My itching, oozing, weeping, open wounded, dry, scaly, flaky, cracking eczema Hands: A lament

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My itching, oozing, weeping, open wounded, dry, scaly, flaky, cracking eczema Hands: A lament

In the past, I have written about and mentioned “my hands.”   For the past two years, I have suffered from an onslaught of what the medical profession calls, “Dyshidrotic Eczema.” I call it “torture” or “The Beast.” When I’m having an “outbreak”, my hands are practically useless. Do you have any idea what it is like to not be able to use your hands? Some of you, who may suffer from this ailment will have no problem answering with a resounding, “YES. I DO know what that is like.” Some of you reading this who may suffer from much worse ailments than I am about to write about…please forgive me if my plight seems trivial to you. There are many, many worse things that could have happened to me or could happen to me in the future. I am well aware of that. Please, however, remember that I am describing what ails me. I have a healthy perspective that it could “always be worse.” However, there is no reason for me to not tell my story simply because there are worse tales to tell. I personally believe my tale to be pretty horrible. I’m not stuck on that negativity any more…but this story needs to be told. This post will be therapeutic for me. My hope is that it will also help my fellow suffers of this disease/ailment.

Let’s begin with a brief description of my fingers: Cracking, oozing, bleeding, popping, rash covered, itching, fluid filled, crusty, sausage-like. When this disease first began, it was centralized to my fingers. Then it spread across the top of my hands, into the creases of my elbows, up my arms and across my chest. It also affected my right eyelid.

Next, let’s include a few pictures. They aren’t great…but remember, I couldn’t use my hands…so holding an electronic device with oozing fingers covered in coconut oil wasn’t great idea. Documenting them at their worst (this time), however, was important to me. I knew that one day they would heal, even though through the worst of it, it felt hopeless. I wanted to die.  I lost all faith in myself. I just wanted to be able to interact with my world.

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I wore gloves so that I wouldn’t scratch open my blisters. I wore gloves so that I wouldn’t have to see my hands. I wore gloves to attempt to keep my sanity intact. I wore gloves so that I would feel normal. I wore gloves…so that I wouldn’t grease the doors, door knobs, refrigerator, dryer, washer, dishwasher, bed, chairs, blankets… etc, etc, etc, of our home.

I am really upset with how allopathic medicine has failed to do much research about eczema. Eczema is like Cancer, in that no one can really give a definite, scientific answer as to WHY it happens…WHERE it comes from. It is a mystery. In a set of previous blogs that I have written about my skin and Dyshidrotic Eczema, I have seen a resounding number of fellow suffers mention that they believe that this disorder begins in the gut. I am highly interested in this theory, although I have not yet tested it out myself. The GAPS diet keeps appearing in discussions about DE. “Heal the gut, heal your skin” is repeated. Take probiotics. Take vitamins. Use this lotion, not that one. Don’t eat this. Drink this, not this. At this point in my life, my hands are in “remission” so I am trying to do all I can to NOT focus on my skin as much as I was forced to in the past when they were in outbreak stage. It seems that when my hands start getting bad, I instantly begin attempting to find a cure for myself. When my hands are manageable, I try to live life at its fullest. Perhaps I should keep putting positive energy for a cure into my daily regiment…but frankly, it is exhausting to constantly think about the “what if’s, maybe I could’s, should I not’s, I could change“…and on and on. So now, I’m going to tell you what I have done in the past. I’m going to relay to you my trials and errors. Before I begin, however, I must relay to you that I believe that this ailment is not only caused by problems in the gut. I believe that it is also caused by problems in the mind.

When our second son was born, it was magical. I gave birth to him naturally in a tub of tepid water. My husband and two midwifes were there to witness his birth. He was born “in the caul.” Well, not fully in the caul, but he had a little magic cap upon his entrance into the world. The first few months were great, but then we began having trouble with breastfeeding. He cried, oh man did he cry…it was painful to hear, especially to a new Mother. Nothing I could do would stop the crying. It was torturous. We were never given a medical reason for his cries, other than he was a very vocal child and that he probably had colic. My hands/skin responded with a fight or flight response. I felt helpless. My hands became mannequin hands. I couldn’t bend my fingers. I doused them in steroid cremes, but they didn’t help. Then I had steroid withdrawals, and red skin syndrome. This experience caused me to be terrified of steroids. It also made me a bit crazy.

