Today’s Wish List

  1. I want to take a bath. Full bath tub with bubbles. I want to read a book in the tub with good-smelling candles lit all around. I want 10 smelly candles around me.

  2. I want to come out of the shower smelling fabulous. I want to love showering. I want to take long showers with yummy smelling shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Body wash! I want to use body wash and a loofah.

  3. I want my husband to smell good. I want him to wear a manly, yummy cologne. I want him to come out of the shower smelling good - from those dumb, “manly” gendered body washes, shampoos and conditioners.

  4. I want to lay on my leather couch for more than 5 minutes without having to clean it first.

  5. I want to love on my dog. I want to pet him without having to instantly wash my hands. I want to snuggle with him without worrying about his allergens.

  6. I want my baby boy to not get skin rashes every few weeks. I want to feel guilt-free about passing on my genes to him.

  7. I want to be girly. I want to wear all the makeup. I want to have bright, dark or weird-colored lips. I want to wear fun eyeshadows. I want to be able to use real makeup remover instead of Aquaphor ointment to remove my eyeliner.

No need for a list of 10. I’m not in the mood to be contrived.

Scratching is Bad – Even a Toddler Gets It


I’m sitting on the couch with my almost-3-year-old watching Mickey Mouse when I start aggressively scratching my lower back. “Don’t scratch, don’t scratch! Ruuuub,” my daughter told me, rubbing her leg softy with her hand to show me how to do it. What?! How does my toddler know about the itch-scratch cycle? Daycare sure does prepare toddlers for the real world!

Thinking back, Nina has probably noticed my scratching, flared spots, blood and scabs. It’s time for me to be more careful about how I treat my body when I’m in front of Nina, as well as be more transparent about my eczema condition. My little baby is getting more mature every day!

What NOT to Wear

Jewelry. I cannot wear any jewelry. Okay, I’m being dramatic. I can’t wear 90% of the jewelry available in the world. Beautiful, colorful, jewelry. Accessories that make me feel good and help my outfits look better. Woe is me.


A few months ago, I splurged and bought a custom 14K solid gold name necklace. I’m allergic to fake, copper and metal jewelry and had given up on buying trendy costume jewelry. Spoiler: it didn’t work out.


Within the first day, I got a little tingle on my neck. Then, it was more than a tingle. I knew it was the necklace, but I didn’t want to believe it. How could it be?! It was solid gold! A few times, I took the necklace off and tried again a few days later, still in denial. Last week, I stubbornly ignored my body and kept the necklace on my neck. Not a good idea.

My skin worsened until I couldn’t take it anymore. It got better (thankfully!) a few days later with the help of Protopic ointment. I felt ridiculous. I risked my skin’s health over a necklace.  But it was solid gold! Here’s the deal - I learned that 14K isn’t actually pure gold, because it is still mixed with metals. 24K is 99.9% pure gold, but it is very malleable. Maybe 18K is good enough for my skin, but I’m not sure I want to spend the money to find out.  Last weekend was my birthday and I stumbled across an all-rubber necklace at the Museum of Fine Arts. I splurged and purchased it - I have to support artists that make plastic or rubber jewelry, because it’s so hard to find!

My skin worsened until I couldn’t take it anymore. It got better (thankfully!) a few days later with the help of Protopic ointment. I felt ridiculous. I risked my skin’s health over a necklace.

But it was solid gold! Here’s the deal - I learned that 14K isn’t actually pure gold, because it is still mixed with metals. 24K is 99.9% pure gold, but it is very malleable. Maybe 18K is good enough for my skin, but I’m not sure I want to spend the money to find out.

Last weekend was my birthday and I stumbled across an all-rubber necklace at the Museum of Fine Arts. I splurged and purchased it - I have to support artists that make plastic or rubber jewelry, because it’s so hard to find!


I think sterling silver may be okay for me, but I don’t know at this point and prefer gold anyway. Who knows if I can wear 18K gold. For now, I’m going to give my skin a break and stay clear of jewelry … unless it’s made of all rubber or plastic.

From My Journal

Preface: I originally wrote this in my personal journal a few days ago, thinking it was too dark and weird to be included on my blog. In the spirit of transparency, though, and because eczema triggers dark thoughts at times, I'm sharing it here. It's in response to my stopping my eczema medication Dupixent in order to get pregnant later this year. My next dose was due a few days ago. 

