By Zine Mabunu
Growing up I experienced mild to moderate eczema breakouts, it first began on my hind knees and the mid-section of my arms. I visited a doctor and he prescribed Mylocot (a stage 2 steroid cream that seemed to work for me in the beginning). After excessive and daily use I learnt that my skin had become immune to it and it was no longer working to clear my eczema. I went back to see another doctor who prescribed Lenovate (a stage 4 steroid cream which worked for me for a while). I soon realized that my skin had also become immune to it and no longer worked as effectively as it did in the beginning.
The older I became, the more I had to tackle my eczema, I watched it spread all over my body and I became so frustrated because all the doctors that I went to visit always told me that “unfortunately there is no cure for eczema, one has to dictate and eliminate its possible triggers”. That was the even harder part because how does one tackle something they do not know?
I became frustrated with doctors and resorted to stop using steroid creams because I learnt that the excessive use thereof causes skin thinning and even more complications. Instead I did my own research. I also changed my diet to healthier foods. An attempt to heal myself from the inside out. However that only did so much, the itch was still there, my skin was still flaring and my eczema continued spreading.
It was a hot day in Johannesburg, 30 degrees Celsius and I was on campus when my skin went haywire, it began to burn from the inside, itch and flare up. It almost looked burnt and I decided to go see a specialist that very day strongly hoping that he would tell me something different as compared to the other doctors as I had reached my final stroll of suffering.
The doctor examined my skin and commented on all the bruises caused from scratching on top of my eczema. He sat me down and thoroughly discussed the possibilities of my eczema triggers and prescribed antihistamines (Texan allergy tablets, Prednisone and Reneph), a steroid cream (Dovate); bathing; and moisturizing creams. Instructing me to return within 4 days to see if there were any changes.
I sat there thinking “Here I go again, this one thinks he is Doctor of miracles, telling me about seeing changes in four days”. With the very little hope inside of me I chose to follow the doctors’ orders regardless. To my surprise ‘My oh my! Doctor from the land of the spices’ I began seeing changes within two days. The burning sensation had left me, the itching became manageable and most of my eczema flares began to fade away:
I’ve since then followed a regime and this consists of:
- Strictly showering twice everyday so as to hydrate my skin.
- I do not wash with soap, I use Epizone E- applied all over my skin and then washed off.
NB: I understand that ladies may want to make sure that their lady parts are washed thoroughly, for that I use Clicks branded intimate wash, it is made for sensitive skin.
- For moisturizing I apply Epimax cream and about once a week when I feel my skin getting tingly, I apply Dovate ointment prescribed by the doctor.
- I drink lots of water and moderate my acid intake.
- I do all my chores with cleaning gloves on to protect my skin from strong cleaning chemicals.
- I apply SPF 50 sunscreen daily to protect my skin from harsh weathers.
- To clear the cuts caused by my nails while itching I use Fucidin ointment. I’ve also since started doing acrylic nails not only for beauty purposes but to make sure that my nails are thick and that less causes less damage when the itching has me.
The aim is to keep hydrated and moisturized, follow a healthy diet plan and stay away from excessive use of chemicals. One must also not spend too much time in water. Do not dare use extremely hot water when bathing.
I’ve learnt that when I visit coastal areas my skin rarely affects me but in the city of Johannesburg made concrete and less humid, I have to take extra care of my skin. To my fellow eczema sufferers, You are not alone, wishing you all the best!