I slather it on thickly and then wear cotton socks.  My girlfriend puts it on her hands where her dermatitis is bad - and she swears by it.  It is greasy, but it's fine at night.  Not a sexy look, I grant you, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do ;)

Offline smashing_pumpkin

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #22 on: Wednesday September 07, 2005, 12:16:33 AM »
Instead of soaking it in the sea, why not try bathing with dead sea salts? I've started using it this week to treat pompholyx on my hand and some itching around my body. It's good for the itching, but I haven't seen any immediate effects for my pompholyx. Although I hear it's great to treat dry flaky skin. Not to mention it's great soothing/relaxing effect to which I believe quells the stress that aggravates certain types of eczema.
It costs me about 6 euro per 1kg bag, and it's the whole pack for one bath. A bit costly I know but hey if it helps...

Offline Lozicle

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #23 on: Wednesday September 07, 2005, 09:02:33 AM »
I've tried the dead sea salt baths before - they are good because like any kind of salt water it's going to act as an antibacterial agent.
For me tho there's no better remedy than being in the sea - kinda difficult living in birmingham tho :P

Offline itchychick

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #24 on: Wednesday September 07, 2005, 06:20:31 PM »
Are Dead Sea salts different than regular Sea Salt that you can put in the bath?  Like Loz, I haven't had as much improvement with sea salts in the tub as I do in the actual sea, but maybe the Dead Sea salts are better?

It also requires a HECK of a lot of salt to approximate the salinity of the sea, though (by the time they dissolve, the water is cold :crazy:!)

Offline Lozicle

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Re: Anyone with Eczema: Please read!!
« Reply #25 on: Thursday September 08, 2005, 08:41:02 AM »
I find the dead sea salts to be a little better.
but like you said, u can never recreat the salinity of the sea - best thing to do is just go and soak in it if u can