Walking Towards Darkness

Waves crashing, sun shining.
Beautiful face, calm skin.
Sand in my toes, smell of salt.
Old memories of torture.
Laying in the heat, good sleep.
Just one year ago, all coming back.

I stand up and look away.
A child, a baby. Another one.
I walk forward.
A brother or sister.
I walk further.

It's going to hurt; it's starting.
Motherhood - I want more.
Past the beach, it's getting darker.
Red, pain, hiding.
I'll do it again.

Tiny fingers, my own. #2.
Here I go.

My Pregnancy with Eczema - Updated

2/16/19 update: 2 years after my first pregnancy, I’ve realized I was probably going through Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW). Read more about it on my post about my second pregnancy. Below’s post is unedited and how I reacted to my first pregnancy at the time.


I  gave birth to my first baby 15 months ago after a roller coaster pregnancy full of challenging eczema flare ups. True, I'm a chronic eczema fighter, but my ten plus years of eczema did not compare to the eczema I experienced during my pregnancy. 

1. My Eczema was Pregnancy-Induced

For the first few months of my pregnancy, I blamed the disruption of my eczema treatment for the severe flare ups. When I wasn't pregnant, I used acupuncture and took herbal pills to control my eczema, but I had to stop both when I became pregnant.

Months later, I changed my conclusion: my pregnancy itself was the reason for my severe eczema flare ups. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones or my body reacting to the changes in my body, but I blame my pregnancy for causing eczema. 

2. Doctors Told Me Steroids are Safe and Okay

My OB/GYN doctor told me that I could take a steroid pack to help handle my eczema. According to my doctor, this medication does not cross the placenta, so is fine.

What a relief I felt! I almost got a steroid pack, but then ...


3. Doctors Told Me Steroids are Dangerous and Not Okay  

All my other doctors - allergists, general physicians, even my pharmacist scared me away from taking oral steroids. They all resorted to "ask your OB/GYN," because it seemed they didn't want to be held accountable for a formal recommendation. Ultimately, I didn't take any oral steroids while I was pregnant.

4. Second Trimester: Horrible Eczema

Months four through six were the worst for my eczema, although it started in month three. By "worst," I mean the worst eczema I've ever had in my life. It was the worst few months I've ever experienced, complete with debilitating, leaking eczema all over my face and body that didn't even let me sleep for days at a time. There was edema, weeping, flaking, redness, hot, dry, full of lines. My recovery was swift, hard to believe and with no explanation. After 3 - 4 months of all-consuming eczema, my skin cleared up. Redness went away. Swelling went down. Al the lines on my face left, so I looked 20 years younger. And no more oozing. I could finally sleep. 

During the fifth month, my eczema drastically improved on its own, similar to how morning sickness goes away during the second trimester. It felt good to finally shift my attention to the little baby I was baking. 

5. Last Weeks of Pregnancy: Eczema Returns, Not as Bad

Late in my third trimester, my eczema came back, although it was not as severe.

6. Giving Birth with Eczema

My skin didn't look or feel great when I went into labor, but it at least my body and face didn't feel like a statue. My eczema didn't get in the way of my giving birth, thankfully. And my husband and I welcomed our first child!

7. Post Birth: Eczema and Medication

After being shamed by doctors to not take steroids while pregnant, I kept battling my eczema without much help. However, I went straight to the pharmacy to pick up my Prednisone pack as soon as I gave birth. Unfortunately, my pharmacist lectured me for taking oral steroids while I was breastfeeding. I have no words for that. 

After I gave birth to my daughter, my eczema stuck around. My face looked purple when I took her to baby yoga. My skin wasn't as horrible as my pregnancy's second trimester, but it was definitely not good. It has since turned around and my skin is beautiful, with only mild-to-moderate eczema due to my getting a new allergist and starting Dupixent and Protopic earlier this year.

8. Getting Pregnant Again

Today, according to my OB/GYN, I can stay on Protopic if I get pregnant again. Dupixent, however, is not safe. I took my last Dupixent injection two weeks ago. I will stay off it for about 3 months, then will start trying to get pregnant again. I'm more terrified than excited at this point and am keeping my fingers crossed that my second pregnancy produces another healthy, beautiful baby, but without the eczema torture this time. 



How to Get Rid of Dust Mites on Winter Clothing

Winter jackets, hats, sweaters and all the fuzzy accessories ... what a great season for clothing and fashion! Unfortunately, for folks with dust mite allergies, it is also a constant reminder of what we shouldn't put on our bodies for risk of a reaction. 

