Apologies dear blog reader, I should have warned you before hurting your eyes with such a gross photo! The hot humid weather here in the UK has left me with a disgusting dose of itchy eczema yet again. I hate my fingers in the summer. They look like I’ve stuck them in the jar marked LEPROSY! DO NOT TOUCH! Every time we get a spot of hot weather those tell-tale bubbles appear on my skin and pretty soon the itchy scratchy feeling starts.
I resist. I really do.
But the skin just pops and cracks all by itself without any help from me. I feel sick just looking at that photo. Last August I wrote about my zombie skin and how it seems to relish in hurting me – Eczema – Itchy Nightmare – and had some wonderful comments about how to ease the pain.
Is there a cure?
Wonderful Joss from Crowing Crone suggested I keep a food diary. I did. I jotted down everything I ate for a few months. I couldn’t pin point any one food that prompted another outbreak.
Granny from Granny 1947 suggested it may have something to do with soap. I switched my shower gel, hand soap, deodorant and even washed my hands with nothing but water.
Yadayadafishpaste thought this may be chilblains. The doctor says it isn’t. Sigh. She suggested lemons. Um. No. I didn’t try that. The idea of squeezing lemon into cuts sounded too painful to attempt. She did mention eating more yoghurt so I tried that. Yummy. No cure though. And I don’t have bad blood circulation either, my hands are always warm. And sadly I couldn’t find any Zam-buk.
I hunted around for extra virgin coconut oil too. Not had much luck there. Funny thing is that as soon as the humid weather went away, and after my hands stopped shedding, they went back to normal. Well, kind of. Until the next lovely evil humid weather front arrived. And during the winter, say from November to around start of May usually, my hands are fine.
Stupid evil humid weather.
I had some cream from the doctor. Betnovate. It’s a topical Corticosteroid supposed to be good for eczema, reduces swelling, helps with the itching, blah, blah, heard it all before. It hurts like hell when I put it on and doesn’t really help all that much.
My fingers never hated me when I was younger, this is a recent thing, in the last few years. Stupid age related issues. And not content with my index fingers, it is spreading to middle fingers and thumbs. Does this mean that in another 10 years time I’m going to be peeling great sheets of gross skin from my arms? It only seems to infect my fingers at the moment but who knows where the evil eczema beast is planning to set up camp next!
“What’s up with your hands?”
And once again I’ve become very self-conscious of my hands. I spend a lot of time pointing at things at work, over time slips, time sheets, stuff on the screen. I can’t keep tapping the end of a pen at what I want people to look at. They’ll think I’m losing my marbles instead of my skin. I catch them looking, their eyes flick down to catch a quick glimpse of the red raw flaking skin. I can almost see their thought bubbles over their heads:
“Is that contagious?”
“That’s gross – glad I’m normal.”
“Please God, I hope he doesn’t touch me.”
“Why doesn’t he do something about it instead of sticking his fingers in my face.”
I don’t actually do that.
“Is that some kind of disease?”
“Should I ask him about it?”
“OMG, he’s picking at it. Dis. Gus. Ting.”
“Stop scratching it!”
“I never knew skin could crack like that.”
“I’m going to puke.”
To stop searching their expressions for those endless thought bubbles I end up pointing it out to people:
“Yeah, the eczema beast is back. He hibernates for the winter than comes creeping back the second the humidity levels rise. Ha ha.”
Sometimes I’m given a sympathetic look or a smile along with:
“Have you tried [insert weird remedy here – salt/rhubarb paste/Yak urine/clay mask/spit!] because it worked for my Gran/Mum/Dog/Fish/Big toe/back of leg/goat etc.”
I thank them and say anything is worth a try. Salt – no, no no noooo! I tried Strawberry Jam once. Made me hungry. Yak urine – I think not. I tried one of those clay face masks on my fingers. Was kinda fun. Made me itchy after. And finally, spit. That was someone’s serious suggestion.
“Yeah, just spit on them. Spit’s got all sortsa enzymes in it that are good for you.”
I tried it. Once. In the bathroom. I had a glass of water to replenish my dry mouth and spent 20 minutes hawking up and gobbing on my fingers. Never again. It was too gross and squelchy. And it didn’t help. Someone even suggested I wee on my fingers. No. Sorry. I don’t care how much “goodness” someone else might find in their own wee but mine goes in the toilet and nowhere else.
I now have a list of things I’ve rubbed into or coated my fingers with. Here it is, just for laughs. I didn’t get much benefit from any of these but they may work for someone else.
Stuff I’ve tried to cure my eczema.
- Milk – 1 bowl, hand in, splishy splashy, 10 minutes later I wanted Cornflakes – not in the same bowl you understand.
- Spit – Gross. Never again.
- Strawberry Jam – Smells wonderful. Feels sticky. Not fun. The sandwich after was nice though.
- Yoghurt – Very cooling, kinda nice. My skin did feel softer afterwards but the itchy eczema beast soon came back.
- Clay face mask – a bit like the yoghurt, soothing at first but not fun to wash off, and I needed a lot of water which just irritated the sores.
- Olive oil – An okay sensation but didn’t help ease the pain. Made me hungry.
- Hand lotions – All pointless, I think the acidity level or whatever probably isn’t very good for skin. And those pH neutral ones – meh.
- Over the counter creams & ointments – Some are okay, they help for a while but nothing long-term. And some actually hurt when applied.
- Salted water – I figured sticking my hand in a bowl of highly salted water might close up the sores or help them heal. Don’t try this!
- Soil – Funny one. My fingers felt very cool after digging around in a pot of compost and soil for a while. Itchyness soon came back. Sigh.
- Sand – At the beach. Again, soothing but nothing else.
- Dog tongue – Our dogs seem to hone in on my fingers and lick away like crazy. It tickles and is very wet. I let them get on with it for a while but it starts to get real old when they show no sign of stopping.
- Ice cream – Very soothing but sticky when it starts to melt. Tasty though.
- Ice cubes – Cold, numbing, very nice until I start wondering if I could put the cubes to better use, like in a nice glass of Baileys or Southern Comfort.
Please feel free to add your own attempts to the list!
The eczema beast hates water!
Every time I wash my hands my fingers seem to dry up twice as fast after. The skin cracks and goes all red. And this is without soap or detergent of any kind. Oh and sweat. I spent a few hours working up a sweat this afternoon helping customers and my fingers were screaming in agony when I’d finished. So what do I do? Wash my hands.
Stupid cracked skin!!
And peeling potato’s is a nightmare. The second anyone mentions having potato’s for dinner I’ve left a Dave shaped hole in the wall. I guess I’m moaning now for the sake of it. And I shouldn’t really. It’s only skin. It hurts like a son of a bitch but compared to what some people have to endure in their day-to-day lives it’s pretty low on the Owie, Ouchy or Hurty Scale.
Sigh. Big, BIG sigh.
I make light of it because what else can I do? Sure I’m bitching about it on my blog, add a slice of humour here and there, but in the end I just get on and try to ignore it as best I can.
It’s better to laugh than cry I always say.
But you know what, dear blog reader, it does get me down at times. I’m not a vain person in the slightest but when the eczema beast comes calling it’s hard not to notice the disgusting state of your skin. And it’s worse when you catch the look in someone’s eye when they see it too.
Anyway, thanks for reading through my rant. And again, apologies for the unexpected photo of my zombie fingers!
I’m off to find a watermelon to shove my finger in, haven’t tried that one yet!
A cure is out there!