Let's talk eczema...horrific eczema

The ‘Shotgun’ Approach To Treating Severe Eczema

Warning: This post contains graphic photos of eczema. Not for the squeamish. 

As many of you may know, I have suffered from eczema basically since birth. In the past three years it has taken over my life…literally.

Like many of you who suffer, I have tried just about everything…

  • The typical corticosteroid ointments and creams (which we know do harm over the long term)
  • Round after round after round of oral steroids (again, causing severe strain on the body and definitely NOT a long term solution)
  • Various homemade concoctions (some helping at some times and some not)
  • Allergy testing– environmental & food (apparently at the age of 32 I became allergic to 70+ food items and basically every blade of grass and tree known to (wo)mankind…oh, and paper…well, we know THAT’S not true)
  • Complete change in diet (eliminating this, eliminating that, reintroducing this, yada yada yada)
  • Coal tar (it’s an old wive’s tale that apparently does help some)
  • Introducing new foods (kefir, probiotic foods, grass-fed this and that, homemade bone stocks, etc etc etc)
  • Eliminating all toxins in my products (which really is a great thing I wish more people would do…which eventually lead me to one of the best things that has ever happened to me, my Pronounce Skincare line of products)
  • Epsom salt soaks, bentonite soaks, soaking in cat litter…yeah…
  • Wrapping myself in Saran Wrap (Oh, you haven’t tried that one? It’s great fun, let me tell you…)
  • There are loads more…shall I continue?

You get the point. When you suffer from eczema that looks like what you see below you really do try just about everything.

Yup, that’s me. These pictures were taken just over one year ago.

Up until this week, I was looking much, much better…sporadically, but overall I was ‘better’. This was more thanks to my own research and ‘medical’ implementations than any doctor or dermatologist.

Two things that I know for sure about eczema…

  1. It sucks. It sucks really, really bad. If you have it, you know.
  2. You MUST treat the root CAUSE of the eczema, NOT the manifesting eczema itself.

Eczema is an immune system malfunction.

I like to say malfunction, not disease. I don’t know…it just makes me feel better.

You have to help your immune system. It is begging for help. MINE is begging for help.

So, those who suffer with severe eczema I beg of you…

Get Second Opinions!

Get third, fourth, fifth…you get what I am saying.

Please, find a doctor who will listen to you and treat you as a whole person and not be eager to simply write you a prescription for your symptoms (which is the eczema).

Did you know that dermatology is one of the fastest growing fields and those doctors are bringing in some of the biggest bucks in the medical field?

…incomes of dermatologists…rose 50 percent or more between 1995 and 2012, even when adjusted for inflation, while those for primary care physicians rose only 10 percent and lag for behind…

By 2012, dermatologists — whose incomes were more or less on par with internists in 1985 — had become the fourth-highest eraners in American medicine in some surveys, bringing in an average of $471,555…1

You know what I saw when I first walked into my old dermatologist’s office? A sign.

It didn’t say, “Welcome! Glad you are here.”

No, it advertised their specials for the month, “Botox is 30% off through the month of March!” “Lip injections are 50% off this week!”

…and what happens every time I go into a different dermatologist’s examination room (in the past 3 years alone I have seen well over 50)?

Blah blah have you tried this, blah blah have you tried that, blah blah here’s a prescription for a more potent topical steroid, blah blah wow…you need another round of oral steroids, blah blah we really need to get you on an immune system inhibitor, blah blah let’s do a long term oral steroid, blah blah BLAH!

NO MORE!

The more I learn about the state of medical care in the USA, the more I learn about eczema, and the more I learn about my own body, the more frustrated and angry I become…all while feeling a sense of hope and optimism.

Crazy, huh!? Let me explain.

I am here to tell you that I will NOT be held hostage by mainstream medicine. Nope, no longer.

I have been on a journey for about a year now. It’s had ups and it’s had downs, just like many journeys we all go on in life.

In the past couple of months, my journey has taken some wild turns. I want to share them with you.