So…where to turn next? The internet, I suppose. I found Plantain. I began going out into our yard to make plantain poultices. It DID work well for me, but the blisters kept on coming. I still recommend plantain. I began using coconut oil as a moisturizer. Then I found a product called, “Elta Tar.” It seemed to keep the blisters at bay and calm the itching, but then one day I read the fine print on the container while I was soaking my hands in the product and read that it had been known to Cause cancer. WTF. Great. I returned to the coconut oil.

Next I tried Magnesium Oil. It was VERY painful to place on my hands, because there was ALWAYS an open wound. I couldn’t handle it. It did stop the itching…but only because the itching was replaced by stinging and pain. I returned to using only coconut oil.

I decided to make a trip to the allergist. The dermatologist had only prescribed steroid cremes that made it worse, so I was afraid of him/sterioids. The allergist ordered a prick test for allergies, performed on my back. It came back that I was allergic to 21 out of the 60 things I was tested for. I stopped eating everything that I tested positive for, including cow’s milk products (cheese!), chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites, strawberries, garlic, oats…

Then I tried Apple Cider Vinegar Soaks. This type of pain was worse than childbirth. It was excrutiating to put open wounds into vinegar. What was I thinking? Well, if you are a fellow sufferer, you know that you’ll try ANYTHING. I spoke out loud to my husband that the pain and stinging was better than itching all the time. Better than ripping my skin apart with my withering, receeding, wavy and wrinkled barely-there fingernails. I tried petroleum jelly and non-petroleum jelly for moisturizer. I cringed as I touched my demonic hands. Nothing was helping.

Near the end of my last outbreak, I was regularly wearing black cotton gloves and black diabetic socks that I had cut hand holes in, over my arms. I didn’t go anywhere. My quality of life was diminishing. I had been in a depression for a while, for obvious reasons…but it kept getting worse and worse. I had lost myself. This ailment had taken me over. Who was I? Where was the bright, shining being I had once been? I was buried under oils, gloves and socks. I felt like I was starving myself. I couldn’t eat anything, touch anything, do anything. I was dying.

Finally one day, I woke up. I decided that I wasn’t going to be afraid anymore. That I wasn’t going to let this thing beat me. I scheduled another appointment with our General Practitioner. I asked for a blood test to check all of the vitamin levels they could run a test for. Everything came back normal.

I scheduled another allergist appointment. I went in and told them that I had stopped eating all of the foods that I had tested positive for. I had not eaten them for three months. I had seen no changes. I asked if they would provide a blood test. They agreed. I passed out on the second vile (I do that). When the blood test came back, it showed that I’d had a laundry list of FALSE positives on the original prick test. I was only really allergic to dust mites, Halibut and Kentucky Bluegrass. I cried, I was so happy. I could eat again!!!!

Next I decided that I was going to get a referral to another dermatologist. I told myself not to be afraid. I told myself that I would do whatever he told me to do. I wanted to live again. When I arrived at the dermatologist’s office, I peeled off my gloves and long sleeves and he prescribed me two different types of steroids, phototherapy and biotin (the vitamin found in Hair, Skin and Nail). I came home and put the crème on my hands. The next day, they stopped itching. The blisters and redness and itching and swelling were gone in three days. I had gotten the beast back under control. I celebrated with cheese and chicken and dancing, laughing and smiles. I told myself that it was time to live. I decided that I was going to keep myself happy. I was going to have theatre in my life again. I cut bangs on a whim. I started speaking my mind, not giving a shit what anyone thought. I started being ME, without fear. Without regret. My hands, so far, have responded to this emotional healing much better than to the steroids. I only put the steroids on when I see that I have a problem area that I am scratching unconsciously. It seems to keep the beast at bay, per-say, so that I can keep my quality of life flowing.

