ALLERGY/ECZEMA STORY: Allergic to my car!

I had childhood eczema on my feet and hands but it disappeared as I got older. About 7 years ago I went hiking and got an allergic reaction on my shins- the medicated steroid cream only made it worse (it had propylene glycol in it) and they had to prescribe internal steroids. It went away but afterward I started getting all of these weird reactions (it was as if that one allergic reaction prompted a change in my body or something) and the eczema came back. I figured out it was the propylene glycol in my beauty products and food, and once I avoided this I stopped getting the reactions.

Then a year later the eczema came back worse than before. Just avoiding pg didn’t help. I used an “organic” eczema cream from Whole Foods and both of my hands blew up and became red and raw. (I am a children’s librarian so needless to say, storytimes were not fun- I felt like everyone was grossed out looking at my hands!) I tried Eucerin and some other creams but they only made my hands worse.

I finally went to the allergist and got tested for some basic allergens and listened as he basically told me what I thought was some crazy stuff- to moisturize every night (and during the day on my hands) with Crisco (yes, Crisco! But not the oil and not the kind with the butter lol) and to take a bleach bath. I moisturized and the eczema eventually started going away! It took awhile but it has worked for me, although I find I am still allergic to beauty products.

I got so frustrated trying to identify what I was allergic to that I now use all natural products, and the only product I buy is a glycerin soap from Whole Foods.

A couple of months ago I got a new car (leather interior) and all of a sudden the eczema came back pretty badly on my hands. It wasn’t until I took a 3 hour road trip that I realized it was probably from my steering wheel. I also developed bumps on my forearms (which I never had)- and I realized that I had been resting my arms on the center console and door. I started wearing gloves and lo and behold it started getting a bit better, but I was still waking up in the middle of the night scratching the heck out of my hands. This had initially freaked me out and I never did it, but I decided to try the bleach bath.(diluted bleach) There was no bleach smell and it didn’t burn my hands. In fact the itching went away that night and the eczema starting really clearing up! I was amazed. I wouldn’t want to constantly to do this, but it worked to get a little relief and to get the eczema under control.

I am awaiting my organic cotton steering wheel cover from Etsy and getting ready to wipe down my entire car to see if that helps too. (not sure if it’s the leather or if they wiped it down with something like Armorall) I’ve spoken with one other person who has had a reaction to their car as well, so I know I’m not crazy. I’m wondering if there is anyone else out there with this same problem?

P.S. - Oops I forgot to mention that I moisturize my whole body- I end up throwing out lots of pajamas and sheets but it has helped to control the eczema even though it is only on my hands. ;-)

I'm allergic to my car too! I also get eczema on my arms if I rest them on the door or center console. Now that I commute by train, most of that eczema is gone... an added plus to commuting! I'm glad that the bleach bath works for you. I often see that listed as a treatment that people use, but have always been to afraid to try it! And aaaah yes... the propylene glycol struggle - it's a tough one! It's in eeeeverything. Cheers to you finding some ways to help banish the eczema that pops up, though. Good luck in your journey and thanks for sharing your story!


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