The eczema report of 2014

08 January 2014

It's that time of year again, the wintry mix of dry and itchy skin, red rashes, cracked hands and lotion experimentation. Blessedly, it's been one of the better years for the two of us, Ella and me. We're still using some of the meds and ointments she got last Spring and my hands haven't started bleeding yet. Bonus! But still we cope the uncomfortable scratchiness of nearly everything, do the moisturization dance twice a day, and I'm having to find creative ways to keep everything off my neck, where my outbreak is worst.

I can't really believe it's taken this long to come to the realisation that what E and I have is an actual chronic illness, having given up hope that it will ever really go away and trying to find ways to just deal with it. It's a never-ending quest to find products that keep us functioning and don't make it worse. Very few things ever really improve our symptoms, but there are a few lotions, moisturizers, soaps and such that make living with eczema slightly better.

Here's what's in our proverbial medicine cabinet (we actually don't have a medicine cabinet, but that sounds better than "littering our night-stands and every other bedroom surface").

  • Hydrocortisone, over the counter (use sparingly, can thin skin)
  • Curel (variety of lotions, particularly for hands and intense moisture)
  • Eucerin (travel size hand & face moisturizer goes a long way)
  • Aquaphor (This is so expensive here, we have family bring or send us some. But we usually use it to seal in the hydrocortisone ointment after application.)
  • Aveeno (Aveeno products did not work on E as a baby, but now seem to ease some of the itchy symptoms. Particularly like the oatmeal colloidal bath and other soap products.)
  • Cetaphil (also insanely expensive here; right now using the everyday skin cleanser and sensitive skin repair cleanser.)
  • Dove (just the plain ole beauty bar; bonus: makes your house smell like your grandma's)
  • Zyrtec (I don't know how much this helps, but figure as an antihistamine, it can't hurt.)
  • Bendadryl (doesn't help eczema, but helps E sleep when she's at her itchiest)

One of the worst things about eczema (you know, apart from the endless, painful scratching and unsightly sores) is that what works for one may not work for another. We've tried literally everything - including going dairy free, which was tough on our girl who already has some nut allergies and food/skin sensitivities we stay clear of. And while these products haven't healed E or me, we both feel a little better knowing it's not getting much worse. Our main goal is just to make it through winter with skin intact.

Only three more months to go.

As always, with my stellar medical advice: don't take my word for it. Consult your doctor. Or herbalist. Or mother-in-law. Do you have an eczema problem? What's given you some relief?

OH! Today's the last day to vote for my short story over at The Iron Writer. I'm hoping to place a respectable 2nd. And if you've ever even toyed with the idea of fiction, this is a great, safe place to try it out. Go for it!

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