December 23, 2006

Don’t Scratch?!… HUH!!!

Posted in atopic eczema, Blogroll, dermatology, life, medical, skin at 4:34 pm by azah

When I came back from my recent holiday, I found the skin on my thighs very very very very dry. The minute I touched it to see how dry it was it started to get itchy.

One thing that people who don’t suffer from Eczema understand is the ITCH. The itch is soooooo itchy. OK let me give you an example. When an eczema free person itches, they scratch and when the itch disappears they stop scratching. Now when you have an Eczema itch you are so itchy. So itchy to the extent that when you scratch it, it becomes more itchy. And more itchy so you scratch more, when you scratch more it becomes more itchy and more itchy and you scratch more!!! It is so itchy that sometimes the skin will have to break before we stop scratching. OR the skin will break and it will still feel itchy. Even after blood starts to ooze out, it will still feel itchy! You just can’t stop. Its called the ‘Itch – Scratch cycle’

Now a few things happen at this point. From the skin point of view, because there is a break in the skin bacteria can seep in and the wound can become infectious. I think this is the reason why everytime I take a blood test my bacteria level is above normal and my limp nodes are swollen most of the time.

Even after I stopped scratching and I’ve washed my wound and applied my topical steriods, it WILL get itchy and I will start scratching again. On top of the already wounded skin. That’s how itchy I can get. Sometimes it just does not want to heal because I’m so itchy and I scratch it over and over again.

When there are open wounds taking a shower is PAINFUL. Its so painful that when I was younger I did not want to have a shower. My mother, when she found out, tried to bribe me into having a shower. But I was so scared of the pain that I would not take a shower, so many times that mum would scream at me to take my shower. I’m still scared of the pain till today. To give you an idea of the pain, its like pouring salt on a wound. OUCH! Now imagine it that pain all over your body. :\

Then there is the emotional trauma. Being in pain from taking a shower. Frustrated that you can’t stop itching. When I was younger and my eczema was visible on my hands, people either did not want to shake my hands or when they realise that they were shaking my hands they would disappear and wash their hand thinking that it is contagious. My classmates thought that I was a dirty girl. It also did not help that eczema has a certain smell to it.

My parents did not let me out to play with the other kids. They thought I should keep clean and not dirty myself like the other kids. So when the kids were playing in the evenings outside my house I would just watch out from the window. Or I would watch them through the fence from the garden. My parents felt sorry for me. So sometimes they would let me out and play with the other kids. When I came home it would take me a while to take a shower and get ready for dinner/bed.

Right now I feel upset just thinking about these memories. So I’ll stop here and continue this topic later.

Have a great Christmas πŸ™‚




  1. GeoBen said,

    “lymph nodes”

    this IS an article on a medical subject. It falters in the credibility arena when you misspell critical terms

    • Caroline said,

      This is obviously a heartfelt expression of what she has experienced. I have been there. I think it is wonderful that you have shared this despite some unimportant spelling errors that a**holes feel the need to point out like this person. How does a personal account lose credibility in this circumstance? This is not a medical journal, actually it is diaries such as this that truly help sufferers of skin disease not cold articles written by doctors only trying to cover up symptoms instead of worrying about a root cause. Thanks Itchy! No thank you GeoBen!

      • Rob said,

        Well said Caroline, and thanks to the original poster, ‘Itchy’, for sharing this. I too have experienced the frustration of painful savlon baths in hospital and the emotional impact of severe eczema. This GeoBen idiot obviously has NO idea and needs to step back from the keyboard! I believe to scratch eczema is a sympton of the condition and cannot and should not be suppressed, especially if it make you feel bad or guilty for scratching because it is not your fault! It is the condition. Anyway, good luck with your plight Itchy and keep searching for alternative treatments to use together with whatever skin regime you use now. e.g. Homeopathy, Reiki, Meditation, etc etc.
        Good luck and kind regards,

  2. azah said,

    Thanks for the heads up on my spelling. Hee….. πŸ™‚

    I’d like to correct something too. Although this blog talks about Atopic Eczema, its not from a medical point of view. This is a blog on my thoughts, experiences and my own research about Atopic Eczema. I’ve claimed before that I’m not a doctor. Just a person who has suffered from Atopic Eczema for 33 years.

