Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I've Got an Itch to Scratch - I Need Assistance

If you have ever scratched an itch and felt that immediate and almost intense wave of relief, you'll understand the willpower that it takes to NOT scratch that itch.
I have an itch that I cannot scratch.  Not that it is in that one spot on my back, just out of reach; quite the contrary.  But I have eczema, and even though a person should really never scratch an itch (yeah, who listens to that advice anyway?), this is a particularly "no-no, don't scratch" type of itching.
This is not to say I haven't found myself scratching, likely with a look similar to how Zooey looks when I scratch her in just the right spot on her chest.  But I always feel badly afterwards - I know that scratching can and will make my breakout worse and can add bacteria to the equation.
I finally caved and went to the dermatologist... and was completely and utterly unimpressed.  I was in the room for about five minutes, during which time the PA gave me a prescription for a steroid cream as well as requirements for me to start buying a specific body wash and cream.  And even to use the wash on my face - which is NOT affected.  Diet, allergies, etc., were not even brought up, nor was testing to make sure I even HAVE eczema opposed to something disgusting that they will eventually name after me.
Now, nothing against the medical community, but seriously - eczema is a chronic and ongoing condition, and steroid creams are meant to be used in the short term.  So what happens when that time is up?  Am I just supposed to suffer through excruciating itchiness until I am allowed to use another cycle of steroids (insert metabolic steroid joke HERE)?  Not my idea of treatment/remedy/relief.
Plus, if I am trying to use fewer chemicals in my life, applying random steroids and whatnot is not the direction in which I intend to go (by the way, I mentioned this to the PA, and she looked at me like I had three heads or something - so weird - natural!).
Thus, I've spent some time researching more natural remedies, and it seems that a great deal of eczema stems from food allergies or sensitivities.  Here is a partial list of foods that may trigger eczema:
  • wheat (namely, the gluten in the wheat)
  • refined sugars
  • peanuts
  • corn
  • soy
  • eggs
  • citrus
  • strawberries (or other berries with seeds... which means all of them)
So basically, everything that I eat is a possible trigger.  That's not to say that wheat AND corn AND soy are all triggers (although it doesn't mean they are not, either).  I've also read on some sites that because animal protein is high in uric acid, it can also be a trigger, but I haven't seen that everywhere.
So what do I do?  I can certainly request (demand?) an allergy test at the dermatologist, and I am thinking about that.  But I can also take certain foods out of my diet for a period of time to see if my breakouts get better (or worse).  I also started taking a specific supplement (evening primrose oil) that is supposed to help reduce the severity of outbreaks, and I even purchased a large-ish jar of coconut oil; coconut oil is comedogenic, so I won't be using it on my face, but it's supposed to be amazing for the rest of your skin (and it smells fantastic, too!)
Right now, I'm logging a food diary.  I've tried it before for more "diet" related reasons, but I think I might be more successful in this, as I'm not going to be looking at calories, etc. - just what I eat as a measure of ingredients.  After a week, I'll take a look at the date I've collected and start making diet modifications as I think might work.
Now, about my experiment with my friend Christie - certainly making diet modifications will affect the outcome.  If I am going to try to reduce chemicals, I can do that as well by buying more organic, but we'll see how it goes.  We've committed to at least three months with that, and we are still going to be purchasing meat sometimes (I bought fresh trout and frozen salmon just yesterday).  I'll just have to be more careful about what I eat overall when I start my diet modification.
I'm always looking for tips and tricks that are more natural, and this is no different!  

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