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Hand Eczema and Working

(52 Posts)
Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 18:20:12

Hi,
After years not working whilst my kids were little, about 15 months ago, I started a part time job in a coffee shop. As well as waitressing, I serve customers and wash up.

However, I used to waitress as a teen and had really bad hand eczema/dermatitis and then, after having the kids, it mostly cleared up as long as i moisturised well, they've been fine.

Since last year and starting this job though, my hands have been deteriorating.....to the point when they look awful (see attached picture) and I feel really self conscious. They hurt and itch all day, every day and wake up in the night to find I'm using my teeth to scratch them!

As a teen, my GP prescribed Dermovate steroid ointment (which was quite effective) but my current GP last year would only prescribe Eumovate and said I sh Lent be using Dermovate regularly......so my sore, broken skin hands aren't having chance to heal up. I work at opposite ends of the week to give them as much time as possible to heal but it just isn't enough.

I love my little job though but I'm starting to feel depressed about my skin again and thinking about giving up working there. wwyd?

Robertaquimby Mon 14-Dec-15 18:30:50

Your hands look really sore. I would ask for a referral to a dermatologist. My eczema used to be quite bad but massively improved after a referral.

I would think you might need to take a couple of weeks off to get it cleared up. I assume the washing up is the problem. Do you use gloves? And when you are washing your hands before serving food do you use something that has been prescribed.

magicpuppy Mon 14-Dec-15 18:33:55

Have you tried Eucerin handcream? My dd has eczema and has recently had terrible dry skin on her hands and it has caused her eczema to flare up.

I got the Eucerin 5% urea cream and some white cotton gloves and it has worked wonders for her very quickly

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 18:35:57

They are relly sore yes sad.
I'm using Eumovate to try and clear them up over night but I don't want to go back to using steroid cream for the rest of my working life.
Financially I don't need the job (I don't mean that in a baostful way but more that I'm not tied to doing it and could leave without the added stress of having to keep that specific job.).
I can't use any gloves.....I'm latex allergic and even non latex gloves make my hands worse as they make them sweat and then itch etc.
I constantly use Cetraben cream on them at work but it's helping less and less.

ChoclolateOrange Mon 14-Dec-15 18:36:33

I have this problem OP and similarly it got bad during a job in a coffee shop! I am still work in that sort of environment and actually have a flair up at the moment but I can keep it well under control these days.

My GP suggested using Boots own DermaCare cream which is a much lower % steroid than even Eumovate and can be bought over the counter without prescription. It is important to only use it when you have to of course. My routine is to put it on before bedtime, and the rest of day use Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream as that just seems to suit me. I also NEVER use any kind of antibacterial hand wash at home and wear gloves for all household cleaning.

Have you worked out what is causing it specifically? Is it washing up or the antibac hand wash? Do you use rubber gloves at all? The are obviously protective against strong cleaning fluids etc but I find I am allergic to the gloves themselves so I use cotton lined ones.

Hope that helps. I loved my coffee shop job and I totally understand how sad you would be to give it up.

ChoclolateOrange Mon 14-Dec-15 18:38:10

Sorry, cross post over the gloves!

CMOTDibbler Mon 14-Dec-15 18:38:15

Have you tried wearing cotton gloves under washing up gloves? You can find them in the Boots first aid section

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 18:38:18

I can't use Eucerin or anything with urea in.....it burns!
I'm highly contact allergic to food products as well......so when people leave mustard or sauces on their plates and I put them into the washing up water they irritate my skin. I can't touch raw chicken, some fruit and veg, salmon, melon etc (not that I do food preparation at work) but I do get some food on me when clearing plates etc.

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 18:38:47

I can't wear cotton gloves unfortunately.....it's the heat that makes em sweat then itch more.

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 18:39:49

I think I'm kind of answering my own question......I know many people who have left nursing and hairdressing for similar reasons.

BendydickCuminsnatch Mon 14-Dec-15 18:43:08

I had that too, I'm a baker. From washing up liquid etc. and hot water, and always having wet hands and wiping them dry. I got some steroid cream from my GP to jump start its recovery, then used Epaderm morning and night. Not sure if that has urea in though. Supposed to use in instead of washing hands too, but I couldn't bring myself to forgo the hand washing while preparing food!

