Eczema – Itchy nightmare!

Eczema, how I hate thee!

A quick post to share my hatred of eczema. I haven’t included any photos, not even a reference from Wikipedia, because the pictures are so gross! Up until about 5 years ago I was a normal person, but then the evil Mr Eczema showed up and started eating my fingers! At first it was a small section on my index fingers, no more than a slight irritation, but every summer it has got worse. Several times since early May the rash has popped up with angry vengeance, how I hate it.

Last week it arrived with a particularly nasty plan, it seems the eczema beast wants to chew off my fingers and make me look like a leper! The Leper Look is in this season, right? My index fingers are sore all the time, even the slightest bit of water makes them sting like I’ve been bitten by a hundred pissed off insects. And to make matters worse it has spread to include my thumbs and middle fingers.

Oh and now a couple of small patches have arrived on my knuckles!

I’ve had some cream from the doctor, Betnovate I think it’s called. I teeny little tube with a suggested “apply 3 times a day” plan on the side. It lasts about 3 days and even then it doesn’t actually do much. It soothes my skin a little but doesn’t stop it from stinging.

Itchy & Scratchy

I find it hilarious when people say “just don’t scratch it” – um, yeah because it’s that easy isn’t it? I try, I really do, but when Mr Itchy pops along, crawling up and down my fingers, I can’t help but bring out Mr Scratchy and go to town on the evil Mr Itchy!

I quit after a quick scrape but it’s like an addiction. I don’t want to go into the whole skin peeling, flapping thing because it’s so disgusting! Oh and the cracks. Who would have thought your skin could actually crack open like a field in a drought?




Why does Eczema hate me?

Like I said, I used to be a normal person, happy healthy skin with no strange flaky bits hanging off. I’ve tried to work out if it’s an allergic reaction to food but found nothing that triggers it. I haven’t changed anything about my washing habits, I use the same soap/shower gel I always have and I don’t spray my hands with deodorant or anything like that.

The only link I’ve found is to do with heat or humidity. English summers are weird, it’s not necessarily the heat that’s a pain but the humidity. A couple of weeks ago we had a very humid spell, several days of hot sticky weather, and when that ended with a nice storm my fingers decided it was time Mr Eczema and My Itchy paid me a visit.

So humidity does seem to be a key here, but I fail to see why and how. I’ve read a bunch of stuff online about eczema and haven’t found anything relating to heat or humidity. Sigh.

And why just my fingers? Why not the back of my knee or half way up my arm? I guess my fingers get used the most, so that might be why but after looking at pictures online it seems Mr Eczema can strike anywhere it chooses.

The strange look.

I’ve noticed people at work giving me a strange look every now and then. I’ve just started a new job which means lots of hand shaking, and the odd glance at my hands doesn’t go unnoticed. Because I work in HR it means I have to print stuff off, too much stuff actually but that’s a story for another time, and when I’m discussing figures and graphs and stuff I point to the print outs. I try not to look but I can see people looking at my fingers.

On the one hand I just don’t care.

So what? It’s just eczema. Big deal. Go ahead and take a good long look. I agree with ya co-worker buddy, it sure as shit is pretty gross.

However, on the other hand I find I’m using a pencil or my pinky finger to point at graphs and stuff on the screen to avoid anyone taking more notice of my gross leper fingers than the matter of payroll and budgets.

Hey, let’s work on the problem and not get sidetracked by the alien fingers shall we? What you looking at? Ain’t you never seen a guy with half his skin hanging off? Get over it!

The miracle cure.

Hah! I bet there isn’t one. I’ve read all sorts of junk about bathing in certain oils and rubbing cat placenta on your affected areas, but there’s always a teeny tiny disclaimer that says: “Might not work in all cases, check with your quack before you stick this crap over your body.” There are even companies who promise to banish Mr Eczema once and for all with their Magical Wonder Ointment – Eczema-B-Gone for $49.99!

I’m not yet willing to plunge myself into the seedy world of the eczema war. There has to be something I can use that will make life a little better. After a quick scratch and a bunch of silent curses I remind myself it’s just a bit of itchyness, there are plenty of people with far worse stuff going on with their bodies than me. But it’s my itchyness and I want to police that bad Mr Eczema as best I can.

I’m sure I read somewhere that extra virgin coconut oil is supposed to be helpful.

Or was it extra virgin banana milk?

Or milk?

Or maybe a nice bar of yummy chocolate, yeah, that seems like the best idea.

Anyhoo, that’s my rant for the day done with.

If you have any suggestions to help slap Mr Itchy and Mr Eczema around the face, however outlandish they may be, please let me know! Please!

15 thoughts on “Eczema – Itchy nightmare!

  1. a) get some cortizone ointment, not cream, ointment of at least 1% – not .5% but 1%
    2) start keeping a food diary. Although you are connecting this with weather, I think it is food related!!

    3) yeah, chocolate works for anything that ails you!

      1. not sure what sells in your part of the world. here, in Canada, to get 1% you have to have a prescription and can’t get ointment, only cream, which is not nearly as effective. In the U.S. you can buy the 1% cortisone ointment off the shelf of any large department store so I stock up when i go to the States.
        I know that diet works as my hubby has completely cleared his up after decades of problems with it.
        fingers crossed it’s not chocolate. heh heh. I feel your pain on that one.

  2. Hi Dave,
    I don’t have any suggestions but you have pinpointed a possible cause of my excema – humity! Mine is predominately on my “mouse” finger and between the other fingers on the same hand. Went to the doctors who just gave the “Portuguese” shrug so no joy there!
    Pardon the pun but it’s irritating to say the least and scratching it is like an err o***** LOL 🙂

    I am going to try some bio oil on mine…will let you know how I get on!

