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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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84 comments

  • lollaland: July 02, 2015

    Hi Deborah,

    I’m definitely getting better. I’m not 100% but getting better so I’m happy about that. I’ve done bleach soaks in the past, but they were super drying. I’ve found that epsom salt baths and dead sea salts have kept infections at bay for me. Wishing you good health as well!

  • Deborah: July 02, 2015

    I’m sorry you are suffering! Is it getting better now? I’ve been off steroids for 3 months and have 3 small kids and it’s very hard!! I’ve tried epiceram and ceraVe and it seems be helping together with vanicream. And today I just saw this on amazon – Lingon Emusion – that people are raving about.
    By the way, why did you do the bleach soaks? were you getting infected? because my hands did get infected and I had to go on antibiotics twice recently and I’m scared for it to happen again. I haven’t heard of these bleach soaks. Did it prevent infection for you?
    Wishing you good health very soon!!!

  • Barbara: July 02, 2015

    I went through a similar all over red, violently itchy skin condition many years ago, where i could not sleep, wear clothes or leave the house. Sleep deprivation adds to the stress, strain and pain of the condition. Three things helped me over the years. A tibetan doctor (very rare in the UK – I don’t know how to find one in the states), meditation with a coach (the only way I could get any sleep), and lastly the best, acupuncture – which I believe combined with the Tibetan medicine to eradicate the skin condition for two years. It did come back, but in such a mild form that it has been manageable for years. Every now and then I go back for acupuncture to keep it in check. At onset, it was the most painful experience of my life, and my heart goes out to you. I hope that you are feeling better now, as this post is an older one.

  • Joi: July 02, 2015

    Just a thought…you may want to check out the Gerson Diet. He was a German doctor who had skin issues (I believe skin tuberculosis or something like that) and it totally cleared up by eating apples. (organic apples) But his diet has been curing more than skin. Check it out you may find some answers!

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