  3. hi there,
    thanks for writing this blog – there is surprisingly little about the subject online that comes from a personal point of view. i’m 30 this year and over the last year or so i have developed what i think is eczema on my left foot (!) it started with a small patch which got quite bad and then went away. over the next eight months or so it would reapear in different places but always just a small isolated patch. however, over the last few months it has got dramatically worse and is now over most of my foot. so far i have just been mosturising and trying not to scratch but i think perhaps it is time for a trip to the doctors.
    what you say about the itch-scratch is so true. i find it very hard to have self-control and can’t resist scratching. like you said, it is often fine until i touch it then it sets me off and i can get into what i can only describe as a scratching frenzy. not pleasant!
    the worst thing is that there is no relief. like you said about the difference between it and a normal itch. right now my foot is itching like mad, but i am trying to resist touching it because only a few ours ago i had a big scratch which i only managed to stop when i drew blood.
    and still it itches!



  4. me said,

    I totally agree with what you said about the itching. If I even itch it slightly, I fall into a cataclysm of scratching which usually ends with blood. I used to have eczema, then I got this ointment in India, which actually got it to go away…then it came back in about two years… So just like you I still have eczema.

  5. Jo said,

    Before resorting to steroids (hydrocortisone), try using 1-2-3 ointment. You’ll have to make it yourself, unless you want to pay a pharmacist a huge amount of money.

    1 part Burow’s Solution (in solution) – I frequently use less.
    2 parts zinc oxide (without the diaper rash ingredients)
    3 parts Aquaphor (very similar to petroleum jelly)

    Mix thoroughly and store in a jar with a tight lid.

    These ingredients can be found OTC in any decent drugstore. I have found this ointment to be much more effective for any kind of skin rash or irritation, without the negative side effects of steroids.

  6. azah said,

    Hey Jo!!

    Thats so cool.

  7. Neri said,

    I know EXACTLY how you feel!!
    when i was younger i had it all over my body, it has cleared up a lot but i still have 2 big patches on my legs and i get it occasionally here and there..arms, face, even in my hair on my head just a tiny bit though…but tonight i was having one of my itching fits on my legs and i put dollops of cold cream on it just to cool it down a bit – it felt nice but still a little itchy…
    thats why i was searching about eczema to see if anyone knew ways to make it feel less itchy..and i came across your blog…
    well i hope yours and other peoples eczema clear up soon πŸ˜€
    when i was younger i got told eggs, chocolate, milk – basically dairy products cause it…but then nowadays i get it more due 2 stress…


  8. Ty-e-na said,

    Oh my god! I can totally relate to your story! I’ve been on steroidal creams for my eczema for so long, it eventaully threw off my immune system. I’ve since tried using alternative methods of treating my eczema. What I do is I layer a generous amount of Vaseline/petroleum jelly on my affected area and keep it on for a couple of hours (yes its VERY itchy but I don’t stratch it). Then I peel off the loose skin and wash off the affected area and repeat the process. It works pretty well.

    I’ve noticed after doing this for a couple of months that the inflammated spots around my ankles, knees and inner arm got alot smoother and generally better.

  9. Andrea said,

    Finally someone who understands.

    Have you guys found yourselves exhausted from this? I am just exhausted! I wake up scratching in the middle of the night…it’s hard to go to sleep let alone STAY asleep. Even my Dermatologists sworn by anti-itch good-night pill (she suffers from eczema too) does not work… I am just POOPED.

    The good news is that I’ve found out that somehow in my 28 years I have developed food allergies. To pretty much everything I love to eat. And dust, and mold, and trees (wtf? I love nature, especially trees), and…well, just call me bubble girl.

    It all sounds really shitty but if I can get my willpower under control, I can control my symptoms. It’s hard’s taking practice. Ironically I have tried and failed at steering clear of foods that will make me itch…there is always something.. but once I find a good menu of choices it will be lots better.

    When I am watching myself and following the new habits, it seems to clear up.

