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My decade-old battle with atopic eczema.

My atopic eczema has taken a turn for the worst. My entire legs, shoulders, upper arms, decolletage and neck are covered in angry, itchy bumps :(

I’ve been dealing with this every year since I was 16 and yet it still feels absolutely depressing every single time. I’ve deliberately stopped seeing dermatologists because I can’t bear the idea of applying steroid creams on my skin ever again. I really believe that flare-ups that happen after steroid cream treatments are worse than the previous and would take longer to subside because the skin has thinned out so much.

Basically everything I do nowadays to deal with my eczema is just basically to prevent the rashes from itching. Eczema gets worse from scratching, the more you scratch the bigger the offending patch becomes. Once you’ve got your fill from scratching, the itch turns to pain and at that point, scarring might even occur. I still have my fuck-it moments where I scratch till my skin is raw and weeping (in fact, I had one just this morning…both my legs are lobster red now :P) and I’m pretty sure a lot of eczema sufferers would agree that feeling pain is much more tolerable than itching. But scratching is BAD. Infections, scarring…not a pretty sight.

The ways I deal with are categorised into two weather conditions; humid or dry.

When it’s hot and humid, I use calamine lotion to calm down the rashes. It does help to cool my skin down and soothes the itching a lot and prevents me from sweating much, which aggravates the rashes. Calamine is very drying so I don’t really like using it so much but I find myself using it a lot this time because of the stupid weather.

Calamine, calamine. I look like I just stepped out from a pink flour fight.

When it’s dry or when I’m in air-conditioned room, I use a lot of emollients and cream to keep my skin moisturised. I don’t have much luck with finding a good cream – they either have too much chemicals or have steroids. So, now I just apply manuka honey UMF15+ that I got online. They do help though I can’t really stand the smell. Smells like piss -_-

Manuka honey.

When showering, I use Oilatum only. It’s an emollient which you can get from most pharmacies. No chemicals laden shower gels please etc. Oilatum helps to calm down the skin very much and the skin always feel soft after using it.

I try to stay in cool or air-conditioned rooms because I find that sweating really makes it worse. I also wear long sleeves and long trousers, which I find help me to stay itch-less for many hours and even when I itch, I can rub my skin over a layer of fabric instead of direct contact, which in turn helps to negate the need to scratch. Also, long sleeves and trousers can avoid freaking people out :P

All this skin rashes talk makes me feel soooooo sexay. I don’t know why I’m doing this, scaring you guys away but I guess there are a lot of people out there suffering just like me and hopefully if you stumbled upon this post, you may find the ways I deal with my eczema useful to you too.

Just to end with a sweet note, here are some pictures of me with Koyuki and Senna, taken at Michael‘s awesomesauce BBQ Birthday Party on Saturday. Rest assured I will blog about this fabulous party.

With Koyuki, who needs no introduction.

With Senna, who is Michael’s brother, Lance’s baby girl.

Glad I was at the party before this stupid rash took over my life.

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Update: February 2013

I haven’t had a flare-up eversince I determined that citronella oil or whatever that is in those natural mosquito repellent as well as bee pollen as the causes of my eczema. It has been 2 years since I itched.

It is ironic because I can use those chemically laden mossie repellent but the organic natural ones would send me into a scratching frenzy. It took me a while to narrow the triggers down but I think getting an allergy test would help tremendously (I was too cheap/broke to get one).

When I get very stressed up though, I do have really small patches appearing on my arm or leg but they would disappear soon after I slather on copious amount of moisturiser (I use Rosken).

I urge atopic eczema sufferers to really try and determine your triggers. Be very mindful of what you used, touched or eat just before a flare-up.

I used to just dab apple cider vinegar straight onto my rashes and it burned like a beeeeeech but it did help to calm the rashes down, better than scratching really. Oilatum for showering and QV for moisturisation was the best for me during my episodes. I can’t stress enough about moisturising, it really helped to calm the rashes for me. I reapplied religiously after my skin has absorbed the lotion..roughly every 2 hours.

Good luck!

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