Friday, January 15, 2016

Dermatitis Be Gone!

Hi My Lovelies :)


Today I am coming at you with a bit different post than usual - my dermatitis story. This photo illustrates my healing, and the picture on the left is not even the worst I had, I just didn't want to scare you or put you off your dinner! (if you are really really interested to see it at it's worst, click here).
About 6-7 months ago I started to get these horrible blisters all over skin that erupted mostly on my upper body and soon traveled to the face - it was horrible! Assuming it was a reaction to the change of laundry detergent I quickly booked an appointment with my GP (a family doctor if you are not from Ireland) and I got a round of antibiotics from her - three times in a row. That didn't stop my rashes nor it subsided the itching - it drove me crazy, and while I tried my utmost best not to touch myself in the daytime, I found myself scratching my skin in my sleep - even to the point that I'd wake myself up doing that. Like a fool I dutifully took three rounds on antibiotics thinking that the doctor knows best and I should do what she tells me to do. The antibiotic cream that I had to apply to the skin (mostly face) helped a bit to stop it spreading further, because at that point I was a month in and the patches were getting bigger and bigger, as in the blisters were pooling together and forming one giant sore on my face! One side was affected worse than the other, and needless to say it drove me to the brink of depression because no woman (or a man) wants to look like I did, and I was at a loss of what to do or where to turn to for help! I was in and out of my GP office, and I took to the giant sunglasses and a hat to hide my face, because people stared and kept their distance. My doctor sent a referral letter to the dermatologist in the nearby hospital with a note saying "Please see such-and-such patient who has this unexplained rash and it seems to be getting worse at the time goes by". Which would sound good, if you are not familiar with Irish medical system - it turned out I got an appointment to see a specialist wait-for-it in a years time! (more on it later). Needless to say I felt helpless and as well as researching any info about dermatitis like crazy, I went to the Chinese Clinic which happened to be nearby to my doctor. The Chinese doctor examined me and summoned me to do a couple of treatments straight away, saying he wanted to see my body's reaction and then he will see what needs to be done. So I had the acupressure massage, acupuncture and cupping therapy there and then, and straight away I was told it is a very strong allergic reaction! He told me I needed 10 treatments of the mentioned treatments plus two courses of their herbal remedies, all of which added up to more than thousand euro. The amount shocked me and of course l tried to weasel my way out of it, but he sort of bullied me into paying for six treatments and I am so glad he did, because this was what helped me the most! After every treatment my skin was clearer, less red and angry and even the worst patches shrunk in half. These acupressure and acupuncture treatments work by stimulating the body's self healing points, and the cupping therapy draws out toxins from the body. At the end of my treatment my skin was almost back to normal, and even though I was told to book six or ten more treatments to continue healing, I never did, as I didn't had that much money and what I had, I had to spend it on my kids to get school ready.  At the same time I did the hair mineral analysis test with the same Chinese clinic. Hair mineral test showed strong allergy to wheat, gluten, and dairy, as well as moderate level allergy to perfume, creams, shampoos, etc as well as dust mites. So I cut out all the wheat, gluten and dairy products on the spot, and in two days time my skin was almost healed, it was a miracle! the creams/skincare items allergy was also devastating, as I thought I have to kiss the blogger in me goodbye and I won't be able to do what I love - as in test new products and review them, but it turned out I react to the gluten in the products, and ass long as i avoid it, I am fine. Around the same time I did two blood test with my regular doctor, and that is also worth mentioning - my first test showed eight "abnormal" results out of 16 things tested (don't ask me what they were, ass the results were never explained to me) - a week later I got a call from the doctors secretary saying that my cholesterol is high and I need to come back for more testing in three weeks time to see if I have lupus, because they suspect it. I almost dropped my phone and asked why in three weeks, can I get it done sooner - she told me it's because the nurse is on holidays and then hung up on me. Can you imagine how I felt for those three weeks? Even now, a good few months past it I have tears in my eyes.. Zero compassion or interest in one's problems or feelings.The visit to dermatologist (220€ for 5 minutes, how about that?!) not only was expensive, it was worthless too, as she treated me like a naughty schoolgirl too, telling me off when I mentioned natural treatments or treatments at the Chinese practitioners.She also forbade me from using any products I was using, despite me telling her I was using only fresh aloe vera leaf and purest natural oils on my skin. She told me to get this product instead, and use it to wash my body and face with, and also use it as a face and body moisturizer too, it has only a few ingredients she said, and this is the only product you will use for the couple of weeks and it will help. So let's take a look at the ingredients of it, shall we? Aqua, petrolatum (derived from petrol if you don't know), cetearyl alcohol, SLS (or sodium lauryl sulfate), methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben. I am lost for words here! I mean are you kidding me? Petrol by-products, harshest cleaning solution possible (it's the same stuff that cleans car engines!) in a form of SLS and three parabens are prescribed to people with skin conditions?!
Let's skip a few months of more of this, turns out I have dermatitis herpetiformis - nothing to do with herpes, mind you, it is a form of Coeliac disease where you don't have all these other symptoms, just skin erupting in painful blisters all over).
(You can read more about my visit to the dermatologist here. This link will take you to my Instagram post where I talk in depth about my visit to the dermatologist - and make sure to read the comments too.)