There was a period of my life in which I felt helpless. Like I couldn’t do ANYTHING. TOUCH anything. Well, now I am destined to do EVERYTHING, and that is what I’m doing. I am keeping myself happy. Ever since I decided that I was not going to let the negativity affect me anymore, no matter how my hands were behaving, I have noticed a tremendous difference in them. I believe that negative emotions are a killer. My husband says that he believes my “mind-body” link was broken. He says that we are all an experiment of the mind-body link. There is a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. “One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland (hypophysis).” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothalamus

The Hypothalamus is essentially what connects the mind to the body. We believe that emotions can cause a physical sickness in the body. Especially chronic negative emotions. My mind was packed with negative emotions. Why? Well, that’s a good question. As I have continued to learn and grow as a Mother, I have been forced to take a good look at myself. That’s what children are best at: showing you your flaws. You must pay attention to what they teach you, and I did. I didn’t like what I saw. I decided that I was going to clean myself up. I began the challenging work of getting rid of my past demons. There were some ugly ones hidden in there too: suicide, narcissism, critique, judgement, fear, worry. While my hands were weeping, I was too. I didn’t want to look at myself and my flaws. Who does? I knew that in order to heal myself, my mind, and my role as a strong and powerful Mother, woman and self, that I must bring each demon to the surface and sleigh it. This process was the most challenging thing I have ever achieved in my life. I did it. I survived. It was ugly. I was distraught. But I got through it. I slowly began replacing the things I didn’t like about myself with the positive energies of what was best about my Self. My Being. I embraced me…the true me, not the programmed me. I allowed the enlightened being within to surface and take control. No more pain body (Thanks Eckhart Tolle!). No more suffering. I dealt with my issues. I cleaned up my mind. My skin followed my mind on the healing journey.

I have read before that “our past is what defines us.” I can see the value and importance in this. One thing I have to remember, however, is that I am not the past me. I am the present ME. The past is in the past. I will no longer dwell on all of the negative. I will focus on the positive. For now, I am able to catch myself quickly when those negative thoughts and emotions begin to creep back in. I stop the beast in its tracks. I feel as if I have learned the basics of HOW to do this, for myself. I encourage you to do the same for yourself. Do you find yourself focusing on the negative. Do you sit and stare at your vulgar hands (or feet) on a regular basis? STOP IT. Try to move on, friend. Try with all your might. Carry on. LIVE! Heal your mind. Heal your body. Don’t live in fear. Don’t let the beast become you. You are a bright, powerful being. Take back control of your life. There is no cure in a bottle. Do what works for you. Stop focusing on the negative. Keep yourself in the right state of mind, fellow sufferers. I know it is HARD. I KNOW. I really, really do. I understand what it is like. Hang in there and keep on fighting. I firmly believe that if you make a real, conscious effort and decision to be happy that you will see a dramatic improvement in your skin.

My hands still have eczema on them.  There are currently still blisters and itchies…but they are tolerable.  I have stopped thinking about them.  Before, they were all I thought about.  Now, I have began painting my fingernails in ridiculously happy polishes. I am a silly, goofy, punny, dramatic and weird soul. I have grasped this. I am going to wear my “crazy” like a trophy. I am 34 years old and I have stopped dying my hair. I have grey/silver hairs. I will no longer live my life in fear of other people’s judgement. What a waste of life that would be/has been. I am living again. There is no turning back for me. I’ve been in that other deep, dark place. I don’t like it. It is damp and cold. It makes my fingers and their nails wither. I like it here where it is warm and sunny. I will take what life hands me, and not become distraught when it is not exactly a positive thing. I will heal. I will grow. I will learn. I will live. This is my current tactic for healing Dyshidrotic Eczema. Please wish me well on my journey. I wish you peace and happiness. Take care of yourself.

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28 responses »

  1. I could relate to this post soooo much! I’m so happy that your hand eczema is now tolerable. I will definitely try to change my mind set and become more positive, I will not let my eczema define me! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Hello!
    I’m currently on my second BIG outbreak of this since this summer. I’ve had multiple smaller outbreaks since the first huge one but this is another doozy. Did you notice that anything does seem to trigger yours? I’m desperately trying to figure out my trigger. 😦 I, like you, have it on the tops of my hands and fingers – some of my blisters are as big as a dime. Not fun!

