Friday, 20 September 2013

National Eczema Week - My Story*

Everybody, at one point or another, has had something happen with their body that they cannot control.

For many people their teenage years are a nightmare plagued by acne, greasy hair or having a brace.

I was really lucky as a teenager not to have any of these problems very badly. I had the odd break out and, as you're probably aware I've had my teeth woes as well.

My problem was far more irritating, in the literal sense of the word. 

When I was a baby I used to suffer very badly from eczema. In fact my husband Mr Candy has told me stories of the bedsheets sticking to him as a child where he his legs would have flare ups constantly.

Eczema is a skin condition that can vary from person to person. It's caused by things such as stress, heat, sweat and sometimes nothing at all.

My whole family suffered from eczema from my dad who's arms are scarred from attacks he had to my sister who had a constant dry patch on her face. 

My eczema was reoccurring but never really severe until I moved to university at 19. When most people were enjoying their first taste of freedom the stress (as that is one of my main triggers) set off an attack so severe that for three months my forearms were wrapped in bandages, leading people to think I was a self harmer. 

I don't really remember why it started but one day my right hand wrist was itching. Obviously, I scratched it and it soon escalated to scratching in my sleep and my arms swelling up to twice the size they are now. 

When it became too unbearable and I was unable to be seen by my GP (three weeks wait I think it was?) I wandered into Boots around Carnaby Street and begged the pharmacist to help me. I remember the look on her face as I rolled my sleeves up and she physically retracted her entire body from me where my arms were, weeping, cracked and bleeding. 

Her only words to me were "I think you better take yourself to A&E before that becomes infected".

All my friends were wearing t-shirts and dresses and I was going to clubs wearing hoodies or not going out at all. It was a horrible time in my life and every topical cream I took made it worse, steroids didn't do much but help me gain weight during a time where I was feeling fragile enough.

In that time I found a number of products that eased the pain and one in particular that almost completely cleared it up. However, even though that attack has now gone I still get the occasional flare up. With this in mind I am always on the look out for things to keep on hand whenever an attack should occur. 

Even now I cannot wear my own wedding ring because even just putting it on my skin causes a severe, almost allergic, reaction to it. When I do wear it (for example on a night out or when I go out with my husband for dinner) I sit there thinking about how long it'll take for it to blister, how long will it last, is it going to scar this time. It's obviously quite depressing. And no matter what I try (clear nail varnish, keeping my hands dry at all times) it always happens.

I was sent an email this week from a company called Hope's Relief regarding some of their products. They have quite a range ranging from haircare in the form of shampoo, conditioner, goats milk bars, a cleansing bar, a hydrating lotion and a therapeutic cream.

Hope's Relief - Hydrating Lotion - £19.80 - Eczema Relief
Hope's Relief - Hydrating Lotion - £19.80 - Eczema Relief

The company describes the products as containing "5 natural active ingredients: hospital grade manuka honey UMF 10+, liquorice calendula, aloe vera and gotu kola."

I'm hoping to try out the hydrating lotion and the therapeutic cream out myself as, where I am off this weekend for my anniversary to Paris, I am fulling expecting to experience a flare up on my return to the UK.

Hope's Relief - Scalp & Hair Shampoo
Hope's Relief - Scalp & Hair Shampoo 
I've been onto Amazon and taken a look at some of the reviews and some of hem are heartbreaking. Stories of people not having a full night's sleep for six months until they found the cream. Children who have suffered as well. 

Any product that can bring even the slightest relief to such a terrible and painful problem is a blessing.

Hope's Relief is available from leading health stores (Like Holland & Barrett) and independent chemists. You can also purchase on 

I'll be reviewing some products very soon and will let you know how it goes. 

I would love to hear your experiences of eczema and how it has affected your life. Drop me a comment below or Tweet me on FluffyCandyUK. I'd love to hear from you.