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At end of my tether - eczema and stupidly itchy dry skin - HELP!

(152 Posts)
Theoneandonlyitchymcitch Fri 18-Mar-16 18:13:49

As I sit here, smothered in aveeno, instead of being out with all the bright young things, I am begging for any advice or wise words. I have had ezcena since I was 18 months old (I am now in my 30's) and have learnt to manage it pretty well. However, I have had a pretty rough time recently (relationship woes, work stress, etc, and my bastarding skin has decided to make my life even more difficult by going completely crazy. It is red, flakey and unbearably itchy. I average about two hours sleep a night because of the itching, which makes me unbelievably grouchy at work. I can't wear most of my clothes as I cannot tolerate anything other than pure cotton on my skin. People at work have started making snide remarks about fleas as I literally cannot stop itching and do it without thinking. I literally bathe in emollients and Aveeno, am popping antihistamines like they are going out of fashion... Can't wear dark clothes as my skin is flaking so badly. Have to wash my hair every day as the skin on my face flakes into my hair and looks like I have horrendous dandruff. Then it gets so dry that trying to bend my arms and legs is absolute agony. GP doesn't help, I am more of an expert than them having had bad skin for so long (see a different one Everytime and they just google) ... It is seriously denting my confidence, my sanity and I am begging you lot to suggest something else I can try... Sorry for the essay, but I am literally at my wits end. Help anyone???

Theoneandonlyitchymcitch Fri 18-Mar-16 19:22:07

Bump. Anyone?? <echoes>

CamboricumMinor Fri 18-Mar-16 19:24:56

You have my sympathies, I'm in the middle of a flare up at the moment. I haven't found a solution unfortunately sad

HumphreyCobblers Fri 18-Mar-16 19:26:04

you need a referral to a dermatologist - I am not surprised you know more that the average GP.

HumphreyCobblers Fri 18-Mar-16 19:27:01

Could it be diet related? Maybe your triggers have changed?

Dangermouse1 Fri 18-Mar-16 19:35:34

Yes go back to GP and request a referral - don't be fobbed off. Has anything changed e.g. has your diet got worse as you're stressed out? Can you try and combat the stress as that seems to be the trigger - gentle exercise maybe, or just put on a trashy film and try to switch off? Sorry can't be more helpful.

Theoneandonlyitchymcitch Fri 18-Mar-16 19:36:24

Thank you for the replies. You have given me something to do with my hands, other than scratch myself to shit. I even for nail extensions the other week as they do far less damage than my natural nails. I have asked and asked and asked for a referral. To no avail. It's bloody hopeless, and it is making me properly ill with regards to lack of sleep and General well being. I hate it. And obviously, as my luck has it, there is no cure. I remember being tiny and not being able to go to pre school as every time I tried to walk, my skin cracked, and bled. It's a horrible affliction. I have had many referrals, but same old same old. I just never thought it would return with such a vengeance in my 30's. camboricum have you found anything to work during a flare up? I am literally grasping at straws here

outputgap Fri 18-Mar-16 19:37:52

I only know about this from the perspective of my tiny ds but we were completely failed by GPs. It's just not the right way to treat severe eczema. His life and sleep and skin were transformed by us paying privately to see a top consultant.

Which is ridiculous, isn't it? We're lucky enough to be able to afford that, but why should people suffer for want of the right advice?

Anyway, the hypothesis of the guy we saw was that your skin is one organ and you must treat and eradicate all eczema, not just use steroids to reduce the severity for a couple of days at a time. And then unremittingly zap it when it comes back.

As I say, it transformed ds. He went from never sleeping for more than 10 minutes at a time, and waking up with yellow PJs and sheets from the weeping pus every morning, to now looking and acting like a child who doesn't have eczema. But when we stopped zapping every tiny patch, while he had chicken pox, it took only a few days for eczema to turn up all over his body, including in places we'd not seen it before, so he hadn't just grown out of it.

LostInMess Fri 18-Mar-16 19:38:57

Agree you need a dermatologist -
IMO GPs aren't very good with adult eczema though they were great when I was
a child.
Have you tried wet wrapping to try and soothe it? I also love oilatum or balneum (if it's still available) in the bath for leaving
a layer on your skin.
And some sunshine would be nice!

MustBeThin Fri 18-Mar-16 19:40:05

Have you tried bathing in salts? I don't have eczema but OH has Psoriasis and baths with Dead Sea Salt and that really soothes his skin if he has a bad flair up. I'd definitely try to get referred to a dermatologist though.

Theoneandonlyitchymcitch Fri 18-Mar-16 19:43:16

Thanks all. My diet hasn't really changed, lots of oily fish, vegetables erc, as advised. Or that has worked previously. I used to even tolerate non biological washing powder, but had to switch to the dermatology one with absolutelt nothing in it (need to go downstairs and check the name). Mattress has been changed, bedding changed every two days... I am just at a loss as to know what to do. I should probably insist on (yet another) referral, but it literally is ruining my life. My skin literally feels like it is on fire most of the time. I know in the grand scheme of things I shouldnt complain, but when it has got to the point that I am practically crying and can't bend my limbs at the end of the day as they are so cracked and painful, then I think I am allowed to feel sorry for myself. Plus it has given me anxiety. When my ex stayed over, I would just go int lo meltdown at the thought of having him in my bed, because I knew that even his heat or skin would drive mine into overdrive and tense up and lie awake for hours itching (sexy I know, not).