So, long story short I had a choice - I can wallow in self pity and throw more money/time/energy in visiting yet more doctors or I can take the matters into my own hands and do something about it! So I started googling like a mad woman and armed with this new found knowledge I did start a new eating regime and new supplements, all of which worked like a charm for me, and I hope you too can take something out of this?

So what helped me?

1. Going gluten free. This was one of the biggest factors in healing my skin, turns out the gluten creates this chronic inflammation in the body, and where is inflammation, there is breeding ground for diseases, in my case dermatitis). Going gluten, wheat and dairy free is the key in my mind, you have to take away the inflammation, as well as heal the gut). It is not easy but it's worth it. (You can check out my Pinterest board here to help you out, I have 680+ recipes there)

2. Getting your body into alkaline PH. This is a big one, as the diseases won't catch if you are alkaline, but if you are acidic, which most of us are, it's the bad news for you, your body has this toxin threshold that is different for everybody, and when that threshold  is reached, meaning your body can't take it anymore and will erupt into some kind of disease, in my case dermatitis herpetiformis. For a couple of months I didn't realise this, I was doing this restrictive diet and wasn't getting much better, but then I realised I just switched all those products to gluten free versions and tried to carry on as normal, but eating this way was what got me sick in the first place, so I had to do more than that! This meant looking more into alkaline products (mainly veg) and consuming lots of it, and

3. Consuming green smoothie every morning.

and

4. Drinking lemon water instead of coffee first thing in the morning - huge step for me as I tried and failed this many many times before. Lemon water is great for detoxifying your body, everybody knows that, but so few of us actually do it. If I really needed that caffeine kick, I'd have a coffee next, just not first thing in the morning. Gradually I switched to decaf.

5. I also stopped drinking tap water and started buying bottled water again after realising it has PH7, ideal for our bodies, and my tap water has 2, which is incredibly bad for us, and it is very hard not to be toxic if you dring and cook with this water everyday. This is something I am not proud of at all, after working so hard to wean us off bottled water and plastics in our household. But this is what's needed for my healing right now, so i will go with it for a while. All the good filters I looked at range at about 800€, and I am definitely getting one once I will own my own home, but for now we are only renting, so I use shungite (much better than Brita, trust me!) and this magnetic stick to purify my water, as well as buying bottled water. Let me know if you want to see a blog post about shungite?