SweetAdeline Mon 14-Dec-15 18:43:17

If you needed the job then I would suggest pushing for a referral if the GP is fobbing you off. They could try protopic for example. But the reality is you will be constantly battling against the environmental factors which exacerbate your eczema so I'd seriously consider finding a different type of work.

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 18:46:18

What's protopic?

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 18:48:29

Just googled it.....it doesn't look good. It has lots of possible side effects. I was at the point of only using Cetraben or Nivea Soft twice daily.....now I'm using Cetraben every 10/15 mins at work and home.

SweetAdeline Mon 14-Dec-15 19:01:31

It's a wonder drug for eczema with no risk of skin thinning (unlike steroids), but you're right, it does have other side effects. Ive used it because my eczema is so bad that even daily life makes it look worse than yours, but you've got another option if you know quitting your job will improve it.

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 19:08:20

Just chatted to DH about it and he is really supportive about me leaving.
Feel really bad though....I really like working there and the people I work with.

Bodicea Mon 14-Dec-15 20:58:23

You def should see a dermatologist. I suffer with eczema and my hands are the most difficult to keep on top of. But will give you the tips I have gleaned.
Wash hands in dermol 500 ( use as a soap suubstitute)
Go up and down the steroid tree as required. It is a load of rubbish you can only have up to one strength. A strong steroid used for a short amount of time is less damaging than a mild/moderate used all the time. As long as you are not using every day it's fine. I use dactacourt ointment generally ( hydrocortisone with an antigen fungal element) but work up to elocon ointment when needed.
Use a steroid ointment not cream. GPs that prescribe cream steroids are out of date.
Moisturise moisturiser moisturise. I like cetraben cream and also use epiderm ointment at night ( not as much as I should - I am too busy keeping on top of my sons much more serious eczema to look after myself properly)
Use washing up gloves - but be careful about the lining inside. Cheap ones and ones with flocked linings are no good. Get ones for sensitive skin.

MrsBalustradeLanyard Mon 14-Dec-15 20:59:54

Basically you can't do a job that involves your hands being constantly wet. Me too! Sorry...

MrsBalustradeLanyard Mon 14-Dec-15 21:00:45

Oh and Protopic has worked for me when my skin has been totally out of control in the past but weirdly, not on my hands! And only a Consultant can prescribe it, not a GP.

Bodicea Mon 14-Dec-15 21:01:27

Oh yes agree with verbena. Pro topic might be worth a try. I use on my eyelids as recommended by dermatologist - you def need to see deem for that. It's only good once you have got your hands back to a decent condition though. So have to start with the steroids then use protocol as more of a preventative treatment. I unfortunately often let my hands get in too bad a state to use it. Mostly because I don't follow my own advice as much as I should x

Bodicea Mon 14-Dec-15 21:02:25

*protopic not protocol

Bodicea Mon 14-Dec-15 21:04:58

Don't google protopic. There is a lot of shit written about it. I made the mistake of doing that and refused to use it for my poor som for ages. My dermatologist finally convinced me it was the right thing for my son. You just have to use it safely. But again you really have to speak to a dermatologist about if.

WhoKn0wsWhereTheMistletoes Mon 14-Dec-15 21:12:32

I saw a dermatologist about mine this year and he prescribed Betnovate for a fortnight followed by Protopic on an ongoing basis, he wrote to my GP to say he could give me repeat prescriptions for Protopic. However having stopped the Betnovate I didn't start the Protopic but did start Lush Dream Cream several times a day which is keeping it at a manageable level (small patches instead of most of my hands, much less inflammation, itching and cracking).

Verbena37 Mon 14-Dec-15 22:19:08

Can't wear any gloves because they make my skin sweat and then itch.....even non latex, non powdered gloves.
So I've decided to call GP tomorrow and ask them to prescribe Dermovate to get it cleared....its hasn't properly been clear for over the year now and then hopefully, I may be able to manage staying at work.

Thanks everyone for your tips and help.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 14-Dec-15 22:26:14

Some great tips here - my hands are really bad ATM and I need to take better care of them. Bodicea can I ask you what dermol 500 is? Do I need a prescription?

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