Saturday, March 15, 2014

FLARE: 10 month update

So... 10 months down and I don't feel much better. 

My sleep is totally F#*34eD! I wake up at least once a night in itch fits, and stay up for an hour or so. The main culprit is my hair, or more specifically, my scalp. It is intensely itchy. I've tried baking soda/vinegar, regular shampoo, tea tree oil/mint shampoo and anti-dandruff shampoo (nizoral). None have really helped. Only nizoral has made my scalp flakes slightly finer, but the itch is still quite bad. 

It's been a month since I started selectively moisturizing. And my overall conclusion is... (drumroll please)... I just don't know anymore. After my experiment last month, I did a couple things. For the most part, I'm still moisturizer free. Here are the exceptions.

  1. Moisturize 1 arm with grape seed oil. Result: No difference so I just stopped due to sheer laziness.
  2. Moisturized one side of face with grape seed oil. Result: No diff. 
  3. Moisturize 1 arm with Eucerine Professional Repair. Result: Bad rash so I stopped.
  4. Moisturized cracked hand with Vaseline. Result: Inflammation seems to have increased so I stopped.
  5. Continue moisturizing right foot with Cetaphil moisturizing lotion (in lieu of vaseline). Result: Slight improvement (maybe?). Continuing this one spot.
  6. Moisturized upper lip where deep crack is. Result: Thick skin peeled off (which is what I wanted). Subsequently going to stop moisturizing.
There's no verdict and it seems to be a case by case basis. So far as I can tell, deep thick cracks can benefit from a short bout of moisturizing.

This month I've definitely been in the throws of a pretty bad flare. Though the past week, it's been settling down again. 

My face, which for months was being reasonable with me, just started shedding pretty badly again. The photo below is today's condition. Much better than this past month. I have a crack down the middle of my upper lip that likes to stay open whenever I eat. This is where I mentioned I briefly vaselined it just to allow the skin to thin out a bit so the crack could actually close. Now the seam is staying closed. 

My hands have been very unhappy. Oddly, from the knuckles to the first digit, all of my fingers became reddened and a bit peely between. My left hand's pinky and ring finger down to the side of my hand are going nuts. This is the best they have looked in weeks. Before this, my whole pinky and ring finger were cracked at the knuckles. I resorted to taping the cracks closed with medical paper tape so the skin would fuse together. For the most part it has helped. Though, who knows what will happen tomorrow...

Left hand, pinky and ring fingers look better though still very scaly and sometimes oozy if I move them too much. 

Outer edge of left hand. It's tore up. What can I say.

Right hand is doing okay. Itchy in between the fingers.

And finally, my lovely feet. They are also looking much better than they have most of the month, though, it appears, worse than last month. They were cracked at the tops and would ooze through my socks and so again, I resorted to taping them with medical tape so they wouldn't open up when I walked. It seems to be working because right now there actually aren't any open cracks on my feet. As you can see, there's not much difference between the left and right, despite the fact that I have been lightly moisturizing (less than once a day) on the right foot.

I should note that I've been peeling the skin off (perhaps not the best idea) when the scabs start to lift. Before, they would ooze like mad when I did that but my skin is able to dry down even after I wear socks! Whaaaaaat?!?! Amazing.

As for the rest of my body, it's just very dry and flaky, shedding more skin than last month but luckily not developing any trouble spots.

So I suppose the most helpful thing for me this month has been this paper tape:
click above!

THOUGH I MUST CAUTION, if your skin is too delicate, it will rip it off. It's best to keep it on for a whole day so that your skin can regenerate a new layer and then remove it really really really slowly.

Also trying out a chinese medicine, ling zhi extract, which my mom is desperate for me to try. Her friend had awful eczema (finger tips so cracked she had to wear gloves) and is now free of it "and can even paint her nails" my mom adds with enthusiasm. In my desperate state, I can't say no.

Anywho, that's all for this month. I'm really hoping I heal up as my best friend's wedding is this year and I don't want to be miserable at it!

Happy healing all.


  1. H Megan, you might consider dss baths as they will take care of the majority of your symptoms (when done properly). Especially the lighter ones like your scalp and others. Also, be careful with Chinese medicines as they can often have steroids in them. Be careful too the tape you use doesn't have latex in it. Always want to use latex free products. I'm an expert on the hands so if you ever want some help there just holler!

    1. Thanks for the comment Dan. I'm definitely gonna give dss baths a try. Where do you buy yours? I'm pretty wary of most Chinese medicine, though this is a single ingredient with some biochemical data behind it so it's worth a try. Yup, my tape is latex free (linky above). It's definitely helping my cracks heal over, especially on my feet. How's your skin doing? I expect well.

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    3. Neat! I was checking them out on Amazon. I'll probably be doing soaks by the bowl since I have no tub right now but I'll let you know how it goes. That is a shame that they aren't supporting good customers though. I'll be putting an order in for a bag + a scale to weigh the stuff (and perhaps my diet food if I ever get the motivation to lose this TSW fat.)

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