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Monday, November 7, 2011

I Have Eczema + My KP Treatment Plan

Today was the day I finally saw a dermatologist for the first time in my life.  This appointment was made for two reasons: one; the persistent rash on my face/neck/chest that cleared up with steroid cream but always came back, and two; my lifelong skin condition keratosis pilaris (a.k.a hyperkeratosis or chicken skin).

So, firstly, let me show you the rash that I've been plagued with for the past month and a bit.  It clears up with hydro cortisone, but once I stop using it (as you should, because long term use will do more harm than good), it always came back.  Each time it came back, a new rash would appear along with the ones already there.  *sigh*

Dry spot on my forehead.

Small dry spot on cheek, large dry area near ear, rash on neck (plus the hormonal pimples on my cheek and keratosis pilaris on my face... aren't I pretty?!)

Close up of rash on neck.  It itches like crazy!
My dermatologist had a look and after a chat, he told me I had eczema.  Now, this is news to me because I think my skin is pretty resilient and tolerant to a lot of products.  I have experienced rashes on my neck before (always due to perfume or a new shampoo) but it always went away with steroid cream.  I've also had a really bad rash on my face before which I believe was due to becoming sensitive to steroid cream due to long term use (I had chronic swimmers ear and was using steroid drops in my ear).  Every time I saw a doctor about these rashes, they told me it was just a reaction to a product or ingredient.  So, when the dermatologist told me I had eczema, I started protesting and saying no, my skin isn't sensitive, to which he replied that it can sometimes be years before you get it.  Hmmm!

I have been reading a lot of keratosis pilaris forums and the general consensus is that most people with the condition have other skin problems, such as eczema... Ahh, so the puzzle pieces are finally falling into place!  The dermatologist has ordered a patch test for me, which unfortunately costs $300 so I have to put together the money before I can get it done at a specialist clinic... *double sigh*  But I'm willing to do this, to find out what it is that is causing my skin so much grief.  In the meantime however, I am on a skincare buying ban and will only be using what I know will not make my skin break out in a rash.  Seeing as rose hip oil is one of the "newest" things I've been using, I'm going to have to say goodbye to it for awhile.

I will be using hydro cortisone on any rash NOT on my face if I get a bad flair up, but I will try to avoid this.  To treat it naturally, I'll be using good old witch hazel to dry it up and soothe the itch, then using vitamin E oil to moisturise it.  That is how I will be dealing with both my body and facial "rash"... (Am I in denial?  I refuse to call it eczema!)  This won't give me fast results like the steroid cream, but it will benefit me in the long term and be kinder to my skin.  And I have done something similar to this to clear up my previous facial rash and it worked, so this should work too.

For my kp, my dermatologist was very frank and told me that nothing would really get rid of it or clear it up completely.  Cue wrist slashing and wild sobs.  Deep down, I knew it anyway because I have pretty much tried everything and nothing has really helped.  He did recommend what every other doctor has recommended, though: regular exfoliation and daily moisturising using some kind of AHA or urea.  He told me I could go the expensive route; getting regular microdermabrasion or chemical peels from spas or skin clinics and then following up with their pricey maintenance products, or I could just use a chemical exfoliant found in most beauty stores, pharmacies and supermarkets, and use one of the many dry skin moisturisers out there.

Given my financial circumstances, I won't be shelling out for a microdermabrasion session any time soon.  However, I will go back to using a St. Ives facial scrub as my chemical exfoliant and use a 10% urea cream twice daily (it says to apply three times daily, but come  on!  My life does not revolve around slathering cream on my body!)  I've also thrown pure vitamin E oil into the mix, to give it a bit of extra moisturising properties.  The idea of using a non-natural product scares me, so I want to add that little extra love to compensate.  Here are the products, all from Terry White Chemists:

Invite Vitamin E oil, St. Ives Apricot Scrub Renew & Firm, DermaDrate 10% urea cream
All the products were relatively inexpensive - the urea cream was $22 (for 500g!), and the other products were around the $10 mark.  There will probably be a high turnover, though.  I don't see the products lasting for more than 6-8 weeks with daily use.  And, just for your viewing pleasure (and for my own future reference to see if this helps it) here are a few not so great shots of my kp:

Kp on lower legs.  Looks like I haven't shaved, right?  That's because I haven't... lol!  But even if I did shave, it still looks spotty like that.

Kp on my arms. Doesn't look bad in this photo, but in real life it is dark, bumpy, irritated & just plain nasty

Kp on my thighs.  So is there any man that would still want me?  Hmm... I didn't think so!
I have also decided to try to treat my keratosis pilaris internally as well.  This means that I will be taking 3000mg of fish oil daily, as well as supplements of vitamin A, B group vitamins, E, zinc and a probiotic (D is recommended also, but I tan quite a bit if I take it and I get enough vitamin D from the sun anyway).  Not to mention, I will try to keep my diet alkaline and try to consume less sugar.  All those things are supposed to help kp.  As the weeks go on, I will continue to share my progress (if any) with photos and how I've been coping with the whole diet and skincare regimen.  In the meantime, I'm off to bed to dream of smooth, clear, eczema and kp free skin.  Ciao! xo

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking the moment to consider this, I believe powerfully about it and love learning more on this topic.

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  2. I'm trying a new cream for my KP too, along with my St Ives scrub. I hope you have luck with what you're doing! I'm with you, I think its a lot of money for some of those KP treatments and if I spent that and it didn't work I'd be pretty annoyed. I don't have the budget to maintain that kind of expensive treatment long term.

    Interesting what you say about diet making a difference, I did not know that! I wonder if that is something I should try too.

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  3. I hope that the treatment works for you. I don't have eczema but my son does and his can get all over his body. I'm sure it's an unpleasant feeling. Hang in there hun I'm sure your skin will eventually get well soon!

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  4. My best friend has the same problem. Chicken skin all over her body but her face is absolutely flawless. I'm exactly the opposite. Life is always balanced out!

    Check out my blog :)
    http://iamjewelz.blogspot.com/

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Your posts are so empowering! I hope your new treatments help!!

    ♥ Shia

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  7. Dear, we all have some problems with our skin, I had eczema in my arms, neck (become dark), my back legs and no cure found yet,also i have dark spots everywhere any advice.

    ReplyDelete
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