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Does anybody else suffer with eczema/itchy skin

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Old 05-17-2011, 06:55 PM   #1
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Default Does anybody else suffer with eczema/itchy skin

Hi all!
I seem to be clutching at straws here for trying to fix my eczema and insanely itchy skin! I had it in random patches when i was a baby and then it went for the rest of my childhood & teens and then last year its slowly coming back with a vengence, patch by patch! I also suffer with crazy itchy skin and it seems to just be spreading! I used to use sunbeds (once a week or 2) until I got a lump related to sun damage so I stopped, it was about then that it came back so I wonder if its to do with stopping the sun exposure because I used to have immaculate skin!
Does anybody else suffer with it, how do you relieve it without all the messy steroid creams??
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:26 PM   #2
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I have psoriasis, and when that acts up I use an over-the-counter cream or tar gel. I've also had the randomly itchy skin. What worked for me was a cool, damp cloth on the itchy area and taking an antihistamine like Benadryl.

If you're worried you're not getting enough sun expose, consider taking vitamin D3 -- it's the vitamin the sun gives us, but that our bodies can't really store, which means we need to replenish it constantly. D3 has also been shown to help with itchy skin conditions.

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Old 05-18-2011, 09:38 AM   #3
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I'm a long time sufferer of eczema. The prescribed cremes and OTC only work when I'm not using them. I've started using "black soap" it's an all natural soap that I get from an African shop. Its feels sooooooooooooooo good on the skin and I've gotten compliments on how it has given my skin a glow and is clear. My eczema is on my trunk (right around my rib cage) but the soap has literally helped me stop itching and scratching all the time. Instead of lotion I've been using natural Shea Butter. It goes hand in hand with the black soap.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:09 AM   #4
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Well, here's the thing. Not as much is publicly known about eczema as really should be known and spread around, considering how many people actually have it. Especially for those of us who suffer HIGHLY from it. As a child, my parents have horror stories of finding me in my crib with blood all over my hands from itching so much. And throughout my life, I've suffered and questioned and never really found proper ways of treating the problem.

Until a recent nasty outbreak (caused by a parasite I contracted while traveling abroad in Asia), I had never found a doctor who really knew enough to treat me AND explain the condition so that I understand what it was and what it did.

Not many people know, from what he said, that eczema is actually a problem with your autoimmune system. It's basically your immune system attacking your skin and causing whatever ruckus it can. It can be brought on by high stress, dry weather, hot weather, cold weather, allergies, harsh soaps and chemicals...... even a serious illness (or even just a nasty cold). Anything that puts your body under stress. Some of us are triggered by just a few of those things, and some of us all are triggered by all of those things. I am one of the latter.

And no, tanning beds do not help. I was under that notion as well, because I always seemed to feel a little bit better for a day or two after tanning but like the doctor said it doesn't really help because it doesn't really go away.

So far, what my specialist has me doing is:

Using the steroid ointments prescribed, one for my face (since its more delicate skin) and one for the rest of my body. If you'd like to know the actual names of the ointments I'm using (cos they work AMAZING), feel free to PM me.

Using only unscented body soaps.... no pretty scents for us eczema sufferers, unfortunately. I use Dove, which he approves of.

Moisturize the skin regularly, especially after bathing. My derm recommends using the brand Cerave, which is a little bit more expensive than the normal body lotions, but its worth it. It has something in it called ceramides, which actually helps your skin replenish cells faster. I use the cream for my face AND body, though they also have the lighter plain lotion as well (the cream is recommended for you face). I get a large jar of it at Wal-Mart for about $16. I go through a jar every two weeks. Once again, worth it though.

All those things have helped me, a lot. In fact, I get compliments on my skin. Good luck and like I said, feel free to PM me if you have any other questions!
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:26 AM   #5
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StarFishKitty - thanks for the info, Im not sure what causes mine at all i just find it funny that as soon as I go on holiday it literally vanishes and being here in London I dont see the sun very much! The name of the stuff in my body steroid cream is Betamethasone valerate and this is really thick and gloopy but seems to do the job almost instantly, problem is this is prescription only and the tube isnt that big... i have a different one for my face too but I only occasionally get dermatitus so i dont really use this one.
I have been told to use something called 'skin salvation' which is apparently a miracle cream and all natural - waiting for it to be delivered so will keep you posted!

