Sharing my experience with Dyshidrotic Eczema, also known as Pompholyx, as well as, how I’ve treated it thus far, what it even is, my symptoms (complete with photos), & the potential causes of this hand & foot eczema.
Today I’m sharing my experience with Dyshidrotic Eczema, which has been something I have been dealing with for six months now. For the majority of the six months since this condition first showed itself, I’ve kinda been in the dark trying to figure out what I was actually dealing with. I received the Dyshidrotic Eczema, also known as dyshidrosis or pompholyx (which is an ancient Greek word for bubbles) diagnosis about 5 months in – which was now about a month ago.
After multiple hospital & doctor visits in Norway, where I’ve resided the past 5 months, I finally received the diagnosis after months of searching to find answers into what was going on. Below I will share my entire experience with Dyshidrotic Eczema which is a foot & hand ezcema, more in depth throughout this post, but long story short, the past 6 months have been nothing short of exhausting dealing with the brutal itching & painful flares on my left hand. After learning that what I have been dealing with is in fact eczema, I have done a handful of research online to assist me in healing & hopefully putting my eczema into remission sooner rather than later.
As with many things, some suggestions for putting eczema into remission naturally will work better for some people than it will for others. I want to share my entire experience dealing with my Dyshidrotic eczema in case anything I’m doing can potentially help someone else along with their own personal eczema journey. Eczema is something that is very personal. I’m almost certain that no two people have the exact SAME case. With that, please take what I say with a grain of salt. I am NOT a doctor or medical practitioner. I am solely sharing my experience, complete with photos of my Dyshidrotic eczema (which aren’t pretty) & will continue to share what works well for me on the journey of healing my eczema naturally.
My Experience with Dyshidrotic Eczema
Early October 2020, I woke up one morning & noticed a strange red pimple-like bump on the inside of my left ring finger, slightly above where my wedding band & engagement rings sits. The bump was prominent & hard, but honestly I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t painful or itchy. My energy healer, not knowing what we were dealing with, suggested applying baking soda onto the area, as well as a band aid in an attempt to dry out the area. At first this seemed to work.
Fast forward about nine days later, the single red bump was now surrounded by multiple little red bumps in an almost perfect circle. I was nervous it was ring worm. My energy healer confirmed it was not – thankfully! Although the area changed, it still wasn’t itchy or painful. It just felt a little weird. These new bumps stayed around for a few days but leading up towards my birthday which was on October 20th, they appeared to flatten & dry up. Although I didn’t know what it was, I thought it was getting better & it actually seemed to almost disappear. BUT, I woke up on my birthday & I could feel new bumps under the skin & since then, the bumps only got worse.
I arrived to Norway on October 26th & after arriving, the area on my ring finger progressively got worse & worse. Even though the affected area was spreading, changing color & becoming very red & inflamed, it still was not very painful (only uncomfortable), nor was it itchy until December. December was the first time I sought a second opinion because my finger appeared to flip a switch & appeared to be getting much worse. My skin was starting to itch, was very scaly, & was extremely red & inflamed.
We went to the emergency room because that was the only option we knew of in our city. I felt like the doctor I saw did not fully understand the severity of what I was trying to explain to him. There was definitely a language barrier – because remember, I was in Norway. Regardless of what he understood or not, he mentioned that he thought it was eczema & prescribed me my first steroid cream. He said it was a strong steroid, so after two weeks of applying it daily, I should experience relief. However, it only got worse.
After not experiencing any relief (what so ever) with the first prescribed cream, I began to doubt if it was indeed eczema. I have never had eczema or any skin condition really, aside from acne, & honestly I didn’t think eczema could be this extreme.
One night I went down a rabbit hole & came across scabies, which is coincidentally very prevalent in Norway. My extreme symptoms linked up almost exactly with symptoms of scabies – specifically the intense itching (especially at night) & the way the bumps were forming. I truly thought I had scabies & went back to the emergency room to hopefully be told I did or didn’t. After being seen by another doctor, I did not receive an answer but I was told that I could do a full body scabies treatment to hopefully kill off all of the “bugs” if I did in fact have it. It was miserable. Both Devin & I had to do a full body scabies treatment for 14 hours in an attempt to solve this issue I was having.
