Saturday, April 10, 2010

Winning Over Eczema

I am very happy now that I'm winning my 6 year battle with eczema!

When I was in 2nd year of college. I noticed that the skin on my ankles are developing a callous, which was odd because I don't constantly rub my ankles on anything (Who does anyway?). So when my brother introduced a chemical callous remover he bought from Quiapo, I immediately agreed to become his quinea pig. He said that on the demo, results were seen just after a minute of applying the product. With that statement, I assumed that if it worked in about a minute, it would work better if given a longer time. I placed it on a cotton ball that I taped to my ankles for 30mins.

And whaddaya know, I was wrong! It turned out to be acidic chemical that's supposed to burn the callous for removal and 1 min is the max wait time. When I removed the cotton ball, it brought layers of epidermis with it and left me with red, raw and gooey exposed epidermis that never healed! My immune system reacted to the chemicals and I was left with crusty skin on the ankles that itched like hell and gets red and oozy when irritated.

I was sooo embarrassed to even go to the dermatologist for it. But when I eventually had the guts to consult specialists, I always left their clinics disappointed. Why? Because they don't help me. I had about 3, and all of them were more concerned about making money out of my dilemma instead of actually helping me out. They prescribed me with expensive products they formulated on their own and can only be bought at their clinic. I gave in and actually bought the prescription on one occasion only to find out that the products were just hypoallergenic moisturizers comparable to Cetaphil and did nothing for my condition. I didn't want to consult any derma after that. I was traumatized because having to share the appearance of my ankles to 3 strangers was a big shame swallowing experience for me!

Luckily, there's the Internet. I Googled life experiences of people that had the same symptoms as what I was experiencing and found out that I have a case of stasis dermatitis -eczema that occurred in the lower extremities, where there is poor venous return. From the articles that I read, I learned that to treat my skin condition, I have to break the itch-scratch cycle. Of course some articles suggest modifying diet, maintaining moisturization, and regular excercise to keep a healthy blood flow as the primary remedy for eczema, but there's a percentage of people who simply can't resist the urge to scratch the "deadly" itch. I even reasoned out to my hubby that scratching had become involuntary...I'm sure eczema sufferers can relate to me.

So I followed their advise and started applying a topical steroid called Dermovate. What I liked about Dermovate is that it comes in a thick balm-like consistency that moisturizes the affected area while making sure that active ingredients are being absorbed by the skin. It acts to stop the itch while the skin's healing. After 2 weeks of constantly applying the ointment on my ankles, I finally got the courage to show this to everyone!

my healing ankles now...It's got a scar similar to burnt skin, but that's better compared to how it was before!

And due to the "yuckiness" of before photos, I'd rather not post them here. But if anyone is interested enough not to be grossed out by them and would like to know how grave it was before the "after" photo above, just please send me an email and I'll be more than happy to share more.

I'd have to reiterate this disclaimer though, that TOPICAL STEROIDS ARE NOT TO BE APPLIED ON A WHIM! One should only use it if all other remedies don't work and must be used sparingly. It cannot be continuously used for more than 2 weeks without the advice of a dermatologist. It can be dangerous and cause side effects, you know! Make sure that you follow the instructions given to you by your dermatologist if it was prescribed, or the instructions on the enclosed package insert.

Now that my ankles are healing, I make sure that I take care of my skin daily. I'd rather go through the tedious routine of applying moisturizers than go through that eczema ordeal. Here are a few good products I keep:

drugstore beauty buys...Some said fragrance in Olay Body Butter Ribbons isn't good for eczema, but my skin is benefiting from the product!

goodies from By Nature's 100% Natural Products...

*Trivia: There's something called Lip Licker's Dermatitis and although kids are the one's commonly diagnosed with it, adults can get it too! That's when BN's Lippy Pot Balm come in handy! It's unscented and unflavored, meaning it won't post the temptation to lick lips!

'Hope this helps!

your every woman,


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