Author Topic: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?  (Read 25136 times)

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Offline Lum

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Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« on: Wednesday August 20, 2008, 04:39:50 PM »
I have atopic eczema, currently being treated with azathioprine and elidel, with cutivate used when it flares up.

The problem I have is I shed huge quantities of skin flakes, at any point there will be a load of flakes all over my torso and arms peeling off and I can't get rid of them.

I've tried the Dermol shower and bath additives my doc recommends, I've tried removing them in the bath with a loofah, the bath water ends up filled with floating flakes so they came off, followed by a shower to stop the flakes leaving the bath with me, but as soon as I'm dried off there are just more peeling flakes.

It's really really gross, especially as I quickly fill the bed with the damn things and it gets me grief from my girlfriend who finds they irritate and dry out her skin (she had psoriasis as a child, but doesn't have that problem now)

Any suggestions for dealing with this?

Offline skinurghs

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday August 20, 2008, 09:22:01 PM »
Have to agree - that sucks.  I was peeling from face to ankle similar to you.
 
Doc gave me fucibet to deal with this and use about one 500g tub of Epaderm a week.This has helped reduce the symptoms greatly.  If you can do not peal it off, personally feel this makes the symptom worst as you start trying to remove more which in turn is removing skin that is healing.

Doc asked me to reduce the number of baths that I was having. I used to do 2 a day. One before going to work (becos I felt I looked like a leper) and one b4 I went to bed.  I reduced this to one a day, using plenty of oilatum in the water.  Do not have a hot bath as this will not help your skin.

I moisturise about 6 times a day with Epaderm.  You'll feel like a grease ball and probably your girlfriend will think you feel like it as well.  But perservere with it.  Hopefully the reduced symptoms will carry on reducing.

Please be patient with it and DO NOT pick or rub it.  You'll be taking healthy skin off at the same time.

I shake out my sheets everyday and hang them in the sun.

Your girlfriend needs to be more understanding and give you more support.  Giving you grief is only stressing you.  So get your girlfriend to help you at night if you are scratching.  Ask her to hold your hand when you scratch or rub your skin.

Hope this helps
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Offline Lum

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday August 20, 2008, 11:33:03 PM »
Thanks for the reply.

I have no idea what fucibet is (steroid?) and the moisturiser I'm using is 50/50 (50% white soft parafin 50% liquid parafin, nothing else) supposedly the best as it contains no additives that might irritate the skin or make the stuff convinient to use. I am gacking up my work's laptop keyboard as I type this having just gotten out of the bath.

I wish I'd read your reply before I got in the bath as this time I tried an intermediate approach, try and remove the flakes using nothing but a flannel, no soap. I stopped using Oilatum Plus ages ago as I found it made my skin peel even more (regardless of scrubbing or rubbing or just sitting there doing nothing)

It's hard to get a consisten pattern of treatment going I work from home some days which is perfect as I can just sit around in my underwear and moisturise whenever I feel like it. Other days I work on customer sites where such behaviour would likely see me arrested. I'm currently writing this from a hotel room 4 hours drive away from home and I pity the poor sod who has to replace my moisturiser soaked bedsheets in the morning.

I dont shake out the sheets, but we have a separate dustpan+brush that is only used for "de bitting" the bed drying them outside would be a bad idea as I'm allergic to pollen.

My girlfriend seems to think that more baths and exfoliation will fix things, you are telling me the opposite. As someone who has actually seen positive results, I believe you, but do you have a link to any kind of reference that will carry more weight in an argument than "some guy/girl on an internet forum". She does at least try to stop me scratching but this involves telling me off and getting increasingly angry at me for "ignoring her" if I continue or restart later.

The other related problem I've gotten recently is the back of my hands have started acting up in a really bad way, they are currently mising several layers of skin compared to my palms and when they are not peeling the skin rapidly goes brown and hard, then it starts to crack, fall off and we're back with the peeling again. Moisturising doesn't seem to help this.

Offline itchy4life

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #3 on: Thursday August 21, 2008, 08:16:19 AM »
Hi there,

I'm wondering why your skin continues to flake off that much...perhaps the moisturizer you're using isn't cutting it?  Have you tried just plain ol' Vaseline?  I mean the petroleum jelly, not the lotions.  I know it's greasy, but it really does help to keep your skin moist.  I would suggest slathering it on right after you bathe, while your skin is still a little damp, and then give it some time for it to absorb before putting on your clothes.  It'll probably be best to do this at night, that way you won't ruin your wardrobe.

