Southern Warmth and Hospi...Humidity
I grew up in New Jersey. There are four full seasons in New Jersey: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Summer is generally warm and humid, while fall, winter, and even spring are much cooler and drier. I lived in that climate for 30 years, and my skin hated it.
Climate for a jersey girl
My worst atopic dermatitis symptoms started when I was in middle school (around 12 years old) and kept up pretty badly until I was out of college. I had peeling eyelids, a flaky scalp, red and scaly neck, and occasional creased and peeling palms. I was miserable and didn't know how to deal with it. I didn't even know that having those symptoms wasn't normal. My symptoms were always worse during the three seasons that weren't hot and sticky; summer was my only solace.
We had hot, dry heat blowing through the house during the colder seasons. In summer, only two small window air conditioners in closed-off rooms offered any cooling in our large house. So, I tried to enjoy the heat, biking with friends to a nearby school playground or exploring our large wooded road where there was a creek to cool off in and frogs to catch. I didn't need to pay attention to my itchy spots, because they would heal during this time of year. I was also young and not trying to make connections between my health and my surroundings.
Hot and humid: A perfect combination!
It wasn't until I moved down to Texas as an adult that I realized what a pain my atopic dermatitis had been while living in New Jersey. My husband's work moved us down to Houston and my skin breathed a sigh of relief. Houston sits right near the Gulf of Mexico and has a relatively high humidity more or less year round (even compared with New Jersey summers), and much higher temperatures than New Jersey (although we did have some snow in Houston this past winter!). There is some respite from the humidity in early spring, along with a high dose of irritating pine pollen--a time of year I now dread, as my skin remembers that it can dry out and give me a flare up.
What a change a move can make!
We recently moved out of our starter-apartment in Houston to a house and while I was packing up our bathroom, it really struck me how much my skin had changed from a year in the warmth and humidity: tubes, bottles, and tubs of creams, lotions, corticosteroids, special shampoos of every kind would have filled box after box. But I realized in the year since we'd been here, I had hardly used any of them. My scalp/neck area is more or less completely healed and hasn't been a problem; my eyeslids have been clear; and so have my palms! My ear canals and a couple spots on my fingers are lingering trouble spots no matter how hot and humid it gets down here! And I'm not joking about the heat--it's just the end of May, and our heat index is at 104 degrees Fahrenheit! I'm not free of atopic dermatitis, and don't expect I ever will be completely free...but I'm in much better shape, thanks to the new climate we've been living in!
Would you ever consider a move for relief?
I would never have said I'd move in order to free myself of atopic dermatitis, but after making the switch, I don't know if I could ever move back to a climate that's any drier or colder than Houston! Would you consider a move across the country if it would help heal your atopic dermatitis?
Have you taken our In America Survey yet?