Obviously from the title of this post, it’s clear that I don’t in fact have scabies. The full body treatment I did was supposed to bring upon relief within two weeks. After two weeks of doing the treatment & still not seeing any relief, I still thought I had scabies but I was told that some prolonged cases of scabies can become immune to the lotion treatment & a second pill treatment is necessary. On the 14th day after my first scabies treatment, my mind was set that I wanted to get prescribed the scabies treatment pill. Devin found a smaller doctor in our city – so we didn’t have to go BACK to the hospital – & we booked an appointment to go see him.
It ended up working out for the best, because although I went to see that new doctor to hopefully get prescribed the final scabies treatment, this new doctor confirmed that I did not have scabies, but rather it was eczema with a bacterial infection on top. During this first appointment, my finger & palm was too inflamed for him to tell what type of eczema it actually was. The doctor prescribed me a round of antibiotic to take for 10 days to take care of the bacterial infection. Although I am not the biggest fan of antibiotics, I felt extremely desperate & did not want to take any risks with the bacteria infection spreading or growing into something worse or much more serious. The bacterial infection most likely was a result of my excessive itching. Along side the antibiotic, the doctor prescribed me yet another strong steroid cream to use for two weeks.
The antibiotic definitely helped calm the severe red inflammation & skin bubbles full of puss which showed the doctor that there was indeed something bacterial going on. After completing 10 days on the antibiotic, I went back to the doctor for a follow up & that’s when he told me it was Dyshidrotic Eczema, also known as Pompholyx.
What is Dyshidrotic Eczema?
Dyshidrotic Eczema is a chronic skin condition that involves clusters of blisters, called vesicles, on the hands, feet, or both, that intensely itch & burn. This condition may also be referred to as foot-and-hand eczema, Dyshidrosis, Pompholyx, Vesicular Eczema, Palmoplantar Eczema, or Cheiropompholyx.
Who’s most likely to get it?
Dyshidrotic Eczema is most common in people ages 20-40 & is twice as likely to affect women rather than men. If you already have another form of eczema, you unfortunately might be subject to getting Dyshidrotic eczema as well. Some people may experience single flare-ups, but it’s much more common for this type of eczema to come & go over long periods of time according to the National Eczema Association.
What symptoms did I experience?
Below are the most common Dyshidrotic Eczema symptoms. I had/have all of them except the excessive sweating.
- Small blisters on hands or feet
- Itching or burning
- Excessive sweating
- Pain in the effected, blistered area
- Scaly, peeling, dry skin
What causes Dyshidrotic Eczema?
The exact cause of Dyshidrotic Eczema is unknown, but several things can trigger it such as…
- Contact with certain metals, specifically nickel
- Sweaty or wet hands & feet
- Warm, humid weather, or changes in temperature
- Certain treatments for a weak immune system (immunoglobulin)
- Seasonal allergies
- Having a family history of atopic dermatitis
- Exposure to chemicals such as fragrance in personal care products
For my personal case of eczema, I believe stress, my diet, a weak immune system, & being autoimmune compromised absolutely contributed to my outbreak. Many functional doctors don’t often talk about how crucial diet & the role of food is when it comes to healing our bodies from chronic conditions like eczema, but there is a definite link between the two. My diet was no where near where it should have been or is usually at in Norway. I over consumed processed foods, soy, lacked essential nutrients, & wasn’t eating enough to support myself internally or externally due to a variety of reasons. I found myself consuming more inflammatory foods & oils not necessarily on purpose, but because I lacked options overseas & many days I simply lacked energy to cook.
Long story short, I could go on & on about what I could have done differently but the fact of the matter is I did the best I could with what I was given, as many of us do. Now being home, I have access to many more tools & nutritious food to now facilitate healing.
