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Sensitive Skin, Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis - Oh My!

Chad Riddersen

Posted on March 27 2013

Sensitive Skin, Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis – Apparently, I’ve had it all since the day I was born.   I’ve struggled with dry, itchy skin, rashes, and redness my whole life, but six weeks ago, before I had my 3rd daughter, my eczema flared up like never before.  My face and most of my body were red and blistery and unbearably itchy and dry.  After I had the baby, Mark Cuban invited us to do an appearance with him on The View, so for vanity reasons, I called my dermatologist, who gave me a potent steroid cream to use for 3 days only.  My skin cleared up almost instantaneously, just in time to look eczema-free on the show.  I stopped using the steroid cream the morning of the taping, and twelve hours later, my eczema went into overdrive.  I had never seen my skin look that bad.

To make a long story, short, I'm convinced my skin is addicted to topical steroid creams.  I used them on and off throughout my life when my eczema would flare, but who knew you could become addicted to skin creams?  I am under the care of a dermatologist, who says the only remedy is to "withdraw" from the steroids.  The upside is that he says by withdrawing or stopping the use of all steroid creams, steroid injections, and oral steroids,  I will be completely cured of eczema.  The downside is that I will look like a burn victim and have intense eczema flares for at least 6 months to as long as 2 years!!!  Since one's skin is the largest organ of the body, it may take a long time to recover from this “addiction.”  Another thing that makes it difficult is that I need to stay out of the sun and keep my body cool for the time being.  This should be quite a feat considering I live in Southern California!

I have consulted many dermatologists over the years and thought long and hard about what to do about my persistent eczema, and I’ve decided that going through this God-awful withdrawal is my only option.   Right now, I look like I have 3rd degree burns all over my face and body, and it goes through a different phase daily - red, oozing, burning, extremely dry, etc.  Everyday is so unpredictable.  I go between getting chills and sweating profusely and it's uncomfortable to wear clothes, so I have not left my house except to see doctors.  Thankfully, Lollacup headquarters is in my home, so I am able to work and I have a precious newborn to love and care for, so that has been my saving grace.  It is going to be a long year, but I'm hopeful that this doctor is right and my eczema will be gone after the whole withdrawal process is said and done.

I know that this is just temporary, and I am so very thankful that I am healthy otherwise, but I feel compelled to write about my condition to alert those of you with eczema or children with eczema to be very cautious of steroid use.  I am not an expert or a physician, so I’m not saying that all steroids are bad, but I think it’s important to know that one’s skin can become addicted to topical steroids and the side effects of these creams are quite scary.

FYI, this is the non-profit organization (itsan.org) that is trying to get the word out about topical steroid addiction.  It wasn't until I stumbled upon this website that I realized what was happening to me.

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77 comments

  • Lauren: September 05, 2017

    Hello, I know this was posted 2 years ago, but I’ll give it a shot. Ryan, you mentioned that you had some luck w/doctors in/near NYC for your RSS/TSW. Can you please share their names? Thank you very much.

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  • Alma Newton: May 25, 2017

    My baby has bad eczema and foderma serum cleared in up in a matter of days!! He looks like a totally different kid! It’s also helped with his diaper rash when desatin didn’t help at all. I’m so happy with this serum!

  • Denise: August 07, 2016

    Hello. God healed me of severe eczema which I’d suffered with for many years, and now I just want to yell from the rooftops and tell the world how that happened and how to get healed. I was often covered in eczema from head to toe and looked like a monster. It’s mid summer now; hot, humid and sweaty; and I am not bothered in the least. That is a miracle. Since I was first introduced to the internet, I have spent many hours reading about eczema and what others had to say in the comments sections. I tried nearly everything and nothing helped. Now, when I see advertisements for steroid creams and hear stories about how others are suffering, I shake my head and want to scream , “NO! I have an answer.” Whereas I previously browsed the internet looking for an answer for eczema; I am now browsing the internet to tell everyone I can that I have an answer for eczema. The only way that I know to get the information out is to put it online. My website is very new, so it won’t come up in a google search yet. Please type in the address bar: www.howtohealeczema.com What you will read in this website is not like anything that you have read concerning eczema. I believe that it came from God, and If you take time to read it in its entirety and do what it says, your life will change. God Bless You.

  • Krista: May 02, 2016

    When I saw the episode of BTT, I thought it was perhaps Stephen’s-Johnson’s syndrome. many drugs can trigger it, and using other meds can exacerbate it. A very dear friend of mine was in the ICU for quite some time with SJS.. When I was finally able to see her she was better but it sounded remarkably like what you went thru.

    My son had eczema from birth and the cure for him was hemp lotion and food grade coconut oil. We’d apply after a bath, then wrap wet strips of organic hemp fleece around his worst areas for about an hour. We had to be relied about it, but it worked over time. His allergist was amazed.

