Developing Eczema was like going through nine months of absolute torture, a cycle that I thought was never going to end and would plague me for the rest of my life.
When I was 21, I was finishing my senior year of college and working part-time at a pet store. Though my life was going very well, I was extremely stressed out and going non-stop between school, work, friends, and my boyfriend. I loved my job and enjoyed spending time with the animals and customers, but along with that came a lot of work, including cleaning cages and aquariums.
In November, I developed an itchy bump on the ring finger of my left hand. I thought maybe it was just some sort of bug bite, so I didn’t think much of it. A few weeks passed and instead of going away, it developed into a few more itchy bumps. A little concerned and annoyed by the constant irritation, I went to the health center at school.
The doctor who saw me asked some questions, proclaimed it was eczema (atopic dermatitis) and wrote me a prescription for steroids, then sent me on my way. I was shocked, I’d never had any skin problems. Although my sister had eczema as a baby, I never expected to have the condition myself and I didn’t know people could develop it as adults.
I started using the steroid cream, but the eczema only increased exponentially with red swelling and blisters. I knew this was a reaction to the steroids, so I made an appointment with a dermatologist. She prescribed me oral steroids, more steroid creams, allergy medications, and eventually even an anti-fungal cream. None of these seemed to be the cure or itch relief I was looking for.
At the worst point, my entire left hand was covered in oozing blisters, plus I had bumps and itching on my right hand and both of my feet. It was not only extremely embarrassing (customers often stared and were afraid to be near me, even when I explained it to them and assured them it was not contagious), but painful and frankly really gross. This just increased the stress in my life. The itching was unbearable at night, which kept me from sleeping. It seemed like absolute torture.
I had to quit my job after about a month and a half, which was a devastating blow, but the constant exposure to water and harsh chemicals was too much, even if I wore gloves constantly at work. I continued with the steroid treatments, and though things seemed to improve, the eczema would not entirely heal on my left hand.
Graduation neared and I lost health insurance coverage under my parents. I could not afford the prescriptions (which I’d already spent over $100 on) or the doctors visits. Things weren’t getting better and I felt hopeless.
So I made choice. I quit the steroid ointments and started reading about natural treatments and home remedies for eczema. I decided to start treating the problem inside and out. I bought supplements like Fish Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Flax Seed, and Borage to take orally each day. These include Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA), which are essential fatty acids that are recommended for skin health.
To treat the itchiness and help heal my inflamed skin, I bought Vitamin E oil and Bag Balm. I applied the Vitamin E oil as much as possible, usually when my skin was itching or dry. I was amazed at how well it eased the itching. I used the Bag Balm after showering and before I went to bed each night, wearing a cotton glove to lock in the moisture.
After I went off the steroids, my skin flared up horribly. My hand was red and inflamed, basically going through a withdrawal from the steroid creams, which it was addicted to. Once I started using the natural products, my skin started to heal. It took two or three months, but eventually and miraculously I was eczema free.
The Vitamin E Oil cost me about $5 and the Bag Balm was about $7. In total, I spent about $12 on topical treatments. I am still using the original bottle and tin I bought, and it’s been a year and a half. The amount of money I saved with this treatment compared to the failed steroids treatment I used for a few months is easily $100. This treatment worked for me and keeps my eczema at bay. What I thought would be a lifetime of torture is easily maintained and prevented.
Whenever I sense a relapse coming on, whether it be a red bump or itchiness, I immediately start in with the Vitamin E oil and Bag Balm. That usually prevents or ends the outbreak quickly. No doctors, no prescriptions, no sleepless itchy nights. I couldn’t ask for a better treatment.
Every person’s body and skin is different. This may not work for everyone, but it worked for me, so I am sharing it hoping that it will help someone else. I am not a medical professional. As always, you should consult with your doctor about any type of treatment you’re using and stop immediately if you have any adverse reactions.