Am I ‘cured’? No, not cured.

Do I have a plan? Yes, I do.

I am working with an amazing DO and we are doing some pretty progressive things. I will share this journey with you, in hopes that it might help you in your own journey.

I want you to be educated and be able to ask your MD, DO, naturopath, etc etc etc questions.

Remember…through all of this…YOU are the patient and this is YOUR body.

Don’t you think you should have some say in what happens?

Shotgun Approach

Because I am in quite a horrible state right now, we are trying a few different things. It’s the shotgun approach.

Throw a bunch of things at the eczema and see what sticks. We’ll reevaluate in a couple of months and see where we need to go.

First and foremost, I am starting something that I have actually kind-of put off.

GAPS

I started GAPS today. It’s something I’ve know about for a long, long time, but have never implemented full-on. It started 100% today.

Wish me luck and join along with me for some gut healing, since we know that ALL disease begins in the gut. Send me an email or comment below if you’d like to join me on this journey!

I strongly recommend this book. I’d flipped through it and read a lot about it online, but am actually reading it cover-to-cover right now.

I highly recommend it. Click the book to learn more.

I am also using these wonderful resources. Cara knows her stuff and I am grateful that she shares it with us.

Luckily she is running a new year special through the end of this month, so you can get these resources at a discounted rate.

Click the book to learn more.

 

I won’t make this post any longer; it’s long enough.

I just had to start somewhere and get some of this off of my chest and out there for you to read and see where I am headed on my journey.

I will be back soon to finish explaining the shotgun approach.

I will, however, leave you with this one to research (if you like)…

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).

Ever heard of it? Yeah, neither had I, which is weird since I’ve been loosely following a WAPF diet for about a year and that is where I found this information a couple of months ago.

Wanna know more now? I’d start with this excellent WAPF resource on LDN.

I’ll be back soon with a more complete explanation of this shotgun approach and why, through all of this, I am optimistic.

Meanwhile, I’d love to know…what else have YOU tried in YOUR eczema battle?

Until next time…

xoxo,
Jess, aka Scratch Mommy

PS I am not a doctor. Always seek advice from your own MD, naturopath, DO, etc etc etc.

 

Comments 16

  1. Best of luck with your healing. My husband developed eczema similar in appearance to your photos. After a year of trying to figure this out I stumbled on an article on the internet from a dermatologist who had himself developed severe eczema. By dumb luck he discovered Splenda was the cause for him. I had convinced my husband to drop sugar and start using Splenda right about the time his skin problems started. We just never put two and two together. He will have a bad flair up occasionally and we always try to find where he got artificial sugars or Splenda. Last time it was the chewable vitamin C’s we had always been using. Turned out they were loaded with Splenda. Time before that it was the sugar free breath mints. One tiny mint and he is in trouble. He is never really clear of it but it is slowly getting better.
    We look forward to your future posts and thanks for sharing! Good luck!

  2. First off, you have my sympathy! Your eczema looks very uncomfortable (to put it mildly). My eczema is much less severe, affecting only my palms and only during winter and allergy season. I have tried several different creams (prescription and OTC), the only one I found to be helpful is California Baby Calendula Cream. I hope you find something that works for you.

  3. here is what happened to me: I married young and became a mother the day after I turned 19. Not too long after that I developed eczema. It was only on one hand and the back side of my arms but was really painful and itchy. Went thru all the things you have(this was from 74-79). What happened in 79? I got a divorce! I’m fixing to be 59 and have never had any problems with it since.

  4. I enjoyed your post. I agree with you about treating the root of the problem. It’s one thing our doctors don’t care to do these days, which is truly aggravating as a patient who has some medical knowledge. Eczema is an autoimmune disease and the root is usually a vitamin deficiency caused by a thyroid deficiency. When your thyroid hormone doesn’t produce enough your body doesn’t metabolize properly which leads to reduced cortisol levels and reduced hormone levels. Increased drinking, smoking, drugs (rx and recreation), stress and poor diet habits are secondary triggers. Get a doctor to test your thyroid function, hormones and vitamin levels. On Your Own you can take vitamins A, B12, C, D3, and calcium and magnesium daily.

