William Mills discovered that the cure for his eczema was natural sunlight and vitamin D supplements and recounts the treatments he has tried in Curing Eczema-part 2.
In Curing Eczema – part 2 I want to look at which treatments worked for me.
I’d always had dry inflamed patches on my face and scalp which had usually responded well to Daktacort 1% hydrocortisone ointment.
However I recall one spring morning walking along Brighton’s seafront and noticing this deep yellow skin colour in my left thumb.
I promptly held my hands up in order to let them reap the benefits of direct sunlight. Yet, to my horror my hands only got sorer.
So, somewhat crushed, I fell back on a visit to the GP.
I was prescribed Clobaderm steroid ointment and given instructions on using copious amounts of moisturiser.
I also started sleeping with my hands in rubber gloves and wrapping my feet in cling film.
I was in a poor way.
The dermis of my fingers cracked leaving razor cut like cracks and I howled in misery.
I compared myself to the poor children in Dickens’ Victorian times who had their hands brutally caned and were left sitting at their school desks, puffy eyed and gripping their hands.
Yet in my desolation I had several rays of sunshine which would lead me to my eventual cure.
I travelled to Ibiza and didn’t realise that as soon as I boarded the coach to the airport I was in a very dry environment. At home the humidity indoors is around 50%. On board an aircraft it is less than 5%, and the airport is extremely dry too.
Ever since, I have always taken a small tube of moisturiser with me. In those days however I didn’t, and in consequence on arrival I discovered my hands in a poor state.
I discussed the problem with an English speaking chemist.
He impressed upon me that while constant moisturisation is important, keeping my hands in rubber gloves to the point my fingers were all white and crinkly was an over kill.
“The eczema comes back as soon as you let them dry out, so you haven’t cured anything. Allow your hands to dry out while moisturising them with small amounts of cream,” he recommended.
I also noted that when I was abroad on holiday at Mediterranean resorts my eczema started to get better after about a week. But then I went home and it came back. Was it my laptop? Or bullying at work?
Then in the summer of 2019 my hands and feet swelled up and my eczema went completely out of control. I’d made a new friend called Helen.
She suggested I walk across the beach barefoot pointing out my feet got absolutely no sunlight whatsoever, because they went on a daily basis from under the duvet into my socks and shoes. And on the beach I always wore swim shoes.
So I tried it, and of course chasing after her across the beach pebbles bruised my feet so badly that I could barely stand.
But she was right. Sunlight is the answer. During the winter do our hands and feet ever see natural sunlight? Window glass prevents the sun’s vital UVB rays reaching us so we must sunbathe outside.
Yet I always wear gloves outside during the winter months or have my hands jammed deep into my pockets.
Helen was right; I always wore swim shoes at the beach, even when we were swimming nude in the moonlight.
During the winter of 2019 I realised eczema had to go. Helen had gone, I was shedding flakes of skin like a man with leprosy. It can’t have been very nice for her.
It spurred me to find a cure.
My new hospital consultant saw me exactly on time and told me she didn’t see patients privately.
The NHS treatment was first rate
I didn’t mind at all as I’d started going off private medicine, and besides the NHS treatment was first rate.
She wasn’t in favour of prescribing steroid pills, and I’d hated the brief course of Prednisolone which I’d taken, so we discussed other treatment options.
She gave me a steroid ointment called Diprosalic which I still use, although as infrequently as possible. She also introduced me to Cetreban, a wonderful moisturiser.
We also discussed phototherapy. I’d been a little apprehensive due to scare stories of skin cancer so I delayed.
In the meantime at every opportunity I sunbathe my hands when I’m outside.
It has worked. My fingers have stopped cracking. I can’t believe my good fortune.
Next I tried natural sunlight therapy on my feet. I go down to the beach at midday when the sun is at its strongest and take my shoes and socks off.
Once when the wind was howling passers-by must have thought I was a nutter, but it worked.
I realised it is still important to rub in moisturiser as soon as I’ve finished, and I’m also taking Vitamin D effervescent tablets daily.
The cure for my eczema has been sunlight whilst taking care not to get sunburnt in the process.
As the sun strengthens during March I will take every opportunity to sunbathe.
It is sensible to use sun cream on sensitive areas prone to burning so I will continue my experiments and write again later in the summer with an update.