Execrable Eczema

<Begin Rant>

I give up.

Eczema on my EYELIDS since September.

See the swollen, scaly, red portion up near my eyebrow? (It’s maddeningly itchy, too, but you probably can’t see that.) See the cream that got trapped in the creases of my eyelid? See that I really need to have my eyebrows done?

I thought it was triggered by some dairy I accidentally ate and that it was finally going away after I assiduously followed a high-meditation, high-green-vegetable, low-sugar, low-grain, darned-near-vegan diet for months, but it’s BACK with a vengeance.

This despite the assurance of multiple (well, two) doctors that it would go away when the weather warmed up and got more humid, even though I TOLD them I never had this in the 7+ years I lived in the desert (it doesn’t get much less humid than Utah, folks).

Actually, I had it a couple of times in the desert but only when I ate dairy and it always went away within three weeks of going back off the dairy. But they just ignored this piece of information. And this from the so-called “holistic-minded” physicians I saw. Use more lotion, they said. And I say I want my co-pay back.

I would cry, but it would just make the cream I put on my eyelids run into my eyes.

<End Rant>

14 comments

  1. Pingback: Is it a hickey…or just eczema? | Imperfect Happiness
  2. KC · November 20, 2012

    Hi CJ!

    I found something that finally worked for me! I had been dealing with this same issue for almost a year and did a ton of research, experimented with a lot of different options and products. I still don’t really know what caused my eyelids to look the way they did (even after cutting out make-up products, eating differently and not rubbing or touching my eyes/eyelids). A few months ago, I finally found something that worked and I am trying to put it out there on all of the blogs I used to read (and yours was one of them and very helpful when I was going through this so THANK YOU!):

    -First-off, I started using EYELID WIPES every morning and evening to get rid of any bacteria that was lingering on my lids (sometimes it hurt to use these because my skin was either red and swollen or scaly and itchy but I still used the eyelid wipes). Any brand seemed to work for me, even the generic from CVS, RiteAid, etc. but there are also specific brands I tried like Sunmark Eyelid Wipes and Systane Lid Wipes.

    -Secondly, after using the eyelid wipes, I would apply a gel called DRY SKIN EYE GEL from the Skin Shop (a UK-based website). Here’s the link to the product: http://www.skinshop.co.uk/item.asp?i=4637. The gel worked better than anything I tried. It took about one week before I noticed that things weren’t getting worse, although they still weren’t perfect. After about 2 weeks, I noticed everything starting to clear up. By the end of the first month, the eyelid condition was gone. I was ECSTATIC! I was even able to start wearing make-up again but I take it off as soon as I need to. I waited awhile to post my results because I wanted to make sure my combination of the products above actually worked — they really do. I have been rash-free, pain-free, embarrassment-free for the past 5 months. I really hope that this helps you as well as your readers!

    Like

    • CJ · November 21, 2012

      Thanks for the suggestions, KC! My eyelids have actually improved quite a bit since I cut out all products but the most basic and natural (least likely to contain allergens or irritants), not just for my face, but for my hands, hair, and body, too, since I could get non-face products on my eyelids inadvertently just by rubbing my eyes. I still have one pre-eczema spot on each eye (my eczema always starts with a little colorless blister, and that’s what I have on each eyelid), and they still get itchy but aren’t getting red or flaky or anything anymore. I’ve been waiting to post an update until I felt like I’d gotten to the bottom of it entirely, but that seems to be taking a while. But thanks again for sharing your experience. Maybe your successes will help me find the missing key to getting my eczema all cleared up!

      Like

  3. crpeterson · June 12, 2012

    Oh man, I feel your pain. In fact just the other day my fiance said “your eyes are red have you been crying?” and I said “I WANT to cry, I want to freaking bawl my eyes out because of my eczema but I CAN’T cry because then my face will swell up even more!!!!!”

    Ugh.

    Hang in there. I read this quote every time I’m feeling down b/c of the good ol eczema and it helps tremendously:

    “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

    I hope it offers you some encouragement the way it does me!

    Remember, your flare will go away, it’s not permanent!

    Like

    • CJ · March 15, 2013

      Courtney-

      I was just going back through through old posts, and I found this comment from you. I must have missed it before, but I really appreciate it, especially now that a patch on my neck has joined the ones on my eyelids. As you know, in the midst of all of the discomfort, it’s difficult to believe that it will eventually get better (and that it could be a whole lot worse). I do admit, though, that when I’m devoting so much energy to not scratching a hole through my eyelids, I’m not really filled with “compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.” I trust that will come later. 🙂

      At any rate, a belated thanks for the comment.

      -CJ

      Like

  4. Lauren · May 31, 2012

    There’s a great cream made in Utah that I use religiously and has cleared up eczema for a couple of friends. It’s the only thing that has ever worked for them. Its called Helen Knows Best, google it! It’s not only shea butter but essential oils too. The best stuff I’ve ever used!