    I hope you all consider finding a good allergist and getting tested for allergies. It will help you a lot.

    Don’t use the topical steroids unless you reallly really have to.

    AQUAPHOR rocks and is a great day to day reliever of the dryness which causes itch in itself (in addition to other triggers), and it is not fragranced or overloaded w/ extra crap.

    CETAPHIL unfragranced anti bacterial bar ‘soap’ is not really soap but it cleanses really well (way better than the cetaphil liquid stuff…that stuff sucks).

    Lubriderm sensitive skin (unfragranced) lotion is really good too. you can get away with a generic as long as t he ingredients are comparable (no extras)…use it 14 times a day if you can…moisturize a lot. (if your skin is broken make sure your hands are clean).

    I wish you all the best. this is such a difficult thing to manage and live with but not many understand.

  10. Justin said,

    I know exactly how you feel. I have eczema as well, for most of my life I remember. The way you described the itchyness is spot on, it’s like it never goes away, even when you’ve scratched it raw, it still itches somehow. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story.

    • Shameme said,

      Aawwww, Justin you sound so sweet :), hope your Eczema gets better!. x

  11. Jim said,

    I totally understand how you feel from your childhood and till now. Eczema is a pain in the ass! I’ve been also diagnose with eczema when i was young. I’ve suffer chronical non-stop scratching and the pain is sometimes unbearable! I especially understand about the shower part, when the cold water hits my dry and open wounds, it burns! I always hope that one day, the pain will disappear. Sometimes, I’ve been so fustrated with my pain, i’ve dunno how to control myself. Just sometimes, no-one will understand the emotional & physical pain your in, unless they’ve also had the same experience before. Sometimes, i lose total confidence over myself due to my eczema exposing to the public. I really understand all those who suffer minor to sereve pain of eczema. Sometimes i wonder is this a punishment of some sort? In my current state, i’m still suffering from eczema. I pray for you and all those who are too suffering from eczema, and pray that one day God will have mercy on us and give scientist and doctors the wisdom to cure this disease!
    – Jim

  12. Kris said,

    Wow, it’s so nice to know that I’m not alone. I’m 25 and have recently (in the last few years) developed some kind of finger eczema that strikes in the cold, dry winter months here in Canada. I find myself constantly moisturizing, steroidizing (although now much less than I used to), bandaiding, and then ultimately, scratching and starting over.

    I found that after I started using Eucerin dry skin moisturizer, on the recommendation of a friend of mine who is a nurse, my skin (epidermal) health improved significantly, to the point where the skin almost looks whole again, with much smaller red rash-like spots. It’s still there, but less likely to get infected, so I would recommend this cream to anyone who has not found a good control product. I also use a humidifier, but they more or less have their limitations.

    Because of all this moisturizing, I have also found that (powder free) synthetic exam gloves can be a real benefit to keeping the moisturizer on your hands and not everywhere else. For those who suffer from hand eczema, this is a most frustrating daily occurrence. Just remember to take them off before your hands get too pruney!

    One final note, I have found that the best way to control my itch is to try not to scratch it, but rather to use what I figure is a more mild treatment, hot water, which seems to hit the right nerve for me. Based on what I’ve read though, this clearly does not work for everyone. *shrug*

  13. Matt said,

    I know exactly how you feel,

    I am only 18, but have suffered from eczema my whole life. It was really bad as a kid, cleared up for a couple years, and for the past year has been awful. My hands looks disgusting and i always hide them. Holding a pencil in class is a painful task. My feet are the same as my hands. Also my face and elbows are extremely itchy. It’s the most itchy itch ever. As soon as i touch my eczema even by accidentally hitting my hand on something, i explode into a scratching frenzy until my hands are bloody. Then i always say I am never scratching again since i am in so much pain. I still haven’t found any product that works, and the worst thing is that I am at university so I can’t see my own doctor.

    I’ll try the hot water treatment next time i feel the itch. Hopefully there will be a cure soon so i can live my life without being questioned all day about why my hands look so gross.

    Nice to see that I am not alone though, hopefully everyone finds a treatment that works for them.

