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Hand eczema

I have been plagued by hand eczema for 8 years or so...

I have been plagued by hand eczema for 8 years or so. I thought I was allergic to the chalk I was using to write on the chalk board at school. I tried wearing a plastic glove when I used chalk. It didn’t help. I would put Neosporin on it and bandage it up when it would get so raw it cracked and started to bleed. I asked my allergist what it might be and they did a patch test but I wasn’t allergic to anything there. Diagnosis: eczema. They told me at first to use really good lotion every day. Then when it continued they gave me 2 kinds of steroid creams to use on it. Sometimes that irritated it more and I had to use Vaseline until it healed enough to use the medicine on it. Another doctor put me on daily Vitamin B complex and Vitamin D. Neither improved the condition of my hands.

This fall I went to Paris for a week - 4-12 Oct 2014. It completely cleared up for the week I was in Paris. The first week back at home (13-18 Oct) my hands got worse again. I was thinking there might be some chemicals or minerals in the water here that makes my skin dry and crack. Then I asked myself: What do I have daily that might cause this? I drink coffee every day, but I drank it in Paris too. But there I was drinking it with real milk or cream – not Coffee Mate. I thought maybe non-dairy powdered creamer was causing this.
So 19 Oct I decided to quit Coffee Mate and see what happened. They have stayed clear. I have no idea if my little experiment proves that the Coffee Mate causes the skin on my fingers to get flaky and eventually crack, but this is the first thing that I have found that has made it stop. A week of fingers that don’t break out has been amazing.

Coffee Mate Powder – Original flavorINGREDIENTS: CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, VEGETABLE OIL (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COCONUT OR PALM KERNEL, HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN), SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE)**, AND LESS THAN 2% OF DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE (MODERATES COFFEE ACIDITY), MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES (PREVENTS OIL SEPARATION), SODIUM ALUMINOSILICATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ANNATTO COLOR

Faye Wilcox, UK

Washing hands

I have had Eczema on the bottom of my feet for about four years. About a year ago I began to get it on my fingers. The only thing that worked was the steroid creams. They are of course bad for the skin but they did work. I constantly washed my hands because I am a germ freak & because I work in the industrial tool field. I found that when I washed them with bottle filtered water, they would not break out as bad. I used Vaseline as a hand protector whenever I needed to do the dishes, which also helped. One good part of this story is that about three weeks ago the hand condition just went away. I can wash my hands under the facet & nothing happens. I think that it may just be a seasonal thing or its just waiting to come out again some other time. My feet have the condition, which I treat it with the steroid cream still. I have tried various other cream including constantly keeping my skin moisturized. Hope any of this helps to others.

John, Santa Monica, USA

Eczema, impetigo and cotton gloves

I've had eczema dermatitis since I was a baby, born 1985. I've had 2 bad infections - impetigo 97 and dermatitis infection 98. It is on my hands and they can get bad so I wear cotton gloves if they are. I'll always have it though I do try to keep it under control with cream.

Heather, Isle of Mull, Argyll, UKHand eczema in the military

I have been suffering with eczema since I was a child, maybe eight or nine, it was very very minor. Just on my arms, where it creases and the back of my leg. I would have hydrocortisone and in two days max it would disappear and not return until maybe a month or longer later. It was bearable and I could deal up to my teenage years. Until I left for boot camp in 2004 shortly after graduation. In boot camp you cannot carry moisturisers or creams as it is a very strict environment. So as the long days wore on so did my dry hands. I thought I'd be okay and never expected my eczema to flare up as bad as it did in my arms on the creases. This eventually went away until my hands broke out and flared out so bad. After boot camp it began to get worse and worse, I'm 19 now and when I graduated I was 17. It's unfortunately because I'm beginning my military service and there is discussion that I might have to be discharged due to me severe eczema. It's been two years now and I have tried so many things. Creams and steroids, which I don't like to use because of its harm to skin long term. So now I'm about to give up and I truly believe it's lowering my self-esteem and the cause of my depression. Fortunately, my husband has been supportive. Luckily I met him BEFORE I had eczema ALL over, and I mean all over, hands, feet, legs, arms, face, neck, even my ears, and it's sad to see myself cry and not to mention sleepless nights. I'm very hesitant to have children of my own for fear of passing on this terrible disease. I always have to wonder, what did I do to deserve this and I realize I just have to deal and cope. And hopefully find something that helps me. So far I've been to derm with the light box, which burns my face and has not made a significant improvement. So if there's anything anyone can offer that truly gives relief, please let me know. Especially for my hands which usually dry out , crack, and sometimes weep. I hate when it weeps. Is there any way to stop the weeping? at least... Well thanks for letting me share my story with other eczema sufferers who know exactly how I feel, unlike the non-sufferer who has no clue what it's like to itch and scratch and all the pain that comes with this darn rash. Not only physically but very emotionally. Okay sorry for going on.

Shannon, VA Beach, USA

Eczema on hands and damaged nails

I'm 19 years old and have always suffered from eczema. When I was a baby my hands looked like I had been in a fire. My mother kept them moisturized all the time and as I got older they were perfect. I usually only got small flare up on my elbows. But for about the last year my hands have been very bad. I get cuts on the tips of my fingers all the time. My fingernails are even damaged from it. I really want to know what I can do to help it. It is really my fingernails that are getting me down! Please help!

Katie, Dayton, USA

Synalar has helped the breakouts

I've suffered from eczema since childhood, although as an adult I generally only have severe breakouts every couple of years, usually on my hands. I tend to get nasty little bubbles of fluid just under my skin that itch like mad, rather than the dry, flaky stuff. Every time I have a breakout I go through the usual routine of hydrocortisone, Betnovate, moisturizing, etc, until it eventually clears up. However after struggling with a patch on my palm for over a year, I finally went to the doctor and was prescribed something I have never been given before; Synalar, which is made by GP Pharma Ltd. This stuff is excellent and has completely cleared up that stubborn patch. It is quite strong so needs to be used sparingly, however it is a clear gel that dries on your skin so no worries about rubbing it off on bedding, etc. I don't know why I wasn't prescribed this before and I wonder if others out there know about it. Something else I have also found very good recently is Diprobase cream/ointment. I had been busily using E45 for years without realizing I was slightly allergic to lanolin. Diprobase really helped, especially the ointment when I get swollen eyes. The cream is an excellent moisturizer, costs as little as £2.35, and you can get it in a small tube that you can keep in your handbag.

Emily, Oxford, UK

I've got hand eczema due to an allergy to molybdenum

I developed hand eczema just over a year ago and recently received the results of a comprehensive allergy skin test which shows I am allergic to molybdenum - commonly found in stainless steel. As the symptoms are worst on the inner side of my left wrist I believe this may have developed from a watch with a stainless steel watchstrap which I bought two years ago. I am aware that some people on your website are allergic to nickel, also commonly found in stainless steel. The point I wish to make is - could they be allergic to molybdenum instead/as well? I am searching for information about molybdenum allergy and how best to treat it, what not to eat etc - but instead have discovered that many nutritional supplements contain molybdenum eg. sodium molybdate. For this reason I've stopped taking Seven Seas Multibionta 50+ which I've used for many years and have switched to Multibionta Immune, their only probiotic supplement with no molybdenum. (Probiotics help the body to absorb minerals and vitamins). It would be good to find others suffering from molybdenum allergy.

Isabelle, Herefordshire, UK