Eczema Free Forever™ Eczema Free Forever™

Oct 14, Support The Teal Pumpkin Project To Raise Food Allergy Awareness

Halloween is a fun time for families. Dressing up, having parties and trick-or-treating. Children particularly love trick or treating. But if your child suffers from allergies it can become less fun. A great project has been started by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education). It is called The Teal Pumpkin Project. It is encouraging households to give non-food items out to trick-or-treaters. The participating households put a teal painted pumpkin their house, as well as putting up a poster, to tell trick-or-treaters that they are only giving out non-food treats. I think this project is a great idea. It helps to raise awareness of food allergies, and allows children suffering from them to participate in a fun family tradition. It would be great if communities could get involved and raise awareness of this project. You can find out more below
Eczema Blog

Anomalies in the immune system of patients who have experienced eczema herpeticum

Scientists have discovered that eczema patients who have suffered an outbreak of eczema herpeticum possess a subset of T cells that appear to be less effective at fighting viruses than T cells in the rest of the population. The results, published online in the British Journal of Dermatology, may point to an impaired arm of the immune system, a weakness that enables the herpes simplex virus (HSV), the agent of eczema herpeticum, to thrive.

Eczema herpeticum (EH) is a nasty skin infection caused by the HSV. The researchers, led by Donald Leung at National Jewish Health in Denver, took T cells (specifically, the class of T cells that fights viral infection) from 24 eczema patients who had experienced EH. The scientists analyzed various aspects of the T cells, comparing them to T cells taken from control patients—with and without eczema—who had not been infected by HSV. The scientists found that T cells from the EH group were producing less of a signaling molecule called “interferon-gamma” than those from the control groups.

Interferon-gamma is known to play many important roles in the immune response, especially in fighting viral infections.

The researchers also tested the DNA of the patients and found that the EH group were statistically more likely to possess copies of genes encoding “HLA B7” proteins, which hold chopped-up viral fragments on the cell membrane as markers so that T cells can identify and destroy infected cells.

It seems clear to me that a lack of interferon-gamma might be a liability against viruses. (I wouldn’t expect this deficiency to be an effect of EH infection rather than a contributing cause, but the authors don’t discuss the possibility.)

Owning a copy of HLA B7 might seem to improve your ability to fight infection–especially since that group of proteins have been shown to present fragments of vaccinia virus. However, as Leung pointed out to me in an email, having HLA B7 didn’t prevent many of the patients in this study from getting eczema herpeticum.

These results don’t have any immediate application to helping patients, but the area they highlight might prove important in protecting patients from eczema herpeticum in the future.

This is the first paper I have seen that acknowledges funding by the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network. I am sure there are many more papers out there, but this is the first I have noticed since the inception of the $ 31 million program, founded in 2010 to explore skin infections related to eczema.
End Eczema

Day 337 – Day 351: Stable…But Still Flaring….

So, Month 12 so far has been pretty stable, but I still flare.  The flares aren’t epic, they’re small, and I heal quite quickly from them, but they’re still uncomfortable and irritating.  I can shower, apply moisturizer and makeup, and I still look pretty normal.  The showers FEEL AMAZING.  I’ve even had some days this month where I don’t really need makeup or moisturizer and I looked pretty darn normal!  BUT, there were days were I was SO dry and my skin wouldn’t hold moisture for longer than 12 hours.  This disease is beyond understanding.

So far this month…..

  • I can shower regularly!  And they feel amazing!  After not showering for the first 10 months this has been an incredible blessing.  
  • I still have a restricted diet.  I dabble with other food but any large amounts result in extreme inflammation and irritation.  LOTS of itching.
  • Still don’t sleep through the night.   I sleep about 3-4 hours at a time and can usually go to sleep once I adjust and scratch a little.  
  • I am LIVING.  The flares haven’t kept me down, but I’ve gotten sick both in month 12 and month 11 with an upper respiratory things.  Other than that, my skin hasn’t stopped me.  My husband hasn’t had to take time off because of it.  It’s been good.  If I need groceries, I go…. If I need to run an errand, i go.  It’s been nice.
  • I GAINED 10lbs!!!!  PRAISE THE LORD!  I was scary skinny for a while and felt like leather skin hanging on a skeleton.  So thankful to have gained back some weight.

Day 337

So, I think I get dishydrotic eczema on my ears.  I would get these awful, painful blisters on my ears that I never knew what they were.  I finally came to the consensus that it was dishydrotic eczema.  Some people on the Facebook forum said it looked like herpeticum, but it never became out of control.  At the same time I got these (which you’ll see them change through this post), I also got a very mild cold sore and a weird sore on my nose.  So, it could just be “herpes” outbreaks all over, but either way that’s what herpeticum is when it’s rampant and coupled with infection.

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BEFORE SHOWER AND MAKEUP
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AFTER SHOWER AND MAKEUP


Day 339

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Day 342


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NO MAKEUP!!


Day 343


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NO MAKEUP!