6. Anti-inflammatory foods also became my new best friends, I was eating pretty healthy before, but I upped their intake much more, and since I love veggies, it didn't bother me at all. (if you are not familiar with anti-inflammatory foods - these are salmon and other cold water fish, berries, coconut milk, coconut water, turmeric, ginger, broccoli, leeks, papaya, maca, shitake mushrooms, grass fed beef, organic omega 3 eggs, olive oil, avocados, cherries, chia seeds, tomatoes, garlic, celery and so on. also specific plant compounds are strongly anti-inflammatory, such as turmeric (cucurmin), green tea extract, resveratrol, quercetin).

7. Reducing stress in your life! this is a huge one, and it is definitely something I have to work on. I just can't deal with it, I am sort of a person who takes everything in, and just explodes every couple of months, which is not good for your body at all! I also didn't do much to naturally relieve stress either, i didn't exercise or took yoga, nor I was in the nature a lot - all of those things do relieve your stress naturally. Please find what works for you and don't neglect yourself, do it regularly! People tend not to talk about mental health, but it is so important not to be in the constant stress! It is something I need to work on too, as I tend to put everyone else's needs before mine.

8. Sweating - I didn't realise before how much this is important in getting rid of toxins! I used to stop exercising once I started sweating thinking of it as a tipping point - ok, l did enough for today, let's stop for now". I never visit sauna either, so my sweating was minimum, meaning minimal riddance of toxins.

9. No sugar! Sugar does all kinds of bad things to our bodies, we all know that, but it also feeds cancer and all other diseases in our bodies, so in my mind the less we consume, the better. I have to be honest, I tried to do the Candida diet, but I failed in the third week, having found it too difficult. If you can stick it out and get rid of candida in your body, bonus points to you!

10. Caprylic acid. Some people take it in a supplement form and find relief, I didn't do it, what I did instead was I started cooking exclusively with coconut oil (it is high in caprylic acid) and in a few days I saw a huge difference in my skin! I used to use cheap sunflower oil for frying before, and that was probably part of the reason of having inflammation in my body.

11. Cleansing the digestive track and healing leaky gut. I won't go into much details here, as there is so much to say and it needs to be explained properly, meaning this blog post would be two thousand miles long. Please do your own research or check my Pinterest boards for references. (here and here).

12. Probiotics. This is also a key in healing, so please don't skip it! I take Udo's Adults Blend which had 17 billions of bacteria. it is costly at 24€, but I have yet to find a good probiotic that would be cheap. Pay attention to how many millions/billions of bacteria you are getting, also how many strands. The more, the better - this one place not to skimp on - cheaper ones will have significantly less of the good stuff, and bacteria might not survive until it makes it's way to your gut, meaning you would be getting zero benefits. There's also a milk kefir and water kefir (which I do own) - these also provide probiotics, s well as sauerkraut and fermented veggies. Should I do a blog post about the water kefir? Oh, I forgot to mention I take two capsules of the Udos probiotics daily.


13. Bone broth. This is supposed to be one of the most healing things when it comes to healing the gut, thus getting rid of dermatitis, and it is one of the most recommended things by the holistic doctors. I have to be honest here, I only did it a couple of times, as the bones proved hard to come by as no butchers had them and the only ones who did have some leftovers bones had only pork ones, and it's not what you need, it has to be chicken or beef. Also it was impossible to find organic ones, so not wanting to drink concentrated pesticides I stopped soon. That and having to boil the bones for 8+ hours was a bit of a bother, not to mention the smell in the whole apartment. It is one of the things I'd rather pay someone else to do it, so if you are local and know where organic bone broth is sold, please let me know?

14. Pau d'Arco - this herb is new to me, I only have for a couple of moths, and i took it while trying to cleanse the liver along some other herbs. Check out DrAxe's website (or his Youtube channel) for more detailed info.

15. Oreganol P73 - I love this stuff! It is the second year I use this, and I never want to be without it! It's extract of wild oregano and not only it is nature's antibiotic (works great for that) but amazingly it is also one of the powerful antioxidants and helps enhance immune system! Awesome, right? Check out detailed info at oreganopro.com. It also can be used externally too, see the 24 point below.