    Eczema is very often connected with asthma and food allergies. Our son has them as well. He must keep an Epi pen with him at all times. But his eczema at 14 is minor (but has been replaced by keratosis just not itchy).

  • Karina: March 30, 2016

    How are you now? Can you update us?

  • Ashley: January 16, 2016

    I was interested in your story after watching Beyond The Tank. I applaud you for what you’re doing and wish you well during this time. Essential oils really help me. They are all natural and peppermint oil has an amazing cooling relief that soothes me, as well as lavender oil. I’ve been prescribed steroid creams as well, and will be very cautious about this now in the future. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sarah: July 02, 2015

    I have struggled with eczema since I was a child. Went away while I was pregnant but came right back. I’ve been trying a gluten free diet to see if it helps and it has! May not be the cure all for everyone but just thought I’d pass that along!

  • Miss Kitty Fantastico: July 02, 2015

    Hey Lollaland – great post. I’m so glad that you’ve finally discovered ‘the answer’ – no more years of driving yourself mad trying to work out what was causing the flares and the worsening ‘eczema’. We will all be around to help you through your healing!

    Thanks for posting this.

    Much love,

    Jo / Miss Kitty Fantastico xxx

  • Ryan: July 02, 2015

    Our son, 7, has fought this most of his life as well. A few years ago we were living outside NYC and finally found some docs who helped. We, too, were on the steroid cream (and oral steroid) roller coaster. We used to have to use medical tape to secure his shirt and pant cuffs to keep him from scratching himself bloody in his sleep. After accupuncture, dietary changes (which have helped a little), and many other tries, one of the biggest helps has been a daily bath in lukewarm water – with a couple capfuls of regular old bleach. The bleach seems to break the cycle of skin infections and regulate the whole thing. We also use Aquaphor and Trimacinilone cream occasionally, but it seems the bleach is the best solution. Might be worth a try!

  • Lisa: July 02, 2015

    Omg!!! My daughter has been going through the same thing, and steroid cream was given to her, and immediately when I put it on her skin was cleared, thanks for posting this info… I won’t put that cream on her

  • Rachel: July 02, 2015

    Are you able to use natural remedies during this withdrawl? I have also struggled with ezcema my entire life. Luckily, I learned early on about the dangers of steroid cream use. I have had great success with lessening my symptoms with organic virgin cold pressed cocounut oil and CJ’s butter. Good luck to you!

  • Jacki WJ: July 02, 2015

    Oh, I am so sorry! I am dealing with something similar – we now believe that it is a type of eczema, but I don’t have the itching or oozing. I just have dark splotches on my chest and neck, making it look pretty bad if I wear anything low cut… Feel better, and concentrate on the wonderful outcome!

  • Breanna Morrow: July 02, 2015

    I too am trying to detach from eczema steroids, after realizing the damage to skin cells from long term use and the inability for my skin to heal even after a minor cut. Aquafor Baby Healing Ointment has been a tremendous help for me! Good Luck!!!

  • lollaland: July 02, 2015

    Thank you Joey!

  • Lynda: July 02, 2015

    Ryan – don’t use bleach on the skin! I really don’t believe it’s safe! Try oatmeal! I think Aveeno sells packages of oatmeal for the bath. That’s what the dermatologist suggested years ago for my son who had problems. I bet even epsom salts in the bath would help.
    I too suffer but in various spots, not all over and I feel for you as I know how itchy it is! Stress apparently makes it worse.
    I’ve always tried to avoid the sun and now have even more reason to do so!
    Good Luck everyone!

  • Rachelle Flatt: July 02, 2015

    My husband suffers from psoraisis and time to time myself with eczema. The only thing that works the best on us both is vitamin E oil. We will never use the steroid creams again

  • Jina: July 02, 2015

    Wow, what a great post! All 3 of my children have eczema and I’ve tried using steroid creams for my 2nd son, which also worked wonders. His eczema got so much better at one point so stopped using it, but I’ve been contemplating on whether I should use it on my newborn daughter or not. After reading this, I’m definitely not! Never knew you could be addicted to skin treatments. Thx so much for sharing!! xo~

  • Joey: July 02, 2015

    So sorry you are in this condition and no thanks to most derms, allergists and many doctors. You will heal but it is not a cake walk so do take it one day at a time. I healed in a 22ish month time frame after using topical steroids on my hands for eczema for 40+ cumulative years. The whole world needs to know that topical steroids are potentially addictive after 5-7 days use in any one area of the body for a lifetime. Get with the facts medical community! Much love to ya friend! xxx

  • lollaland: July 02, 2015

    Thanks Jo!

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