I got a new lipstick.
I’m not wearing it.
My skin reacted to my new lipstick.
My sister is getting a new lipstick.
I got a new lipstick.
I got a new lipstick.
I’m not wearing it.
My skin reacted to my new lipstick.
My sister is getting a new lipstick.
My baby boy was born 3 months ago. I had a skin-healthy pregnancy with mild-to-moderate eczema. Since giving birth, my eczema has stayed in the mild to moderate range, leaning more on the moderate range.
I wonder if my worsened skin is a reaction to my hormone changes or my having to back off a bit from using Protopic. I still used Protopic the last three months, but was low on it for about 2-3 weeks. I’ve since gone back to liberally using Protopic and my skin has been improving. I’ve heard Protopic causes withdrawal effects; it’s something that makes me nervous.
In the last two months, I’ve been flared up on my forearms, triceps, elbows, shoulder blades, lower back, hips, hamstrings, calves and ankles. There’s bleeding, painful showers and through-the-night scratching, but my face has stayed healthy, so I am grateful.
I’m still only on Protopic and I don’t plan on backing off at this time. I don’t want to go back to Dupixent yet if Protopic is keeping my skin from having severe eczema. I worry about Protopic side effects, but also worry about Dupixent side effects. Eczema is an autoimmune condition. I don’t think I’m going to like any medications, because they suppress my immune system and the immune system has a very important job. That said, I don’t want to live with severe eczema. It’s a dangerous game of balance that I am playing. For now, I will not change things and will keep putting my trust on Protopic (as I bite my fingernails nervously).
I noticed you a few days ago. You landed on my face, under my left eye, and haven’t left. I have to say, I’m uncomfortable with you staying so long. I’d rather not see you at all, but definitely not for more than two days. You’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? I’m tiny and basically unnoticeable.” Well, I know your game. You’ll make yourself at home and get louder every day. You’ll get bigger and bolder.
At your worst, you’ll be noticed by everyone I meet and you’ll be itchy, oozy, red and swollen. And then you’ll bring your friends and they’ll cozy up on my face as well. Eventually, you will all take over my face, inhabiting it for months or even longer.
I don’t want you on my face and want you to leave. You can go to any other spot on my body. How about my left arm next to my super red, itchy and bumpy tricep? Or maybe my lower back where you stayed for a few years and left a permanent reminder through darker skin pigmentation. Seriously, you can go anywhere but my face.
I hope you respect my wishes and leave before it’s too late. I’m not ready. I’ll never be ready.
To my surprise and delight, my skin has been pretty terrific throughout my second pregnancy.Read More
It's been a four months since I stopped taking Dupixent and I'm happy to share that I've been doing okay! My eczema has maintained mild to moderate, as it became with the help of Dupixent.
I began Dupixent one year ago and took it for eight months before stopping it in order to get pregnant with my second child. I came to the conclusion that Dupixent, along with periodic use of Protopic (which I also took before Dupixent), significantly improved my skin. Aside from healthier skin, Dupixent also caused an intense face-flushing reaction to my first sip of alcohol (very red and super hot), but it would wear off once the alcohol was out of my system and I would be able to have more drinks at that point without the flushing.
Based on available animal testing data, my allergist and I estimated that I should be off Dupixent for three months before trying to get pregnant. It's now been four months since I stopped Dupixent.
I was scared to get off Dupixent, but it's been okay - my skin has not worsened. Currently, I have flare-up spots throughout my body, but I can sleep, there's no shedding and the spots are containable with Protopic. And there are even times when my flare-up areas are sparse. Let me be clear: the only products I'm using are aquaphor on my face and Protopic for any flare-ups. I'm not even using an antihistamine at this point and have rarely touched my steroid creams. I find my healthy skin situation to be remarkable.
I do still have a face-flushing reaction to alcohol, but it is very minimal. Does this mean that Dupixent is still in my body and whatever's left behind is still helping? Or is the face-flushing caused by something else — maybe Protopic, as a few fellow eczema fighters experience? If so, did Dupixent permanently improve my body somehow? Who knows?! Time will tell. For now, I will continue to live my life, grateful that it does not revolve around my eczema and staying positive that the future will stay on this healthier path. And I will keep my fingers crossed that when I do get pregnant again, I do not experience the eczema nightmare my first pregnancy triggered. I'll take it one itchy day at a time. It's easy to do when the days are unbearably itchy!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
Late in my third trimester, my eczema came back, although it was not as severe.
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!
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.
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.
One year ago, I felt absolutely defeated. I had been losing in my battle with dermatitis for years and had just experienced the worst eczema of my life, which occurred during my first pregnancy. I felt frustrated and exhausted by my own body's attack on my skin.