It’s also interesting because there is a definite link between eczema & autoimmune conditions & disease…which I have as well. According to Healio Dermatology, “autoimmune diseases that are significantly associated with atopic dermatitis includes: alopecia areata, vitiligo, chronic urticaria, celiac disease, chronic glomerulonephritis, Sjögren syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, unspecified inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis & rheumatoid arthritis.” It is not unusual for people who are autoimmune compromised to also have eczema.
How long have I had it/how it started?
I first noticed a small red pimple-like bump on my ring finger in October 2020 & that’s how it started. At the time of writing & publishing this post in March of 2021, I still have it, so it’s been ongoing for six full months.
How have I treated it?
Since I was in a grey area for so long about what I was actually dealing with, I tried over ten natural remedies including baking soda, honey, topical & oral CBD, Apple Cider Vinegar, Neem Oil, Olive Oil, Oregano Oil, homeopathic remedies, & more. Nothing helped. After I reached a point of exhaustion, I sought medical advice & “treated” it topically with a variety of steroid creams ranging in strength, in addition to the 10-day round of antibiotics to treat the topical infection. I used a total of 5 steroid creams & honestly they haven’t done much, nor are they a permanent solution. I am currently trying to wean myself from my current steroid cream because it’s also not recommended to use them for a prolonged period of time.
As of right now, the only relief I can achieve in the midst of an itching outbreak is to run my hand under ice cold water until it becomes numb…most nights I end up doing this in the middle of the night because that’s when my itching is at its worst. With that said, I will continue to document my experience as I explore different Dyshidrotic Eczema treatment options.
How do you cure Dyshidrotic Eczema?
There is no “cure” to Dyshidrotic eczema but there are things you can do to lessen your triggers, detox your body, & put the eczema into remission in a natural way. This is what I am hoping to do & will absolutely document my experience working to put my eczema into remission. I will be exploring a wellness cleanse & potentially an elimination diet if I don’t experience relief following the cleanse. I am also consistently drinking celery juice on an empty stomach in the mornings as well in an attempt to decrease inflammation. Celery juice can be extremely helpful for skin conditions, including eczema.
Anthony Williams, also known as the Medical Medium was the person who put celery juice on the health & wellness map a few years ago. Williams believes that skin conditions such as eczema stem from dermatoxins released from the liver – which I believe as well. I already thoroughly enjoy drinking 16oz of pure celery juice on an empty stomach every morning, so I am absolutely going to continue (I took a long break from juicing while overseas) to see if I experience any relief.
To wrap things up, if you too are currently struggling with eczema or have struggled with it in the past, I see you & I feel for you more than you know. Never did I once think I would get eczema OR that it could be this miserable…& I know that people have much more severe cases than mine, so I truly can’t imagine! Anytime there is something showing itself on the skin, it’s usually a sign that there is something going on internally that needs to be addressed. I am doing my best to listen to what my body is trying to tell me & make adjustments where needed to help along my healing process.
With that said, I will admit that it’s been quite difficult to balance healing naturally & medically. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been in a position like this. Healing holistically & naturally can absolutley be done but in most cases it takes trial & error & a lot of time. It’s definitely not instant by any means. And then you have the medical route. Obviously modern medicine is there for a reason & I absolutely took advantage of it to an extent dealing with my Dyshidrotic Eczema out of pure desperation & discomfort. But as with many other things, an antibiotic or steroid cream isn’t & wasn’t going to address the root of my problems which I knew, but I needed the relief, so I have to give myself a little bit of grace regarding that.
During the long (itchy) nights I’ve experienced over the past few months, I found comfort & felt validated reading other people share their experience dealing with their Dyshidrotic Eczema which ultimately inspired me to share my journey. No two people have the same exact experience but knowing that someone is going through something a whole lot similar to what you may be going through can be quite comforting. Because of that, I am going to continue to share what is working for me & my personal process of working to put my case of eczema into remission, hopefully for good!