  14. whatwhat said,

    I recently developed excema and a cream with 10% urea works amazingly. To soothe and moisturize.

  15. whatwhat said,

    oh ya. use tea tree oil to treat your sores so they don’t get infected. It is the natural way to kill germs and is healthier.

  16. Loraine said,

    I just came across this blog because I was searching for someone who might have the answer to STOPPING THE ITCH! I can identify with many of the comments here. I had small patches here and there throughout my life starting in my teens. Mostly my hands and feet. It comes and goes but takes months to heal and comes back in just a couple of weeks. I usually get into a wicked cycle. Right now I have a hug patch on the top of my foot that is so itchy that I constantly rip the skin open. The problem is that it feels SOOOO GOOD to scratch. Recently I spread some infection from my foot all over my body and had to take bleach baths and antibiotics. That has gone away but I still can’t get my foot and knee under control. It really is a miserable thing to deal with. I have tried everything. If anyone comes up with the magic cure, I want to know about it.

  17. itchy and scratchy said,

    It itches so much that it hurts. IΒ΄ve been in pain and getting sympathetic looks from friends. I wish everyone to be healthy, nevertheless, it feels comforting there are people who understand what itΒ΄s like to live with this.

  18. dilesh said,


    This is my first ever post about my eczema. I have been suffering since 9 and am now 31 years old. Ive seen every kind of doctor, a psychiatrist, chinese herbalist, ayurvedic and a portugese specialist, to no avail. I guess I gave up. Over the last 3 years I have been fighting a real battle, at times wishing I was not alive. However, I have learned there is fundamentally something wrong inside,

    I tried giving up the steroid creams and using oils like Neem, Tea Tree, Borage, Vit. E and others but, was continually shedding dead skin, and what I thought was meant to happen using oils, only dried my skin out even more and had to deal with waking up in a sea of skin every morning.

    Around 3 months ago I stumbled upon Apple Cider Vinegar, and started taking baths, immediately my skin was closing up the wounds and I was on my way, however, it still didnt stop the itching. Great after scratching but, the eczema was not clearing up.

    Next step, my diet, now I try to eat only Fresh & Natural, nothing out of a tin, no fruit juices, etc I have learned that Seb Derm on face is caused by fungal and found that mixing ACV and soda bicarb with water and spraying it on then showering gets rid of the fungus

    The worst thing about my condition is when my face got all white from skin cells flaking off and dry scales appearing on my face and nothing would take it away. I can only dread what people would think when they saw me.

    For the past 2 months I have gone on a very strict diet, of eating fruits in the morning and throughout the day, eating dates, nuts. I do eat canned tuna or sardines as I need the protein for the gym, though have been told to stop this also.

    In the morning I drink Aloe Vera and Amla juice mixed with water and before bed.

    Also taking Guduchi pills twice a day, however, I researched further and found that taking Vitamin B can help, B3, B5,B6, Biotin, Acidophilus and vitamin D. The main issue with B6 is that it makes me itchy for 20 minutes, though, it is definitely doing something and found that taking the B vitamins allows me to sleep without scratching.

    Apart from my skin geting aggravated, it has started to heal. My skin colour, (brown, Im inidan) is coming back. It used to be a mixture of brown, grey from all the steroids and exposure to sunlight.

    My only convern now is where I had Seb Derm on my face, which I m controling by spraying a mixture of ACV and Soda Bicarb. has cleared but have got open open wounds that itch. Im trying to find a way to close them up, and think Zinc may help. Would love to hear what anyone thinks…

    Wish everyone keeps strong and its so easy to give up…but, you can control your eczema and by building up your immune system your eczema can remain at bay…Im still fighting and I wont give up….God Bless you all….