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  3. I just found your blog and it’s amazing!
    I have dyshidrotic eczema on my feet. I’ve gotten it every summer since my oldest was born 3 years ago, but it always clears up once winter sets in and I wear socks all the time. It’s the least of my eczema problems.
    When I hit puberty, I started getting eczema around my nose. It would crack and spread out towards my cheeks. I would do everything from vaseline to lotions to keep it at bay. Finally, when I was about 16 I went to a dermatologist who gave me a steroid cream. It cleared it up and for several years I didn’t think about it. When I got pregnant with my 2nd, I was distraught. I had gotten postpartum depression with my son, and I struggled to bond with him. He was also colicky and we moved from home when he was a week old. I was afraid of having deep depression again and not being able to handle a newborn. That I would have another sour experience with my 2nd baby. The stress from all this caused my eczema on my face to return. I tried to do things to make it go away, lotions and things again. But it continued to get worse. I started caking on cover up and tried to forget about it. But my anxiety about another baby plus my anxiety about my face made me crazy. Finally I talked to my doctor and he prescribed another steroid cream. It made my face EXPLODE. It went from my chin, all around my mouth, up the sides of my nose and out, on my upper and lower eyelids, were all one big rash. It was everything I could do to not touch it! It felt tight and painful and raw. I would lay ice packs over my face for relief. My doctor and I agreed we wouldn’t do anything more for it until baby was born.
    Turns out I have what’s called perioral dermatitis, which is a type of eczema that flares up in response to almost everything. Steroid creams make it worse, as does make up and lotions and basically everything I’d been putting on my face to try to remedy it.
    So, as for me, my eczema seems to be a result of a ton of stuff. Mostly stress I would say. I don’t tolerante heat well, so that might explain the appearance of dyshidrotic eczema on my feet in summer. I was having anxiety attacks on the regular when I started getting the perioral dermatitis on my face. Pregnancy also didn’t help my immune system there. And of course, irritants from soaps and shampoos and everything else killed my face.
    My doctor did prescribe an antibiotic lotion that cleared my face up completely within 2 weeks. And I now apply coconut oil religiously, everywhere. Face, hair, feet, body. I joke with my husband that coconut oil is my best friend. Strangely enough, it helps with my acne. If I every go a few days without using it on my face, I’ll get pimples. But if I’m really thorough and use it daily I never see any pimples!
    I also wash my hair with baking soda only, and do vinegar/wager rinses as conditioner. I use a mild conditioner occasionally too.
    I have been thinking about eczema a lot. I do think it’s partially caused by the crud in everything. In food, beauty products. And stress.
    Whatever the case, I always know an eczema flare up is looming, and I’m so glad to have found your blog. So inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story and what works for you!
    I wish you happy skin!

    Shannon

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    • Hello Shanon, TY so so much for sharing. I too have gone through 3 or 4 doctors that can seem to help. I tried getting a referral and the only 2 dermatologists cant even pick up a phone. I get better treatment at urgent care. If you could give the names to the exact medicine they gave you that could do miracles for us who are still playing the game trying to get one of the medicines in the medicine graveyard to work. I even paid over 100.00 cash to see a dermatologist and I am absolutely devisitated from all the arguing and bs she is giving me since the medicine isnt doing anything. If Wendy got relief in 3 days and I am seeing nothing after 3 weeks I dont understand why my doctor is disrespecting me so hard. I have messaged Wendy and asked her for the name of the medicine that worked for her too. Im desperate.

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      • Sally, The medicine that worked the best for me was called Fluticasone Propionate Cream by Perrigo. I also had good luck with Clobetasol Propionate Ointment from Hi-Tech Pharmacal.
        Your pain is all too familiar. Please know that even though my hands are now back to a manageable level– I STILL get breakouts. That’s just the nature of the beast. Don’t lose heart. I believe that we all have to go through the process you are going through, trying different medications until we find one we feel works. As I have written in the past, however, I believe that this disease is also highly related to your state of mind. Try to stay positive. Don’t let yourself get bored and dwell on it. Sending healing wishes your way.

