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Eczema and related conditions

Worsened as I got older

From the age of 6 months onwards I suffered from various forms of dermatitis. I couldn't play in dirt or sand, have a bubble bath and even things like poster paint and play doh could irritate my sensitive skin. This was treated with various creams that stung and made me cry. Then in my early teens it disappeared and I thought I was over it but actually it was changing. I started throwing up every time I ate cheese and I had irritation around my eyes which would come and go. As I got older I developed eczema on my hands and even emollients that were supposed to soothe were agony to use. The steroid creams I used hurt too and I was very depressed. When I was 30 my eyes were swollen shut and weeping constantly, my hands were like claws and I had to wear gloves to wash my hair and cotton gloves to protect my hands most of the time. One night I was so desperate that my best friend and I spent hours on the internet reading other peoples experiences and I decided to entirely cut out dairy and sodium laureth sulphate. The effects were transforming. 16 years later I am so much better than I was then. My eyes only swell if I accidently eat or touch something I shouldn't and while I can shower and wash my hair safely with SLS free toiletries I always use gloves when washing up or cleaning.

Zoe, UK

Eczema and impetigo

Hmm, well, after reading all these horror stories about impetigo and eczema I can definitely sympathise. I have had both, and I'm only 15!! The impetigo occurred when I was 13 and was horrible; round pussy scabs on either side of my face, not good for a teenager's self-confidence!! To make it worse, my GP said it was the worst case he had ever seen, which I fully believe since it took months of antibiotics to get it to go away! Then, a year ago, my shoulders and upper back started itching. Paranoid it was impetigo, I went straight to the doctor's, who told me it was eczema and that I needed to use a cream on it. Fair enough I thought until it spread. My arms, the back of my calves and worst of all, my face. It got infected, so I have to use all sorts on it until the infection subsided, but the actual eczema (is this by any chance an American spelling?) has never died down. Apart from one week, when I was on holiday in Scotland. It is especially bad when I come out the shower; if I done smother my face in emollient cream as soon as I get out, I can actually feel my skin cracking and drying up as my skin dries, not nice!! Anyway, although it doesn't flare up as much, there's still the mounds of dry skin on my face to deal with, or attack with exfoliator. I've now been put on antihistamines, and although they don't seem to be working all that well, I'm still gonna say they are and insist on a patch/allergy test, as I am positive that is what's causing it, and also that if I have to put up with this for much longer, I’ll go insane!!

Alice, Sheffield, UK

Eczema and cold sores

My daughter has eczema and has had it since she was 1 year old. I don't know how it began, I just know it got bad there for a little bit. We went to a dermatologist and they gave us steroid cream and Elidel and Zyrtec. The Zyrtec does good at keeping her from scratching at night. Putting the steroid cream on after baths and then applying Vaseline on top of it after it sinks in also helps a lot.

I never realized how cold sores and impetigo can go one in one with eczema. I used to get impetigo when I was 5-7. After that it turned into herpes simplex 1. I have good tips for those that get cold sores. It works 9 out of the 10 times I have dealt with it. A doctor of mine found out that if you take Lysine pills when you feel the itching and burning sensation it will stop the process. I have had 2 cold sores in 4 yrs....which is a big record. I used to get them every year. I also found out that the over the counter medicine - Abreva, along with the Lysine pills do an even greater job! I hope some of you find it also helps.

Rachael, Missouri, USA