    If theres anyone that wants to discuss further, contact me please on

    • aaron said,

      Hi there. Your message so resonated with me on many levels. You seem to be a person with great will power to be able to stick to such restrictive diets, as have I, though the mere idea of gaining some relief or even cure is motivation enough I guess. i have to be honest I reckon I have tried every natural remedy, diet etc. under the sun to little or no avail. Of course have travelled far down the western medicine road too, still use steroid creams when needed. Wow I was vegan for 6 years living on all natural foods, basically just raw veg, fruits and tofu!! The skin was definitely better but alas continued to plague me. I dont want to discourage you, go for it with the diet, sure it will help, guess I just got so frustrated as there seems to be no end to what you should or shouldnt eat with every doctor, dietician, herbalist, Chinese doctor etc. etc. having a different opinion. Must admit I became quite obsessed! Nowadays I pretty much eat what I want, though definitely avoid spicy food. I really sympathize with you re: your face. I also get it on mine, as you say leaves one feeling very self concious, doesnt help that I am a teacher so spend my days talking in front of groups of people. I do believe though that people are not as focused on it as our minds lead us to believe. My skin is so allergenic that I basically cannot make contact with any chemicals, soaps, detergents, fragrances, most oils (huh! Im a massage therapist!) etc. etc. I really recommend though goats milk soap. I was so excited when I discovered it, amazing feeling to be able to use a cake of soap that actually lathers! Finding the right moisturiser is also very important as you probably know. Best I ever found was chickweed cream but could only get it in England, where I no longer live. Currently I am using aqueous cream or lotion and Alpha Keri oinment. Anyway good luck with the diet, hey if nothing else a healthier diet is so good for ones mental state and mental strength is much needed when dealing with this horrid condition from day to day. Hang in there!

  19. rachael said,

    Hey I have had severe eczma for 3 years and ive tried everything! When I put any cream or anything on it it burns and I also have trouble sleeping I wake up all night. It flares up when I get hot and its very uncomfortable to wear clothes that touch it ughhhh I’m Soo tired of it. Help!!

    • aaron said,

      Hi Rachael. Okay, here it is. I have had this insidious condition and like you have tried everything. Thousands of dollars later coupled with the sometimes equally distressing treatments I have finally accepted that I will probably never be free of it. Thats not to say you wont as for many people it does inexplicably go away. Now it is all about management. Firstly avoid any and all contact with chemicals, soaps, dust and be sure to wear gloves when preparing food as it is most likely aggravated by juices from most veg and fruit. After having tried every soap on the market, goats milk soap is the only product I can use. There are a few good shampoos to be had at your local pharmacy. Don’t get too caught up in the what you should or should’t eat, trust me it is endless!! Saying that I do avoid spicy food and try to avoid red wine. Use the steroid creams when needed, Advantan is best, and aqueous cream as a moisturiser. Actually the best moisturiser is ‘chickweed cream’ but I was only able to get that in England, where I am no longer living. Avoid hot showers and baths. Stopping the itch is a tough one. i have meditated and practised yoga for many years and so I apply mind control as much as possible, simply resisiting the urge to scratch but of course this only works some of the time and is useless in stopping the night scratching. Probably the most successful treatment I had was Chinese medicine, but it was so hardcore! Anyway, truly I sympathise and understand your plea for help. I hope I have been of some assistance. Hang in there. Good luck!

    • aaron said,

      Hi again Rachael. Sorry, reread my reply and realized I left my first sentence incomplete. Meant to say I have had this condition ‘all my life’ and certainly still do! One more thing, antihistamines can help during an acute episode as can prenisalone but dont take it for more than 5 days, is very strong.

  20. laura said,

    OMG! Tell me about it!!!!!!
    My eczema is spreading….legs, chest, hands and arms! My fingers are swollen to the point that I had to get my wedding band cut off b/c it could not come off. To make matters worse, I wake up at least 2-3 times a night b/c I’m itchy!!!! Everyone who looks at me says what happened to you? they think i have a disease. i went to an allergist and they found nothing. i went on probiotics and now i’m doing a liver detox. i’ve spent thousands of dollars on creams (esp. the herbal ones) and nothing works! nothing! I feel for you all. i’m coming to the point where i rather be dead at times. i find it so unfair. i eat so healthy!!! any ideas?

  21. You folks have my sympathy. I suffered pretty badly as a child up until the age of around 15/16 when it finally cleared up. It has been clear for years (I’m 41 now) although this last couple of autumn/winters I seem to develop a small bit on the inside of my arms where the elbow joint is although this year it is only my left arm and I know it will go away. I think it is because I generally wear t-shirts most of the year but when it starts to turn cooler the longer sleeves start to irritate me until I get used to them again.

