So in my last post I said two things have affected my skin, well the first was hayfever, TOTALLY expected that,  the second was heartbreak- DEFINITELY didn’t expect that.

In many western cultures we think that diet affects our skin and bodies, in a lot of the eastern cultures emotions are associated more with skin and health issues. I think it’s a real combination of the two. I was stupidly in love with this boy, for over two years of my life, which isn’t mega long but long enough.  He was my best friend and he smashed my heart to pieces.  It physically hurts.   The pain isn’t just emotional, it’s physically unbearable and with it comes the sleepless nights, the constant headaches, the emotional rollercoaster of anger, sadness, endless tears and the inability to think or feel anything else, and then came the lack of appetite.  I’ve lost 7lbs in two weeks, I was too upset to even eat.  I didn’t care about myself enough to eat.   He was my world, and I was dumb enough to think he meant what he said, Bastardo!

Being cheated on and lied to is the worst feeling.  Breakups are like a death, a person suddenly has to disappear from your life.  I didn’t want this and it’s very difficult.  I find myself welling up. A lot.

My doctor has often told me my skin problems are stress related, well this feels next level.  I must admit after 6 weeks I’ve started to eat a bit more ‘normally’ but one thing I will say- heartbreak is shit for the soul but does wonders for your waistline.  It’s not worth it though.  He definitely wasn’t.

I think emotions really affect my skin.  Not only am I not eating properly and feeding my body with the nutrients it needs but I am not getting enough sleep to function and my brain is switched off.  This all leads to a downward spiral, a catch 22- I’m feeling particularly bad about myself and my self esteem has hit rock bottom.  Of course this makes me think about my skin, and I drive myself nuts thinking about it, and now it’s really suffering.  Seems so unfair- you go through all that crap and end up looking like a lizard!

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Now what to do about myself?  I’ve wallowed in self pity and now I need to pick myself up.  I’ve been running like Forest Gump and hitting the gym like never before, exercise is so good at making you feel better.  I can’t recommend this highly enough, if you feel sad, lost and down please try running.  It clears your head, and yes it does make you think about things but you feel free too.  It certainly has helped me, and my speed during those angry thoughts has improved a lot!  Just make a happy playlist and steer clear of those sad songs…

Some of my friends and people closest to me are going through such tough times, it puts things into perspective,  it might FEEL like someone has died but I remember how it felt to lose my beautiful Mum and this obviously doesn’t compare.  Why should I let some selfish boy bring me down?  I AM a Sensitive Shell but I need to protect what’s on the inside and the outside of that shell and the purpose of this blog is the pursuit of getting happy on the inside and out and finding the best way to heal my soul and my skin : ) and I hope it can help you too.  There are so many sad and lost souls out there and I know all of you who suffer with skin conditions feel this even more, because people can see it.  Pain on the inside isn’t visible but it hurts just the same.  He was a stupid boy and I’d like to stick to the belief that there are good guys out there.

So here’s to the future, and here’s to getting a happy shell on the inside and out.  I have a blank, sad and lonely canvass and I need to fill it with goodness and love.

Now I have a spin class to get to so I’ll speak to you all soon,

Let’s do this! xxx

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So yes it’s been a while since I last posted.  I WAS doing really well on my exclusion diet- I discovered not eating dairy really sorted the rash type Eczema that appeared all over me, and strangely (or not) I discovered that the lack of processed food in my diet really paid off!

I laid off dairy for a month and sort of followed The Eczema Diet book (see past post).

Here’s the results after a month:

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Skin on arm after quitting dairy : )

 

 

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Hands before exclusion (I’d been to the stables so excuse the nails…), and below hands after (skin is still dry but the splits have gone!):

