"In July 2015, I went to an outdoor concert with my friends. We used an outdoor facility that had no sink to wash your hands. Me being a freak about dirty tables at restaurants had a packet of Clorox wipes in my purse. We all used them to wipe our hands but did not rinse it off until a lot later.
Within a few days my fingers became infected and crusty with weeping blisters. (Only on three fingers that previously had skin peeled away from the side of the nails due to dryness).
Within a month it was so bad that I had to go to the Dr. I had to carry around a tissue to keep the weepings form getting on anything at work. (ew). My fingers were so sensitive that I couldn't even reach into my purse for anything. I stopped doing the dishes (poor Hubby) and covered them with non-latex finger condom-type covers for every shower. Those were embarrassing.
I wore gloves at work but could not do my job properly. The Dr was afraid that I would get the flesh eating bacteria so she made me stay home from work for three weeks. The Dr gave me a shot of antibiotics and many different steroid prescriptions. Lotions as well as oral. My face was swollen like the moon. Not to mention that it was only a temporary fix. I tried everything you can imagine. Vaseline and gloves at night, Eucerin thick creme, Aquapor, Neosporin, Bacitracin and zinc, and many more... The Dr sent me to the dermatologist, but all three times I was there, I only saw a Nurse Practitioner. It did not cure me. More steroid creams and pills. I started questioning my first root canal (got it in the beginning of 2015). I searched online for natural cures. Found many crazy ideas too.
Recently I started using Neem oil. I read that it has anti-fungal and anti- bacterial properties.
After using it for a couple of weeks, my fingers started to soften up and feel almost normal again. Now I am dealing with itchy peeling palms and parts of my feet are affected also.
My palms look like Dyshidrotic Eczema pictures I see on the internet. My feet aren't as bad. I have been putting Neem oil, Vaseline and booties on every night to help them. The Neem oil is helping to soften them up but I get grease on everything and I cannot keep my glasses clean.
Anyway, I am able to function somewhat now, I am just praying that I do not have another outbreak. I have never had any skin issues before in my life. Now at 55 years young, I am feeling very vulnerable."
- Rhonda from California
Rhonda, your story sounds so much like mine! I had oozy eczema all over and not until I found out my allergens did my skin let up. My heart really goes out to you because I know how painful eczema on your fingers and hands can be! Since we use our fingers ALL the time and they're exposed most of the time... it's rough.
If you haven't had extensive patch testing done, please try! Even if you don't end up having any allergies, it's important to rule that out. Also if you haven't already, I'd stop having your family use Clorox wipes for their hands. To my understanding, Clorox only makes products for cleaning surfaces - not skin. Leaving bleach on your skin could easily cause serious health problems down the road. The things we put on our skin get absorbed into our blood (that's why birth control patches and nicotine patches work), so please be careful!
If you get another outbreak put your body in a "time-out", meaning:
- Take at least 3 days in a row and call it a "vacation"
- Get some 100% cotton sheets or bedding
- Also get some 100% cotton pajamas and a towel
- And an extremely mild bar soap. Make it as fragrance free and organic as you can. The less ingredients, the better.
- Take a nice long shower using ONLY lukewarm water and your new bar of gentle soap. Rinse your hair really well with water and nothing else. This part is going to suck, but it's worth it. Just give yourself time to comb/brush through it after you get out of the shower
- Dry off with a clean cotton towel (washed with fragrance-free and dye free detergent, dryed without fabric softener. Do the same with the pajamas and sheets)
- Put on your pajamas and hang out in bed in your 100% cotton paradise. No other area of the house unless you HAVE to. A well ventilated room with an air purifier is best. No pets on the bed. No other people who aren't freshly showered and clothed.
- A hairstyle like a braid or a bun is a good option and you can wear it for a few days by fixing it now and then. Don't use any hairspray or styling products.
Get some books, some movies and maybe some coloring books. Anything that will keep you entertained, relaxed and happy. The goal is to eliminate the possible x factors disrupting your health (see my handy dandy journal here) and calm your body down.
Also make sure to get to some specialists - an allergist and a dermatologist. They're a great place to start for this sort of thing and an important piece of the equation!
I'm glad you're on the upswing! Cheers to that!