Saturday, 22 March 2014

10 Months TSW

Today will mark my 10 month anniversary of ceasing the use of topical steroids. My skin is still crazily up and down, day in day out, hour by hour, but it isn't stopping me from living so I can't complain.

As you saw from my previous post I have been trialing various lotions and potions to see if they make any substantial difference but nothing seems to really improve my condition. My skin is perpetually dry. In fact the other night I had a horrible itch fit where I was bright red and just could not stop the insane itch, which I was thinking must have been induced by an uptake in moisturiser and so the next day I went moisturiser free. It was manageable. I didn't bother taking a shower or washing myself at all and in fact did some exercise too to try to get some sort of oils going. Exercise was fine and the sweat didn't irritate... I was just very smelly by the end of the day!

The next morning however I looked like a porcelain doll who's face had cracked into a thousand and one pieces. The skin had become taught and wanted to come off in large flakes. I showered to help it along but I just couldn't cope because the dry, tight skin was worse to me than the itchy red skin so I caved in to using a tiny amount of moisturiser. I seem to be on the up again, though incredibly flaky but as I say, I can't complain too much.

I haven't had a day off work on the sick since the beginning of September 2013. That's more than 6 months ago! So I can only commend my body for letting me get this far. Sure, it will take time to fully recover and heal, to be able to wear black clothing again, to wear a bit of make-up, and possibly even dye my hair but I have come a hell of a long way in these 10 months.

I have an appointment with my derm nurse in about a week and a half, I know she'll nag me because the skin is still so dry but I haven't been to the hospital now since January 2nd so surely that must say something in its self? I'll also be told off for not taking my medication strictly but I don't feel I need it any more... she says... until the next mega flare... But no, I'm sure I'm fine.

I'm also interested to see what the summer weather will bring. Last summer and every summer prior to my TSW, I practically died from the heat. I was suffering from heat induced urticaria which has definitely lessened more recently. I can stand to be in the kitchen for longer periods cooking food standing over the hob. Sometimes I will overheat but it is a billion times better than it was initially.

Oh I should mention that I also reached 100,000 page views on Sunday just gone and celebrated with a gorgeous pina colada cocktail! No alcohol has touched my lips since August 2012 because I felt it aided my itchiness what with its dehydrating nature, so this was quite the celebration. I can report that I didn't get itchy afterwards and my skin was alright - Yay! I doubt I will be drinking much these days if at all because I am accustomed to it, but it's good to see that I didn't have the adverse affects I've been so cautious about.

So yes, thank you to everyone who has visited, commented and sent me kind words over this last year. Your support means so much <3 and I'm glad I have been able to create a resource that benefits others who also suffer from eczema.

Happy healing!x

Friday, 14 March 2014

Trialing Products

In the last few months I have been sent numerous products to trial in the hopes of helping my skin get better. I found that full moisturiser withdrawal doesn't work for me, but similarly too much moisturiser doesn't work either and so I've had to develop a happy medium. This however is no easy feat as my skin is perpetually changing. Some days it is much drier than others, other days it is red, blotchy and flaking. There's just no winning. I want to get away from paraben and synthetic products if possible to further aid my body's recovery and so have been open to receiving and trying out natural products.

With this in mind, I thought it would be good to share with you some of my own experiences with the products that have been sent to me. Remember what works for one does not always work for another, we are individual after all. I am in no way trying to sell any of these products, opinions are my own and I was sent these samples for free.

I'm an idiot for not keeping a daily log as I find some of these products hard to recall but I will endeavour to write honest reviews.


I was sent this product pretty much as soon as I had started withdrawal from topical steroids and was very excited to try it as I had seen the duo behind the company on BBC's program, Dragon's Den, and found their company intriguing. I was sent a full sized sample of their Skin Salvation Moisturising Ointment. However it took me months to actually get round to using it as I was worried about it making me worse if I was found to be allergic to any of the ingredients.

I tried out the ointment which comes as a salve. The smell is a bit overpowering but that's to be expected of a natural based product. I wasn't overly keen on the application as it is a lot less moiturising in comparison to the white soft paraffin I had been using beforehand, but I was using it on a daily basis. Looking back it's difficult to say if this product was working or not as for whatever reason I ceased using it... perhaps this is when I entered my moisturiser withdrawal? I forget now annoyingly but there are other eczema sufferers who swear by it. Perhaps after my current trial I will go back to using it...

Haughton Greene

Company, Haughton Greene sent me a 15ml tin of 'Lavender and Mandarin Sensitive Skin Balm' containing ingredients;  Triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, Cera alba, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) fruit, Helianthus annus (sunflower) seed oil, Calendula officinalis flower extract, Lavandula angustifolia, Citrus nobilis peel oil. Due to the small amount of product I only applied it to a few areas. It was a joy to apply but I was unable to distinguish any difference in my skin.

I dare say this would work for others, but you'd need an awful lot of the stuff if you suffer with problematic skin all over.