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I felt like I was really making progress, when you’re careful with your diet you start to be careful with everything else- like regular moisturising, only using good products etc. Then I got struck with two things- one I kinda saw coming, which is the dreaded HAYFEVER, and the other I definitely did NOT see coming and I will write about that in my next post… The summer for me is always tough, anyone with Eczema knows heat= sweat and often irritated skin.  My hayfever is very much driven by tree pollen, I get horrific rashes for no reason and even red lumps under my eye.  This year has been particularly bad, even the skin on my face got all red and cracked.  No amount of exfoliating or moisturising treatments have seemed to heal it.I went to the doctors and was prescribed some supersonic antihistamines.  I hate getting MORE things on prescription, having Eczema is so frikin expensive! After two weeks on constant scratching I’ve now quite the antihistamines and low and behold my skin is improving.  I’ve stopped using any sort of perfume at the mo as my neck is super sensitive. How have you all got along with hayfever?  It’s so annoying.  I work outside a lot and I actually had to film a piece about hayfever too and I was sneezing like a trooper.  Its easier to deal with if you can stay indoors but I’m an outdoors type of girl. I swear I never used to get it.  I know I’m literally allergic to air sometimes but I have a horse and even though I cant fill the hay nets I’ve never had it this bad.  It does affect your life and it really gets me down.  Summer means shorts, dressed and more skin on display, no fun if you have Eczema or any sort of skin condition.  I think we should get a special clothing allowance- especially after all the money we pay on prescriptions!!!! Good luck this summer- it’s tough out there! xx

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ARGH!!!

It’s the itch that can never be itched- the never satisfied scratch! I seem to have gotten into the habit of waking up clawing myself : ( I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been stressed and upset/eaten the wrong things/slept in bed covers washed by something I’m allergic to or if I’m actually just allergic to myself!

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My skin would be in SERIOUS trouble right now if I had claws like this!

I’ve been trying so hard not to scratch but sometimes I do it without even thinking. The first thing I do when I wake up is scratch and then I get mad at myself for doing it.

What does everyone else do to try and stop this?

When I stay at my boyfriends I wonder if I’m allergic to his duvet, but then most of the time I’m fine.  There’s just no consistency with Eczema whatsoever.

I’m thinking the diet will help but it’s very early days.  I wonder if heat affects it- as spring is here the nights and mornings are certainly warmer.  I hate sleeping fully wrapped up.  Maybe I need to go back to being a child and sleep in gloves.  I remember my mum used to sew ribbons on so we could tie them, or I’d just wake up without the gloves.

I seem to have developed a rash all over my stomach too.  I’m trying to keep a record of everything I eat and how I feel but it’s tough.  There’s so many factors that affect Eczema.

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My stomach (although it’s pretty much all over my body right now)

After reading about people coming off steroids I really want to do this but I just can’t yet.  I’ve also read blogs of people who have quit moisturiser.  I am ADDICTED to moisturiser and can’t imagine not using it.  I’m going to try not to use it on my stomach and see if it just heals somehow.

How is everyone’s Eczema?

Love J x

Well I managed to fail my first attempt at the exclusion diet!  It was all going so well- two weeks of pure good food and I did actually notice a difference in my skin starting.

Then it all went wrong…

I think my main advice to anyone thinking of trying to adapt to a new food ‘lifestyle’ is this: BE PREPARED.

I had done a massive food shop and bought all the fruity and vegetable goodness I needed but as this ran out and I didn’t bother making food to take to work- I soon was caught with my pants down.

Trying to avoid dairy is so hard, it’s in everything.  The only way you can successfully do this is to make your own food and ALWAYS BE PREPARED.

I also think it’s vital to get support from your friends and family. My boyfriend hates vegetables but we do eat pretty healthy when we’re together, Sunday dinners are impossible- everything is soaked in butter etc!  No more Yorkshire Puddings for me now!

It’s also very tricky trying to grab food on the go unless you know you’re going somewhere that you can buy fresh food from.  There are several cafes in the city near me that offer gluten and diary free options, but they’re not always easy or cheap.

I also managed to fail a little by thinking ‘one teeny weeny piece of cheese wont harm me’, and then it becomes using milk when my dairy free milk has run out, etc etc and so forth the situation snowballs.

Snacking is also another issue, unless I took fruit/veg snacks with me to work when hunger strikes I wasn’t ready and in weaker moments I reached to the vending machine. NOOOOOO.

I’ve also been going through a bit of a tough time too, there’s a lot of emotional things going on in my life right now- friends, relationships, death.  I also had to have Lletz treatment too, which I still feel slightly shaky and emotional about.  It’s really affected me.  I lost my amazing Mummy to cancer and anything associated with that frightens me. I think we all need emotional support at times.

