the SKINny girl

living with eczema, allergies and other skin issues

Stupid Tiny Eczema Flare-ups

First off, congrats to Nadine — she was the only person to post a comment last week, lol. I hope my products help her as much as they help me!

I had a successful camping trip this past weekend — successful meaning no major eczema flare-ups. There was a little itching here and there, but no weeping, no open wounds and it didn’t consume the trip. Loved that.

Still, I have these tiny patches of eczema on my hands.

I want to know why, even after avoiding one of my major allergens — corn — I’m still seeing tiny flare-ups. Why? Is it stress-related? Is it because I haven’t been avoiding everything?

I guess one of my issues with eczema and allergies is balancing an attempt to live an eczema-free life and living a quality life. Does quality need to equal life with tomato, potato and corn products? Can quality be a life without those food products?

I know I can live a really good life without those allergens. It’s just so hard. And another thing is that I don’t know if these are the only things that are causing my rashes. What if I eliminate ALL of these allergens, including derivatives, and still have rashes?

It’s so frustrating.

Filed under: dealing with eczema, , , ,

Four Ways to Totally Eliminate Eczema

I recently wrote an article on the four main things that have helped me to eliminate eczema. My problem is that I don’t always follow my suggestions, so my eczema always returns.

Eczema Article

What should you do to get rid of your rashes?

  1. Identify your allergens
  2. Get a full night’s rest
  3. Drink a lot of water
  4. Consider acupuncture

I’m not trying to make this sound easy, because it’s not. If it was, my fingers would not be bandaged up right now.

I’m also not contradicting myself — yes, I believe these tips work, but yes, I still have eczema. I just haven’t been as careful the past couple of weeks.

You know that feeling you get when you know you’re recovering from the flu or a cold? You feel better. You’re happy. You’re on your way back to normalcy — maybe a cough here and there, but no more miserable fever. You definitely know you’re on your way to a full recovery.

That’s how I felt this past month. The hand eczema of July ’09 made me desperate — I would do anything to eliminate the pain, itchiness and embarrassment of my rashes. I never realized how conspicuous hands were. It’s obvious, but we never really pay attention to people’s hands. I started to notice how normal everyone’s hands looked compared to mine.

Everything involves the use of hands. I couldn’t open a water bottle. It was difficult to turn doorknobs. Pumping gas was hard. I drove using only my fingertips rather than my entire hand. I held my toothbrush with only my fingertips.  I was embarrassed to pay at stores because it involved using my hands to either pass the cash to the clerk or me signing my name on the credit card swipe machine. My hands were so ugly.

I cried many times.

So back to being desperate. I took the advice of my boyfriend and decided to start sleeping early, which is difficult because I know that I am a night owl. I have a lot of energy up until the late hours of the night. But I noticed that when I slept earlier, not only did my hands started getting better, my mind and body felt better. I was more alert. I felt better altogether. I was getting eight hours of sleep each night.

He also advised me to drink a lot of water. I started drinking several bottles of water each day, plus a couple glasses of green tea.

I had also made an appointment with a dermatologist who then identified the preservative I was allergic to. I spend a lot of time reading labels at stores. I already knew the foods I was allergic to. I avoid my allergens.

Acupuncture released the “toxic heat” from my body.

I think my eczema came back because 1) I became a little lazy when it came to avoiding my food allergens; 2) I hadn’t had acupuncture in a couple of weeks; and 3) I started sleeping late again. Blame it on watching too many episodes of Lost. I’m almost caught up.

Drinking a lot of water has become a habit. I didn’t stop that. I still drink a lot during the day. It has made a big impact on the general appearance and health of my skin. In fact, the skin not affected by my allergies is extremely soft. Why can’t my hands be like that?!

I have another acupuncture appointment on Friday. I had a massage yesterday. I need to sleep early tonight. I’ve been avoiding corn and tomatoes. Let’s hope this works.

Filed under: allergens, dealing with eczema, diet, foods, treatment, treatments that don't work, , ,

Acupuncture

I work in healthcare.

I think doctors are great. Doctors are fabulous. The work they do is miraculous (I am still in awe of the fact that my mom’s kidney is functioning inside of my sister’s body). But I do think there are other ways to solve a problem.

After many attempts to eliminate my eczema with steroids and wet wraps, only to find that the problem still existed, I consulted with my co-worker, who also happens to be an acupuncturist at AcuSport Health Center.

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Filed under: treatment, , , , , ,

The Worst Eczema EVER

My mom, sister and I decided to have a road trip up the California coast. I also knew that I had planned a trip in Vegas immediately after my return, so I tried to eat healthy and keep my eczema under control, especially the ones on my hands.  I had some rashes on both the palm and the top of my hands and was trying to keep them from flaring up by using steroids and applying nightly wet wraps.

It didn’t work.

We reached our campsite in the redwoods past midnight and started setting up our tent. The entire drive to our destination was relatively itch-free, but once we started setting up camp, that all changed. I don’t know if it was the air or the fact that my hands were no longer stuck to a steering wheel, but something triggered an itch on my right hand and I initially unknowingly scratched it. The moment I realized I was scratching, I didn’t stop. I kept scratching. I was holding a flashlight and scratching my right hand with my left hand.

I scratched my right hand until it started bleeding from an open wound I created.

My right hand, now swollen, thick-skinned and oozing blood, was locked open. I couldn’t close my hand — the skin was too thick. I couldn’t hold the flashlight — my hand couldn’t grip it tight enough to maintain the hold.

It was a great trip, but I really couldn’t fully enjoy myself because of my hands. Really, if the eczema were on my back or my arms or my legs, maybe I would have had a better time, but you really don’t realize how much you need your hands. You use them for everything.

I couldn’t even open a water bottle. I couldn’t open a door knob.

I had to brush my teeth with my left hand.

I drove with my fingertips.

I looked at everyone’s hands and saw how normal their hands looked. Soft fingertips, pink palms, flexible fingers. I was jealous and mad and more than anything else, frustrated.

While showering in our boutique hotel in San Francisco, I looked at my fingers. There were minuscule blisters/bubbles under the skin of my fingers. It was so gross. I’ve never seen anything like that before. They were all clustered together, liquid-filled and so tiny. I couldn’t feel them — they weren’t bumpy because they were beneath the surface of my skin. I figured they were the reason why my hands wept when I scratched really hard, but I didn’t understand how they got there.

Sorry to let you down — I didn’t take any photographs of my disgusting hands. It looked so bad it looked fake. Almost as if Hollywood makeup artists came to create a badly burnt hand.

What can I do?

Filed under: dealing with eczema, , , , ,

A Brief History

Skin issues have been THE main health issue of my life. The term sensitive skin doesn’t even come close to defining the largest organ of my body.

Hives were unpredictable. Itchy, mostly. Hot. The hives I had knew no boundaries — face, upper torso, arms, legs. You name it, it’s been there. I started getting these rashes when I was in elementary school. I think I had them until I was in junior high, but I can’t remember for sure.

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Filed under: historic info, , ,

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