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 18-Mar-16 19:43:30

Aloe Vera plant - crush and apply the watery bit that comes out

3 kids and DH did this and not had it back in 7 years -

DD has it flare up unless we use Aloe sun cream - lovely skin all summer -

You should try the soap and shampoo too.

I buy it online via Amazon

CamboricumMinor Fri 18-Mar-16 19:43:46

No. I have tried all kinds of cream but my skin feels like it burns when I use them - I've tried Aveeno, E45, cetraben and several others.

My eczema on my neck only started when work made it compulsory for us to wear ID cards all the time, I think it's down to the ribbon rubbing at my neck all the time.

NickAngel Fri 18-Mar-16 19:47:34

I completely empathise with you OP, mine still flares up but not as bad as it had been. I moved house and it cleared quite quickly; I think the damp and mould in my old house was causing my skin to react. It's a bit drastic but it worked for me ( and DS)
You really need to push for referral to dermatologist abd an allergy consultant. It could be something everyday that causes a reaction such as nickel or ingredient in make up etc and then the anxiety of a flare up exacerbates further.
Have you had any allergy or intolerance testing? Have you been given any sleeping tablets to at least give you some relief and sleep?

thesurreyyouth Fri 18-Mar-16 19:48:17

I have been you in the past. You need to have a review of medication as it's no longer effective. You may need a different steroid, stronger antihistamine & change of emollient. I noticed that my skin was always better in the summer so started taking a vitamin D supplement, my skin improved so much. I think zinc is also important and years ago I used to have a thick grey zinc paste that was slathered onto the skin on top of the steroid. Nowadays I have the odd little flare up that I can control with ointment.
I hope you get some relief soon.

BigMamaFratelli Fri 18-Mar-16 19:53:00

Last time I had a huge eczema flare up I cut out gluten, took large doses of vitamin D and covered myself in coconut oil (cold pressed and organic) several times a day.

I can't tell you which one of things did it, but within a few days it was manageable and within a fortnight it had gone.

I've lost faith in GPs re eczema as they only ever seem to want to slap cream on it rather than finding out what caused it in the first place.

Sunflower1985 Fri 18-Mar-16 19:53:26

I flare every 7 years or so for a couple of years. The flare before last, when it was all over my hands, I finally got my dermatology appointment and was prescribed protopic. It was my miracle cure.
Alas, by the time I got to my next flare the gp refused to prescribe it and it wasn't bad enough for referral (according to them). It's hideously expensive.

A temporary relief for me was running it under the hot tap. Start from cold and let it heat up. Warning being - don't scold yourself. Obv.

Theoneandonlyitchymcitch Fri 18-Mar-16 19:56:50

I bathe in Dead Sea salts... I was a balneum baby as well. Sorry to hear about your d's out. Hope he recovers. Just realising that it is a lifelong condition... Kept kidding myself I would grow out of it... My earliest memory is when I was about two, and I couldn't go to nursery as each time I tried to walk, it would crack open the scabs and was agony. I have used so much steroid cream in my life that my skin has thinned and I look far older than I am. I have tried wet wrapping when I was younger, it helped for a while, then became detrimental again, my body couldn't tolerate being damp all the time. That said, all my clothes are ruined due to the moiusteriser, and I get so cold, due to it being on my skin so j put the heater on. Then that aggravates it. I am ashamed to say that I have been reduced to having a glass of wine or two of an evening, which I am sure doesn't help, but at least it knocks me out so I don't stay up all night itching.... I am literally in tears here right now. I can't cope with the itching anymore.
Or the soreness the next day.

StringTheory Fri 18-Mar-16 19:58:32

Vaseline really helped my DS. Smothered him before bed and he was much better in a few days

Wolfiefan Fri 18-Mar-16 19:59:01

You need an emollient that works for you. And bloody good steroids for a flare.
Aveeno does bugger all for me. (Although people here always rave about it!)
What creams are you using? How often?

CamboricumMinor Fri 18-Mar-16 19:59:47

Sally I tried that a few years ago but it made my hands come in red blisters so I've not tried it again sad

Theoneandonlyitchymcitch Fri 18-Mar-16 20:00:05

I have used up my sleeping tablets (that I got when my dad died suddenly three years ago), that I don't really like taking. And Gp won't give me anymore... I can understand that. But when it gets to the point that the only relief I can get is scratching myself with a comb, then that's pretty bad. And as you guys will know, the more you itch, the worse it gets...!

mimishimmi Fri 18-Mar-16 20:01:33

turmeric oil... applied straight from vial. Omega 3 fish oil supplements.

Theoneandonlyitchymcitch Fri 18-Mar-16 20:03:30

sun water just makes it worse, especially hot water... wolfie I have double base (does fuck all), combined with dermolex and betnovate. Plus antihistamine (and phernegan nicked off my sister). Nothing, bloody nothing is working and I can't cope on two hours of sleep a night anymore. I am desperate

thereareworsethingsicoulddo Fri 18-Mar-16 20:05:05

Controversial I know but have you considered having a sunbed?
As a fellow sufferer the sun helps mine and when ive had a really bad flare up in winter I've had the odd 5 mins on a tanning bed and it's helped. I know it's not the healthiest option!

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