Random Skin

When I was very young, I had eczema over a lot of my body, and I remember back to the days when my mum would bathe me using a big plastic tub of white cream instead of soap.

As I got older, the eczema got less noticable, and less frequent – and I went on to use normal soap again all the time I was in Primary school. I remember a boy in my class – lets call him Karl, who had very dry, cracked hands and a red, sore, sometimes raw face and neck. And I knew what it was. Our peers thought he had the plague, or something, and would avoid getting paired with him in Country Dancing so they wouldn’t have to hold his hand. I don’t remember ever speaking to him about the eczema, but I knew what it was – and I knew that he wasn’t contagious. So people used to point and laugh at me too, because I didn’t mind being his partner for country dancing, so I was obviously a weirdo too.

But every now and again, the backs of my knees and elbows would get dry and itchy and sore the eczema would be back. I had to stop using anything on my skin that contained any kind of perfume, in order to keep the sores at bay – but all the while, I remember now, I was thinking – at least I’m not as bad as Karl. Despite the flakiness and the itchiness, my skin never cracked or bled, and I was grateful for it. I never had any patches on my face of neck – I could always hide my sores away while I treated them with tubes of cream from the chemist.

As I left Junior School and went up to my High School, I had cut out almost everything from my washing regime.  No perfumes, no colours – as natural as possible, and preferably hypoallergenic soap and shower gel and bubblebath. I was eczema free for perhaps a year or two. Maybe. And only because I was very very careful.

And then, random patches of eczema would suddenly appear.

I never got them in my joint creases again – just small, dry patches on my tummy and my back. Occasionally on my arm or leg, but mainly on my torso. Even if I hadn’t come into contact with anything perfumy – I’d still get them.

Dabs of cream here and there would help to stop them lasting, but I managed to get away without making too many changes to my routine. Then, as my hormones had run their course through puberty, I found that I couldn’t wash my face every single day with soap or facewash because my skin would dry out too much and get flaky, and then it would over-compensate and produce lots of grease. Yuk. I was the only girl I knew with dry, greasy skin!!

So, I never got away from the eczema. I still have it off and on – no matter what I do. As I’m getting older, my need for big tubs of white emollient cream is becoming greater, and the range of products I can get away with using on my skin is diminishing. Its becoming more sensitive as time goes on.

These days, if those make-up conter people spray me with perfume in a department store, its like I’ve been covered in acid. I’ve had to put signs on my desk at work to stop the cleaners using their furniture polish on it, because when I lean my arms on the polished desk in the morning to type my emails, it attacks my skin, and I’m bright red and itchy all day.

Even my metal name badge can give me problems if it rests against my chest for too long!

There’s no way I can wear cheap jewellery, either. My skin won’t put up with it for more than about an hour. Gold or Silver are the only metals I can happily wear. (oh what a shame!).

So, at the moment I’ve got a small, but very irritating 5p -sized patch of eczema on my tummy, and I’ve had it more than 6 months. It just won’t go away, despite resisting scratching the bloody thing, and all the cream I put on it.

Hmm. I wonder how Karl is doing these days……..??

Hell. Who am I trying to kid? I’ve got nothing to compain about!


7 Responses to “Random Skin”

  1. 1 peanut 27 January 2007 at 10:32 pm

    Hi! I may be able to help! I am in the same boat as you skin-wise. PErhaps you have heard this all before but maybe some will help.
    First, I said bugger to the doctors and their creams – most of which were very bad for my skin in the long run. I use a mild perfume free mosituriser twice a day over every part of the ol’ bod. Some scent free ones still cause break out due to the preservatives or some such in them so I had to search around. I use Curel.
    Oil of oregano – a few drops in your moisturiser or shampoo helps A LOT. I was turned on to essential oils by a woman who worked in a spa and had relieved herslef of eczema years earlier this way.
    Every night a use a flannel to give my face and neck a nice warm soak with water and a brisk but gentle rub – to shift any dead skin build up. then moisturise.

    And – if I wear make up it is ground minerals – all puure no additives. Stuff works great and its easy ont the skin.

    Just mentioning the breakouts in aroudn the joints made me want to take a nice warm salty bath!

    you’re right thoug, could be worse…

  2. 2 hoverfrog 28 January 2007 at 4:46 pm

    My middle daughter Cake Worm had really bad eczema when she was little. It was so bad that we had to wet wrap bandage her from neck to toes every day for months. Fortunately she has pretty much outgrown it these days.

  3. 3 Katja 28 January 2007 at 6:41 pm

    I’m nothing like as bad as you, Spaniel, but I do every so often flare up with allergic eczema-like reactions. I spent months with a patch on my tummy as a teenager before realising that it was being caused by the rivets on my jeans. Covering the rivets with plasters gave my skin the chance to heal and *touch wood* it hasn’t returned there since.

  4. 4 drunkenspaniel 28 January 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Mr Frog – I’m very grateful I’ve never needed wet-wrapping. Glad Cakeworm has outgrown it!

    Katja – lovely to hear from you! Cheap metals are found in the oddest places….

  5. 5 simplelsie 8 February 2007 at 12:33 am

    My son Parker has horrible, splitting, scarring eczema on his legs, his back, his stomach, his arms. When he was a baby and a young child child care places and preschools would forever send him back home after calling me to find out what that terrible disease he had was called and they were always so afraid he’d give it to the others, the “normal” children.
    He’s fifteen now and if anything, the eczema is worse than ever. The best treatment we ever found was a midwinter vacation to a beach in Florida. I’d been afraid the salty sea water would be painful and irritating, but his skin cleared quickly when we got there. We’ve been warned of conditions that are co-incidental to the eczema–have you had trouble with any?

  6. 6 drunkenspaniel 9 February 2007 at 9:14 pm

    Hi Simplesie – not sure which conditions you’re referring to, but I already have the full range of asthma, eczema, and hayfever (though I’ve got allergic rhinitis – the full year, non-pollen-specific version).
    I hate the fact that kids have miserable times because people think they’re contagious. I’m a volunteer on kids holidays for children with eczema and asthma – where for one week they can be just like everyone else because having eczema is ‘normal’.


  7. 7 drunkenspaniel 27 February 2007 at 6:59 pm

    See here for a new blog on the subject of random skin:

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