The Importance of Balance in Climate with Eczema Rashes
Before visiting Nadi, Fiji two months ago, humidity and sweating were things that I really enjoyed and that actually helped my dry, sensitive skin feel more healthy and normal. Before this trip I was excited to go through, what I thought was going to be, an amazing 180 in my skin’s health and appearance from the eczema I had been dealing with at home in San Francisco, California. What I quickly found out is that there is a threshold for extremes in any direction weather-wise or skin-wise.
In Fiji, I went from experiencing rashes that were triggered and worsened by dry, cold environments to experiencing rashes that were triggered and worsened by hot, humid environments. And for me, it is all about balance. When I was dealing with my former rashes, I had been living in such a dry and cold environment that experiencing more of it just made my skin crack, tough, and sore. I thought that my salvation would be in a place, more like an island, where I could experience the opposite of that and hopefully a sense of balance. But, the imbalance that I experienced at home in San Francisco, living there for over 30 years, showed itself in only 3 weeks of visiting Fiji during their thunderstorm season in February.
Sweat and stress
Being in Fiji, I did not expect to sweat so profusely every single day! Immediately, my neck started to become itchy and flare up with all the excess heat. And I became very stressed out dealing with all the touristy scam artists and taxi drivers that are around Nadi, Fiji. And I think those experiences lead to more inflammation and turned the tides on my preference for hot, humid environments over the colder, drier environment I grew up with.
Prickly heat rash
Not only that but because it was so hot, I was always wearing T-shirts or sleeveless shirts and the days were very sunny leaving me with some level of sunburn on my arms. Combined with my pores getting clogged up with all the daily sweating, it created the perfect environment to experience prickly heat rash for the first time all over both my arms.
And because I was in a such a moist, hot environment, I also developed an intertrigo rash underneath my breasts and on my chest because that's where the majority of the sweating from my scalp, face and neck would drip down to. No matter how many ice-cold showers I took, I would just get out of the shower and sweat some more. And I would sweat all night through my sleep, too.
Luckily my travels then took me to Wellington, New Zealand which has the exact opposite environment of Nadi, Fiji which is cold and windy. It was the perfect climate for me to move into. It took some time but within three weeks I was able to heal the majority of my symptoms from Fiji. At the very least, my prickly heat rash went away, exposing it to the cold air every day.
So, although some eczema rashes are improved with heat and being able to sweat is a sign of healthy functioning skin barrier, be careful what you wish for because experiencing the other extreme may not provide relief the way you think it will.
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