I have terrible eczema on the back of my hands as well.  I use Protopic once a day, and the skin sometimes flakes off too (I don't know if it's the meds that is causing it, or if it's from scratching) so I constantly moisturize with Vaseline, which seems to help a lot. 

Hope this helps you out, but keep us posted anyway on how you do...good luck! :D

Offline Lum

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #4 on: Thursday August 21, 2008, 12:09:32 PM »
The moisturiser I'm using is somewhat plainer than Vaseline, so I don't think it's that. I use it an awful lot to try and keep my hands in check, to the point that I've had to start wearing cotton gloves in order to drive. I do use it after a bath, but by the time the morning comes I'm dry once again and have been shedding.

Also I may have been somewhat hard on my girlfriend in the earlier posts, she's been very supportive and understanding, I would have probably given up a long time ago if it weren't for her, but everyone has a line where things get too much and my constant filling of the bed with bits seems to be it for her. I've started staying up a few hours later than her so she can get some sleep in, because if I go to bed first there are too many bits when she comes to bed, unfortunately this is screwing with my sleep cycles. It's a good job I can get away with this by working from home ;)

Offline skinurghs

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #5 on: Thursday August 21, 2008, 06:35:01 PM »
Hi Lum

If you go to any eczema site for treating eczema there are a number of things to do to help discourage the symptoms:

1. Avoid frequent hot baths, which tend to dry the skin.
I have luke warm baths with baleneum plus to relieve the itchiness of my skin.  Thereafter before having shingles, I lighted creamed my entire body with fucibet (antibiotic steroid cream - in terms of strength it is classed as moderate).  After that I smooth in epaderm (it's like your 50-50).  An hour after my skin has dried, I apply a second application of epaderm.

I do a lot of running, and when the sweat has dried off naturally from my face, my face is very dry due to the evaporation of water from the skin.  Have to apply epaderm straight after.

2. Avoid excessive scrubbing during and after your bath and toweling after bathing. Instead, gently pat your skin dry.
This is hard to do when your skin is so flakey, all you want to do is remove the dry skin but you have to be strong and tell yourself that this is for the benefit of your skin.  Exfoliating skin is for people with healthy skin......not for people like us with special skin conditions!

After 2 weeks, there was improvement of the flakiness. Am still dry but not as flakey.

Am wondering if the elidel is effective for your skin any more - you need to see your dermatologist to get a review.
They'll be able to help your hands as well.

Also with regards to your gf, would suggest separate beds for the moment or try wrapping yourself in a separate sheet to minimise the skin going all over the bed.  You can always visit each other!!!

Hope you're changing your own bed sheets daily.  I find the skin in the bed irritates my skin more and is a breeding ground for dust mites!

Good luck with the dermatologist

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Offline skinurghs

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #6 on: Thursday August 21, 2008, 06:39:07 PM »
Oh yeah - also have been drinking much more.
About nearly 2 litres during the day and about 300-500ml during the night
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Offline BlistersOnMyFingers

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #7 on: Friday August 22, 2008, 10:21:22 PM »
Hey Lum, hopefully you've got an appointment lined up with a dermatologist.

I had one similar episode of excessive flaking all over my face for several months.  It was extremely embarassing to deal with at home and work.  My wife finally talked me into getting an emergency appointment with my dermatologist to have it checked out (apparently much easier done here in the US that it is in the UK).  The only treatment that worked for me was a steroid injection, followed by another one three months later.  Obviously, everyone is different, but I haven't flaked since, and that was probably about eight years ago.

There are lots of good knowlegdeable folks here with good advice worth trying out.  But, please, get to a dermatologist soon.

Good luck!
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Offline Lum

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #8 on: Thursday September 04, 2008, 05:23:28 PM »
Hi, I have an appointment with my dermatologist for the 19th. Quite lucky I already had that booked (I go every few months) as it takes ages to get an appointment.