Day 344

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Day 345


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NO MAKEUP
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AFTER SHOWER A LITTLE RED
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ADD MAKEUP AND VOILA!
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SOMETHING MADE ME BREAK OUT ON THE WAY HOME.  SOOO ITCHY


Day 346


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NO MAKEUP
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AFTER SHOWER


Day 348


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Woke up swollen
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Day 349


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SOMETHING SET ME OFF…. THE BEGINNING OF A FLARE.


Day 350


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Randomly got hives on my upper lip.
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My lips randomly flared… itching and oozing.
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Day 351
Post flare DRYNESS.  Hoping that after a shower and moisturizer tomorrow, I’ll be back to how I was.  

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Add caption

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THIS HURTS.  No clue why this happened, but it just randomly started itching SO badly.
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Peace Out Eczema

Nov 11, Eczema Tied To Bone Fracture Risk In Study

A study of 34,500 adults was done. It showed that people with eczema had more than double the risk of a fracture, or bone injury, than people without eczema, reported The New York Times Well blog. The main author of the report, Dr Jonathan Silverberg, said ‘fatigue and sleep deprivation, the use of sedating medicines like antihistamines, could raise the risk of falls’. Also Dr Silverberg says ‘that chronic inflammation is associated with bone loss and increased fracture risk. Also steroid medications, often used for eczema, can weaken bones’. This is a very interesting study and got me thinking about some of the other reasons that this may occur. Vitamin D is considered important for bone health, as it helps the body absorb calcium into the body. Calcium is known to be vital for the bones. It is also suggested that eczema sufferers have low levels of vitamin D. These two facts may suggest a link to the results of this study. Taking a vitamin D supplement may help eczema sufferers. To both help with managing their eczema, and to help with their bone health.
Eczema Blog

A Catch Up

I’m pleased to say the former infection has been controlled by a different antibiotic. However, I am now undergoing a bout of sodding herpeticum. It has been 4 months since my last one so it was expected, especially with how much stress I’ve been going through recently. I’m just annoyed because yesterday was my first day back at work & now this has cropped up. Thanks body!

I Have Eczema

Directed evolution applied in the development of Psoriasis medications

Main category: Eczema / Psoriasis
Article Date: 22 March 2013-0:00 PDT current ratings for:
Directed evolution applied in the development of Psoriasis medications
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University Ben-Gurion of researchers of the Negev (BGU), in collaboration with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., have developed a promising drug candidate to treat psoriasis. The discovery was reported in a new paper published in chemistry and biology.

Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious disease characterized by covered flaming silver white crusting lesions of dead skin. An autoimmune disease, psoriasis affects at least 4 million Americans. It is caused by disturbances in the natural balance between proinflammatory and signals that inhibit inflammation.


One of the main signals involved in the progression of psoriasis is the protein of the immune system interleukin 17 (IL-17). The research team has developed a method for inhibiting pro-inflammatory signals IL-17 and proved that their engineered receptors, it-17R, is very effective in the reduction of inflammatory signals IL-17 induced in mouse models. Moreover, the injection of the receiver in a model mice with acute human psoriasis eliminated symptoms, mainly to cure this disease.


“Use of directed evolution to improve the properties of IL-17 receptor, we created engineered mutants which could prove it has a viable treatment for patients with severe psoriasis who do not respond to current drugs,” explains Dr. Amir Aharoni, one of the investigators of BGU Department of Sciences of life and the National Institute of biotechnology in the Negev.


“Given that the directed evolution method can be applied to other receptors involved in autoimmune diseases and cancer, I believe that we begin just to drill the potential of this approach,” adds Aharoni.


Directedhttp://www.eczemablog.net/ evolution is an iterative process of Darwinian optimization used in protein engineering whereby the fittest variants are selected from a collection of random mutations. Improved variants are identified and isolated by screening or selection for the property of interest. This approach is particularly advantageous in cases where no knowledge of the mechanism and the structure of the protein is available.

Article adapted by Medical News Today press release original. Click on “references” tab above for the source.
Visit our eczema / psoriasis section for the latest news on this subject. Other researchers credited ‘Directed Evolution of a receptor Soluble de IL-17 human a for the Inhibition of the Formation of plaques of Psoriasis’ in a Murine model are BGU Dr. Marianna Zaretsky and Teva researchers Dr. Liora Sklair-Tavron, Dr. Joel Kaye, Revital Etzyoni.
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Eczema Blog

Happy New Year Red Skin Friends!

Wow. It has been an entire month since I last updated this blog.

Let’s start by saying Happy New Year everyone! I hope this year will be good to all of us going through topical steroid withdrawal, and to those who haven’t started the journey yet, I hope this is the year you see sense and potentially save yourself from long term pain of steroid addiction.

I figured I would reflect on and talk a little about what 2014 had in store for me so that I can look back and see how far I have come.

The start of 2014 was great. I was in a good place, my skin was pretty decent. I was able to wear black clothing, go out with my friends more, work more full time hours and not have to worry about my skin.

