Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Well, the time has come. I'm retiring from writing this blog.

It's a question of time. I don't have any. I work at a university, and in the start of fall term is hectic. Everyone wants to schedule their events from September to December. Courses are starting up. Important people are visiting.

And at the same time, I'm the father of two kids who are starting their own school years. There are the usual tensions with new teachers and fellow students, there's the endless making of school lunches, the PTA and Dad's Club meetings. Something I've realized: the power you have as a parent of a public-school kid depends on how much time you're putting into raising money for the school. If I find any free time, I need to be ready to put it into my kids and their school.

The lack of good subject matter is another issue. To write a blog you have to find a niche. My niche has been eczema research. It turns out that when you have a narrow niche it's often hard to find anything worth writing about. There appears to be a lot of research coming out, but in reality it is very rare to see anything that you could genuinely get excited about. Most research is published "salami-style," where the scientists report some tiny new finding that adds ever so slightly to the enormous pile of existing work. The ratio of valuable information to filler is very small. Sorting through the internet's fire hose takes time I don't have.

True, the academic term will eventually end, but I won't be returning. I don't want to blog in fits and starts.

You might, however see me writing occasionally on the National Eczema Association website.

I have enjoyed blogging. I've met some great people online and in person. I've learned loads about the medical condition I and my family live with. Not much has improved, but I feel like I now understand better what makes my skin the way it is.

For several months, I have been waiting for a cool new project to come out, one that I've been involved with in a small way. When it does appear, I'll add a post about it so it gets some publicity from being on top. You will like this new thing, I think.

Thanks for reading. Good luck keeping your skin healthy.


  1. Well SK, I'm sad to see this blog come to an end but I definitely understand your reasons. I just want you to know that last April/May, this blog brought me out of a pretty dark place as my skin was the worst it has ever been. I was depressed, staying home from work, and generally miserable. This blog reminded me that I'm not alone, and that there are always new tricks to try when suffering from eczema. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

  2. Thanks, Gordonomicon. That means a lot, to know you found a connection. I have to admit, it is quite a challenge to blog about eczema and remain upbeat. That's why I tried in general to write about research rather than myself--it takes a lot of strength to stay positive. (Mind you, a silver lining of being online is that you can almost always find someone worse off, so you can feel better by comparison!)

  3. I will greatly miss this blog. It is so imformative and timely: just sent the intradermal flu vaccine entry to my college son, who has the allergic triad: severe food allergies, asthma and severe eczema (totally understand your busy life). Please, please keep writing for the NEA - your ability to interpret the science to the rest of us is invaluable

  4. Say it isn't so! Thankfully, you will still be connected to the National Eczema Association for which we are ever so grateful. Its true, though, family first. It takes a bucket load of effort to manage eczema - and even more buckets to attend to our families and raise children. Save some time for yourself, Spanish Key. You are a true gift to the eczema community. I hope that eczema research will be so compelling in the very near future that you'll just have to jump back in one way or another!

    See on you the new NEA website when we launch later in October.

  5. Thank you very much for this blog. I've learned a lot from your posts and really appreciate your mixture of scientific and personal. The information on nickel and fragrance was particularly eye-opening. I'm looking forward to your posts on the NEA site.

  6. Goodbye Spanish Key! Although I have only recently found your blog, I find so much encouragement from your blog posts about the recent researches and such. We all here greatly appreciate your blog and we thank you for your contribution.

    While researches are still slow and sometimes infuriating for eczema suffers. I am still hopeful that one day, we will find something that we would consider as a cure for eczema. And from then, there will no longer the need for our doctors to inflict the statement of "there is no cure for eczema" into us patients.

  7. I don't comment often, but I do read your posts and think they've been really informative, it's sad there's not many more eczema related blogs out there to turn to, but that's why I started blogging myself...I wanted to talk about how I relieved my eczema by taking a more holistic approach. Until eczema research comes out the archaic ages, and a better medical approach is found all we can do is share our experiences. Your blog will be missed, but hopefully you'll find a way to return to it one day.

    Best regards,

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  14. Hi! Sorry to hear of your 'retirement' - but nothing beats spending family time and keeping your sanity! I'm still blogging at EczemaBlues.com and my book Living with Eczema: Mom Asks, Doc Answers, just got published EczemaQnA.com :) But I find it a struggle too to keep things going, just doing my best!

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  17. Just wanted to say "Thank You" I have followed your blog for years, and nobody believes me there was two types of eczema, one coming from the inside - until your site proved that there is indeed intrinsic and extrinsic eczema. I have had eczema my whole life and your blog has helped me understand certain problems.

    Now I have my own site which focuses on drug tolerance, eczema research and so on:


  18. Hi Spanish key,
    Love your blog.
    it's too bad you're not writing anymore.
    But just in case you are...
    Just wondering if you ever tried phototherapy?

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