16. Echinacea extract.

17. Milk Thistle. 


19. VitD in high doses. One of the reasons my body got weak and immune system got down was the vitamin levels were low - there are numerous reports emerging claiming that around 70% of us are vitamin D deficient, even those living in sunny climates. Thinking back about it, it makes sense, we don't get much sun here, and like majority of people I spend my day indoors, and the most I see the sun is getting to and from the car. And while I'd love to say we spend the weekends outdoors, we don't. I chose Solgar brand and take full dropper of 2500iu a day. VitD is fat soluble, so please consult your doctor first and ask him to do blood tests if you feel you could be deficient. It is also toxic when overdosed, so it is important to check regularly.

20. B vitamins.

21. MSM.

22. Turmeric. While it is possible to take it in a supplement form, I didn't do it, I upped the turmeric doses in cooking. I added it to everything! At first I also used to take 1 teaspoon of it in water, but then I started researching it a bit more and learned it has to be boiled for at least 10mins to increase the availability of it's active ingredient cucurmin, and it also has to be paired with pepper to activate it. So I started drinking golden milk at night - and oh boy it works! (there are millions of YouTube videos on how to make it if you are interested).

I think that's it when it comes to the supplements and the diet, let's talk about the skin, shall we? As soon as my skin started showing signs of healing, I stopped applying all the creams prescribed by the doctor and started applying 

23. Pure cold pressed shea butter or

24. My own DIY body butter. (you can find the recipe here. It came about when I started studying the ingredient labels of these emollient creams I had to use, and they had shea butter at 10% or 20% max, the rest being chemicals. I figured why not go to the source, esp as the creams weren't helping much. If I had an extreme itch (usually when I unknowingly ate gluten, that's when my symptoms used to come back with full force) I'd add a few drops or Oreganol and it helped like a charm in calming my skin and reducing inflammation. At first I used tea tree oil, but soon I found out Oreganol works much better.

25. Aloe vera. I used my own fresh aloe vera leaf, you don't have access to the fresh stuff (you can get it in garden centres or even Lidl) you can use shop bought one, just look for the natural ingredients, it has to be as pure as possible, those "aloe vera" lotions next to tanning stuff in the shelves have horrible ingredients in them, that's not what you want.

26. Any natural creams with Marigold or Chamomile or St Johns Worth would work well too, again, look for the most natural ingredients possible. 

27. Dermalex works well too, you can get it from chemists, it has no steroids in it and it's really good at calming and soothing the skin. Can be used on the face too, and I found this product really good, better than my doctors recommended ones in fact.

28. Herbal teas. I forgot to add this to the diet section, so let's chuck it at the end, shall we? :) I drank and still drink a lot of sage and chamomile teas, at least 2-3 cups a day. 

29. Minimal products (or better still, no products) on the face!

30. Extra things for you to check out - I was either recommended these things or picked up during my extensive research, but never came around to trying, but let's include them in the hopes that it might help some of you?
-SOD diet
-FODMAP diet
-DHA
-Magnium/calcium in the right balance
-burdock root
-big doses of omega 3
-medicinal mushrooms
-glutamine
-biotin
-grapefruit seed extract
-manuka/turmeric masks.

Please do you own research for these things. I am not telling you to take all of this, my aim is to provide the information on what helped me, but I cannot be responsible for what you will do with this information. If you have a good doctor and trust him/her, by all means do what the doctor says, but as you can see, trusting mine got me nowhere! Sadly most of the doctors are trained to focus on expensive treatments rather than simple natural solutions. What I also don't like about our western medical system that the doctors treat the symptoms rather than disease itself, the more symptoms you have, the more tablets you are prescribed, but they only suppress the symptoms, not getting to the root cause of a disease. You aren't treated as a "whole" individual either, the doctors don't see a connection between other organs/systems, I stil remember the words of the derm - "no one ever got dermatitis from what they are eating". I coud go on!
I am not miraculously cured either, I still get minor flare ups sometimes, again, when I unknowingly gluten myself, the last time being when I ate some KFC fries - we were out of town with the family, and as it was impromptu trip, I had no food with me, so after we found ourselves starving and with the only option of open restaurant being KFC one, I only had fries and sweetcorn, crossing my fingers that the fries would be cooked in the separate oil - they weren't, and I had an outbreak on my shoulders, but I know how to deal with it now. I also swore not to eat out anymore, esp in fast food places - eating out bring fear, not glee these days!

