For as long as I can remember, I have been cursed with this itchy, scaly, nasty rash professionally known as ECZEMA. Thank goodness I only have it on my hands. And using key words from the title I'm sure you can guess which part of my hand.
If you are one of the fortunate ones to not be afflicted with this skin condition, let me fill you in. For me, eczema isn't a constant. I can go weeks even a month or two at time with clear skin. But it likes to rear it's ugly head when my hands have been in water too much. Whether it's something dreadful like dish washing or something I live for like frolicking in the ocean. Okay, I've never frolicked but it sounds fun.
I do wear rubber gloves when I'm cleaning but wouldn't you know the rubber or latex also aggravates my eczema. This is especially true at harvest time when I'm wrist deep in crimson colored cranberries as they travel along our conveyor belts. I have to wear gloves for food safety but the entire time I'm thinking about that nasty SOB eczema who is always lurking. Ready to attack and usually does.
But it doesn't have to be harvest time, cleaning time or even frolicking time.
Sometimes my eczema just likes to barge in for no apparent reason. "Oh, you again." I say. "What the heck do you want?"
My hand doesn't talk back but if it could I'm sure it'd say something like this. "Hey, whatsup? Thought I'd stop by for a bit, maybe longer. I'm about to aggravate the shit out of you. Do you have something nearby to scratch with because you're going to need it. I plan on making your hand look like raw hamburger. Everything you put on it is going to hurt. Ha. You better plan on at least a few weeks to get it under control. Do you still have enough of your prescription left? I'm hoping not. Well, let's get started. Pop. Pop. Pop."
That's how it starts. Out of the blue. Pop. A blister like thing appears. Pop. Another. Pop. Several more. Oh, and do these little buggers itch! I'm not talking mosquito bite kind of itch. I'm talking about chicken pox kind of itch. Isn't it sad that a good portion of you reading this have no reference for that? That was a right of passage when I was little. Let's have a chicken pox party. What were our parents thinking?
So, now you can imagine several blisters appearing that itch like nothing you've ever felt (well unless you've had chicken pox). You can't NOT scratch. No one has that kind of will power. There have been many times in my life when I've tried to fight the urge to scratch. And then all of sudden, much like a cat ready to pounce, ugh you give in. You'll find anything to scratch with because fingers just aren't enough. Once when I was about 8, I remember I gave into the itching and started to rub my palm on the arm of our recliner. Before that itch was relieved, I had actually pulled the cloth of the chair free from it's stitching. I told my mom that the cat did it.
That's how intense the itch can be. It is no laughing matter or for the feeble minded. Seriously.
Once you give in to the itching (and most will), the blisters pop and what you're left with is red raw skin. That's when the rash starts to spread like wild fire. The rash will last anywhere from 2-3 weeks if I'm lucky enough to not develop new blisters. I've tried everything thru the years and have seen many dermatologists. I have a prescription that seems to work when the rash appears. It has been what has gotten me through this thing called life (yes I'm a Prince fan).
It's called BETAMETHASONE DIPROPIONATE or Diprolene Lotion. (Or lovingly referred to as Beta Dip by the pharmacist.) I found this interesting when I researched the drug that I've been using for well over a decade: "Common side effects of Diprolene Lotion include burning, itching, irritation, redness, dryness, or peeling at the application site when first applied to the skin. This should disappear in a few days as your body adjusts to Diprolene Lotion. Other side effects of Diprolene Lotion include thinning of your skin, blistering skin, or stretch marks." Click here to read more.
So THAT'S why whenever I'm seeing a doctor they call in the interns to observe my hands. Then in secret code, using words I don't understand, they talk about how thin the skin is on my palms. They act as if they have never seen such atrocities as their fingers follow the many lines on my hands. I think I hear them do an evil chuckle but I'm not sure. And why am I putting a lotion on my itchy hands that can blister my skin or cause itching? Things that make you go hmmm.
Bring on the Cranberry Seed Oil.
Since we started pressing oil my hands have been drenched in this lovely liquid gold. I put it on daily if not twice a day on my hands. It has been over a year and I have not had ONE visit from the eczema fairy. Not one! And that includes time frolicking in the ocean and being very brazen and not wearing gloves to do dishes. Yeah. I like to live dangerously.
Well, that was until a few days ago. My luck had run out. I was sitting on the couch enjoying a little television when I felt the formidable POP POP POP. There he was. Snickering at me begging me to start scratching. That's when I thought about the best defense I know. No it's not Beta Dip silly. Cranberry Seed Oil.
I decided to place myself in a Laboratory Study. I would put the oil to the test! No more Beta Dip thinning my hands to mockery.
This is my hand on Wednesday night. It doesn't look like much but those little blisters you see are the ones I was telling you about. Once those babies pop it's all down hill. I usually make it about 12 hours before I give in and pick at our scratch the blisters. Within 24 hours I will have a nasty itchy rash spreading across my hand.
So I've been applying Cranberry Seed Oil several times throughout the day instead of just once or twice a day. I even took a roller ball with me wherever I went and when I got the itchies I rubbed it in. It stopped the itching! I honestly couldn't believe that it had that kind of power. I only had to bear the insanity for maybe a minute until I'd get relief. The oil would soak in and work it's magic.
This is my palm on Saturday morning. Just 2 1/2 days after I started generously applying the Cranberry Seed Oil. Notice that the blisters are gone. They never popped! My hand is already in a healing stage. It doesn't itch anymore.
This is what my hand looks like one week after the attack began. It isn't 100% back to normal yet, but well on it's way.
I must say I am quite happy with how Cranberry Seed Oil helped my dreaded curse of eczema. After my extremely scientific study, I can say:
I'm reminded of a commercial from the 80's.
"And remember, I'm not only Queen B's president but I'm also a client."
For those of you that do not have chicken pox scars, here's the commercial.
Former teacher, author wannabe, forever a mom, and business owner.