Dust Mites in Winter Clothes

Home furniture, flooring and decor is the big topic for dust mite allergy recommendations. No carpet, leather furniture, no curtains, dust often, etc. But nobody talks about clothing and accessories - the things that are actually worn on the body. And all the same type of rules apply: no furry stuff and nothing that gathers dust. The problem is that we can't (and shouldn't) walk around in all latex or leather. Our clothing can't be wiped down with a damp cloth. Dust mites live in our clothing, especially our winter gear like hats, jackets and sweaters that don't often get washed. We're told we should store our clothing in airtight plastic bags, but ... come on ... that's not practical. 

Eczema Reaction to Dust Mite Allergy


I just bought a new heavy coat a few days ago with the fur lining (not real fur, of course) and wore it a few times. It almost immediately hurt my neck - the skin that was touching the fur. It got itchy, painful and rashy. When I showered yesterday, my neck burned like I had little needles pricking my neck. My neck didn't visibly look horrible and didn't spur a big all-body eczema flare-up (thanks to my Dupixent and Protopic eczema treatment), but it was more than uncomfortable and a clear reaction to my new coat.

My Experiment: Steam and Vacuum Winter Coat


What a bummer! It was a brand new coat and hadn't even been in my closet gathering dust. The reality, though, is that it had been in a warehouse, transported in a box and hung in a store - all perfect situations for breeding dust mites. 

In my house, I have many winter gear pieces that I don't even try to use anymore. I didn't want to put this new coat in that pile. So, I decided to try steaming the fur. Steam cleans clothing, right - it seemed to make sense! But, what about the dead dust mite bodies and fecal matter? After all, it's the dust mite poop that causes the allergy reactions. So, I grabbed my hand vacuum and vacuumed the fur. 

And I think it worked! I wore the jacket all day today and my neck didn't hurt or worsen! I'm going to try this steam-and-vacuum technique on all my dusty winter gear. 

Side notes:
1. I've tried many steamers and most are terrible. Here's one I love that is highly rated and I use often: Joy Mangano My Little Steamer

2. As for the hand vacuum, my husband recently treated himself to a Dyson V6 Animal vacuum, so I used that, but I think any hand vacuum would be fine. 


Life with an Eczema-Inducing Dust Mite Allergy

A true 24-hour snapshot of my living with a dust mite allergy that causes eczema reactions. Incidents occurred one week ago. 

Thursday Afternoon: Allergy-Injected Arm is Red, Swollen and Itchy


Two and a half weeks ago, I started immunotherapy with the cluster allergy shot method to address my dust mite and grasses allergies. I go to the allergist twice a week and get three separate injections of each allergen, dust mites on the left arm and grasses on the right arm. After each dose, I wait 30 minutes to ensure I don't have a reaction. 

My grasses-injected arm has felt and looked unaffected, with only a little bit of dryness in the area. My dust-mite-injected arm, however, has been swollen, itchy and painful. It aches to the point where I can't sleep well. 

Thursday Evening: Eczema Reaction to a Couch Pillow


I have the typical lifestyle of someone with a serious dust mite allergy: blinds instead of curtains, wooden floors, no rugs, leather furniture, difficulty wearing winter clothes, encased mattresses and pillows, etc. However, there's one throw pillow I have on my leather couch that I've not addressed: I need to replace it with an encased throw pillow.

I caved and used this unsafe pillow for a few hours while I worked on the couch. My eyes started watering and an eczema reaction occurred on one of my eye lids. Thankfully, the reaction was contained, didn't spread, and went away within an hour after getting off the pillow and adding Protopic cream. 

Friday Morning: Dust Mite Allergy Injections Causes Eczema Reaction

I received my first set of injections, waited 30 minutes, got my second set of injections, waited 30 minutes ... then, suddenly, right before I was to get my third set of shots, I realized my neck was a little itchy. I looked in the mirror and saw a serious eczema flareup getting worse by the second. It started to spread onto my right inner elbow and possibly my legs (felt itchy, but was wearing pants, so couldn't confirm).

My allergist and nurse quickly gave me a low-dose adrenaline shot. Low dose?! Within minutes, my hands were shaking and my heart was racing. I don't consume caffeine, so my body really felt the adrenaline. According to my allergist, my adrenaline shot was comparable to a low-dose EpiPen shot.

I've never used my EpiPen, but now know how it would feel. Honestly, I never considered using an EpiPen for an eczema reaction, no matter how severe, but my allergist says a reaction on my skin can shift to my throat (i.e., impede my breathing) quickly. Point taken. 