So there you have it, this was the stuff that helped me to get rid of dermatitis! Please have in mind that I am not qualified in medical field to give advice, and that's why I was going back and forth whether to post this post or not. But I truly hope that some of you will find this helpful and will be able to take something from this post.

So that is all for now!
Lots of love,
Renata.

11 comments:

  1. Great read! So sorry that you have been suffering with this condition, I know how painful it can be. I'll definitely have to look into the suggestions, Shea butter has been a life safer for my skin. I want to make a body butter with that and mango butter, right now I'm just using Shea. Turmeric is amazing for all sorts of things, definitely wasn't surprised to see that there. Great post!

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting my beautiful friend!xo

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  2. So proud of you, Renata! I can relate to your fear of eating out. So difficult to find safe places to eat. <3

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting my beautiful friend! Yes, it's so sad, I used to love eating out, in fact it was one of my favorite things to do - finding new exciting places/cuisines. I also don't feel comfortable ordering/asking for wheat/dairy free options, partly for being seen as this fussy oddball customer, partly because waiting staff either don't know or don't care, I had cases of breaking out when I was told their food was safe to eat. Much more easier to prepare and take my own. Take care! xo

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  3. How awful to hear you suffered with this condition for so long without adequate treatment! I suffer from contact dermatitis on my hands, mainly during the autumn and winter months and it is horrible; you just want to itch and itch and it's so sore and sensitive. I will definitely look into some of your suggestions - my main problem area is diet. I try to keep beauty products minimal and always check the ingredients for any irritants. I am really struggling to heal my hands this time round, nothing seems to be working long-term! Pai rosehip oil does help heal them, but it's not convenient to use throughout the day or on the go. xxx
    www.justemma.co.uk - natural beauty, affordable fashion, everyday life

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    1. Thanks for commenting Emma! My husband suffers from similar condition, and the only thing that seems to help is shea butter! As it's greasy, it has to be applied at night obviously, and when he is consistent with it we see great results. Have you tried it? You can also do a simple DIY butter of shea butter, vitE oil and beeswax as all those things are soothing and healing, maybe adding some chamomile or lavender essential oils? I think that should give you improvement. When it comes to the diet, the main thing I suggest is green smoothies, even if you won't do much else :)Take care! xo

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    2. I'll definitely give shea butter a try, thank you. It's not a product I've tried yet, so fingers crossed! xxx

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  4. This post is going to be a life saver for so many people in terms of taking control of their own health and researching options. It is such a shame that traditional Western medecine has forgotten how to deal with the cause not just effect. I've recently been reading interesting things about raw dairy, which has totally different properties from the stuff that is sold in supermarkets - it can actually help. Sometimes allergies can suddenly go in the same way they just appeared so fingers crossed for you, especially on the eating out front! X

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    1. You are so right! I remember drinking raw milk from freshly milked cows in my childhood (my grandparents were farmers and I was living with them every summer) and it tasted wonderful. Unfortunatelly you can't do that anymore, law is a powerful thing! Thanks for reading and commenting, that means a lot! Have a wonderful day! xo

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    2. You poor baby. That looks so painful. I'm glad you figured it out. It makes sense because what we put in our belly, shows up on our body. One way or another.

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    3. Thanks for reading and commenting my wonderful friend! xo

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