I had a fairly happy, normal life before ezcema. I would love to wear shorts, I would enjoy going out in a bathing suit, and worrying about the skin near my joints was the last thing I would think about. Mainly because pre-ezcema I was proud of my body and never had to worry about my skin. Unfortunately over the last few years, this has changed.
I always had acne growing up due to hormones, crappy diets, and not fully and properly committing to a consistent skin regime that didn’t work overnight. Saying I was impatient was an understatement. I wanted results and they needed to be immediate or that self defeating voice would pop in and I’d say forget it, abandoning all hope.
Only when I started my early thirties would my facial acne really clear up. Whether it was hormone normalization, better skin care regime, or age in general, I found my skin was more beautiful then ever before. Monthly microdermabrasion and facials also really helped too. I found that dairy free and sugar free lifestyles that also were gluten free really helped keep my skin looking bright and fresh too.
Then 2 years ago the unthinkable happened. I was sweating it out in daily Soul Cycle spin classes and my ezcema started to spread like wild fire. Behind my legs, on my arms, in my armpits and on my wrists, it was hard to cover up. I needed help. With itchy skin near my joints and increased redness and thickness behind my knees and elbows more specifically, I was completed lost and perplexed. Why wasn’t my skin behaving like this NOW, especially when I am detoxing my body and more specifically that I am getting healhier?
After many dermatological visits and creams with pills, I was determined to find the root cause and defeat ezcema once and for all. I started the paleo diet that eliminated the dairy, added sugar and wheat from my diet. I stopped wearing tight gym clothes and started wearing shorts to work out even if the red patches were there. I aired out my ezcema the best I could and accepted my dry, itchy skin for what is was: beautifully damaged.
I still use betamethisone cream at .05% when flare ups happen, and try to be good with dousing myself with Cerave cream after a hot shower. The hot showers are a double edged sword though as it is said that it further dries out the skin. I find that when I use a hot shower the feeling on my skin is so amazing. It’s like a pleasing pins and needles as it helps prevent itch post shower and really warms me up. Many doctors have said that warm showers are better, but my comfort level is high when I take the hot showers as my skin does not itch as much. I also take allergy medication like Bendryl at night and Claritine or Zyrtec in the morning to prevent the dreaded itchiness. This seems to help me manage the atopic dermatitis symptoms too.
There is a secret shame about ezcema. It is mentally exhausting to cover it up in public, it is hard to do normal things like sleep and wear revealing clothes, and the lack of healing really takes a mental toll on me. The pain is constant and during flare ups pre and post menstrual cycle is when it’s at its worse.
Here’s the good news though. I am not alone. I have read many articles and different health publications that offer hope and new opportunities for curing it for good. Anything from fragrance free skin creams, to detoxing with increased nightly vitamin C at night, to cold wet compresses all have helped me personally. Instead of doing more intense workouts where I sweat a lot, I like to walk instead. I also use hand weights and bands to increase the intensity of the workout to avoid excessive sweating and itchiness. I have read up on increasing different types of vitamin B in my diet, which I have not tried yet. I have also heard that doing a colon cleanse helps reduce the toxins in our colons and can help our bodies more naturally detoxify. I am interested in trying it myself. Ezcema or atopic dermatitis is debilitating daily and really is a disease and inflammation of the skin that is hard to treat and hard to maintain daily, but I am trying to do it as best I can by incorporating more more and vitamins into my diet, and exercising and eating responsibly. I find that my flare ups are more predictable than ever before, and daily management has gotten easier with support from my dermatologist and my friends.
What do you do to prevent your ezcema and atopic dermatitis flare ups?
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