Before I talk about my new discovery, I want to talk about positivity. This is an extremely difficult process to go through but the thing that is getting me through it is my optimism. At this moment I have cotton gloves on my hands and I can barely move my fingers. I feel so useless because I can barely pick something up in fear that I will rub my hand eczema on it and cause weeping. However, because I am hopeful and look at the positive side of my eczema in terms of how it is improving, I don’t feel down and hopeless. Months from now (maybe years) I hope to be eczema free. The crazy thing is my parents are the ones who are worried and sad for me, but I keep telling them and myself that I am healing.
Now, an update on my hand eczema – IT IS IMPROVING! Slowly but surely I know I will be able to move my fingers again and be able to do things. Because it is healing so slowly I have a ton of time to research what could possibly have caused this terrible flare-up. I know for people that go through withdrawal will have a number of flare-ups throughout. However, this flare-up was specific to my hands; nothing else flared-up. I mentioned it could be the Wonder Balm I was using – it contains an ingredient that is high in nickel on my list: sesame oil. I immediately thought that this had to be it!
Later on I researched blogposts and found a topical steroid withdraw-er that found beeswax and shea butter irritated her. These ingredients were also found in the Wonder Balm! From this point I thought that the Wonder Balm had to be the source of my flare-up. However, just a couple of minutes ago I washed my hands with the Coconut Milk Soap I have been using for the past month. Immediate redness and irritation. My hands are still stinging from using it even after I applied moisturizer. Did the soap have any of the same ingredients as the Wonder Balm? I checked and the only ingredient that was the same was the shea butter. This could be the reason for my flare-up except shea butter is also found in my Intensive Nourish Moisture Balm, which I use on my face every night and which I started using on my hands again (wanted to move towards using products I know worked) and didn’t cause any redness. I looked at the other ingredients and sodium hydroxide was the only ingredient that didn’t sound organic and sounded more “chemically.”
I researched sodium hydroxide and found an anecdote of someone developing eczema because of it. He also mentioned sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) irritating his skin – low and behold this chemical is in my toothpaste. Could this be the answer to my eczema? I am definitely stopping the use of the Coconut Milk Soap and am going to find a hand soap, toothpaste, and shampoo/conditioner (found mild surfactants in them) I can use without this ingredient. The hand soap and shampoo/conditioner could have definitely been causing my hand eczema. I remember a couple of days before my hand eczema flared-up badly I went to the bathroom at least five times and made sure to use the Coconut Milk Soap. The shampoo/conditioner could also be prolonging the eczema on my face, especially the sides of my face. The toothpaste could potentially be causing the eczema near my mouth since a lot of times my toothpaste foams out of my mouth when I brush my teeth.
UPDATE: I did a bit more research on the other products I used to use: Vanicream and Cetaphil. My Vanicream Face Wash contained sodium hydroxide and my Vanicream Cleansing Bar contained ingredients such as propylene glycol and BHT that are potential skin irritants. Cetaphil Face Wash is made of of ingredients that are irritants: SLS, propylene glycol, and parabens!!!! These products may have potentially been prolonging the eczema on my face and hands while I was using steroid creams. Now that I think about it, my face eczema has gotten so much better after stopping steroids and using 100% Pure products (that do not contain these irritants).
Ingredients to avoid:
- imidazolidinyl urea
- DMDM hydantoin
- benzalkonium chloride
- propylene glycol
- butylhydroxytoluene (BHT)
I am going to stop using products that have ingredient lists made up of names I have no clue how to pronounce. I’m also going to be vigilant in what I’m buying. I always get excited if something says organic or vegan but I’m learning that I need to pay attention to the ingredient list as I can be easily tricked into thinking that what I am buying will be good for my skin. It would be crazy if these ingredients were the cause of my eczema but it makes so much more sense to me. I know I cannot get my hopes up too high but it’s worth a try!