        -Wendy

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      • Hi! So the eczema I had on my fave is called periorial dermatitis – I would look it up to see if that seems anything like what you have. The lotion he prescribed is called clindamycin phosphate topical lotion 1%. I used it for about a month to fully get rid of my eczema all over my face, and now I will use it only if I feel around my nose or mouth starting to get that tight, dry feeling. I usually only have to use it once and I’m set. Hope you find some relief!

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      • Has anyone experienced any of the creams that worked for them causing the area to dry out and get flaky? Some of the nail beds are actually starting to turn white and peel! I have had to slather my nails in Vaseline and go to bed with white cotton gloves on each night.

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      • WOw Thank you so so much Wendy. I appreciate you coming back and taking the time to help all of us. I will check these medicines online nd see if I can just purchase them. Or I go back to my doc and she is she will agree to get them. Thank you so so much!!

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      • Thank you Shannon!! I will write this down as well. I just want to really get to the root cause of it all.

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  4. Thank you for writing this! I have been dealing with DE for over 10 years now. It started after the birth of my second child, and has been going strong ever since. I am disgusted with doctors who don’t seem to care, only give you a new prescription and send you on your way. They never helped. I learned some of my “triggers” after finding another site like this one about 5 years ago (after I quit my job as a oral surgery assistant, because would you want me putting these gross hands in your mouth?) I avoid all citric acid, sodium benzoate, sulfites and nitrites if possible. This helps, but I know I’m still missing something because the breakouts still happen, just not as bad. We have become natural food junkies and I know that we have ALL benefitted from it. I’m sorry that others suffer like I do, but after all the crazy looks from friends and family when I explain “what happened to your hands?”, it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone.
    Thank you, and you are loved.

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  5. Thank you so much for posting this! Its great to know that I’m not the only with this miserable skin condition. It’s really hard for me because I am a massage therapist and the frequent hand washing doesn’t help at all. I just had a dermatologist appointment and he prescribed me Clobestol and an antiobiotic. I’m hoping and praying it works because I’m so tired of dealing with this. But your story gives me hope that things will get better, just as long as I keep a positive attitude..so thank you so much for sharing your story and I hope you continue to heal!

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  6. I finally found hope! I pray to God this helps all of you as it has me. I’ll be doing a video soon on it to explain more in detail. Mine is linked to gluten, dairy, and allergies. I figured this out through food. Something told me it had to be food related and not just skin contact. I was right! I’ll post more information on my YouTube “Jeniveve Johnson” Try cutting those things out I mentioned. I pray for your healing as I am too. I’m still going through me medical testing to get definite answers.

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  7. Hello — My hands used to look and feel JUST like yours. Your story reads so much like mine that I could have written it myself. I have been through it all — the creams, the steroids, various meds, natural treatments, essential oils, dietary changes, soaking in ACV (torture), etc. I wanted to let you know that I finally discovered the problem. It was thanks to your blog and a comment on your site that led me to discover that my “dyshidrotic eczema” was actually an allergy to titanium dioxide. Here is what happened (in about a period over 5 years). This is a long narrative, but I wanted to try to be as detailed as possible in the hope of helping others.

    When I first developed the problem, my dermatologist diagnosed it as dyshidrotic eczema. She thought “maybe” it could be a fungus, but it was hard to tell – never found anything under a microscope. So I decided to treat it as if it was a fungus, just in case. Went the natural method first and saw a holistic doctor, which didn’t do a thing. Then I started a mix of steroid creams and antifungal creams. After about half a year of treatment, it finally got a LITTLE bit better. (Later, I found out this was not due to the meds… read on.)

    Was OK for about a year, then back to the same old problems. Went back to the dermatologist, who still wasn’t convinced it was a fungus (even though it looked BAD, really, really bad). I had to wear gauze wraps around my fingers, which is terrible in trying to take care of my daughter, prepare meals, provide simple self-care for myself, zip up my jacket, leave the house without being totally embarrassed, etc. It really became like a disability, and I can tell from your pictures that you know I’m not exaggerating.

