Eczema leads to eye lid and ear lobe infections

The eczema on my hands was a bit out of control (even with using betaderm ointment and cotton gloves nightly) however nothing really seemed out of the ordinary, at least for me.

My new work environment was my home office, located in a finished area of the basement which greatly limited my exposure to random allergens and triggers.   So when I started getting some dryness and puffiness around my eye I figured it was likely just some random dry skin.  I started putting some more moisturizer on it but over time it continued to get worse.

Talking with my doctor:  

I finally decided to call the doctor in December 2020 and sent some photos of what was going on.  She said I had an eye lid infection!!!!  Likely transferred from the eczema on my fingers.  Oh great, I managed to transfer a secondary bacterial infection from my fingers (although they didn’t seem infected) to my eye lid.  I was prescribed erythromycin eye ointment 4x/day for 10 days.

During our conversation, she said it was probably time I saw a dermatologist again and said she would refer me to a new doctor who saw patients at a clinic in my local hospital.  She reassured me that they we good and that she hadn’t had a complaint about them yet. (Foreshadowing here to a post later on…)

Another infection:

A couple days after this conversation, my ear started feeling swollen, itchy, red and hot.  Another infection had cropped up on my earlobe.   After another visit to the doctor (in person this time) I was prescribed some ear drops (ciprodex) and antibiotics (cephalexin or Keflex).

Here is what my ear looked like.  Needless to say Christmas 2020 was filled with taking well timed antibiotics.

Ear Lobe Infection/Ezcema Irritation – December 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2020 and hand sanitizer

I don’t need to explain the challenges that presented themselves in 2020.  Yes, a global pandemic, a health crisis that many hope to never see again.

For those of us with eczema on our hands we’ve had to deal with a new issue – being forced to use alcohol based hand sanitizer ALL THE TIME.  For me, using hand sanitizer in pre-2020 was for those times where things were a little too gross and soap and water were too far away.  As a matter of fact, every hand sanitizer i’ve ever bought has expired before being used.

While trying to adapt to the changing public health rules I ended up having to use whatever the store was offering.  This resulted in my eczema flaring – I really should of known that this was going to happen.

 

What happened next wasn’t something I really could of predicted.

 

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2017 Update: My fingers still suck (just not as bad)

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted an update on how I am doing.  The truth is I have  been dealing with some small mild eczema outbreaks but nothing close to what I had previously (Thankfully!)

Currently, I am experiencing some ultra annoying finger eczema.  it’s the kind that start with little bubbles under the skin.  When I was younger I would pop them with a needle but of course I wouldn’t recommend that now as secondary infections just don’t sound like much fun.

Here’s what I am talking about:

 

 

(Yes – written in 2017 but posted in 2020.  Just a little time lag.)

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Infection! (Some kinda-gross pics, too!)

After my last post I was hoping that this winter was going to an easy one on my skin.  Well, hoping didn’t work out very well.  As the title of this post says I ended up with an infection, mostly on the right ring finger but there were smaller infections on many of my fingers.

Here are some pics:

1. The infection starts and no matter what I try it just doesn't cut it. 2. The infection gets IN my finger causing redness, pain and swelling. 3. Look at that swelling.

1. The infection starts and no matter what I try it just doesn’t cut it. (I tried antiseptic solution, antibiotic ointment, eventually peroxide, soaking it in warm water…)
2. The infection gets IN my finger causing redness, pain and swelling.
3. Look at that swelling.

This infection was fast and caught me off guard.  It went from my usually dry, cracked and a bit infected (but manageable) finger to needing a doctors visit literally over night.  I watched the red infection line go down my finger and called my doctors office.  Long story short I was prescribed these to take for 7 days:

7 days of 4 pills a day.... yuck.

7 days of 4 pills a day…. yuck.

The script was written as “Keflex” which after doing an internet search I learned that it is used to treat skin infections.

I am not a person who enjoys pharmaceuticals so agreeing to antibiotics for a silly skin infection always makes me somewhat grumpy.  But, I knew that this was getting bad so I sucked it up and took them.  They made me tired but didn’t mess with my stomach like other antibiotics have in the past.  In the end, they did the trick and slowly my finger started to get better.  Although, I had to add in Fucidin cream into my nightly routine to help out.   I wish I had had this cream when the infection was starting as I have a feeling it would of ended differently.

Here are some pictures of the finger as it was healing:

1. 3 days into the treatment. 2. First day after finishing the medication. 3. Today - 5 days after treatment was finished.

1. 3 days into the treatment.
2. The day I finished the treatment.
3. Today – 5 days after treatment was finished.

So, the big infection is gone and I am much more comfortable however it appears that my nail has been compromised as a result of the infection in the nailbed.  I am not sure what this means but as you can see in pictures 2 and 3 above it isn’t going to be comfortable as the nail grows out.  But, as always I will post an update.

 

 

 

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Oh Winter, I really don’t like you!