    I’m convinced a lot of it is down to habit as well. Eg: I work all day and my skin doesn’t bother me yet when I come home, sit down to relax I start thinking about it and before I know it I’ve torn a few lumps from myself. This just doesn’t make sense to me, why would it not be itchy all day yet as soon as I relax I start scratching. This was the exact same when I was a child at school.

    Anyways, just wanted to share my sympathy and hope at some point everyone else can experience what it is to be itch free. I agree those that haven’t suffered can’t understand as it goes way beyond anything a normal itch brings. Take care everyone & hope you all find relief.

  22. Emily said,

    I can really relate to your blog, I’ve been an eczema sufferer from being a few months old, when I turned 14 it cleared up and I thought I was rid of it. However after making the choice to become a hairdresser at the age of 16 it reared it’s ugly head once again- I’m now 26 and still suffer with it on my hands, I’m only able to work part-time as a hairdresser and have to have a stupid amour of time off now as my hands are constantly becoming infected, weeping, sore, cracked and insanely itchy! I’ve gone back to college to study beauty therapy as I feel now the only way to improve my skin is to now come out of hairdressing altogether, getting little haircutting in open wound is no fun after all. I get so down sometimes as even daft things like washing my hair turns in to an nightmare. Take care. Thanks for your blog!

  23. Rachel Leung said,

    yes exactly! finally someone who feels the pain ):
    my eczema is all over my shoulders and i need to stick my arms into my collar if i have to scratch! it’s just plain annoying and irritable!
    anyone has some suggestions on how not to scratch? please share πŸ™‚

  24. Neko Lynn said,

    I feel relief for this aweshum article. T^T (<-sad face) my eczema is on my arms, feet and neck and it's hard to hide in warm weather… ^~^ with the change from winter to spring, my skin normally flares badly. I keep forgetting what a horrible itch that brings.. and Rachel Leung is right, aaaaany type of solutions would be G R E A T!

  25. Lee Conn said,

    Yes I know that feeling all to well, everyone would say stop scratching but they don’t know the feeling… God it feels orgasmic to scratch and the showers are so painfull, Ive used just about everything from all the lotions and potions and have still got it. Now its not so bad just on the backs of my legs and a little on my face. Ive suffered for 30 years now and I was on and off prednisone for a year and a half which i do not recommend, it works fine when your eczema is bad but I developed Avascular Necrosis in both my hips caused from prednisone tablets :(. I have baths now with cotton seed oil works great. Its pretty much what I eat, if I eat healthy and drink heaps of water then Im pretty fine also sugars are bad for it and stress. For moisturizing I use QV cream is best. If I get an itch I get ice cubes wraped inside a tea towel and press it against the itch or I gently slap the area, anything other than scratching with your fingers which cause breakage of the skin and also the bacteria in your finger nails go straight to the opened area. I used to go to bed with gloves on because i would itch while asleep and I scratch most at night when Im trying to sleep. Thanks for your blog and take care

  26. c carley said,

    Another sufferer here. It started as a tiny little blister between 4th and 5th toe on my left foot. It turned into most half of that foot and then appeared on left then right hand over a period of 3 and a half years. Hands have never been as bad as the left foot. Sometimes I think about chopping off that foot. Have spent many nights in tears over its torturous itch. I am 43 and never suffered before 3 and a half years ago. I work hard at trying to keep infection out of the open wounds and so far have been successful. I have also noticed swollen lymph nodes under my arms this year. I am considering seeing an allergist to see if that might help figure something out but it seems from reading…there is nothing that makes a difference for most folks. I know one thing… we would be mega millionaires if we could figure it out.