    1. Oh and use coconut oil. Rub it on your outbreak areas 2x daily and if you can tolerate it, eat a tablespoon daily. I used to get minor outbreaks before I got my thyroid under control. I used to own a spa and recommended this to my clients. It works, my clients became believers. You have to be diligent for it to work. All this info can be found on the Internet. I really enjoyed and benefited from the book, The Coconut oil miracle oil by Bruce Fife. Good luck.

  5. Oh, Jess, I can totally relate! I have suffered with eczema my whole life, too, but the ironic thing is that mine didn’t get to the point that yours is in the picture until AFTER I started the GAPS Diet with my son a year and a half ago. We started GAPS because we discovered that our kiddo had tons of food sensitivities, reflux, and other digestive issues. I was nursing him (he was about 10 months when we started), so I pretty much had to limit my diet to what he could eat, too. I don’t know if that is the reason my 16 months on GAPS failed me and made me worse or not, but I definitely had less than favorable results (while my son thrived, eliminated his digestive problems, and got rid of almost all of his food allergies). Now I’m seeing some improvement trying to restore my metabolism (ala Matt Stone minus the junk food). I know it took a huge hit when I did such a limited GAPS diet while nursing full time and missing out on a lot of sleep. Hopefully it will continue to improve as my metabolic rate does, but if not, I’ll have to seek out something else. I’ll be watching to see what you are doing. I’ve never heard of the LDN, so that has peaked my interest. Good luck with your GAPS journey! Definitely continue to listen to your body. I didn’t: I was way too religious in following the perfect protocol and ended up in worse shape than I started out in!

  6. Hi. Thank you for sharing your story. I have been battling my daughter’s eczema and she is currently on GAPS. I have seen major improvement. Good Luck to you too. You wrote at the end that you would love to hear about things that have helped other people. I learned about Tallow cream recently and wow has it helped her skin!!! I got it from a company called Vintage Tradition. So just thought I would pass that on. 🙂

  7. I’ve been helping my 8 year old fight with her eczema for the last 7 years. The poor kid is having a really rough time right now, she’s fighting off another cold and when her immune system fires up so does her skin. I feel so terrible for her right now- she can’t even handle cool water without crying because it burns so badly.

    For the longest time we used Aquaphor and then Eucerin creme on her twice daily, but after a while it seemed like she was having a reaction to the cream itself. For 20-30 minutes after we’d coat her up, she’d be crawing out of her skin and red. I read somewhere that for people with allergies to wool, lanolin alcohol can be a problem- and repeated exposure can even cause an allergy to develop. Well, the kid can’t come anywhere near wool without breaking out- and Eucerin does have lanolin alcohol in it (which is a wool derivative). Along with lots of other chemicals I didn’t want to coat her with every day. The doctor has given us topical immunosuppressants and more steroids for her than I’m comfortable with, so I started going the opposite direction with her. The fewer ingredients and the more natural, the better. I now make her cream myself with shea and cocoa butters and almond oil. It’s made a huge difference for her, at least during the times when her other triggers aren’t setting her off. The extreme cold of winter/heat of summer/illness/freshly mowed grass…

    I’d give anything to take it from her so she could get on with her life and not suffer anymore. Will be looking into GAPS and will follow your blog for further success that you find for yourself. Thank you!

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  13. I don’t have eczema, my mother in law does though. We eat as much real food as we can for other reasons but secretly she thinks I’m crazy lol I know there is know way she would do GAPS 🙁 I have the book and it is great, more for my husband then me but it helps all of us and we have incorporated some great things. I do however take LDN for a different reason. My pharmacist is very interested in it as it treats a TON of conditions and according to him is so underutilized. It is safe, no withdrawal effects and little to no drug interactions. I wish you luck please keep us posted.

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