    So I went back to the medicated creams, and it just kept getting worse. I ended up going to the ER at one point since I ran out of medicine, there was a long holiday break coming, and I needed something. The ER did a lab test and said there was a fungus. Later, I went back to the dermatologist who said she just didn’t believe the lab test – to her, it looked like dyshidrotic eczema. She thought that the lab test was contaminated (which I had never heard of – I thought, the lab would know what they were doing). She gave me more steroid cream. At that point, I thought I might need to see more doctors to get more tests and more opinions. So I called my primary care doctor to get yet another referral, and the receptionist at my primary care doctor’s office said the most perfect thing to me at the most perfect moment: Sometimes doctors prescribe a medicine (like the steroid cream I was given) as a test in itself. If it were truly fungus, the steroid would make the fungus even worse. That made a lot of sense to me. But, of course, having been through all of this for so long, I really didn’t want to make anything worse!

    So I got home and started Googling like crazy (for the millionth time). That’s when I came across your site and the comment someone wrote that they thought it was something in their toothpaste. I thought that sounded worth looking into since my hands hurt particularly bad after brushing my teeth – it would run back toward my hand and get the gauze wet. It didn’t explain yet why my OTHER hand (that I don’t use to brush my teeth) would have the problem too, but more on that later… For the past few years, I’ve been buying most of my toothpaste in batches on Amazon. I went to my order history and discovered that were two types of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste I had been using over the past years. I printed out the order history and then I looked up the ingredients. The two types were “Simply White” and “Cavity Protection” (the orange label). I cross-checked all the ingredients and managed to bring it down to about three or four differences. Titanium dioxide seemed to be the most likely culprit since my hands were particularly bad in the summer when putting sunscreen on myself and my daughter. What was MOST interesting was that the flare-ups in my hands coincided with the “Simply White” toothpaste (that had titanium dioxide), and the symptoms were much less (although not gone altogether) with “Cavity Protection (which had NO titanium dioxide). I used my record of dermatologist visits and when I bought medicated creams to figure out when the flare-ups were.

    I immediately made my own toothpaste out of baking soda and coconut oil, and I used a fresh brush. Within one week, my hands were 75% better. So I decided to look at all my products and found out that titanium dioxide was pretty much in EVERYTHING. Since I bought shampoo on Amazon and could use my order history as a reference, I went back and found that the brand that I’ve used for about 15 years had added titanium dioxide in the past few years when I started having this problem!

    So I eliminated all products with it, and eventually I didn’t have to wear gauze anymore. Then I eased off all of my meds, essential oils and other crap. I was only putting on a mixture of whipped shea butter and coconut oil that I had made myself. (I also was particularly impressed with my dermatologist for disagreeing with the hospital lab test and sticking to her diagnosis of eczema. To me, that was really an important key to all this.)

    After being about 95% healed, I decided to go back and try Tom’s of Maine “Cavity Protection” toothpaste (the one without titanium dioxide). I have always liked their toothpaste since my teeth have been healthy. But after not using fluoride for so long, I was starting to have dental problems. (It’s a big chain reaction like “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”… If it’s not one thing, it’s another.) So I wanted fluoride. Within one week, my hands regressed and I had to go back to wearing gauze again. So I stopped the toothpaste and emailed some questions to Tom’s of Maine.

    When eliminating products, I found that some of my makeup had written on it “may contain titanium dioxide.” I wanted to know if that was similar to the way people with peanut allergies need to avoid products that say “made in a facility that processes peanuts.” So I asked Tom’s of Maine if the “Cavity Protection” toothpaste (without titanium dioxide) was made on the same line as their other toothpastes. They replied that it was: “However, between batches all equipment is steam cleaned and flushed out and then tested to insure there is no residue left from any previous material. It is a very thorough and supervised process.”

    I have always liked their brand and believe that to be true. But then I thought about this spray-on sunscreen made by Goddess Garden that I got for my daughter the previous year. For a spray, it was rated pretty well on the Environmental Working Group database of products that they test. (Not among the “best” ratings, but it seemed safe enough to me. And it was important to me to get a spray – anything to make things easier on my hands!) It had a mixture of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in it. When I sprayed it on her while she stood on our front steps, it left an outline of her feet on the slate! The outline survived a New England winter. It’s been a year, and we can now check how much her feet have grown since last year! I am sure that Tom’s of Maine’s has good practices in place. But I’m not sure if “steam cleaning” and “flushing out” can truly remove the residue. My hands (and my daughter’s footprints!) are the proof.

