ARGGHH the itchiness. It feels soooo good to scratch but Make it stop! Make it stop!
I’m currently one week into my two-week, no-steroid-cream period and my skin has already declared a mutiny. With every brush I can see tiny deserters flaking off in dry waves.
I’m uncomfortable and gloomy. To sadden matters the first of my allergy test results have revealed… I’M ALLERGIC TO GLUTEN! Noooo… while I was prepared for this outcome I’m still unhappy at thinking of my future involving gluten-free substitutes, limiting my options eating out, and bringing my own food to parties. Why didn’t I eat all the Banh Mi in the world while I still could? I understand my limitations—I had to go gluten, dairy, and nut-free for a few months last year.
It’s been five months since I began this steroid cream on-and-off cycle. I believe Topical Steroid dependence and Withdrawal (TSW) is real so my goal is to wean myself off its use. But DARN it’s uncomfortable during my ‘off’ cycle… but it’s getting better with these cheap, homemade, eczema remedies. I’m not a medical expert and I don’t know the reasons behind the following list, but I’ve held some comfort from them. Some of these are suggestions from my allergist while others come from online communities and still others are just my own discovery.
- Don’t laugh—I’m typing all this while wearing hardware store Grip Gloves. The cloth dulls my nails and help deter some scratching. Compared to mittens, these gloves cling tight around my fingers allowing me to still type at work. It looks silly, but I wear them everywhere including shopping at the store or driving.
- Twice a week I exfoliate my dry skin away in the shower. Instead of paying $8 for some store creation (robbery!) I make a homemade scrub using the formula of one part oil to two parts particles (normally sugar). My skin feels so good afterwards.
- Speaking of showers, I spend as little time in the water as possible and keep the temperature at lukewarm or cold. Aiiiii—this one’s difficult because I used to enjoy creating a scalding Danny-Pyra soup during showers.
- You can’t ever have enough lotion! I have a creamy Aveeno or Vaseline lotion bottle at home, work, and car. I try to apply lotion over all parts of my body every four hours or whenever needed. I’m hoping to eventually move to a more natural, well-priced cream soon. At night I use a homemade oil-based lotion to seal in the moisture overnight. (created from Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Almond Oil, and Jojoba Oil) Editor’s Note: I just found out I’m allergic to Coconuts so now I have to remake my lotion formula. Just replace the Coconut Oil with something else.
- Once a week I take a bath (lukewarm of course) where I soak in Oatmeal or Chamomile Tea or Oils for about 20 minutes. If you grind the Oatmeal yourself make sure it’s ‘old-fashioned’ (not instant) and grind to a fine sand or else it’ll quickly absorb the water and sink to the bottom in an unappealing mess.
- I ingest a tablespoon of straight Olive Oil every night. Soon I’ll be adding a dose of Fish Oil to that as well to begin moisturizing from within. But build up to those doses or else you’ll get to know your bathroom décor very well.
- Loose clothing! Sleeveless shirts and skirts are my uniform now because sometimes my skin begins to get itchy when rubbed by the fabrics. Unfortunately I sometimes use the fabrics to further rub my itchy skin resulting in deeper scratching.
And all this in addition to my ongoing quest to eat less-processed foods, using more natural versions of detergent, soap and shampoos, and no fragrances. I only started doing all the above a month ago so it’s too early to determine results and I’m wondering whether the Steroid Cream could also be botching up results.
Whew—I’m still chugging on and trying to remain positive. My self-confidence in my appearance has taken a bit of a dive too. I feel like I look older and more tired. While BF Shoes is saddened about my inability to share certain foods with his glutton self, he’s still keeping things cheerful through compliments—I’m thankful for that. My equally eczema-ed sister has been a great support buddy to share discoveries, triumphs, and trials with.
With the bulk of my allergy tests next week let me raise my water bottle (which I’m sure is also moisturizing me inside) to changes… and hopefully changes for the better.