Contact Dermatitis

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner! This information is based on my personal experience. Please in all instances seek medical advice before embarking on any radical changes to your diet and/or lifestyle.

A couple of years ago I had a small localized area of skin dryness between the middle and ring finger of my right hand. I attributed this to not having dried the skin under my rings properly when I washed my hands and basically ignored the dryness.  However, it did not improve and to this day I have a scar where the skin cut due to being so dry. The problem started getting worse and I experienced a form of skin irritation known as contact dermatitis. It started spreading from the original area, onto the back of my right hand. My concern grew when my left hand became affected with the same dry, itchy skin. This happened quite quickly, and my nephew who has eczema gave me some of his cortisone ointment to use. It made a big difference straight away, but the cause was not dealt with, and two days later I woke up looking as if I had stuck my arms into an oven. They were bright red, dry, and swollen.

I am all for using natural products to cure everything but the pain was so bad that I called my Doctor who came to the office and gave me a cortisone injection. He prescribed a very strong cortisone cream for me to use locally, and cortisone tablets to take. Together with the tablets I took anti histamines to prevent me scratching at the skin. As the skin was so dry he also recommended nutra plus cream to apply topically.

I made sure that as I had been given such a large dose of cortisone that I went to my acupuncturist to stimulate my adrenal glands back into making their own cortisone.

The first thing I had to do was take a look at my diet. That day I was put onto an elimination diet to see if the dermatitis was being caused by a food intolerance. I stopped eating dried fruit and wheat. I stopped drinking wine! And I stopped all my vitamins and supplements. As soon as the irritation died down I introduced wine back into my diet. I chose this first as it was our tenth wedding anniversary and I wanted to celebrate. After a week and no flare up, I started eating wheat again, and then dried fruit. I only re-introduced some of the vitamins and supplements I was taking. I am still taking a 9 strain probiotic daily, as well as Chromium to assist with controlling my blood glucose levels. I take Omega 3 daily but did not continue with my multi vitamin as I found no difference being on it, as off it. I also stopped taking tissue salts, but have subsequently gone back onto the number 7 tissue salt as it made a big difference.

The second thing I did was stop using all skin care products and fabric softener. I have not bothered using fabric softener again as it made no difference to my laundry at all. Initially I double rinsed all my clothing and as I was visiting my parents I got my Mom to do the same with the linen. Thankfully I did not have to worry about this when we travelled overseas as by then my skin had cleared up. I used 97% aloe gel on my skin and keep this for bad days. Every day I apply the extra moisturising cream to my hands and neck, the two areas which were affected the worst initially. I have to ensure that my skin is well moisturised, as the dryness is what causes the itchiness, and itching leads to more patches of dermatitis.

The third thing I did was avoid the sun! Being outside exacerbated the problem, and the dermatitis spread to my neck. Sadly at that time for me it meant very little time with my nieces in the pool. The chlorine made it worse! Until my skin cleared completely I used a factor 50 sunblock. Due to the high risk of melanoma in South Africa and the fact that 80% of our exposure to the sun is accidental, I have been using sunblock every day of my life for the past 25 years. The extra sunblock was put onto my hands just before I got into the car.

At the beginning of this journey there were a lot of bad days but I have now learnt how to cope with this skin irritation. What I have learnt is that as soon as there is a flare up, no matter how small, I must attack it with cortisone. I take a cortisone tablet straight away and apply cortisone cream topically. I now know to stay away from omega 6 and have added more linseeds to my diet, as well as turmeric.

For me, the most difficult issue was discovering what caused the problem. It was only after a long time that I realized it was stress induced. It can be affected by hand soaps and dish washing liquids, and even the sun, but that only happens when I am tired or stressed. Being pro homoeopathy I now take anti stress formula when we travel and in instances where I might feel anxious.

First and foremost, if you develop any skin irritation have it looked at straight away, and start an elimination diet to see what is causing it.

What I blogged:

Tandy

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13 thoughts on “Contact Dermatitis

  1. Gah, I hate having sensitive skin, Tandy, although I have not had issues like yours. A wonderful article. Many thanks for sharing your experience.
    Lizzy (Good Things) sharing the blog ♥ Apple and bacon potato mash – heaven and earth (himmel und erde)My Profile

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it Liz xxx

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  2. Sorry to hear you are going through this… I think it is probably do to you washing dishes and doing all that manual labor so maybe you could just turf all those jobs to your hubby… LOL Well it was worth a shot and you even read it so you know it was logical. Seriously speaking, do you wash your dishes by hand. Do you wear rubber gloves? If you do, make sure you wear the inner cotton gloves inside. Maybe you are having a latex allergy response from the gloves. As a nurse with years of wearing latex gloves and with the powder inside I now have built up a sensitivity to latex… so it can happen.

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    1. ha ha – the hubby I think is allergic to dishes! It is amazing how we build up allergies to certain things. Thankfully I no longer seem to have an issue, but thank you for your care xx

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  3. A great post,…Thank you for sharing!

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    1. thanks for reading 🙂

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  4. Wow, this is so interesting…I am glad that you found the reason of the skin problem…I believe that people react to stress in different way…as for me until now my face breaks up…and I though that this was only for teenagers…
    Have a great week Tandy 🙂
    Juliana sharing the blog ♥ Chunky Crab CakesMy Profile

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    1. Stress can affect you in so many ways – the visible ones I think are easier to deal with 🙂

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  5. It’s amazing to me how quickly our skin reacts to stress. Mine is the same. So glad you were able to find out what works well for you. 🙂
    Krista sharing the blog ♥ Simple Pleasures On A Stormy DayMy Profile

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    1. Hope you don’t have much stress any more Krista 🙂

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  6. Tandy – I might as well have been reading my own story. When I was young, I has very bad eczema but thankfully grew out of it. None the less, my skin is sensitive and reacts badly to bites and yes, stress. Last year I had a problem with my wedding ring and the skin underneath and also thought it was just not dried properly. Eventually it settled down when I went on holidays. As soon as I returned to work, it flared up again and I now wear my wedding ring on my left hand and my engagement ring on my right. The wedding ring by itself doesn’t seem to bother the skin. I also has a large flare up on the back of my right hand which also nearly disappeared whilst on holidays. The other day I was nearly knocked over by a car and within minutes the skin went completely dry, red and itchy and is in bad shape at present. So, yes, stress is a trigger for me too. Thanks for your tips – always good to get an insight into what people do and use.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Fiona. I find the homoeopathic stress tablets are a life saver, and rescue pastilles which I take for incidents such as you had when nearly getting knocked over xox

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