The Eczema Boil

reviews, news, info and interviews on an unpopular skin disease and living with it

Getting Down On Your Immune System

Immunosuppressants can be dangerous, please be careful when using them. This includes Protopic and Elidel, which have had the alarming results of an increase in skin cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma among their users.  [This means you Chris!]

Please read the directions on your medication and follow them accordingly. These ointments suppress your immune system. It’s like giving sleeping pills to an over-reactive guard dog. It can be useful, but you don’t want to do it all the time.

For the record I have used Protopic, but only to stop the cycle of a major outbreak, and only for two weeks. The dermatologist explained the cancer warnings to me so I applied it sparingly. It worked excellently for me, but I also had learn to be careful with it.

The instructions said to not touch anyone after using the ointment unless I had washed my hands, and I forgot to, and handed something to my mother. She had a red burning rash on her palm for the next few hours.


FDA Warning on Raptiva

Raptiva, an immunosuppressant drug for Psoriasis [kissing cousin to eczema], has received new advisory warnings from the FDA.

The government is warning … could result in serious brain infection and even death.

What Causes Eczema?

Pubmed has an article from Switzerland about the genetics involved in eczema –

Atopic eczema (AE) is a multifactorial skin disease caused by a variety of factors such as genetic conditions, alterated skin structure, immunologic deviations and environmental factors, among others.

Recently, it was demonstrated that Filaggrin (=filament-aggregating protein, FL) is a major gene for atopic eczema.

The BBC covered an interesting study into cat exposure sparking eczema in babies.

Scientists found having the mutant FLG gene increased the risk of eczema in a baby’s first year twofold, but adding exposure to a cat quadrupled that risk.

Another Pubmed article, from Royal Victoria Infirmary, notes

The discovery that null mutations in the filaggrin gene (FLG) are associated with atopic eczema represents the single most significant breakthrough in understanding the genetic basis of this complex disorder.

It’s very exciting to know that doctors have pinned what causes eczema, even if we don’t quite know what to do with that knowledge yet.

Hello, Ugly.

Usually I go through life ignoring my skin as much as possible, since it isn’t really a happy thought. But, it’s been one of those weeks where my face is super dry and beginning to chap, so I’m conscious of it every moment.

It’s tight and peeling off in little flakes, so I’ve been using scotch tape to get those off as easily as possible. Sounds weird I’m sure, but it’s much more effective than scratching. People can’t really see the chapping unless they’re up close, but it still has me wanting to wrap my head in a scarf and hide. It brings back memories of the years when I looked like a monster. It also hurts to smile, frown, or raise my eyebrows.

I hate this idiot disease. I also feel like this post is badly written, and the only explanation I have is that it’s hard to concentrate on anything very long when my skin is making me feel phrenetic.

Is Water Softener Helpful?

A study in England examines the idea that water softener can relieve children’s eczema symptoms.

The blog WaterSonoma has a list of the 10 Most Common Effects of Hard Water, which mentions dry skin.

What I Don’t Want

Or bad presents for eczema sufferers, and the usual explanations that accompany them.

Polyester scarf “But it’s so pretty” And itchy. Receipt please?

Scented lotion “Well I know your skin is always dry, so I thought this would help.” This one really gets me. It isn’t just dry, it’s arid and sharp. We’re talking about something that makes Lubriderm run and hide in impotence. Lavender scented lotion is going to clear that up?

Super fluffy socks “They’re really soft so they should make your skin feel better.” They’re soft to you. To me, their texture is cloying. The closest fabric gets to feeling good on my skin is when it’s non-irritating, and microfiber does not fill that bill.

A Chocolate Orange “Well, it’s chocolate, and doesn’t have corn syrup.” You do get points for remembering the corn syrup part, but – Orange. As in citrus. Another allergy.

Earrings “They’re so pretty -“ I hardly ever wear earrings, since the only metals I’m not allergic to are copper, titanium and platinum.

The basic rule is that anything that touches the skin can cause a reaction. So what’s your best shot?


Find out what presents they dread every year. Or, take them shopping and pay attention to their reactions when they touch things.

A present the receiver is allergic to is a waste of your time, energy, and money. It’s also a waste of space for them. Every year I end up with a small pile of things that I can’t use and have to figure out what to do with. At that point I’d rather just have a hug and a great conversation.

Puraderm Update

Puraderm Hair and Body is amazing. [Check out the original review.]

I have no reaction to the soap, and since it only takes a dollop to get me clean all over a 16oz. bottle seems to last forever. It does a great job removing dirt, sweat, fragrance and body odor. I truly love this stuff and recommend it to anyone, but especially those with sensitive skin.

This might sound far fetched, and I know I’m gushing, but Puraderm has improved my quality of life. It’s awesome to bath without breaking out in hives!