I make it no secret that every year around this time I am plagued with an itchy, sore, weepy skin disease from hell. Yes, my friends, good old eczema. It returns almost every year with the weather change and the humidity appearance along with this ridiculous heat. I know we always moan about never having a decent summer but seriously, I’m so glad of that at times.
This year has seen the temperatures sore and stay at a steady 20 degrees plus for a number of weeks. While that is a shock of it’s own, for me, it’s also a massive pain in the arse. Quite literally at times. My eczema dilemma tends to rear it’s ugly scales over a few days and no matter what I do, I just can’t stop it.
In the past I have suffered through all seasons but just lately it’s keeping itself a little quieter on the itch front until it really starts to heat up.
Eczema, I hate you.
I’ll explain to you a little about my condition and how it affects my life at present. Obviously I’m no medical professional so everything in this post is purely what helps me as a person. I’ve seen multiple GP’s about it, tried several therapies such as ultra violet treatment and steroid courses and it’s always best to seek advice from those that know what they are talking about.
I’ve been suffering with eczema or dermatitis since 2007/2008. Before that I had never had so much as a slight flare up since I was born. A lot of people assume that I must have suffered when I was a child but this really isn’t the case at all.
Eczema is a skin condition which causes intense itching, restlessness, sores, weepy skin, infections, severe skin dryness and even pain when at it’s worse. While there is no known cause of the skin issues and certainly no permanant cure as of yet it can be controlled and managed if the right treatment is found.
I spent many months tossing, turning, scratching, crying, screaming, hurting, burning, everything to attempt to get rid of it before going to the doctor. Eventually after trial and error we managed to find a suitable treatment to regain control of my skin and I was happy.
The thing is nothing is forever, and while it cleared up and stayed away for a couple of years. It appears that it has made the dreaded return with a vengeance this year and I’m losing my marbles once again.
An itch you literally can’t scratch!
It’s not only the physical issues that the skin condition causes. What about the mental health issues it contributes towards as well.
The itching can be so intense that I scratch my skin until it’s raw and bleeding. Even when I am asleep! My husband also has to wake me up some nights in the fear that I’ll literally hack my skin off. This means that I am a sore, weepy, flaky mess most days when it hits and this has MASSIVE consequences on my self confidence levels. These are already a see saw of emotions as it is, so it isn’t helping at all.
Of course, the above also contributes to terrible nights sleep. I can lay for hours torturing myself not to scratch those itches which results in stress, restlessness, anger, pain, night binges and insomnia.
I also can’t go swimming, can’t use any products, have to avoid baths as much as possible, become irritated more by heat, can’t wear appropriate summer clothing due to blood, weeping, sores etc.
It’s a never ending battle to regain control of my own body and skin.
The light at the end…
The whole point of me writing this post is to share some of the ways that I attempt to get back control of my eczema/dermatitis issues.
Besides the help of strong steroids and occasional anti-biotics there are some ways which can ease symptoms a little if you are having a flare up or a dry skin episode so hear me out.
I know, I know, it’s obvious but let me tell you there is no better feeling then cleansing your already dry, tight, itchy, weepy skin, patting yourself dry, applying your products that help and slipping into an oversized cotton tee. Pure bliss, some (I) would say, I have recently purchased these ones from ASOS which you can pick up for £15 for three and I really like them for lounging.
I also find that jeans (my favourite item of clothing) or leggings make things so much worse. Probably because of the restriction, rubbing and the heat combined so definitely worth investing in some loose shorts for lounging around the house.
Keeping yourself hydrated is kind of a must at the best of times. Even more so when it’s hotting up outside. If you’re dehydrated your skin will possibly suffer too so it’s always worth keeping an eye on your liquid intake throughout the day too.
I’ve always struggled with my water intake and it’s something I’m always meaning to focus on more. I really should take my own advice sometimes shouldn’t I!
Don’t listen to people when they say use this, use that. Nothing works for everyone. I’m allergic to E45, Vaseline, Sudocrem and a few other main stream eczema creams. Trial and error is key. If in doubt let your GP know and they may allow you to trial a few out at the surgery to see which works best.
I find for me Epaderm is the one that works best from the GP. Palmers is a high street brand that is okay when my skin isn’t broken and obviously I get a lot of ointments and steroids to apply after washing too.
It’s a no brainer that if you have an itch or an allergy. Antihistamines are the way forward. They can be purchased from most supermarkets and chemists and contain magic powers that sometimes stop the itch. I personally find the cetrizine hydro-chloride tablets the most effective.
This can be the biggest relief for those like me that suffer with an intense desire to hack at my skin daily. Trust me.
If the standard ones don’t work there are stronger options through your doctors, so always worth asking if you are in need of something stronger.
Literally, try to steer clear of the heat at the hottest times in the day. A lot of people suggest that the sun is good for dry skin conditions and while yes, this may be the case for some, it’s still dangerous to sit out in the sun for hours and the warmth can make the symptoms ten times worse at times.
Especially when the humidity ramps up like it has done recently.
Loose clothing, water, open windows should all help towards keeping your skin a little more chilled. Sometimes I’ll go stand by the open freezer door when I’m desperately itchy and need a little light relief.
It’s super important to keep your skin clean. It’s funny because I’m advised to bathe less when having a severe flare up due to the water making things worse due to dampness and humidity.
But, it’s also an idea to gently cleanse your skin, especially when the skin has broken to help deter any infection. That’s gonna make things a whole new level if you don’t.
I tend to take a shallow, cooler bath with no product in during the worst flare ups. Just cleanse gently with a moisturiser that’s made for this type of skin condition. Many of the regular eczema and dermatitis creams prescribed through your doctor will actually have washing instructions on them too. You can use these instead of your usual shower gel/body wash to cleanse your skin without irritating it further.
My favourite is the Epaderm one, as it doesn’t cause to much of a sting when applied.
And finally, relax.
Stress can be a massive trigger when it comes to skin conditions or allergies. It can be so hard to relax when you are a hot, sticky, sore mess but I try my best sometimes.
It’s easier if I follow the above and make my life a little easier plus anything that helps get rid of the intense itch is a massive helper when it comes to chilling out.
Like most things, stressing usually makes things worse rather then better so even if you aren’t sleeping, your skin is falling off and it’s also weeping and bleeding all over your brand new couch like me.
Please try to relax.
What helps you with dry skin issues? Have you found that miracle cure yet?
– Emma Allen –
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