This soon changed. The start of the year my other half was in a bad place mentally and we needed to get out of Lincoln and find him a new job where he could relax and feel appreciated for all his efforts. I was also yearning for change as Lincoln had become a bit stale and I felt ready to move on and go forward with life. He found a fantastic job in Leeds, and off we moved at the end of April. However even though I did not feel at all stressed as I was excited for the change, my body had other ideas and off again started the pain and misery of my second full body flare. I was gutted. I wanted good change, to finally get on with my life.

I believe it has to do with the change of environment but there is little you can do until your body naturally adjusts. So pain was endured and I had to begrudgingly take time off work. After a trip to the doctors where I was given an antibiotic that I had used numerous times in the past I woke up the next day having had an allergic reaction. I was shipped to hospital only to be told it was ‘just my eczema’ giving me grief. Even though it was obviously an allergic reaction given my face and eyes had completely swelled up, just as it does when I am faced with allergens. Funnily the swelling went away after I had ceased the usage.

I was then sent to the dermatologist to continue with treatment that I had received at Lincoln hospital which turned out to be a nightmare having to start from scratch as they didn’t seem to be able to locate any of my previous notes. There was a big family wedding coming up in August and I needed something to control my skin, so after a lot of arguing that I wasn’t going to use steroidal treatment we agreed to put me back on Ciclosporin even though I was apprehensive because it had failed to work the last time and I ended up with MRSA in 2013.

The Ciclosporin worked its magic, but only for a short period. By the end of October my skin gradually became worse and worse and I dealt with more and more infections. I’m still in this place now where I don’t know when my next infection is going to occur but I feel it could just be around the corner. I have a follow up appointment next week with the dermatologist which I am not looking forward to but I will see if it is possible to carry out blood work for deficiencies.

There has been one excellent thing though. I actually went home to my family for Christmas this year and it was great. My brother also has a cat and I didn’t appear to react for the entire duration of the day. I did however start to get sneezy at my mum’s house but all in all I was ecstatic that I could stand to be there at all.

I really hope this is the year things start to look up for me. I would ideally like to be doing a different job that doesn’t involve me dealing with members of the public on a daily basis, as this is contributing to my endless infections, despite my precautions to use hand sanitisers and the like. I feel an office based job would be better suited for my recovery and much less stressful overall. Yet without the relevant experience and my awful absence record I’m still going to be stuck for a long while yet. Ho hum. My absence will only get better if I have a better suited job so it is a bit of a vicious circle right now. I feel stuck in a rut and want to broaden my skill set and be able to lead the happy life I had intended.

I hope everyone else is well and I endeavour to update more frequently again.
I Have Eczema

New NEA blog post. Why is the East Coast missing from the Eczema Map Project?

Check out my latest post on the blog of the National Eczema Association. I write about the Eczema Map Project and, in particular, what it’s already taught me: that either I have a lot to learn, or there’s not much happening on the east coast of the United States, which has traditionally been the power center for academia, industry, and medicine. Why is that?
End Eczema

June 8 Itching for a Cure walk in New Jersey: it’s not about you

The National Eczema Association recently announced the second annual Itching for a Cure walk, which will raise awareness and funds for eczema outreach and research. It will take place June 8 on the Monmouth University campus in New Jersey–essentially greater New York City. (Last year’s walk was held in Asheville, North Carolina.)

The largest barrier for me, as an adult patient, to participating in such a walk–were one to be held in the area I live in–is embarrassment. Eczema is not a socially acceptable disease. It’s there on your skin, sometimes your face, where people can see there’s something wrong with you. And when it’s not visible, that’s a good thing. You want to hide it.

In this matter, there’s a huge difference between a parent of a child with eczema and an adult patient with eczema. The mother or father of a child with eczema is not embarrassed. They are concerned and want to do everything they can to make their child better.

On top of the embarrassment factor, it seems a bit selfish, a bit like a panhandler, for an adult patient to take part in an eczema walk. Sponsor me, it seems to say, to raise money for a cure for me!

Mothers and fathers are ready to fight for their kids. They are not doing it for themselves. They will proudly take part in an eczema walk, and look you in the eye.

The absence of adult patients from Itching for a Cure is probably not a major factor. After all, eczema is predominantly a condition that children outgrow. But how might we convince adult patients, including me, to take part?

I think the key lies in altruism. It’s not about you.

Let’s face it–if you’re raising money to increase awareness of the prevalence of eczema, or how it should be properly treated, or to fund research that might lead to a pharmaceutical cure–you are not doing it for yourself. There will be no cure for eczema in your lifetime. You are doing it for other people. Your grandkids, and millions of people you will never know.

It becomes a lot less embarrassing when you’re doing it for somebody else.

And that is why if there is ever an Itching for a Cure walk in my area, I’ll be signing up. I know exactly how shitty it is to live with this condition, and how important it is that other people be spared the torment and the embarrassment. It’s not me I’ll be doing it for–it’s you!
End Eczema