    I have since found a new toothpaste that has the fluoride I want and no titanium dioxide. None of my toiletries have it at all. I also check that I’m not unknowingly eating it since some products that are dairy-free use titanium dioxide in cheese substitutes. It’s also in chocolates with hard, shell coatings (like M&Ms) and candy canes.

    My hands are about 99% better after 9 months of this initial discovery. I can’t say it’s 100% yet since those blisters of dyshidrotic eczema come in about 4-week cycles for me. It has taken a long time to heal, but I’m happy since it’s not getting any worse! The blisters are significantly less every month, and my hands look like those of a NORMAL person. Through my research, I am confident to say that I had dyshidrotic eczema caused by an allergy to titanium dioxide.

    I hope that this narrative can help you find out what is causing your eczema. Best of luck to you – and all your readers – in living healthy, pain-free lives.

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    • Lia–I appreciated your comment in response to Wendy’s post. This too has been an ailment of mine for years, and as of now, I’m desperate for relief. My eyes are like Wendy described and pictured hers. I’ve done the steroid route, I’ve eliminated lots of foods (I have Celiac disease), and I’m trying homeopathic creams, but still I itch, scratch, ooze, and my fingers break open where the puss pockets can no longer hold the inflammation. SO, thank you for all the research you ladies are doing and experiencing relief from. I believe Lia, I have the same allergy to titanium dioxide. What make up do you use now? Where do you get your supply of shea butter? And what toothpaste did you figure out worked? Thank you for your advice and I’m so glad that I have a community out here in the web world that I can learn from. -Elisa

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      • Hi, Elisa – So glad you found this site! Butterchurn has put together a valuable resource for all of us! And I’m so sorry to keep you waiting with a reply – this was only just sent to my email today. To answer your questions:

        Shea butter: I buy NOW Foods shea butter on Amazon.

        Toothpaste: Jason Natural Nutrismile on Amazon (orange-cinnamon mint). Until I found this, I used a homemade mixture of coconut oil and baking soda. Not exactly pleasant, but it cleans. I read that some people add peppermint extract to it to make it feel fresher. I found this just from a random “diy toothpaste” search on Google.

        Make-up: I try not to use too much at all anymore. When I do wear make-up, I am able to tolerate the following – however, please note that some of these do contain titanium dioxide. But I’ve eliminated it so much from all of my other products that there seems to be a low level that I can tolerate of these. If you can, I would try not to use any makeup until you can slowly reintroduce things again: Cover Girl Ultimate Finish liquid powder make-up, Cover Girl Cheekers powder blush and Maybelline lash discovery waterproof mascara (with the mini-brush). There are certainly healthier products you could buy, but I just didn’t want to spend any extra money on things I wasn’t sure was going to work.

        I also carry my own hand sanitizer wherever I go since most public restrooms (and friends’ houses too) usually have hand soap that has titanium dioxide. There was one day where I was out and about a lot, and I had to use whatever soap was available. Big mistake. The pus-filled blisters came back and went through their long 4-6 week cycle. It didn’t get as bad as before though, but it was quite amazing to see how long the cycle lasts. I now make sure I have with me these mini hand sanitizers that I can fit in my pocket (and I have a large dispenser in the car): Cleanwell (also on Amazon). It uses thyme instead of harsh chemicals that kill off all the good bacteria on your hands too. And when I’m at home, at the sink – I use our grocery store generic brand of SoftSoap (the white kind), which doesn’t have any titanium dioxide. In the shower, the most cost-effective all-purpose soap (to replace bar soap) I found was Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap. You fill a foam dispenser, half with the soap and half with filtered water. You could use this as a hand soap at the sink too.

        I hope these things help you – good luck!!