Friday Afternoon: Dust Mite Allergy's Eczema Reaction Gone


Success! My eczema reaction to my dust mite allergy shots went away within a few hours. I am very lucky that my eczema is in a contained state with my current treatment (Dupixent, Protopic and Vitamin D supplements). I've never experienced such a quick and severe eczema reaction only to see it disappear within the same day.

Key takeaway: My dust mite allergy is legit!

Allergy Shots for Eczema Control


Looking fly, wearing my hip hugger bag so I can keep my inhaler and EpiPen, in case I have a reaction to my allergy injections. 


I'm sitting in the waiting room of The Allergy Clinic on Fannin Street in Houston, waiting to take my third set of cluster allergy injections. I saw my allergist again last week and gave him the low down: my eczema is still mild to moderate, but more on the moderate side lately. Since my doc visit, it's back to mild, thankfully. Dr. Engler recommended I try allergy shots again, but using high dosages and targeting very specific allergens this time.

Been There, Done That, So Why Again?

I've tried allergy shots for years, before switching allergy clinics and coming to Dr. Engler last year, and I've not been convinced that the shots help me in any way. But I trust my doctor and he has good reasons (with research to back it up) on why this makes sense for my eczema case:

  • Allergy shots are best done when eczema is under control; otherwise, the injections can cause eczema to worsen. While under Dr. Engler's care, my eczema shifted from being moderate to severe to being mild to moderate. It's not completely gone, but is definitely under control.
  • Immunotherapy (allergy injections) for dust mite allergies has proven to help eczema patients, according to research studies. And dust mites are academically proven to affect eczema. I am not confident about much regarding my eczema, but am absolutely confident that my dust mite allergy is severe and totally affects my eczema. 
  • Cluster shots are a good way to do an immunotherapy treatment in a speedy, efficient manner, compared to typical treatments that take much longer. They are also a more convenient alternative to "rush" immunotherapy treatments. Here's an article my doctor recommended I read to learn more about cluster shots:


I'm excited to start my immunotherapy treatment today for dust mites and grasses. Did I mention I also am pretty allergic to grasses and trees? Hopefully it helps me be able to cuddle with my doggie who rumbles around the grass and keeps those allergens on his fur.

Recap of My Current Eczema Treatment Plan

Immunotherapy (cluster shots) for dust mite and grasses allergies, biweekly Dupixent injections, daily Protopic ointment on eczema patches, Vitamin D supplements and probiotics. I don't think the probiotics have helped and am not sure yet about the immunotherapy, but the Dupixent, Protopic and Vitamin D supplements seem to be helping.


Vitamin D is Low Again ... And My Eczema is Flaring


Dupixent, Vitamin D, Probiotics and Protopic for Last 4 Months

I've been on Dupixent for almost 4 months. I'm also on Vitamin D supplements, the Align probiotic and use the generic version of the Protopic ointment. Full transparancy, I traveled a bit about a month ago and stopped consistently taking my Vitamin D and Align. I also didn't have Protopic for a few weeks.

My Skin Lately

In the last few weeks, my back has become flared up to the point of bothering me while I sleep, work, drive, etc. My arms have also been flared up, as have my legs. These flare-ups are nothing like they were earlier this year, I'd categorize them as moderate eczema flareups, since I know what severe flareups can be like. Still, it is uncomfortable and very itchy.

New Results: Low Vitamin D 

I tested my vitamin D levels yesterday and the results are in: 38 ng/ml. I need to be at least at 50  ng/ml, though my doctor recommends it be much, much higher for eczema fighters. This is now the second time that I have low Vitamin D results while my eczema is flaring up. And my skin has improved in the past as my Vitamin D levels go up. 

Other Possible Reasons for Flareups

An eczema fighter always has some off-the-wall, in-her-gut feeling about what could be causing her flareup. Lately, I've been thinking it's alcohol. Since starting Dupixent, my face has gotten very hot (physically hot, feels sunburned, looks bright red) when I drink sometimes, within the first few sips. I've realized that if I keep drinking, it goes away by the end of that drink. I started doing that the last month and I've wondered if my body was finding a different way to tell me to stop drinking - by flaring up on my body. Not sure, though, since the eczema lasts weeks after having drank. 

