Thursday, May 27, 2010

Eczema, Cause and Cure?????

About 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with eczema by a physician. Years before I was told by my dermatologist that is was contact dermatitis. I'll make it plain; for about the last 10 years I have been suffering severely with this skin irritation on my hands and wrists. It involves just my hands and wrists and itches in a way that is indescribable. At one point it was so bad it discolored my hands leaving them an ashy black (literally charcoal colored) and covered in tiny blisters. I had no clue what was causing it and searched high and low for a treatment. After the first five years of dealing with it and no successful treatments under my belt, I was given a cream called Elidel. This cream seemed to be the perfect treatment. It soothed the itch, which I can tell you was by far the worst part and it also took away the discoloration for the most part. A few years later, I learned that Elidel was being investigated for possibly causing cancer. I'm sure you understand how I felt about that. I immediately discontinued the treatment and sought an alternative. I have tried many different home remedies such as Vitamin E and Aloe Vera, but none of them have had the effect that Elidel provided. In this last year I have been on a quest to truly find out what caused this irritation and how fix it myself. After many books and internet pages read, I think I may have found my holy grail. Today I opened one of my many email messages and there was an article that mentioned a chemical substance called linalool, present in shampoos, that could be linked to the exacerbation of eczema. I always read articles about eczema in hopes to find a better treatment. Little did I know that this one little word, linalool, would lead me to find the possible cause of my own irritation. Linalool is present in just about everything I use, from skin care to cleaning products. It is a terpene alcohol that occurs naturally in various spice plants and flowers and is used in many products for its spicy, flowery scent. Using its synonyms (too many to name), I searched all of my household items and found that 90% of everything I use have this chemical. Imagine my surprise. My first thought is why did it wait so long to show up, if I really am allergic to this chemical that is so prevalent in everything. My deduction is that it really didn't show up until I was using so many of the items on a daily basis. As a mom and a wife, my daily life is filled with these products, most times more than twice a day. Even with hand washing, it is nearly impossible to avoid the linalool, which is present in many common soaps and hand creams. Armed with this knowledge, I am on a mission. It's going to be hard to let go some of some of the products that have been staples since my children were babies, but for the sake of my skin health, I have to do the work. Time to go au naturel-linalool free with my cleaning products as well as my skin care products. I am so happy to have gotten that email which prompted my subsequent search. Now for some research on linalool free products....To be continued....