    PS it can also be stress related


  3. Sorry to hear about your deflicted hands… hope it won’t curtail you blogging habits. The sale of various strengths of cortizone products depends on the local (federal, usually) laws. For example, here in Canada we tend to wait for the US to approve a drug before we do. So your best bet is just to head down to the chemist’s and ask for the good stuff. If (s)he needs a prescription, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Hope you’ll clear this soon!

  4. Dave my brother has it really bad on his hands, under his finger nails.(YES).
    He gets some kind of infusion every 6 weeks that keeps it more than under control…it’s gotten so much better. He also has some kind of virus that attacks the (joints) of his hands. The infusion is to control the arthritis-like attack to his hands, one of the positive side effects of the infusion is the control of the Eczema. I don’t get to talk to him on a regular basis, but I will get the name of the drug he’s on. It’s fairly heavy duty, and can affect the liver…so maybe you don’t want to chance it. But he can now use his hands…It got so bad, he couldn’t use them…whew.

    1. Ouch, that sounds very nasty. I couldn’t imagine not being able to use my hands, I think I’d rather lose one of my senses than suffer that kind of agony. Oh man, I just paused to read what I wrote and found myself scratching away!

      A food diary is a good idea. I’ll start that tomorrow, it seems that this summer has been particularly bad for me, that’s why I thought I had a link between the humidity and my eczema because I don’t suffer from it during the winter.

  5. Shame, Dave! That sounds awful!!!!!! To an extent I can relate to you because I get chilblains. I used to get it only in winter in South Africa, but this summer it was extremely hot in Kansas, US and I ended up having it in the humidity too!

    Don’t know if you know what chilblains is but is also causes the skin to turn red and to itch something horrible. It’s also bad because you wear shoes that shave on the skin the whole time. However, if you scratch it it starts to swell and become more red, and of course, the more you scratch the more it itches, and of course you would imagine that scratching would relieve the itch but no, it is actually painful.

    Now I know that you don’t have chilblains, ok, but some of the symptoms sound a little similar. I’m wondering if what helps me won’t help you too. This last winter in SA I even had two infected fingers and I used the same cure and it solved my problem.

    1) I’ve been struggling with chilblains for 34 years. Two years ago I learned that my body needed help with blood circulation. I stopped trying any and all products – in- and external – and bought myself a foot spa with vibration, bubble water and infra red healing light. I used it twice a day for 20 min a session initially and after 3 days my feet was back to normal. I then simply maintained it by doing a 20 min session twice a week so that my feet wouldn’t flair up again. When my hands acted up, I stuck them in the spa too!

    Then I arrived in Kansas, US in the middle of a heatwave with extreme humidity. I don’t know what kind of summer conditions you have. Is it also humid? Suddenly I now had chilblains in summer! I went out and bought a foot spa – couldn’t get one quite as fancy as the one I have in SA, but a week later it was all over.

    I hate medication and if I can eat something natural instead that contains what I need, then I’d rather do that. I’ve been having some skin issues lately on my neck, back and shoulders. I eventually was fed up and starting reading, looking for a solution. Everywhere I turn I read “lemons clears skin”. I just cut it in quarters and use it like a sponge on the areas that I’m having a problem with and I’ve been making good progress. The lemon also has antiseptic properties, which I think is very good when it comes to skin and stopping a problem from spreading.

    Also including yoghurt in your diet – it contains good bacteria that helps with infections in the body. Eating this daily is what is recommended.

    Then also honey and oatmeal. For that you can check these simple recipes. What have you got to loose, right?

    So this is my advice: start stimulating the blood circulation in your hands. Get what is in the blood to heal to the area that needs healing more effectively, and my first option would have been the lemon. And, I think that will dry your skin some, so I might have invested in a dermatological cream that does not contain any perfumes or other cheap chemicals – just something plain.

    Oh, and I use this for EVERYTHING because it has served me so well over the past few years – I would rub Zam-buk on the affected areas after the massage and the dermatological natural hand lotion. I ALWAYS carry one of these tubs in my handbag and everyone who knows me knows that by now and come running when they need it haha.

    Zam-buk is a herbal ointment that contains oil of eucalyptus, camphor, oil of thyme and oil of sassafras. It is for the treatment of minor wounds, burs, scalds, itch, chapped hands, insect bites and muscular pains. Do they sell this in the UK? (My lips was so dry in the corners that it was bleeding every time I opened my mouth to take a bite of food. I started using this ointment on it several times during the day and the broken skin was healed in three days! I’ve never used lip-ice since!)

    I empathize with you, Dave. I hope that somewhere in here there will be something that will help you.

    1. Thank you so much for the advice. I’ve been keeping a food diary for a month now, but have yet to notice any one particular food that sparks it off. Summers here in the UK can be very humid but the weather is very patchy, one or two weeks of intense heat and humidity, or less, followed by periods of mildness. At the moment my fingers aren’t too bad, not great but calmer at least.

      I’ll certainly check out some of those recipes, like you say, what have I got to lose! One thing I have changed in my diet is yoghurt, nothing fancy just plain yoghurt sometimes with honey, that’s quite tasty. I was tempted to rub some on my hands but that seemed a bit weird!

      I’ll have a look into that Zam-buk, I’m sure there must be something similar in the UK. When I wrote this post I was quite upset at how the stuff I got from the doctor on prescription didn’t seem to do any good. It calmed the itching down by just a fraction but it soon flared back up again.

      The humidity was the only thing I could think of being the cause but after reading the comments here it seems it could easily be a diet thing too, so I’m keeping an eye on everything I eat these days. At one point I thought it might be from eating crab-sticks or salmon but the symptoms aren’t always consistent.

      Again, thank you so much for your advice, I really do appreciate it.

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