I've had Eczema all of my life, I've had many different types of it and had it on nearly every part of my body, nipple and lady parts eczema is a nasty thing. However the main area that suffers is my hands. There have been times where it has been so bad I couldn't move my hands as they would crack and bleed and would feel horrendous. I'd be constantly getting infections as the skin on my hands was basically raw, it was miserable. Everyday things had become painful, I couldn't even open a bottle of water without half the skin on my hands coming off with it.
I'm writing this post hoping that I can help anyone who is going through a similar thing to me, maybe the things that helped me can help you! Firstly I want to say the two photos below were taken May/June 2016 when my hands were covered in two types of Eczema, the normal common type and a nasty one called Pompholyx. Pompholyx happens on the hands/feet and it causes you to get itchy, oozing blisters and when they pop the skin becomes ridiculously dry and cracks. You can see how red my hands are in comparison to my arms. The skin is raw, sensitive to touch, I have blisters in between my fingers and on my palms, it's super dry, cracked and bleeding. Not fun.
So, What Do You Do When Eczema Goes Bad?
If your usual way of controlling your eczema doesn't work and it is causing you a lot of problems like mine, then I would say consider going to the doctors. My eczema got to a point where it was infected and it needed a proper prescribed cream to help fight the infection and help properly control the eczema. The cream I was prescribed obviously didn't cure my eczema but it did help calm it down a bit and help control the Pompholyx more.
What Can I Do To Help Control My Eczema?
There are many little things you can do to help, here are the changes I made:
This is probably the one that people go "what?" at. If your hands are very bad, raw and cracked, you may want to invest in some plain cotton gloves. You can put moisturiser/cream on and put the gloves on top then get on with your day instead of waiting for the cream to sink in. Additionally, if my hands are red raw and bleeding I wear my gloves just as a barrier, to try and help lessen the chances of getting any infections in there. You may get some funny looks from people, but after a while you really don't give a fuck, the gloves help me and that's what matters.
This is probably only applicable to some people, I had many OCD hand washing habits, I'd keep washing my hands and using antibacterial gel until they 'felt clean'. I went through CBT a while back to help control my OCD habits. You must cut down on the washing, the products you use strip the oils from your skin, drying it out. Changing a habit is hard but well worth it in the long run. TIP: if your hands are sensitive gently dab your hands dry with a towel, do not rub as the friction can cause it to become irritated.
Sometimes Eczema has triggers, it's different for everyone. I found out my hands get super itchy and bad if it's hot and sweaty. So if it's been warm at night I try to lather cream on in the morning to prevent further irritation. Also some products just might not agree with your Eczema, you may love the product but it's not worth it if it's making you worse.
Lastly, sometimes changing everyday products for skin friendlier ones really help! This mainly applies to soaps and shower gels, they contain stuff like alcohol and chemicals that can really dry out and aggravate skin. Here are the two main product changes I've made (hope you like the illustrations I did of them):
The first change was soap, I wash my hands more than the average person so soap was the first thing I needed to sort. There aren't many soap free soap options out there, when you buy soap I can't imagine many people wanting it to be soap free. Eventually I found one by E45, it's a soap free cream wash. The only bad thing I'd say about this soap is the pump is a bit crap, but the soap itself is good!
The second change I made was shower gel, which I was really sad about as I LOVE shower gel, so many different lovely scents but I had to find one that helped me. My mum actually found this one for me, it's by a brand called Aveeno. It's a little pricey but it's a pretty big bottle and you don't need to use loads in the shower. It contains naturally active oat essence which I believe can help dry, sensitive skin. It has a very nice fresh smell too. My hands don't sting when I shower now!
Here is a photo I took yesterday, mid July 2016. There are a few little dry patches on my hands but it is a huge difference compared to the first two photos, my hands are now actually the same colour as my arms haha. I also moisturise a few times a day using Diprobase Emollient Lotion (emollient lotions/creams lock in moisture better), the amount I put on varies depending on how my hands are doing. But I'm so happy with how much better my hands are now, I feel so much more confident about them too!
I know it was a long post but I just wanted to share how much my hands and Eczema have improved, also so if anyone else out there is suffering like me I hopefully have given you a few more things to try. I would love to know if you've experienced anything similar.
Thanks for reading! Remember you can keep up with my blog on bloglovin.