Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bizarre flareup goin' on

It’s rare that my own skin deviates from its usual dryness and sporadic eczema flares. But right now, if I look at things from a detached perspective, things are interesting.

By any measure my skin’s been terrible since I left for vacation with the family. The return trip, which involved a 17-hour moisturizer-free delay in Newark, did me no favors. My scalp is a disaster. And since I got back I have had two weird episodes where my face and torso have gotten all puffy, tight, and red.

Last weekend we spent Saturday night on my kids’ preschool campout. I woke up Sunday with a red face and a weird crusty oozing above both eyelids.

Maybe I brought this on by standing next to the campfire. Maybe it's a reaction to pollen. All I know is that I had to grit my teeth and get through the morning until I could have a shower and moisturize at home. I took an Allegra. I felt pretty shitty.

I even thought I was going to miss work on Monday. But Monday morning my skin had calmed down enough for me to go in.

Then, after I went swimming on Wednesday, a co-worker asked if anything was wrong. “Your face is all red,” she said. It was starting up again. Even my wife, who is quite the diplomat, was looking at me strangely in the evening.

So today I had an appointment with the doctor. He doesn’t know what’s going on, and I don’t think he even expects to find out, but he mumbled something about oedemic urticaria and gave me a shot of prednisone in the butt. Also at some point soon I need to go in for a blood test to see if I have a “complement deficiency"—something wrong with a particular arm of my immune system. But, as with most aspects of eczema, I expect it will remain a mystery.


  1. For what I know since I was a kid, people who have eczema shouldn't swim in a pool because of the chloride. The chemical "kill" your skin. I have the same experience twice when I was a kid. First swim caused my first experience with eczema (never have it before), never realised it was because of that swim and second time caused my face to turn dull reddness immediatly after I came out from pool. And I never gone into a pool since then.

    I have eczema since I was a kid and now I am 40+ and is in severe stage of eczema.

  2. Thanks for your comment--I've been swimming quite a bit of late and not had too much trouble. So I don't think the pool was the primary cause. Chlorine is definitely an issue and I always make sure to shower thoroughly afterward and moisturize.

  3. Hi,

    I have just come across your post and have a feeling I may become a regular reader. I have made a few relations in our skin problems so think it would be interesting.. On the swimming side of things, a dermatologist I saw a while ago said no more than 20 minutes of swimming should be under gone because I guess the prolonged exposure to chlorine is bad, so basically go hard for a shorter time and go home..

    Next, the comment in your post about your eyes!! Omg, how infuriating is that! Especially if you have what I get (for me it's after heavy drinking and usually being exposed to high amounts of pollen or grass or something similar), but basically I find my eye lids swell up the day after drinking/pollen exposure the next day they got a bit crusty and weep a lot! Only in 1 eye too, so looks like I've been punched. I found a small amount of hydrocortisone and putting moisturising cream on it gets rid of the crustiness but still unaware of a way of getting with of the prolonged flakiness that comes after - peeling it off, albeit satisfying is probably not the best way.

    Also, 'Spanish Key' any recommendation for extremely flakey skin! Just back from holiday and I don't know whether it's the mixture of eczema and a bit of sun burn but I've never been soo flakey in my life! Going to work is a nightmare because I just flake all of my chair/desk and I wake up in a *Gross Disclaimer* pile of flaky skin which is just actually quite depressing...

  4. Sashton, we certainly have a lot in common. About the eyes: as far as swimming goes (I used to get puffy eyes after swimming) I flush the hell out of them in the shower afterward and that seems to work.

    For the pollen, I have no good answer. I have tried some antihistamine eye drops, which mostly stop the weeping and reduce puffiness, but as soon as the drops wear off, the weeping starts again.

    Flaky skin comes with the territory. I know exactly what you mean. There are all kinds of moisturizers out there but my favorite for ease of application and general good results is Aveeno Daily Moisturizing lotion, which (where I live) comes in a pump bottle. That particular brand contains dimethicone, which dries into a kind of rubbery artificial polymer that keeps moisture in the skin better than most moisturizers.

    Also I get the best results if I shower and then put on the moisturizer. That way the skin is hydrated to begin with. Once the skin is dry, putting moisturizer on top doesn't help that much.

    Good luck!