Community - 11/02/2019
Kicking eczemas butt
Kicking eczema’s butt…. I have never known beautiful, soft, clear skin. I was very young when I first began to wonder what it would be like. At twenty-nine years of age I have just seen the light at the end of a very dark and long tunnel, and it is beautiful.
For as long as I can remember, I have had Atopic Eczema, a condition that affects over one million Australians. Categorised by symptoms of intensely itchy, inflamed and weeping skin, Atopic Eczema is commonly found in young children and less often in adults.
I remember being about nine years old when my family doctor told me that by the time I became a teenager my eczema would, as if by magic, disappear. That wasn’t the case. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that in about twenty years, it was about to get a whole lot worse. Maybe I could have done something about it then and saved myself from the constellations of what were once red stars, now white scars, scattered across my body.
You could always find me with a tube of steroid cream and some sort of moisturiser that I’d picked up from the grocery store that claimed to relieve eczema, but in truth, only irritated my skin even more. For most of my life I loved my steroid creams. I was dependant on them. I wouldn’t go anywhere without a tube. If I did, I’d feel the pangs of anxiety, and that question that would kick and scream in my head… what do I do if I get a flare up?
But steroids only masked the problem. The cream would thatch over the holes left dug in my skin from a night of sleepless itching, but it was a cycle, a vicious circle of using poison to erase the marks of an unforgiving skin condition at the expense of my overall health. A life dependant on steroid cream is not something I would ever recommend to anyone, especially my child or even myself.
As I got older, I decided I would try natural products. There would always be that odd story of some miracle eczema cream that some parent had dreamt up for their suffering child. After being disappointed by countless ‘miracle’ creams, I gave up.
For most of my late teens to early twenties my skin was doing just fine (by my standards). I could handle the occasional flare up with steroids, and if I could convince myself to forget about the scars, I would allow myself to bare my skin in public.
It wasn’t until 2016 when I fell pregnant with my first child, that what I call my ‘hidden health,’ (the health that you can’t see, the harmony, or in my case, chaos, within the body that I never really gave much thought to) became important to me. I was eating better than ever before, but little did I know, I was on a plummeting downward spiral.
My skin hated me throughout my whole pregnancy. My face was covered in bright red blotches. I itched my skin like a woman possessed. I could only put it down to the hormones of pregnancy, maybe I was allergic to them? So, I waited. After giving birth, my skin seemed to be healing and I thought I was getting better. The hormones were diminishing and I could finally see my face again. Then there was breastfeeding. It was easy, and my baby was such a good feeder, but when my breasts became covered, and I mean absolutely covered in thick red, weeping, insanely itchy, angry rashes I was desperate to quit. I was sick of the pain, sick of peeling off the bloodied fabric of my clothing, bed sheets and bras that had fused to my skin.
I began to believe that it was the breastfeeding hormones that was the cause of my living hell, but I continued to breast feed, deciding that I’d better work harder to find a solution to heal myself without it effecting my baby. The desperate idiot in me turned to steroids. I was told it would be safe, if used in small amounts and with proper care to wash my breasts thoroughly before feeding, and so began a scary, painful and time-consuming saga of cream, wash, feed, cream, wash, feed, repeat.
Something about pregnancy caused my body to react to my everyday irritants one hundredfold.
That was working fine until the eczema appeared on my arms, back, legs and stomach. I was covered head to toe in rashes, spots, redness. I would sit in bed, crying. Not wanting to move because when I did, I would feel the cuts on my fingers, elbows and knees split and bleed. When I went to the doctor, he was able to convince me that I needed a nine-day dose of antibiotics and a strong oral steroid. I asked if it would make my eczema go away, to which he replied a very confident “Yes.” Poisoning my body, and my breast milk worked a treat! On the tenth day, the day after completing my round of medications, my beautified skin from the previous day had turned into a blazing fire of death and I realised that I jeopardised my heath and the health of my baby in the pursuit of ridding myself of eczema. I would never go back to a GP for help with my skin. Ever. Again.
My little girl was just over a year old and I was sitting on the couch, trying to distract myself from itching, I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across an ad for Eco Tan.
I never had any luck with natural products. They would only ever make my eczema worse so I had my doubts for sure. I began scrolling through their Instagram page when I saw a picture of a woman whose before and after picture of her legs looked amazing. Her before picture looked similar to my own. I was so full of hope and excitement.
It was then that I decided to do some research into eczema. I thought, if I was going to spend more money on trying yet another cream in an attempt to heal myself, I was going to do it properly. I looked into what foods I should and shouldn’t be eating and decided then that I would try to stop eating gluten and dairy products to start. The next day, I went out to the shop and bought myself the COCONUT BODY MILK and the PINK HIMALAYAN SALT SCRUB.
Before every shower I would scrub the heck out of my body with the salty scrub and let it sit for a few minutes, allowing the salt the get right in there and do its job. Then when I couldn’t handle the salty sting anymore, I’d wash it off and follow my shower with lathering’s of the Coconut Body Milk and wait—wait for the itching to start up again. But it never happened. It felt so good, I actually cried. I cried because it felt so nice on my skin. I cried because for the first time, it didn’t make me feel worse. I cried because I finally saw a glimmer of light, shining through the bitter darkness I’d endured my whole life, especially over the past almost two years.
It wasn’t even a week before I began to see my body change. My breasts, legs, back, arms and face healed. Cutting out gluten and dairy was healing my gut, preventing the flare ups, and the products were stitching my skin back together again, healing my cells to the point that they are now—naturally healthy. My daughter is just about to turn two and I am still breastfeeding her, doing so knowing that she is no longer exposed to any poisons, for that I am the most thankful. Flare ups only happen now if I give in to that bar of chocolate, or ice-cream, or a tray of donuts. But the absolute beauty of my life now, is that I am in control of my body. I control if or when I flare up, and I know how to recover. And it doesn’t involve ANY steroids.
They say eczema can’t be cured, only managed. Well, I didn’t just manage my eczema, I kicked its ass.
Thank you, ECO by SONYA.