It first started under my arms, then on my legs, then on my back and then moved to my hands. What animal was under my skin?
My only relief was itching and boiling hot water directly on my skin.
They journey of having eczema has been tumultuous. The embarrassment of having scaly hands that had open cuts and that would bleed would prevent me from doing normal things such as holding a cup so my hand was exposed in front of people when I was in desperate need of a sip of water.
I saw doctors, dermatologists, naturopaths, dieticians and a kinesiologists. I must admit all contributed to my recovery. It is an ongoing journey, but now I have the knowledge to keep it at bay and I how to manage it.
I never had eczema as a child; it first started after a surf post hurricane Ivan in Florida in West Palm Beach in Sep 2004. I had a wetsuit that was cut off at the sleeves. Whether is was the materials in the west suit or the bacteria in the ocean post the hurricane, I will never know. Then over years it healed from under my arms and it appeared on my legs. Then a few years later it appeared on my back during my first pregnancy.
I remember seeing the dermatologist in Caulfield, VIC and him stating it was the hormones flushing through my body being pregnant and to use a steroid cream. I remember having boiling hot showers regularly, as the feeling of the heat on my back was addictive, orgasmic, so reliving. This was only pouring fuel on the fire.
During my pregnancy with the advice of the specialists, I went light therapy twice at week at the dermatologist office, I used the steroid cream I was prescribed, an antihistamine (that was safe for pregnancy), lowered my sugar intake in my diet to the best of my ability and changed my exercise routine so that I didn’t sweat, from spin to Pilates, and shortened the length and temperature of my showers.
The eczema moved. It slowly left my back and then moved to my hands. We have moved to Torquay. I remember driving with my son twice a week, he was only a few months old, to go and get light therapy in Geelong. I would set him up in the pram in the hallway in the clinic so that I could get 15 seconds of a high dose of artificial ultraviolet light (artificial UVB). It was always a massive inconvenience, and I really didn’t see massive results.
After Oliver was born I experienced 9 months of ongoing pain and frustration with changing nappies, washing and cutting vegetables, trying to go back to work, and finding it painful to type with open cuts on my fingertips, I was embarrassed to shake hands (which occurred several times a day seeing I was new meeting colleagues). Then the nanny I had arranged to look after Oliver so I could go back to work broke her leg, just weeks after I started this new high up managerial position in a national company.
I was at work in the toilet and was crying. I rang my dermatologist and asked for an emergency appointment for that day. I had had enough.
I had heard of the place in France, Avène hydrotherapy centre, where they specialise in healing: atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, scars and burns. Core treatments include whirlpool baths, hydro massage, sprays, drinking the waters, filiform showers; body wraps educational worships, facials and creams. I was ready to book to go that day, if the dermatologist had no other solutions to offer me.
He listened to me for about 10 minutes relay everything going on. Then he said ok well lets try a skin prick test to see if you have an allergy to something you are being exposed to daily. WHAT?? Why the hell didn’t he suggest that earlier, why hadn’t anyone so far suggested this?
So the process entailed me having about 15 pricks on my back of varying substances additives, perspectives, dust mites etc, and then they were covered up with tape and then were left for a further few days (I can’t remember exactly- maybe 3 or 4 days).
Results day couldn’t have arrived fast enough. Lo and behold only one spot had reacted. I was officially confirmed as being allergic to Methylisothiazolinone (MI)! What the F… is that?! What has been causing me all this grief?
What I have learnt in layman’s terms is:
- This is a preservative in: personal care products, shampoos, conditioners, moisturizes, bubbles for baths, tissues, paper towels, cleaning products, band aids, cosmetics, hand soaps, and baby wipes!
- Is a preservative BANNED with leave on products in EUROPE as of this month MAY 2016 and Canada
- But we still have it in about 90% of Australian products listed above when I pick them up of the shelves to check ingredients
- To make this hard, this ingredient can be combined with other ingredients and be printed as a completely different name of the label or printed as ‘fragrance’
- I have found that it is usually printed as one of the last 5 ingredients on a label as: Methchloroisothiazolinone, Isothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone and Benzisothiazolinone
- An allergy to the preservative methylisothiazolinone (MI) usually means you would probably have an allergy to related preservatives such as methychloroisothiazolinone (MCI), benzisothiazolinone and octylisothiazolinone.
- The scientific labeling and abrasions: Methylisothiazolinone (MI/MIT): 2-methyl-4-isothiazoline-3-one, Kathon. Neolone 950 preservative, MI, OriStar MIT and Microcare MT. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT): 5-Chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one and MCI.
Here is a link to products that do not contain this preservative:
Here are a couple of Facebook groups for those with allergies to Isothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone and Benzisothiazolinone
It all makes complete sense to me.
- I used a shaving cream on my legs when I first broke out in eczema- the cream had this perspective MI
- When I was pregnant I used a new shampoo with MI in it, that would run down my back, hence got eczema on my back
- I started using baby wipes several times a day when I had Oliver and wash my hands more regularly, both the wipes and the hand soap had MI in it
I am completely healed, but I am currently breastfeeding my third son, so I am hoping that the healing continues when I stop breastfeeding, as they are many protective hormones produced when you are feeding. If I go somewhere and use a hand soap or shampoo that contains MI, I will break out with a spot of eczema and it will take a week or two to go, with the aid of a bit of ‘Advantan or known as fatty ointment.’
Thank God I did the skin prick test and discovered the source of my eczema. My recommendations would be to change all your personally care and cleaning products, go organic, GET AN ALKALINE WATER FILTER (contact me to find out the best on the market!), follow a gluten and diary free diet, do activities that promote a stress free mind and lifestyle…. keeping researching until you find what can aid you with some type of healthy relief.