    Like

    • CJ · May 31, 2012

      Thanks for the suggestion, Lauren. I think I might have a couple of clues about my eczema ebb and flow, but if my experimenting with that doesn’t yield consistent results, I might be in the market for another cream.

      Like

  5. Tina Brown · May 28, 2012

    Charity, I had the same problem and I am alergic to the base that the cream is put in. I had to see a dermatologist. When I get home I can tell you what it was. If there is not noticalbe improvement in 12 hours then go back to the doc. excema is not dry skin it is an autoimmune reaction. It turns out that I am also allergic to diary, but don’t tell Italy that.

    Like

    • CJ · May 28, 2012

      Good to know, Tina. I actually have the name of a dermatologist from the last time I talked with my doctor, but I’ve been hemming and hawing about making an appt because last time I saw a dermatologist, he was very symptoms-oriented and not at all interested in determining causes, and that’s just not how I do things. Of course, I probably ought not to judge an entire profession based on one doctor I saw once 15 years ago (well, and my husband’s experiences with the specialty…they just prescribe corticosteroid creams for his eczema).

      Like

      • CJ · May 28, 2012

        Oh, and to clarify, the doctors never actually gave me any creams or even recommended any brand or anything. The closest I got was, “Something natural and simple, like shea butter.” But I couldn’t find just straight shea butter, so I’ve been alternating between a homeopathic eczema cream and a homemade cream I made myself a few months ago (beeswax, lanolin…other stuff I can’t remember now. Rosemary oil. Smells good). And sometimes when I start to suspect it’s somehow yeast-related, I’ll use a tea tree oil combo I mixed up. But I don’t really think it’s yeast related. I just get desperate sometimes.

        And your secret from Italy is safe with me.

        Like

  6. tree peters · May 28, 2012

    Oh that sounds so awful. I would have thought it was the dairy too. I wish I knew something that would help.
    Just sending healing thoughts…

    Like

    • CJ · May 28, 2012

      Thanks, tree. I appreciate that.

      Like

  7. Melanie Meadors · May 28, 2012

    1) Cream won’t make eczema go away, and in fact might make it worse. But some creams might help it FEEL better.
    2) Eczema may get worse with humidity, but humidity is not the CAUSE of eczema.
    3) There is a possibility it could be hormone related. Think about mom hormones, and if you are nursing less, and when the last time you had this was.
    4) Think about environmental things as well as things you ate, like cleaners, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. but more non-obvious things like that. So non-obvious that I can’t think of an example. Pesticide from neighbors, lawn chemicals… When did it seem to be going away? Was it seasonal at all?
    5) Doctors suck. I haven’t been to see one in way too long…
    6) Your eyebrows look fine. At least you have two ;).

    I had a nasty patch of eczema on my arm through my whole childhood. It was disgusting. But when I got to be about 18, it completely disappeared. The doctor tried everything to get it to clear up, including all these steroid creams and stuff, but nothing really worked. 😦

    Like

    • CJ · May 28, 2012

      1) I definitely find that creams help with the intense itching, but don’t seem to help get rid of it.

      2) I think most of the people (doctors and otherwise) I’ve talked to are going by the “chronic dry skin” definition of eczema. So when it showed up in the fall, they said, “Oh, it’s cooler, dryer weather now. It’ll get better in the spring when it’s warmer and damper.” My skin, in general, is less dry now, but my eczema doesn’t seem to care.

      3) Hormones are an idea. In general, my eczema and acne both clear up when I’m pregnant, although the first time I got the eyelid eczema was when I was pregnant (and doing a dairy challenge). The nursing I don’t think is related because we’ve been on a gradual taper in the months since this showed up and the eczema has waxed and waned over the course of the nursing taper. But of course, these things are difficult to track.

      4) I’ve definitely been thinking about environmental things. We’re exposed to so many more lawn pesticides and so much more cigarette smoke here. And what’s up with so many people drenching themselves in cologne? That just wasn’t my experience in CA or UT. I also don’t get nearly as much exercise here because I can’t WALK anywhere. I thought it could be stress because it started getting better during my big-time meditation challenge. It still might be that; I’ve pretty much fallen off the meditation wagon and that has coincided with the eczema resurgence.

      5) 🙂

      6) Thanks. I still might pay someone $10 to wax them next time I get my hair cut. Despite the fact that it seems odd to wax my eyebrows when I do nothing about my hairy legs or the armpit hair that peeps out when I wear cap-sleeve shirts.

      Maybe I just need to wait for it to spontaneously improve. Or maybe it just never will. My husband’s had eczema on his hands his whole life, and nothing has seemed to help it. Although it was somewhat better when we lived in the desert…

      Like

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