Tuesday, 6 January 2015

My struggle with dermatitis

I've recently been trying to treat, what I'm 98% sure is, Dermatitis. It started in July/August as 3 small spots on my chin clustered together, once they'd gone however they left behind a small patch of dried skin. I just thought it was eczema and just used Aveeno on it but it didn't seem to go away. I don't have any pictures of it before because I never even dreamed I would write a blog post on this as it seems quite personal to me and I don't really like to share information, but I'm hoping that if someone who is also struggling with this comes across my blog I may be able to help them. I would hate for someone else to suffer this and not know what to do! However, this webpage has a picture on it which is very similar to how mine looked at its worst.
After the patch while it spread a little bit, from around 1 centimetre to 2 centimetres, I still didn't really think anything of it and continued to use Aveeno. One day I woke up and I now had two patches, one either side of my chin both around 2 centimetres big. I went to see my Nana and Grandad and they noticed the rough skin patch underneath my make up and my Grandad gave me some cream he uses for his eczema and it got rid of it! But after a few days of not using the cream the patches slowly creeped back up. And this time they was bigger, both was around 3 centimetres. I carried on using the cream and once again it disappeared but again came back once I stopped using it.
In October the patches spread a bit more to about 4 centimetres each so I visited the doctor about it and he didn't really tell me a lot, just subscribed me some Hydrocortisone cream and told me to use it 3 times a day for a week. It didn't work as well as the cream my Grandad gave me but it did calm it down and after the week was up, as instructed, I stopped using the Hydrocortisone. A few days later I woke up and the patches were back AGAIN.
I tried alternating days where I'd use Hydrocortisone one day and my Grandads cream the next and use Aveeno to act as a moisturiser as it is supposed to help with eczema - which is what I still believed it to be at this point. The patches where controlled, they'd disappear and I'd carry on using all of the creams to try and keep it away, Then I got stressed about my university coursework and my flatmates nearly got us kicked out of the accommodation and everything flared up again but a lot worse. Instead of being smallish patches on each side of my chin, it had become one big patch right across it. But I carried on with the creams and managed to get it back down again.
It's worth noting now that I hate going to the doctors. I also feel like I'm going because of some stupid reason that I can easily fix myself. Plus I always have a feeling the back of my mind that they don't really know what they're doing which was further proved by the last visit where he prescribed me Hydrocortisone, he never once told me what was wrong - whether it was eczema, dermatitis or something else completely. Just took one look, tapped away at the computer and shoved the prescription in my hand...
The patch kept flaring up but calming down quickly throughout November, then one day I decided to google Hydrocortisone and found out that the prolonged use of it can damage your skin (I know this is if you use it for years but it was enough to scare me) so I stopped using it. I carried on using the Aveeno and cream my Grandad gave me and it continued to keep it calm but it was spreading more and more each week. By December it had spread all the way up to my philtrum. I didn't have time to visit the doctor again between university lectures, workshops, coursework and my shifts for the nightclub I work at so I had to wait until I back home.
I'd googled it the day I got home because it was getting me so down and upsetting me, I couldn't even look in the mirror because I hated what I saw, my make up would cover it for a while but then it would start to crack and the flakey, dry, cracked skin would start to show through. Thats when I found the website mentioned at the start of the post, this one, and found that I probably had Perioral Dermatitis, my mum spent the whole night searching throughout the whole of the internet to figure out ways that we could treat it ourselves since I hate going to the doctors.
We found out that it might be due to a bacterial infection, lack of vitamins (quite likely since I hardly ate anything!) or stress (most likeliest cause as I have been having constant troubles with my flatmates and uni is pretty stressful itself!). We went out the next day armed with a list of things to buy to try and get me better. We stopped off at a walk-in centre firstly just to see if they could help... They agreed that it could be perioral dermatitis but didn't really say anything until I pulled out the webpage we'd printed off and showed them, they prescribed me Fucidin cream and again told me to used it everyday for a week.
We then went to Holland and Barratt for vitamins, an assistant was helping us and told us about the Skin Salvation ointment by Pure Potions. Made by a mum for her daughter who had severe eczema, its supposedly great for people who suffer eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. Next was Lush for a face/body scrub, I ended up buying the Bûche De Noël one as it was soft enough to not hurt my painful skin any more but also rough enough to get the dead/dry skin off. I was given little tester posts of Dream Cream and the Self Preserving version of it as well.
I tried the Fucidin cream for a few days but there was no change at all. I switched to the Skin Salvation ointment and the next day I noticed a small difference! I'm currently writing a review of it, I'll add the link in at the bottom of this post for anyone whose interested. It's absolutely amazing! I've also been drinking Actimel and eating Activa yoghurts, taking my all-in-one vitamin and using cider vinegar to cleanse my face.
It's still patchy but it is getting better. Hopefully this time next month it should be cleared up, or not recognisable at all when I have make up on. I have pictures of how it looks now on the Skin Salvation review post - Link below!