I had been seeing an allergist for years and, though they were helpful at first, I no longer felt confident they could help me. I kept hearing the same typical suggestions: avoid dust mites, don't keep your dog in your bedroom, do a food-avoidance diet, etc. And these things didn't really help. I also didn't have a specific dermatologist at that point for a similar situation: I'd gone down that route and there was nothing else they could do for me. Chronic moderate-to-severe eczema doesn't have a cure - at least it didn't at that point.
Feeling hopeless, I decided to search for a new allergist. I knew my skin allergies were serious and a big part of my eczema; maybe I should get a second opinion on my treatment with a new allergist. I did some Google searching and saw there were mainly two best-in-class allergist options in Houston ... and it turned out I already had one of them as my allergist. "It's okay. Maybe the other doctor is different," I thought to myself. I made my appointment and felt hope for the first time in a long time.
Dr. David Engler from the Allergy Clinic in Houston changed my life. Although a big part of my improvement this year is Dupixent, a new medication that came out in 2017, and Protopic, an ointment I had surprisingly not tried beforehand, my skin and spirit were in much better shape within only three months of seeing Dr. Engler.
I've realized there are 5 qualities that make my new allergist the one for me:
It feels like a breath of fresh air when your new allergist rattles off research and the latest medical discoveries on eczema and skin allergies. You need a doctor that is obsessed with learning, is an avid reader and actively stays on top of the latest industry research. If it sounds like your allergist is telling you things you've heard repeatedly, it's probably because they're stuck in the past.
The medical industry incentivizes doctors in many ways - to use certain drugs, to maintain certain costs, to be productive with their time, etc. A good allergist will do what is best for their patients, not themselves. When I needed Dupixent, a new eczema medication, my allergist spent the time to complete all the paperwork and even partnered with a Dupixent representative to get me approved. He went the extra mile and, as a result, that medication changed my life.
No doctor will know everything. A "keeper" allergist for eczema will have relationships with others in the allergy and dermatitis field. It is comforting when your doctor tells you they're going to a conference and will get feedback from other specialists about your treatment.
One of the most important qualities of a good allergist are the ability to give me confidence that he or she can help. It takes time to treat eczema. Literally, time, as in hours spent in doctor's appointments. I wouldn't prioritize my treatment if I didn't feel confident my doctor was helping. And if you're suffering from severe eczema, you feel much more lost if you don't have a doctor you trust.
After having dealt with manic moderate-to-severe eczema for years, I wanted to be cured by my new allergist. Knowing there is no quick fix, I at least wanted to get on a new, good path for improvement. I sometimes felt like I was my doctor's experiment - and I loved that. With many small wins, I eventually achieved mild-to-moderate, controlled eczema, which is where I am now. I acknowledge this improvement is probably not permanent; it's only been one year since I began seeing my new doctor and started new treatments, but it sure feels good to be in my body right now!
Recommended articles about my first year with my new allergist:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A true 24-hour snapshot of my living with a dust mite allergy that causes eczema reactions. Incidents occurred one week ago.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I'm feeling a bit of the eczema blues.
Alright, let's not throw a pity party. What's going well?
Well, that got dark fast. Things are so much better than they were a year ago. I can have a life. I can travel. I can focus my attention on my beautiful 10-month-old baby. I don't have to hide at home, avoiding work or friends. If, for whatever reason, my body is currently undergoing a flareup phase that consists of a few red, itchy spots, then that is a WIN. A flareup a year ago would've been completely debilitating and demoralizing. Yes, I will take that silver lining, make lemonade, keep my chin up ... it's all rainbows and puppies over here.
Sometimes I optimistically wonder if I've outgrown my fragrance allergy. Answer: nope. Confirmation: cologne-filled Uber ride drive my skin bonkers. Details below.
Who needs patch testing when an Uber ride can confirm skin allergies?
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.
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.
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?!?!
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!
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.
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 ...
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.
Drum roll, please ...
NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED.
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.
It came in the mail yesterday, packaged to stay cold during shipment. When I got home from work, I put it in the refrigerator right away. I was nervous and excited to do my first injection that night. Unlike most evenings, I continued working in the evening on my computer while on my couch. At 10:30 p.m., I shut it down and went to the fridge to get my Dupixent with my husband - I asked him to be with me for moral support and because he's good at reading directions. It's a good thing I did! He noticed the medicine needed to sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes first. Boo. No shot on the first night.
After misreading almost every step in the FreshEats meal I cooked tonight, I ate dinner and then pulled out the Dupixent to let it warm to room temperature. 45 minutes passed, so I re-read the instructions and chose to inject my tummy (it is indeed as scary as it sounds!). I'm supposed to pinch a chunk of my skin from either my stomach or thigh and pull it out for the injection - how the heck would one do that on their upper thighs? I'm still chunky after having a baby seven months ago, but not to that point! On my tummy, however, I can pinch a ton of skin (AKA fat) out! Next, I disinfect the area with alcohol and blow on it so it's not wet. "Do not blow on it," my husband tells me, reading the instructions out loud. "Oh. But I don't want to do it when it's still wet, because it hurts more," I tell him. I know, because I did my own allergy shots weekly for years. "Let it air dry," he said, reading the instructions out loud again. He really knows how to read every detail!