I wonder if the every day moisturising is the key, but its soooo time consuming!!
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:45 AM   #6
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I've found a massive connection between being ill and eczema flare ups as well. E.g-This past Christmas I got very unwell with flu and in the initial days of getting sick I saw eczema flare up on my legs,neck,all over hands and arms etc.
I can't recall ever being that unwell before, and I've also never had eczema anywhere near that bad. It also totally went away as I slowly got better!

This made me think of other times where I've had a somewhat bad fever or bug and I'd seem to get eczema come up, but never connected the two.

As for tips, well I still occasionally get a tiny patch on the back of my knee or hand (I'm pretty sure my shampoos cause this) and I bought a pack of those knee bandages, if it starts to feel itchy like it's going to flare up I soak the bandage in cool water then go to bed with it over my knee-or you could wear it under trousers or just round the house. It completely soothes the area so i don't want to scratch it and really smooths and lessens redness.

I think emollients and creams are really personal preference but I'm a big fan of Diprobase/E45/Aveeno is okay/Cocoa butter/Dove. I steered clear of Dove for ages since it is perfumed typically, but at only like 50p a bar I thought I may as well give it a try and I love it-it totally smoothed and softened my once rather bumpy and itchy elbows.

If you feel like your eczema is spreading, is there something you have changed. Could be anything from stress/something you're eating (Nickel in foods can cause people issues-You could also be lacking in certain fats etc)/different clothing fabric/laundry detergents.

I also would recommend having a steroid cream just in case, they can be super effective if you get sudden flare ups, but i can understand not wanting to overuse them.

You could try supplementing vitamin D and see if that helps, I have heard people say tanning beds and sun exposure does help their eczema but you don't want to damage your skin in the process. And well, since I'm near London too I know we just don't get enough sunshine to do much good
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Old 05-19-2011, 09:52 AM   #7
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I have one word for you... Coconut oil! I have had ezcema all my life and so does my hubby. I even get flare ups on my scalp. Coconut is an anti fungal and it seems to do the trick for me.

Another thing that has helped is ocean water. It heals my ezcema within a few days.

Good luck!
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:51 PM   #8
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Wow, lots of good tips here! I also suffer from eczema; I get it on my calves. Fortunately, it hasn't been bad in years because of the steroid creams I use.
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Old 05-19-2011, 10:11 PM   #9
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My 2 year old has it bad! she has ever since she was a few weeks old,poor thing. She even gets patches on her genitals! Dove Soap and Shea butter really help her. I'm going to try that lotion for her and see if it helps. Thanks for the great tips.
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:31 AM   #10
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Oh!!!

I forgot one other thing my doc actually has me do to calm SERIOUS flare ups (which only occur after major illnesses or extreme stress, like when my grandma died)........ sit in a full bath with 1/2 cup of bleach in it. I was skeptical (and kinda scared!!) but it actually REALLY tamed down my flare up, both pain and actual patch redness and itching. He said you can do it once a day until the flare up is contained.
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RachaelJ View Post
I'm a long time sufferer of eczema. The prescribed cremes and OTC only work when I'm not using them. I've started using "black soap" it's an all natural soap that I get from an African shop. Its feels sooooooooooooooo good on the skin and I've gotten compliments on how it has given my skin a glow and is clear. My eczema is on my trunk (right around my rib cage) but the soap has literally helped me stop itching and scratching all the time. Instead of lotion I've been using natural Shea Butter. It goes hand in hand with the black soap.
I just have plain ol' itchy skin from being allergic to everything in the world. I had a bar of black soap in my hand yesterday and put it back. Argh! I think I'll go back and get it.
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:31 PM   #12
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My 18 month old has it, mostly on her trunk and a little on her face. And per her docs orders we put Aquaphor (a moisturizer that is a lot like vaseline) on it at night and then a layer of hydrocortizone cream (just the otc kind) on top of that. It really seems to be doing wonders for her skin, her patches are much smaller and a lot less dry than they used to be. We also use baby wash on her instead of soap, the hypoallergenic tear free kind.
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