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Sharing my treatment success

Sharing my treatment success

Postby tslothrop » Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:33 pm

I would like to share some success I have had battling Eczema this winter (I am 59, living in southwest Ohio). The past several years I have had many very itchy, scaly patches on my lower legs. These would start as soon as I stopped wearing shorts in the Fall and would remain, getting worse, until I started wearing shorts again in the Spring. Last year, I was bedeviled by simply awful itching, and nothing seemed to help.

During this time, I would treat the patches as my dermatologist recommended: Apply Ammonium Lactate Cream after showering, or if not showering, in the morning, reduce the number of showers and use water as cold as possible. This did nothing to help, so I would usually stop the Ammonium Lactate Cream some time during the winter, making no difference. I also occasionally tried UV treatment (tanning beds), to absolutely no avail. Walking outside in shorts during sunny winter days seemed to help some, but nothing definite (and was very cold).

This year began much the same; as soon as I stopped wearing shorts the lesions began. I wasn’t going to go through another year like last year if I could help it, so I elected to combat them differently; starting to read up on the subject, in particular reading what others had found helpful. I developed a 5-prong plan based on other’s experiences.

The five elements I originally listed were:
1) Take Vitamin D daily
2) Apply Petroleum Jelly liberally to my lower legs before every shower
3) Take fewer showers
4) Apply Vitamin E directly to any existing lesions and to any that popped up
5) Wear only 100% cotton pants (jeans, in my case)

This strategy has panned out, as we are now half-way through the winter and there is no evidence of the sores and lesions I have had the past few years, my legs are as they were before all this started. Some more detail:

1) Vitamin D: I switched from daily to weekly after about three weeks. I was taking 1000IU D3 daily, but it (or something) was making my tinnitus worse. I changed to 1000IU D3 weekly (Vitamin D hangs around a while in the system), and added a daily Vitamin A/D (10,000/400IU). This (or something) has helped the tinnitus considerably.
2) Most advice I found suggested applying Vaseline to any patches immediately after showering to ‘help retain any moisture gained during the shower’. I have always felt that showering was part of the problem, so I chose to apply the Vaseline before showering to keep any shampoo/soap away from the skin. I apply a heavy layer (ca. 1T per leg) and then wipe it off after the shower with a paper towel. I do not wash my legs during the shower.
3) I am a ritual showerer, particularly during the summer. I have backed off to twice per week, sometimes three showers a week if the weather is warmer or if I have been more active.
4) I have had an itchy, scaly patch on my ankle for years now. Other patches come and go, this one remains at some level year-round. I started piercing Vitamin E capsules (400IU, liquid filled) and applying the oil directly to this patch and to others that might crop up (the small, red dots that were starting it all). The patch on my ankle has faded to less than it has been in the past 5 years, and the small patch ‘seeds’ go away within hours of applying the Vitamin E.
5) Last year, we joined a gym which bans jeans. I bought fleece-lined sweat pants and wore them three times a week. Last year was simply awful in terms of itching and scratching, so I forswore the sweat pants and am wearing only cotton (jeans or cargo shorts).

In sum; I would say that the most useful technique above has been the use of Vaseline (note, pure petroleum jelly only, I have used nothing else) before showering. I attribute the shampoo and conditioner I use with some of the irritation. I slipped up one time this year and did not apply Vaseline – the results were immediate - numerous red patches popping up everywhere on my legs. Fewer showers must certainly help here as well.

The second most useful technique has been the application of Vitamin E to any rashes that do pop up. This seems to deal with them almost immediately, to my great surprise and satisfaction.

I cannot really comment on the efficacy of the Vitamin D, as I haven’t stopped taking it to allow for a control. Likewise the change from micro-fiber fleece to cotton pants, I haven’t reinstated the sweat pants for a control. Not when this is working this well.

I hope this helps someone out there, I know my winter is going much better and more comfortably.
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