People with eczema or other allergic conditions can certainly relate to the panicked feeling upon looking in the mirror or at our bodies and seeing that our eczema has flared up.
What did I do? What did I eat? What was I around? Did I use a new product?
We go over every single little thing which we’ve encountered over the past week or more. Was it that new food I tried? Was it because I used my hairdryer more often than normal? Is it because we’ve had more fires in the fireplace than we did last winter? Is there mold the heating system in my car? Am I allergic to a new soap, shampoo, hairspray, perfume? Is it the laundry detergent? Do I have bed bugs or some rare, exotic disease for which there is no cure? Am I allergic to work?
With all these thoughts running through my head – some rational, others not so much – I rush to make changes. Okay, I won’t eat that food anymore. No problem. I’ll stop blow drying my hair this week and see what happens. Back to unscented, fragrance-free everything! Back to the foods I eat regularly, which I know don’t cause problems. No more fires, let’s just use the heat. But what if THE HEAT is causing it? We need heat!! Okay, we’ll keep using the heat for now. Oh, and another great idea! How about YOU do the cleaning instead of me? You heard what the doctor said … “the house should be cleaned when the allergic person isn’t present.”
If you’re like me, you’ve maybe gone through an extended period where bath and beauty products didn’t cause you many issues and you’ve become complacent. Now with this flare up of eczema/allergies, I have to go out and buy the most gentle shampoos and conditioners, the most basic lotions and body washes. I have to go without makeup (no big deal for some people but I do tend to wear makeup). I have to buy new, natural, fragrance-free laundry detergent. (Thanks to Courtney for the recommendation of Molly’s Suds!) And spending all this money doesn’t even bother me because I’m just desperate to find something, ANYTHING that will make this stop!
If you’re like me, you’ll frantically research anything and everything that could maybe have caused your problem. You’ll see causation where there is only correlation. You’ll drive yourself absolutely crazy obsessing over what could have caused this new flare up.
And like most things in life, eczema and other allergic conditions have their ups and downs; flare-ups and periods of normalcy. We will wonder if it would have calmed down on its own, or did we find the perfect combination of products, diet and environment to maintain the period of normalcy? We will keep doing all the right things, until eventually the cycle will repeat itself.