When I’m sad and upset I know my skin suffers, my hands are terrible again and I’m constantly scratching.  I wake up clawing myself most nights and I look tired and worn out.  I think Eczema is very emotional driven and it’s a viscous circle- your skin looks bad- this upsets you and then your diet, well being and everything else suffers and it gets worse – then you get more upset- and your skin gets worse…

I’ve restarted the ‘diet’ but I’ve decided diet is the wrong word.  It’s a lifestyle change.

I’ve printed out a list of acidic food and ‘good foods’ for me to eat and I also have this saved on my phone.

It’s tough but I want better skin and I want to know what it is that is irritating it, and if it is indeed food related. I seriously recommend reading the The Skin Cure Diet before embarking on an exclusion diet.  It opened my eyes to a lot and the link to yeast and Eczema is fascinating. I think there are so many blogs, doctors, health sites and all sorts out there it’s easy to get confused.  When I was looking into elimination diets there are so many do’s and don’ts you just have to decide what you want to do and go from there- in other words: KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Basically I wont be eating any food I’ve seen advertised!  Possibly with the exception of bottled water, it’s going to be tough but I want a better me, no scrap that I want to be me at my best…

‘Food is your best medicine’.

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Here is what my skin looks like now:

(again most pictures aren’t that great- I need to buy a macro lens for my camera.  So much for being a pro photographer hey!)

Hands

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Body

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Feet & Legs

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I have been doing a LOT of research about diets and Eczema.  There is SO much information out there, possibly too much.  It’s hard to weed out what’s relevant, but that’s why I think reading the blogs of people who have Eczema rather than some corporate-funded tosh is so important (see my blogs lists on the right for the lovely blogs I read).

Two books that I have also read are: The Body Language of Health, which only has a small section on Eczema, but it recommends removing acidic food during the exclusion and introducing other foods gradually after a full detox, which is what I plan to do.

The other was The Skin Cure.  This book is really good and offers a different approach to most exclusion diets.  It discusses yeast and Eczema and all the dietary advice really makes sense. I’d recommend this, it’s easy to read and makes a lot of sense.
I’ve also ordered The Eczema Diet, so I’ll let you know what this is like.

Before I go completely cold turkey I decided to look at my Eczema from the other approach- is it actually all a load of rubbish and what IF I eat certain foods?  Obviously I know from my reaction that I’m allergic to peanuts and most other nuts so I’m not going to be grabbing a pint and a packet of KPs any time soon, but I did give all the bad foods a go to see what happened- for research purposes OBVIOUSLY ; )

As I may have mentioned before I had severe stomach problems a few years back and had all sorts of tests. There was the usual tests for Coeliac etc, but it turned out the bacteria in my stomach wasn’t digesting food properly, I had a Helicobacter Pylori Infection and I also had IBS (there are no tests for this- it was my Doctors conclusion).  As the doctors were, as per, unhelpful I paid for several food allergy tests, basically I couldn’t be arsed with all the exclusion diets, and I was told garlic and onions and a MILLION other things were bad trigger foods.  This probably wrote off half my diet.  It’s too easy to ignore what your body is telling you, but other than doing an exclusion diet how can you ever know what is working and not working for you?

So the last few weeks I’ve indulged in all sorts of crap and lo and behold my skin, and stomach wasn’t happy.  Whenever I eat curry I always have the garlic/onion thoughts in my mind and it has brought on IBS in the past.  However in terms of my skin the worst food was Pizza!  I feel like I’ve been scratching for days since eating that bad boy and I’ve also discovered pretty much any type of sweets/candy is a no go for me, which sucks as I do like a sweet snack every now and again.  Wine Gums are the WORST! : (

My skin has got pretty bad again in the last couple of weeks so I’m ready for a clean start and to give the diet ago, after all the pain and abuse I’ve put my body through, it deserves a break!  It’s weird- my legs and arms are always tell tale signs of my diet I think, the Eczema gets all patchy and spreads, I also CAN’T. STOP. SCRATCHING.  I’ve been going through some relaly tough times in my personal life too and I think stress is really affecting me.  I want to be happy on the inside and out.

I will post some pics in the next post for you to see, my skin isn’t the worst I’ve seen and I know there are so many people out there struggling more than me, but my eczema hurts and it upsets me and I’m sick of it!

So here goes the diet!!!