Conclusion for Today

I've had so many conclusions the last five years! Today, I think my eczema flareups are related to my low Vitamin D levels. And I think my flareups are moderate instead of severe because of Dupixent and Protopic. I'm still not convinced probiotics help, but it doesn't hurt to keep taking them. Short term plan: I will keep taking my Vitamin D supplements (2,000 units / day) and will not miss a single dose.

Fragrance Allergy Holding Strong

Sometimes I optimistically wonder if I've outgrown my fragrance allergy. Answer: nope.  Confirmation: cologne-filled Uber ride drive my skin bonkers. Details below.

  1. Uber driver sprays a ton of cologne while in his car right before picking me up. Either that or he spilled a bottle of cologne in his car.
  2. I get in the car and can barely breathe because of how strong it smelled. It was beyond unpleasant.
  3. My legs got itchy within a few minutes. Oddly, the itchiness was on my knees, which is not a typical flare-up spot for me.
  4. I get home and am still itchy. Plus, my hair and clothes reek of the cologne.
  5. I shower and apply Protopic (generic brand) on my knees. Unfortunately, Protopic hurts before it helps, so my knees get hot and more itchy. 

Who needs patch testing when an Uber ride can confirm skin allergies?

New Alcohol Allergy Probably Caused by Dupixent - UPDATE: Allergy definitely caused by Dupixent


I can't drink alcohol anymore!

After 5 weeks of taking Dupixent, all alcoholic beverages make my face get super hot and extremely red. I've not had more than one drink at a time and sometimes just a few sips. If I drank more than a few cocktails in a row, my face may explode. I'm not going to try.

My reaction to alcohol is embarrassingly bad.

Two weeks ago, I was at a restaurant and thought a glass of the Rosé should be fine. A few sips later, the waitress was at my table asking if I was okay and assuring me that there was an EpiPen in the back. I had to give my delicious wine to my husband. Sigh. Within fifteen minutes, my face started feeling and looking better. It probably took 30 minutes to clear up.

Today at work there was a fun drinking and eating event. It was Cuban themed, so there was a frozen margarita machine filled with mojito mix and rum and a variety of Cuban sandwiches. I poured myself a little mojito. Within fifteen minutes, I could feel my face get hotter and hotter. Nooo! Not at work in a conference room with a ton of people! But it was too late. My face got redder and redder. I avoided seeing people, because it was that jarring. It took longer to cool down today (almost two hours), probably because I drank the entire small drink before realizing the consequences. 

Why, universe?

I don't use the victim card often, but I'm gonna grab it for a minute. Come on, universe! I have spent almost 13 years with eczema so severe at times that it significantly affects my life. I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel with a new medication and now I can't enjoy alcohol - why?!?!

Fine - I won't drink.

If this is a test to determine how much I really want Dupixent, then fine. I won't drink. Because I can't hide a beet-red face or handle my burning skin, I'll give up drinking. Goodbye delicious wine, mojitos, moscow mules and margaritas. :( This Dupixent medication better be miraculously good soon!


October 25, 2017 Update:

Workaround Identified: Keep drinking and it goes away

I have determined that if I continue to drink, my face will cool down and go back to normal, causing no further reaction. So, if I have 2 drinks, my face gets super flushed after the first sip, but by the end of the second drink (assuming, I'm not chugging them), my face would have cooled off. Last Saturday, I drank a small margarita at 12PM. My face didn't hurt at all (doesn't always), but it did get super red. I had a happy hour at 4PM and my face didn't get flushed at all that for those drinks. Not sure how long the "already flushed, so won't flush again" workaround lasts, but is interesting.

Same alcohol reaction happening to other Dupixent users

I've heard of two other Dupixent users that have the same severe face flushing reaction from alcohol. One of them confirmed they can drink through it and it doesn't come back for the remainder of their drinks. Again, interesting ...


February 3, 2017 Update:

Non-Alcoholic Ginger Beer Drink Caused Same Reaction

Oddly, the non-alcoholic cocktail I had a few hours ago triggered the exact same hot, red, tight-skin feeling on my face. I confirmed with the waiter that it had zero alcohol, but it did have ginger beer, which is what I think must have triggered the reaction. Very interesting.

One Week After My First Dupixent Injection

Drum roll, please  ...


Last night, I accidentally bled all over my duvet cover - the white part. My fault for even having a white part on my duvet cover! And I've been super itchy on my body the last few days. But the top part of my left foot might be healing, so that's a plus!

Onto the next week. I have high hopes it'll keep getting better. My face has been good for months now (I have my face back!), so at least there's that.