    • angel said,

      i feel your pain, worse thing is the itch, it is horrible, sleeping’s a nightmare, i’ve had eczema since age 2, starting off with minor patches., but now it worse then ever, my feet are were its worse. i’m 12 and a half…. lucky me kids at my school merely ask and are very friendly and helpful….hoping it gets better…

  27. LJ said,

    I’m pretty sure I have eczema. It started as one itchy spot on my right arm a few months ago and now I itch on my feet, ankles, back of my calves, hands, and lower and upper arms, although the itching on my hands and arms has mostly gone away leaving unsightly sores and scratch marks on my arms (I can’t wear short sleeves anymore really, unless I just do it and hope no one notices) and dry patches on my hands, mostly between some of my fingers, although come to think of it, my fingers sometimes still get itchy on the sides. I have tried so many different things already, the last being a soap called Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap which I thought was working at first, but who am I kidding? Here I am again awake at 1:30 am on a work night itching like crazy. I’m also afraid to go to a doctor because I’m afraid of steroids. The other thing I don’t understand is why I always read that this starts in childhood and ends by adulthood. I never had this as a child (I’m 53 and female – I was thinking maybe this had to do with hormones, but I know men get it just as often as women). There’s also something called neurodermatitis, I was wondering if that’s what I have, unless that’s the same as eczema, I’m not sure. I also get long visible scratch marks from scratching in random places, very strange since I never experienced that before in my life.

    • LJ said,

      Update: I made an appointment with a dermatologist today. After doing more research, I think I have what’s called an “ID reaction”. It happens when you get a fungal infection (I think it can also be caused by another type of infection besides fungus, but I’m not sure) like athlete’s foot and then another area of your body reacts with eczema, usually the arms, but other areas can also react. The reason I think I have that is because the rash started on my arms and also because of the itching on the sides of my fingers (one of the signs of an ID reaction) and I also have athlete’s foot. I see the doctor in 6 weeks. I hope this gets resolved because I have had this for 6 months and spent hundreds of dollars already thinking if I could only get the itching to stop, then the rash would clear up on its own.

  28. Angel said,

    Wow, i thought it was only in my head that the itchiness is driving me crazy! I have it on both my feet and it itches like hell. Hard to stay asleep at night really. Sometimes, I thought about burning that patch of skin so it would just heal Iike a normal wound. I wouldn’t care about a big scar as long as it won’t itch!

    My eczema only started a few months ago when we transferred to another country. Whenever we go for a vacation, it eases and almost goes away. I wonder if going back to my home country will make my eczema heal. I really think it has something to do with the weather here and all the plants around me!

  29. Blistered said,

    I started suffering from eczema several years ago. I’m 37. It got to the point that my hands were covered in blisters. A horrible situation for someone in sales. The only cream that has been significantly effective is UDDER CREAM. It doesn’t clear it up totally, but really helps control it. I realize my triggers. Dogs, certain foods I eat, environment. I’ve always had allergies. I try to drink water and limit taking things that dehydrate me.

  30. Andres V. said,

    Although it doesn’t help our itching per se, it is comforting to know there are others who have lived such similar nightmares. Thank you.

  31. elise said,

    The ECZEMA SOLUTION BY Sue Armstrong-Brown. This book saved me and helped me with my wholelife-battle with eczema. Everybody with eczema must read it.

  32. aaron said,

    I gave up a searching for causes to my chronic eczema a long time ago. I have had it all my life and reckon I have tried every treatment under the sun. I’ve suffered under the strictest of regimes ordered by GPs, naturopaths, dermatologists, herbalists etc etc., none more strict though than that of a Chinese doctor in London. He had me drinking pints of God awful herbal concoctions twice a day, taking herbal baths, subjecting me too extremely pain acupuncture sessions 3 times a week, not too mention the strictest diet imaginable. This went on for 6 months and did bring it back under control though unfortunately did not cure it as promised. Nowadays I just manage it as best I can via the use of ye’ old faithful steroid creams, aqueous cream and sometimes antihistamines. I was delighted to discover goats milk soap! Such a luxury given I hadnt been able to use a cake of soap for as long as I could remember. Oh yes, the never ending ITCH!! Presently I am just trying to harness my usually formidable will power to stop it, bouyed by the knowledge that if I can resist even for a few days my skin condition will improve no end. Thank you for all the experiential accounts shared on this site, which were strangely comforting to read. Good to be reminded that I am not the only one waging this daily battle. I sometimes look at people who dont suffer from this debilitating condition and think WOW! You just take that lovely, smooth, itch free skin of yours for granted. If only you knew how LUCKY you are!! The physical trauma of eczema is awful sure, but the psychological impact is equally horrific at times. I have found myself on the verge of screaming on more than one occasion. I know that there are many people out there who suffer from health conditions far more severe and debilitating and my heart goes out to them. Funny though how that thought rarely helps ease ones own suffering.