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      • Lia, THANK YOU for taking time to give me your suggestions! I’m on Amazon now. I hadn’t thought about the soaps around town–and at the school where I teach! Yikes! I’m on your hand sanitizer train now. I use bar soaps from Trader Joe’s, but I have had Dr. Bronner’s before. For a while, I used tar soap on my daughter’s eczema. I could try that as well. And I found some shampoos that don’t contain titanium dioxide. I go for the next round of allergy testing next week to make sure I’ve got the allergy. Until then, I’m nixing what I can! Thanks again.

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      • Elisa — You’re very welcome! Good luck! I will keep my fingers crossed that this is the answer for you too!

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  8. Pingback: Eczema Skin – How to Stop Scratching the Itchy Rash | homedesignsidea.info

  9. I’m going though it now. Tried everything too.Almost in tears reading your blog. Thank you for your inspiration. I think it’s really the mind-body link. Thank you again for sharing and may our skin heal with love.

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  10. I’m have this same problem since age 11. By the time i was 21 it was all over. I was a white black girk. Crams and light treaments helped me back then. I my need ut now to after 50 years. I haven’t come terms with making myself do those things to keep my hands from constantly itching soooo baaaad. I use to run them under hot a water till I burn them. Third degree burns. I don’t do that ain’t more but be wanting to. Seem like they itch worse in the fall. I really need to force myself to do those things. Stay out of water, creams and cotton gloves, wear vynol gloves to clean,, don’t scratch, (lol) I put a rash on my face by scratching, gesh, take steroids, (makes me fat) and watch what I eat. Well it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with this problem. I have it elbows, back legs, neck and have pretty much keep it out my face. Until here recently I’ve been scratching my chin well it’s broke out. Gesh

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  11. I felt like it was me writing this. We have so much in common. I tried Plantain, Apple Cider Vinegar which my husband thought I was crazy for doing, coconut oil, petroleum jelly, vitamins (and nothing worked), I have a dust mite allergy, my thought was also that this was a mental thing (I guessed stress), I stopped dying my hair a few years ago, I’m about the same age as you, I’m also silly, goofy, punny, dramatic, weird; the skin issue affects my hands and 1 eyelid. However, now it is taking grasp of my neck. It looks like hand/finger marks strangling me which is quite odd. I found another woman on the internet with the same issue (the marks look like strangle marks). I do a weekly YouTube show and have to wear cover-up to hide this ailment. I never used to have to wear makeup. Anyway, thank you for this blog. I will cleanse my body, mind, and soul. Thank you for sharing and God bless!

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  12. I’m having the worst break out of my life right now, while going through the toughest point of my life I have and most likely will face. I appreciate your post. Thank you.

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    • Hang in there, Camille. As I have written SO, SOOOO many times. You are not alone. This is a viscious, horrible thing to endure– and there are those of us who understand what it is like to deal with. Keep your head up! You are strong and you WILL get through this!!!

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      • I’m having a bit of a break out myself at the moment. It comes and goes. Sometimes it’s tolerable, other times… well… don’t we know. 😦 GO TEAM! We are NOT this disease. Don’t let it define you!

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  13. If people could give us the exact names of the creams and things that did work and or maybe a blacklist of ones to avoid when they reply, That could do way way more for the rest of us who are still trying to figure it out.
    SO far here is my Black list of thing that didnt work:

    Triamcinolone acetonide .5%

    Flucocinolone acetonide .01%

    two fungal things

    Clotrimazole 1% both a cream and a liquid solution

    I am also on acitate some pill prescription for eczema. 1/2 tablet 150 mg

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  14. We should keep this blog updated and keep track of a “Wrinkle cream Graveyard” Might save everyone time and hassle. Some of these have been for fungal, they didnt do much anyways:
    Here goes:
    DONT WASTE YOUR TIME WITH…………
    Fluocinolone acetonide Dries out the area so bad you crack n bleed.
    Dr insists to stay on it slather hands with vaseline and sleep like that.

    Clotrimazole topical solution
    I have it in a cream too

    a steroid cream triamcinolone acetonide .5%

    I was put on an antibiotic which did nothing “Acticlate” 150 mg tablets which made me break out in hives.

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