It’s been awhile since my last post but its for a good reason.  That’s right, I haven’t been having many problems with my skin over the last several months and posting pictures of my normal looking skin just isn’t the point of my blog.

But alas, all is not the same.  Big surprise, eh?  See, I live in Canada where every year old man winter comes and dries out the skin of all Canadians as well as removes our ability to synthesize our own vitamin D through skin exposure (because we are always clothed to keep warm outside).

Anyways, my poor hands are feeling the pain.  They are dry, cracking and extremely painful.  Especially my pinky finger  which looks like this:

My pinky finger with eczema

My pinky finger with eczema.

If you can’t see it there is a cut on the side of the nail and lets just say its making typing this post pretty painful as with each key I press it shoots a painful reminder that I am forever someone with eczema.  I am now sporting a lovely bandage on this finger daily just to make my normal activities hurt less.  I just started using my steroid cream and gloves again to help add some moisture and healing to the mix.  I do see an improvement in the morning but not as much as I would like.

I am still trying to go indoor tanning however my schedule hasn’t allowed for regular visits.  With this new flare up I am going to make a point to go more often.  Luckily for me they just started winter hours and are opened late.

Here are a couple more pictures of my hands which I took yesterday:

Eczema in between my fingers.

Eczema in between my fingers.

My poor sore finger tips.

My poor sore finger tips.

I am hoping that this is all I get this winter.  I’ll keep you posted.

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I have pretty nails!!

I never imagined that I would be able to have nice nails.  After all, with eczema all over your nail bed which affects how your nails grow it’s hard to even imagine having nicely manicured nails.

Until now!  Back in December my hands were looking very good with almost no noticeable eczema  (a rare event for me) so I decided to add a manicure to my facial and pedicure appointment at Aphroditi Escape Spa.

I was just happy with having my nails filed and polished (clear polish only!) but Sherry-Lynn mentioned that I should check into “Bio sculpture Nails” when I get home.  No pressure at all but this product would provide extra strength to my nails (something I have always longed for).  I check it out and decided to give it a whirl.

Here are my hands before Bio Sculpture.

Ready for there make over with bio sculpture

Ready for there make over with bio sculpture

The day before I got my bio sculpture nails

The day I got my bio sculpture nails

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They look great, eh?  Here are a couple of my worst nails.  Actually its just my thumbs.

My groovy thumb My split nail

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got my first bio sculpture nails in early January 2013 and was immediately in love with them.  The bio sculpture products contain no acrylic and are painted onto your nail with a brush and cured under UV light.  I have never had nails with such strength before, the nails don’t chip, they shine and continue to look great.  She even managed to fill in the uneven parts of my nails to make them smooth.

Sherry-Lynn did some fancy work on my split thumb nail.  Here is a pic of the nail with its first bio sculpture application:

bio nail thumbYou probably can’t see it too well but compare this picture against the one of the same finger above.  The black arrow is pointing at where the product has extended my natural nail making it longer and MUCH easier to use.  On the left you can really see the two tones of white, that bottom layer is where my natural nail is.  Neat, don’t you think?

These pictures where taken the same day by the way.

I just had my third application of bio sculpture and am in love with what it is doing to my nails.  It lasts about 3 weeks, there is no nail grinding involved as it is a “soak off” product and the nail looks the same when the product comes off (no nail damage!).

Here is what I am currently sporting -> I decided to get the tips painted silver (ooo, shiny!).

My nails with silver tips!

So there you have it.  You can have your eczema ridden hands with rickety nails turned into nice smooth strong nails.  I also think they really take peoples eyes away from the eczema patches which is a great bonus.

Thanks to Sherry-Lynn and Bio Sculpture!

Psst…. if you go see Sherry-Lynn tell her Amie from hatemyskin.com sent you!

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This silly thumb nail…

Somewhere between high school and finishing my degree in university something happened to my thumb nail and its never been the same.    Here is what I am talking about:

Here is my annoying thumb nail whose split at the top just won’t go away.

Yes, there is a split right down the middle which makes it pretty hard to grow it out before it catches on something and rips.  I’ve tried lots of products such as nail glue (krazy glue for nails), fake nails, nail strengthener, nail repair…. just to name a few off the top of my head.  The fake nail was by far the best however because my nails are so fragile the adhesive would also take off a layer of my natural nail when it was removed.

My dermatologist said that the nail bed starts on the finger pretty close to the joint.  He explained that if this area of my finger is experiencing eczema then it will reflect in the nail up to “months” later.  So, I am pretty much doomed to have this nail stay this way unless by some miracle my eczema vanishes and causes my nail bed to fix itself.  For now, its a balancing act of trying to keep it trimmed (sometimes shaped like a heart) and manageable for everyday life.   A girl can always dream about having nice nails, can’t she?

I am opening to hearing solutions for this.  What has worked for you?

