Well I got some really bad news from my dermatologist a few weeks ago. Here’s how it all started.
Back in early November I came down with a minor outbreak of my good ole eczema. Now, ever since my early teens every few years I will get what I call an eczema patch. Usually in the bend of my arm, back of my knees or somewhere on my thigh. When this happens I would normally cut out all the acid and dairy in my diet for about two weeks. For me that means no citrus juices, tomato sauces, ketchup, milk (Cow milk) and eggs. In the past if I stuck to this diet and applied my ointment concoction to the affected area I would be OK in no time. But, you got it, this time it was different. Instead of breaking out in one area I developed three patches that seemed to be getting worse instead of better. The affected areas became slightly inflamed and the itching intensified. So this when I broke down and decided to schedule an appointment with my dermatologist.
On the day of the appointment I got dressed and reluctantly headed out to the appointment. Don’t get me wrong I love my dermatologist. I visit her once a year for my annual skin cancer screening. But, I was convinced all she would do is pull out that prescription pad and start prescribing all kinds of topical steroids. But as I sat there in her office and explained the details of my most recent breakout, she of course opens my chart, jots down her notes, takes another look at my arm and looks back at me to say “ Nicole, it’s like I’ve told you before it’s the fragrances they are irritating your skin”.
Call me melodramatic or a drama mama, but, tears started to well up in my eyes. So of course I sat there quietly listening to her babble on. But in my mind I was fuming. I kept thinking to myself “what does she mean no more fragrances? Is she really serious? Does she not realize I am a scent-o-holic?” Everything I apply to my body (except for my face) has a fragrance. Wait a minute, let me re-phrase that everything in my life has a fragrance attached to it and that means everything from body creams right down to the air in my home. At this very moment the air in my home smells like a tropical fruit basket. As you walk from room to room your senses are greeted with aromas of mango, guava and papaya that pleasantly blend together.
But, getting back to my Doc. She knew that I would be reluctant to give up fragrances forever so she did recommend that I go the “fragrance free” route on my body creams, soaps and laundry detergents for at least a month. And she did prescribe a topical gel that is hydrocortisone in a base of aloe vera gel. I was extremely happy about that. Especially since the patches seemed to disappear within two days of using the gel. She also made it clear to me that when I experience these breakouts I must not only watch what I eat, but, stay away from all allergens or irritants to the skin.
I have to admit I am the worst patient when it comes to medication. I never filled the prescription for the medication. I only used the samples she gave me and miraculously I had enough to heal the irritated patches. I also tried going fragrance free with my body creams and soaps for about a week. However, since I make all of my body care products I just replaced the fragrance oils with citrus essential oils. In case your wondering why citrus? It’s because my skin is sensitive to floral and some herbal based essential oils. Most of my products contain a blend of fragrance and essential oils. As for the laundry situation. I’ve been sticking to the fragrance free detergents, but, tonight I will perform my own little experiment on what I call “B Class” laundry (old Cathedral H.S. sweats, tees, pajamas….you get the picture) by adding my own blend of fragrance oils. I will let you know how it goes.!!!!
I hope my little episode has been helpful to anyone with eczema. What’s your story? In case you didn’t notice I had to shout out my High School, Catherdral in NYC. I saw one of my BF’s from high school over the weekend in DC!!!! All Catherdralites feel free to post your comments….LOL.