Since originally going on the Azathioprine, this is currently the worst I've had it, I just dont seem to be able to get rid of this flare up. I've been very red for weeks, and the moisturiser just sinks into the skin while leaving it dry (either that or it's not sinking in at all and is just falling off). I did think my hands had started to calm down a bit and stop shedding, until this morning when I found that the next layer of skin has started cracking and falling off.

I'm trying to keep baths down to a minimum (both in terms of temperature and frequency) but it's taking me longer and longer to recover from them. I just don't know what to do now.

I bet you it clears up by the time my appointment comes up. It always bloody does!

Offline BlistersOnMyFingers

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #9 on: Saturday September 06, 2008, 02:32:04 AM »
Good luck with the derm.  If you can, have your girlfriend come with you to help press the issue of how serious it is and the impact it's having on your daily life.  She may also have some observations and questions you haven't thought of.

On the baths, you may actually want to lengthen the baths and turn the temperature up, and toss in some Aveeno oatmeal bath.  The way I understand it, hot showers are bad as they dry the skin, but long hot baths are good for restoring skin moisture.  Then as soon as you get out, gently pat dry with a towel and cover yourself in baby oil.

I feel for you, my friend.  Good luck.
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Offline kamii

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #10 on: Sunday September 07, 2008, 02:55:11 AM »
Hey Lum,

  I know exactly what you're going through.  Same story with me.  Well i'll cut the story short, one day, i got up, face was dry, couple weeks later my face is red and dry 24/7.  Next thing i know i get up every morning with my bed covered in what looks like biscuit crumbs.  I'm sweeping it off with my hands and afterwards the floor is just covered.  Originally it was just on  my face and neck, then spread down shoulders, and my torso.  The bits behind my knees also spread and were know on my calves as well, all of these parts were dry, inflamed and stung.  I couldn't move properly anymore and just didn't want to do anything, actually, i wanted to dig a hole, jump inside and never come back out.  Then it all starts weeping. 

That was the last straw, and i decided to see the doctor and got an appointment to see the derm.  Couple months later, and the specialist looks at me, "holy **** ( :o Ed Bot!  :-X )".  I'm now and cyclosporin and feel like i'm alive again.  I know its bad, but now i can look people in the eyes again.

Offline mayhem

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #11 on: Wednesday September 17, 2008, 12:40:30 PM »
This happened to me last year, i had a flare up of ezcema and went to the doc. He gave me an antibiotic as it was infected and it turned out that i was allergic to it. I was shedding skin like there was no tomorrow, exactly as you have described. Id go to work in a air/con environment all moisturised and within 30 minutes id be dry and flaking.

Maybe check your medication with the derm.

Good luck.

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Offline Lum

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #12 on: Wednesday September 17, 2008, 04:02:37 PM »
Interesting that you should suggest that. The flare up did seem to happen shortly after a course of flucloxacillin, givenbecause I had bursitis on my elbow (they said because I'm on azathiprine that I should have this as a precaution), however that was over a month ago now and the flare up hasn't gone away.

I'm wondering if it might be fungal in nature, the antibiotics would have certainly helped something like that get an advantage and would also explain my GFs allergy to my dead skin.

Shame these ideas arrive immediately after my visit to the derm.

Anyway, he's switched my steroid cream to Dermovate and said to come back in a week. If that doesn't fix it, he's looking in two options, one is to replace the Azathioprine with Cyclosporin and the other is to come in as an in-patient for a few days for some intensive moisturising and stuff. I think he wants me to make the decision as to which, however.

Offline Lum

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #13 on: Sunday September 28, 2008, 01:00:54 PM »
Well I've ended up on Ciclosporin, and I have to say it's pretty amazing stuff. Cleared up the redness and itching in days. My skin is still a little weird but I guess I have to shed the screwed up scaley layers more before I notice a difference there. I'm shedding a lot less bits (though still getting grief about it), hopefully this will improve once the skin has been completely replaced, how long does it take to completely replace the skin?

The pills are damn scary though. I have to be checked once a week to make sure my kidneys still work, and they have a huge list of possible side effects. Apparently 1 in 100 patients end up in a coma after taking it. :o

Offline mayhem

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #14 on: Sunday October 05, 2008, 07:43:35 AM »
Good to see you are getting some relief. The shedding should subside as you have noticed and come to a stop. Ive never heard of what your on at the moment sounds like some powerful medication. Hopefully youre not on it too long. Keep up the regime of moisturising and let us know how you are going.
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Offline Lum

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #15 on: Sunday October 19, 2008, 08:35:25 PM »
Update since I was asked.