Now I'm ready, but I get scared at the last second and ask my husband to sing to me. The needle is intimidating and big! He sings "Sings a Song of Sixpence" to me and I go for it. It's surprisingly hard to push the medicine down - even though the instructions warned me that would happen. I was holding the needle wrong with my small hands, because I couldn't put enough pressure on the top to push it down. So now my husband is both singing and pushing down the medicine with me. Then it's over! I feel no different, but know it's a big deal. My husband, on the other hand, is focused on how queasy he feels - he hates needles!
Will my back, arms and legs be clear when I wake up? Will my itchiness be gone? Will I wake up in the middle of the night needing to use my wooden back scratcher? Will I be able to pick out an outfit in the morning without considering if I'll be able to scratch or if blood will be obvious? Will my next shower not hurt? Will the blood stains on my sheets disappear? It'll probably take longer than a few hours for my skin to improve and my sheets won't miraculously clean themselves, but I'm still hopeful for a better tomorrow!
Scratch, scratch, itch, itch, scratch.
Reach, reach. Find a back scratcher.
Loooong moan. Feels so good.
I started 2017 with moderate to severe eczema throughout January. In early February, six weeks ago, I spontaneously decided to get a new allergist, because I felt I was in a rut. He found a vitamin D deficiency in me, which he says is common with severe eczema patients. My doctor also had plans A, B and C for how he would treat my eczema. I was ecstatic and hopeful.
Vitamin D supplements: A blood test showed my vitamin D level was 23.7 ng/ml. The normal rate is 40-60 and should be even higher for eczema sufferers, according to my allergist. I was prescribed vitamin D pills of 10,000 units each and took 2 pills per week. A few weeks ago, I got tested again and my vitamin D level was 77. My allergist told me to take 1,000 units of vitamin D per day moving forward.
Antihistamines: Before seeing my new allergist, I had been taking two Claritin Reditabs every morning for months. He recommended I increase my antihistamines and also take two Zyrtec in the evening. I don't think the brands matter, but I have a preference for Claritin Reditabs.
Probiotics: My mother-in-law has an endocrinology degree and is a big believer in probiotics and gut health. She recommends Align to help my eczema. I asked my new allergist about this and he agreed and said it helps some people, so asked that I take Align daily.
Steroid Pills: When I saw my allergist in early February, I begged for steroids. Within a few days of my steroid pack, my eczema began returning! So, at my two-week checkup, my allergist told me to stop my steroid pack and take 10mg of prednisone daily for ten days - the steroid amount I took before my eczema started returning during my steroid pack. He hoped my vitamin D levels would be high enough to help my body fight the eczema when the ten days were up. I finished the steroids three weeks ago.
Steroid Creams: For at least two years, I've been using Alclometasone Dipropionate Ointment (0.05%) for my face and Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment (1%) for my body. My doctor asked me to continue using that and I have been. In my doctor appointment one week ago, he gave me Tacrolimus Ointment (Protopic, 0.1%) for my face, but I haven't had to use it yet.
Bleach Baths: My allergist recommended bleach baths in my first two appointments, but I was hesitant, so he recommended CLn body wash as an alternative. In my last appointment, one week ago, my allergist pushed harder on my doing bleach baths. I've taken three so far and they're not as bad as I expected! I was really scared to put my flared-up body in bleach water, but it's minimal bleach and doesn't hurt much more than plain water. I use a quarter cup in a bathtub of water, but it can be up to a quarter cup, depending on the bleach's concentration.
Foods: I was vegetarian for three years until last November, because my newborn was allergic to my breast milk. I began eating meat and fish, but stopped consuming dairy and soy. I stopped breast feeding two weeks ago and added dairy and soy back to my diet at the same time. I've not gone back to vegetarianism yet.
Regarding my food allergies, I've had tons throughout the last 6 years, but the number of allergies has decreased in each new allergy test. When I was tested in February by my new allergist, my results showed zero food allergies!
My face is 95% better and my body is 50% better. My eczema is mild to moderate now versus moderate to severe. Although my body is slowly getting worse since I've been off steroids (mainly on my back and arms), it's still better than it was in January before my new treatments. I know eczema too well to think I've been cured and know there's still a tough road ahead, but I'm an optimist at heart and I've sure felt positive about my recovery so far! And others are noticing as well. The grocery store cashier carded me last week and afterwards still didn't believe I was over 21! And a coworker (female and a friend) randomly told me how beautiful she thought I was - and even on a day when my face wasn't 100%. I feel pretty again!