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Help! What is causing this?!

Hi all - new to this forum as I’m desperate for relief and answers. I’m also working with my PCP, multiple dermatologists and awaiting an allergy specialist apt.

I had eczema as baby - nothing too crazy. Then in middle school I became covered in head to toe eczema that steroid creams, prescribed tanning, etc. could not touch. The only temporary relief I got was when I was once prescribed Prednisone. After 2 years of painful and unsightly hell it was finally uncovered I was allergic to nickel - and the nickel going into my saliva and to my bloodstream via my braces was the culprit. Had my braces removed, had to get a gold retainer, have truly not had an issue since.

Fast forward literally 20 years and suddenly I have extreme eczema again despite no changes in diet, medication, product use, etc. I’ve tried eliminating various things to try to identify the trigger and have had no luck. My PCP basically just threw Claritin at me. I saw two derms who just said it’s normal for it to come out of nowhere and prescribed me steroid creams. I’m awaiting an allergy apt but I’m worried about that too because when I was 14 I literally “broke the record” at my derms office for most topical allergies. I’m allergic to HUNDREDS of things - but the only reason the nickel impacted me so much then was because of how int was entering my body. I can wear nickel jewelry now without issue (though I don’t currently wear any jewelry.) My point being I know I’m allergic to a zillion things but how do I know which one is causing this issue?

Worth noting - my daughter (13 months) had a milk protein allergy at birth so I had to cut out dairy in order to breastfeed her for 9 months. I’m still nursing her, but she outgrew the allergy so I was able to reintroduce dairy to my diet over the summer. I thought that timeline might line up with my eczema return, but have tried cutting out dairy again multiple times and have no relief. I’ve currently been dairy free for 5 days and am still having flare ups but am going to try giving dairy free a full 2 weeks before throwing in the towel on that theory.

I refuse to accept that this is normal. I’m covered in red bumpy itchy rashes. I feel hideous and so insecure and am in such pain. Thank god it’s winter and I can wear turtle necks and long sleeves when I have social events. Thanks in advance. Open to any theories or guidance!

  1. hi, just wanted to follow up. I honestly don't have too much advice, as it's so individual. I can only say I relate very much, and in my case, sometimes "allergens" affect me and my skin- other times, I have zero reaction, to be honest. It's quite unpredictable and gets frustrating. Curious to hear if you've had your allergy appointment since this and if you've found any clarity? Hope you are doing better now, sending lots of love your way. -Nina ( Team Member)

    1. I have been dairy free for more than 20 years, belong to a Facebook group on being dairy free and give advice freely.
      For you to be sure that you are having an impact on your skin, you will need to be dairy free much longer. It takes weeks for it to leave your body.
      To be certain, you would have to do an elimination diet and then once your skin clears, add dairy back. I recommend that you try an elimination diet now anyway because your rash is so severe. New allergies can start anytime.
      Elimination diet sounds weird, but is the most helpful thing you can do for yourself.

      1. really glad to hear you've found something that works for you! I've done an elimination diet in the past and unfortunately didn't get the same results you did, but we are all so different. It's so important to remember that eczema and no treatment is really a "one size fits all". But like you mentioned, so important to also remember new allergies and irritants/triggers can start at any time, so it's important to track those and listen to our own bodies. Has your skin been clear since you have been dairy free? Hope you are doing well and having a great start to the new year! 😀 -Nina (Team Member)

    2. - Gosh I can hear your frustration literally screaming off of the page here! Sorry, you have had your eczema re-emerge again. I get that there are a zillion types of triggers - some of which you will know about and others you may not but all I can say is (and I too, like my colleague Briana, am just a humble eczema patient) I tend to focus on the worst triggers. I would be driven mad if I had to investigate every single trigger but if I get on top of the main ones, my skin becomes more manageable. Hope this helps - Pete, Moderator.

      1. HI!
        I am so sorry you are having to play detective for this. I know it can feel so frustrating. It's good that you know of your many triggers, but hopefully we can find you some support here!
        Has your doctor swabbed for a fungal infection or other types of infections? Since you say it' bumpy, it makes me think infection -- however I am not a medical professional. Just another fellow eczema patient. I know hormones/immune system can also be affected after pregnancy (or "trauma"😉. I had a massive hip surgery which flared me horribly. Perhaps your body is still getting used to a new normal.
        However, I would suggest asking your doctor for a swab to see if it is fungal or bacterial. You can try soaking in Dead Sea salt or apple cider vinegar baths (some have found that helpful). I truly hope you're able to find relief soon! - Briana, Moderator

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