Beeutiful Skincare

I was issused with a 15ml tin of 'Healing Balm' product from Beeutiful Skincare. It contained the ingredients; Organic Olive oil, Honey, Cocoa butter, Beeswax, St.John’s Wort in Sweet Almond Oil, Calendula, Vitamin E, Lavender, Tea Tree & consequently Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene. I applied this to my legs as it was only a small amount of product. If I were to use it on all of my problem areas I doubt I would have any left over from one day's use. I can report that it applied nicely and didn't cause any further irritation, however after a week's use I couldn't see any difference in my condition.

As above, it would probably work for others but not if you have as much bad skin as me.

Barefoot SOS

I was recently sent a product to try from Barefoot SOS from their Dry & Sensitive range named 'Daily Rich Body Lotion' which actually contains a much more complex range of ingredients than I was led to believe.

INGREDIENTS: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Pentaerythrityl Distearate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Squalane, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Lactobacillus/Portulaca Oleracea Ferment Extract, Limonene*, Alcohol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Allantoin, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Panthenol, Canola Oil, Stellaria Media Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Linalool*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa Seed Oil, Geraniol*, Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract, Citral*, Citronellol*, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxycitronellal, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Beta-Carotene, Chlorphenesin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Citric Acid. *Naturally occurring within essential oils.

Perhaps this is why unsurprisingly this caused me further irritation and stung a lot when put on some of my more sensitive open areas.

They did however send me another product from the same range called 'Face and Body Rescue Cream', however this seems to contain similar ingredients. I am hesitant to use it, given the stinging that the other cream caused me but I will think on it.

Right now I am trialing Shaloah Skincare so I shall let you know how I get on with that.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Healing Scars The Natural Way

Yesterday I managed to catch some sun on my legs in an attempt to heal the scars left over from picking at the scabs from my bout of MRSA last summer. Hopefully I can keep it up by going outside on a regular basis. Typically it's all overcast and misty today though!

Has anyone else been basking in the sun?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Being Busy Topical Steroid Withdrawal

So I've had an extremely busy week this week. On Sunday 23rd Feb we made the 2.5hr journey northbound to visit my family, of which I'm pleased to say I managed to drive all the way there AND back without asking Shane to take over! I haven't been able to do that for a very long time as driving can really take its toll on me. Especially in more recent times where I've been a slave to the itch and unable to concentrate on anything that requires lots of focus.

When arriving at my Mum's house, which was a little bit dusty because she'd just had a new boiler fitted, I found my skin react a little bit to the dust and the cats but my asthma was very controlled. I don't think I took my inhaler at all and I was there for around 7/8 hours. However, when staying at my Uncle's house that night I could not stop wheezing. I was taking my inhaler literally every hour (I know, I know that's improper use) and ended up having to take my steroid inhaler which I haven't needed for well over a year. It really upset me but my asthma was fine the next day so not sure if it may have been a delayed reaction to the dust and the cats or what. Very strange.

The next day we journeyed up to Edinburgh for a couple of days of much needed quality time away from everything. We had such a lovely time and got a lot done, including visits to various museums and even the zoo! My skin took a bit of a beating from the wind and sporadic rain, much to my annoyance, but it was more the fact that it had gone dry due to the weather conditions that I had a flare.

Looking a bit haggard but I was excited really!

I was slightly worried about choosing where we would stay when I initially booked the trip. We don't have a great deal of money so I decided to just book it as cheaply as possible as after all a hotel is only really needed for its bed to sleep in. For this purpose I just decided to go with Travelodge as I know they're budget friendly and generally clean and uniform. However there have been instances where the room hasn't been 100% clean and this worried me a great deal when I was committing to book as I noticed they now allow pets to stay. They do charge extra to allow for the extra cleaning, but as I say, the rooms in previous hotels of theirs haven't always been spotlessly clean so I was a bit concerned but I am getting better so it wouldn't have resulted in a huge reaction, yet as I was trying to avoid such circumstances to make my stay as painless as possible it was a hindrance. For anyone with really severe allergies I probably wouldn't look to stay with them any more.

On the evening that we traveled back to my family I was very hesitant about going back to my Uncle's house because of how my asthma had been the previous stay, but I had nothing to worry about as I slept like a baby. Stupid asthma.

The following day we drove back home with one of my dear friends in tow, who was staying overnight with us so I could finally show her Lincoln. It was a joy to have her stay over, even if I was rather exhausted from gallivanting to Scotland and driving long distance. It might not sound much but when you've been pretty cooped up and housebound for a long time, having such a busy week can take its toll on you, but I am determined to keep the momentum going! In fact I only had yesterday evening to relax as today we are off to see Shane's parents for a race he is running tomorrow. No rest for the wicked!

I also should mention that I managed to share a bed with Shane too which is a huge thing, even if I do scratch a lot and he does breathe loudly through his mouth! Heh.

Hope everyone is doing alright!x