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Sometimes eczema can be funny

Okay, not quite the title for a post about living with eczema but I got a bit of a chuckle out of my recent outbreaks.  You see every now and then my flare up will resemble things.  Putting cream on my thumb made me notice this…

Eczema, finger eczema, psorasis

Do you see it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, its a smiley face.  Thanks body for the humor, now if only it didn’t hurt so bad.

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A tale of two waterpark visits

We just got back from a great family getaway to the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge located in Queensbury, New York.  This was our second year visiting the lodge in the winter and it doesn’t disappoint.  (Totally off topic but I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip there and having some good old family fun.  Not to mention if you are coming from eastern Ontario it involves an amazing drive though the Adirondack Mountains.)  Anyways, last year I had just started tanning and was starting to clear up and found that this trip really helped my skin get (or at least look) better.  The chlorine in the pool has always had a good effect on my skin (think bleach baths if they have ever been recommended for you).  The chlorine dries my skin out nicely which is actually something I find beneficial to keeping my skin mostly eczema-free, this is of course very different from the typical recommendation of moisturize the heck out of your skin.  So last year I was thankful for my waterpark visit and its effects on my skin.

This year was a bit different.  I keep my skin slightly on the dry side by indoor tanning and found that the extra drying effects of the chlorine in the water caused my eczema to actually flare on my hand and I developed a few area on my arm as well.  For the first time in many months I was scratching again at night… yuck.  Smart me did bring some moisturizer (Glaxal Base = my fav) for the kids so I was able to use it and get some relief from the dry itchy hands.

So, I learned a valuable lesson.  Although my skin prefers to be dry to be eczema-free’ish I need to be cognoscente of what else can dry it out so that I don’t get too dry and cause myself to flare.  The balancing act is a fine art.

eczema, water

Here is my left hand on February 6, 2012 after one day at the waterpark.

On my left hand I am starting to get some “cuts” in the bendable areas of my hand.  This year I have had limited inflammation as well but alas it is back after the chlorine exposure (you can see its worst on my right hand).

 

 

eczema

Here is my right (worst) hand on February 6, 2012 after one day at the waterpark.

 

Check out my thumb, ouch.

eczema

Here is the patch starting on my arm. Itchy.

 

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Ode to the cotton glove

Ah yes!  The cotton glove.  A hand saving tool for those of us with eczema on our hands.  Let’s just say that I have a love/hate relationship with my cotton gloves.

hand eczema

My glove stash: Here are all the gloves I could find in a quick search of the house/laundry.

In 2011, when my hands were extremely bad I wore these little beauties 24/7 changing them as many as 5-6 times a day depending on if my hands were oozing or not.  They are fabulous for keeping dry hands moist when combined with a good moisturizing cream.  I used them primarily to keep my hands comfortable as my hands get very painful when they are in full blown eczema mode.  Even before my episode last year I have been wearing a pair of cotton gloves to bed for probably 12 years now.  At first it was a way of “trying” to control my nocturnal scratching.  I say “trying” as it kinda helps but not really as one of two things always happens; 1) I rip them off in my sleep and scratch anyways (finding them somewhere in the bed come morning), or 2)I just scratch with them on anyways creating holes in the ends of the gloves with my nails.  Below are just a few of the many examples I have of #2.

These poor gloves have seen the wrath of my noctural scratching.

I have also purchased a couple pairs of bamboo gloves but for some reason they make my hands REALLY itchy.  This is interesting as I am allergic to grass and bamboo is the largest member of the grass family.  Note to self, stay a way from bamboo.

Cotton gloves are surprisingly pricey.  An average pair costs about $7 or more making my stash worth a fair bit. (I think I counted 26 pairs this morning so at ~$7/pair that is about $180 in gloves)

I haven’t talked much about the mental game you play with yourself as you come to a point where you have to wear gloves all the time.  At first I would take them off when I was around a lot of people but my hands LOOKED awful and I just felt like people were staring at them (not sure how true that was though).   Then I just started to wear them all the time.  I wondered about the general public’s perception of  me, things like was a germaphobe or OCD about cleanliness.  I can’t lie and say that I didn’t care because I did care, very much to be honest.  BUT, I had to get over that and just learn that this was what I was dealt.  So, I just wore them and eventually they essentially become apart of me almost, I felt naked without them sometimes.

There were some days when people’s comments would start to annoy me, mostly people at work just trying to be funny.  I got the old “Hey Michael”, if I was wearing only one glove.  Crap like that seems innocent to the person saying them but after awhile it is just annoying and kinda hurtful.  Other times people would ask and I would just say “Oh, I have eczema on my hands”.  People were and are very sympathetic when they find out its because I have eczema on my hands but I can’t help but think what people say (or think) behind my back.  I think if I saw me I would just think I didn’t want to get my hands dirty (or germy) which in our climate of contagious illnesses might actually be a decent idea.

So there you have it my acknowledgement to the cotton glove.  I hate that I need you but love that you are available to help me deal with my eczema.  We’ll have many more days and nights together I am sure.

eczema

 

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