  33. Amy said,

    Peppermint oil helps cool the itch, thank god. Eucalyptus in there too:anti-fungal/bacterial/viral. Moisturize like ten times a day with your moisturizer of choice and the oil, maybe some Vaseline or beeswax in there too to make everything stay put. Ice is way better than hot to help decrease inflammation, and it helps to numb it too. Calamine sometimes helps. Keeping cool helps.
    I like to describe the itch as the itch if a thousand mosquito bites, the tickle of a thousand feathers, and you could dig your way to china on one little patch sometimes!
    My diet is now no wheat, dairy, sugar! or citric acid. Supplemented with omega oils, probiotics, green tea, and a few other ones for fun.I also make damned sure I’m going number 2: Skin is an elimination organ (among others), and I don’t want to give it a single reason to have it eliminate more than it needs to!!
    Mine came on overnight about a year and a half ago over my entire upper body half. It’s now relegated to my eyelids, arms, armpits, and a small section of my belly, and now with the above implemented, it’s finally getting under control!
    Good luck, brothers and sisters of the ITCH!!!

  34. Amy said,

    Ps no peppermint oil near the eyes!

  35. Stephanie said,

    Wow I can’t believe what I am reading I really did not believe there were people out there that had eczema as bad as I did. Im 22 years old and as far as I can remember my eczema has been so severe and is never ending. I have constant flare ups and have tried every steroid and lotion out there. I just want to give up. I have scars all over my body I wont even wear shorts in the summer it has really effected my life. I feel for Every one of u with eczema and I hope one day there will be a magic pill that will cure this. Intell then I continue to like a very itchy painful life.

    • dlesh said,

      Hi Stephanie,
      Use Cider Vinegar in a bath. twice to three times weekly…1 2 ltr bottle in a bath tub and soak for 20 mins…
      use a tea tree ointment, make sure it only has tea tree, glycerin, not other perfumes, etcc….
      use a moisturiser.
      get cocoa butter

      dont stop steroid creams but reduce them…

      • Stephanie said,

        I will try that thank you

  36. Stephanie said,

    Live not like lol

  37. steveL said,

    I was born with eczema. I can remember my mum telling me that it would weep behind my ears. I had it just behind my knees as a young child and when I was about 9 it appeared as large round atopic eczema circles on each side of each leg. Somehow this cleared up after about two years but when I was about 17 it came back – on my neck. I was so embarrassed about thisand the stress made it worse I’m sure. That did eventually clear up with Hydrocortisone etc but when I was in my mid 20s it came back on face, arms, chest, just above waist, back and I’ve had it ever since for the past 20 years. At the moment the worst is just below my neck line, behind knees and on hands. One thing really helps me – a relaxing holiday in Spain! Just the sea air etc. I have to bite the bullet and expose the eczema to the sun, but not so much that I burn. Winter is bad and we’ve had a long one, so it is currently bad and very itchy. I just wear the softest clothes I can, the softest bedsheets etc, and try not to overheat in too many layers as that for me is just horrific! The intense prickly-heat feeling is the worst. Allergy tablets help a little I think, but of course can make you sleepy.

    • carley said,

      Just want to say…I hate that you have it so bad! Makes me feel so blessed to just have it on my hands and feet. Your story puts mine into perspective. Thank you. And you’re right…vacations do seem to help. Too bad I can’t live like the rich and famous and vacation as much as I’d like.

  38. Bill Gamore said,

    I am 28 and going through this rigjt now ans am at a lose on how to stop it.

  39. smiley said,

    Tears in my eyes from reading this because I know the feeling too well. I feel like ill never heal!

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