Doing pretty good, my legs have gone back to being normal skin again, and it's been that long since I had a good scratch that almost all the scabs have gone, just a few really small ones around the ankles that are holding on. I guess I could pick them off but whats the point, they'll go away when they're ready.

Arms not quite so good, they've had eczema for a lot longer and thus will take longer to heal. They're not red any more, the skin is a lot softer, but you can still see the lines from where they used to be all scaley. The lines are a lot smaller now and I suspect they will go away completely in the next month or so.

I still itch from time to time, but it's manageable, feels just like a normal non-eczema itch and if you scratch it once it goes away, it's also pretty easy to ignore and not scratch at all. Only exception to this that I'm finding is when I first go to bed the itching is quite bad, but instead of scratching I just roll over and lie on the bit that's currently the most irritating.

I am actually getting sleep. I'm a bit worried actually as I seem to be getting too much sleep, I'll sleep for over 12 hours a day if nothing makes me get up. Maybe I'm just catching up, or maybe it's a side effect, who knows.

One thing I find interesting. Previously I was on azathioprine, another immunosupressant, and whilst that eventually stopped working, it did wonders for my asthma and hayfever. The cyclosporin isn't doing much for these so I've been suffering from occasional bouts of hayfever since changing. It makes me wonder if its possible to have a "targeted" immunosupressant, or indeed exactly what is going on.

Going to see the derm again on Tuesday, hopefully the blood test results wont show any negative effects, certainly the blood pressure tests have shown little change.

I'm also putting a lot less bits (possibly none at all) into the bed now. So I'm seeing a lot less grief there, instead its turned into a minor argument about whether the remaining bits are dead skin, normal fluff, or her leaky feather pillow. Whatever, they're really easy to remove now, no more doing multiple passes with the dustpan and brush and then a pass with the lint brush

Offline skinurghs

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #16 on: Saturday October 25, 2008, 09:27:49 PM »
wow am jealous!  Great news Lum.

Keep up the moisturising and drinking lots of water though and don't let down your guard now that you've got your skin back!  ;)
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Offline Lum

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #17 on: Saturday October 25, 2008, 10:25:34 PM »
Mostly positive news, arms are getting better. Inside of the elbows are still a bit itchy sometimes, as are the top/front of my shoulders near the collarbone, but nothing that makes me want to sit there and scratch constantly.

Blood tests were good, the medication isn't doing anything bad to my kidneys, I now only need to be tested every two weeks.

Only side effect I'm seeing is a little bit of acne on my forehead. I'll take that over flaking skin on my forehead any day of the week though!

Ciclosporin is awesome ;)


I guess this thread needs to go into the journals section now.

Offline mayhem

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #18 on: Monday October 27, 2008, 06:34:10 AM »
good to hear lum keep us updated
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Offline Aquababe241

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Re: Any tips for dealing with excessive skin shedding?
« Reply #19 on: Tuesday December 16, 2008, 05:17:41 PM »
Wow!! You've been having it rough to say the least!!

When the skin flakes as much as that it's called exfoliative eczema....one thing to rebuild the skin really quick is to have plenty of protein/salad at almost every meal....You can roast chicken or lightly grill chicken breasts and have salad with avocado for the fat.

Our skin is made up of protein/amino acids and needs plenty of liquid fat to hold the moisture in and hence stop the flakes.  So plenty of  food containing good liquid fat will reduce the flaking tremendously...Protein rebuilds the skin.

Carrot/parsley juice is full of calcium, iron and beta carotene and will get rid of the wrinkles that will start forming after having exfoliative eczema for a long time.  I had this and it was only plenty of protein and salad + juicing that made a big difference.

Look up kefir on the internet - it's like a yoghurty drink but only more powerful - cheap to make and your skin will love you for it...your hair, nails, and skin and immune system will all start looking and feeling great.

I must admit I do stay away from negative critical people as they rub me up the wrong way...postive loving friends are brilliant...

Hope this helps

Oh, the kefir starter grains can be got from TheKefirShop - they are based in Scotland and simple easy to follow instructions are included.
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