Why I Hate Fall

Fall is beautiful.  There’s no getting around that.  The turning leaves are nice.  The crisp fall air is refreshing.

But, I still hate fall for one simple reason:

My skin.

I have eczema.  I’ve had noticeable symptoms for a few years now, and they seem to pick up in intensity in the fall.  It will last throughout the winter, but for some reason, when it first hits in fall, it is like a bullet.

I have a spot on my face and also around my eyes that flares up.  I also get it on my hands (more my right hand than my left), and along my wrists and the tops of my elbows.

It itches like crazy, and if the areas around my face get bad, it’s noticeable enough that I get self-conscious.  It also really sucks because while the fall usually kicks in all of the areas at once, what happens after that is that one or two areas will clear up but another area will flare up, so until spring I’ve always got a rash and itch going on somewhere.  *sigh*

I have found a few things that seem to help, though they never really make it fully ‘go away’.

I use Aveeno lotion, which seems to work best for moisturizing without further irritating the skin.  Aveeno works best because it does not contain parabens, a chemical that is added to just about all skin and hair care products as a cheap preservative.  It’s also irritating to many (like me) with sensitive skin.

I have topical medication that I use.  This seems to help though it takes a few days to really kick in, and I don’t like to use it preventatively, so there’s always that window.  Often, it’ll work, I’ll stop using it, and I’ll get another flare-up again.  Other times, it can work for weeks.  Two problems: It’s expensive and my insurance company will require that I go try other treatments before authorizing a prescription.

Sleeping. I’ve found that the more tired I get, the more my body seems to be prone.  This is tough but I’ve been trying to add more hours of sleep to my schedule.

Hydration. I’ve found that keeping my skin moist not just from the outside (moisturizer) but also from the inside (by drinking water) seems to help.

We also switched our laundry detergent to the Kirkland brand that is dye-free and supposedly for sensitive skin.  We’d previously gotten their ‘regular’ stuff.  This will take a while to kick in, but maybe this will help?

Reducing the time and temperature of my shower.  As the weather cools and you wake up to a colder house, it’s so tempting to take a long, hot shower.  Unfortunately, this dries out your skin, so it’s best to resist temptation and take cooler, shorter showers.  I know that if I turn down the temperature, making it shorter won’t be a problem as I won’t want to be in there as long!

Stress.  I find that when I’m overworked or upset, I can almost feel it kick in.  Reducing stress is tough with a job with frequent deadlines plus the daily grind with two toddlers, but still something to try to keep mindful of.

Chances are as you read this, I itch.  And that is why I hate fall.

Don’t Assume Things Stay The Same

I suffer from mild skin eczema.  I have a couple of spots on my face and hands that are prone to breakouts.  One of the things that a dermatologist found is that I’m sensitive to parabens, which as it happens, aren’t really good for you anyways.  Unfortunately, they are a cheap way for companies to make their products last longer, so you’ll find them in more and more toiletry items, such as shampoos, lotions, toothpaste, and all kinds of things.

Ingredients list of products will show parabens as ‘paraben’ is part of a longer word, but regardless, if you see those letters, it has parabens.

After I was diagnosed, I changed a good number of products that I was using to paraben free products, and also used moisturizing lotion more, as keeping your skin moist can help keep eczema under control as well.  I was using a brand of Eucerin lotion and it was working pretty well.

by Shiny Things, on Flickr

All of a sudden, though, I noticed that an area on one had was getting a breakout that wasn’t going away.  I used more moisturizer but it never got better.  In fact it seemed to be getting worse.  It suddenly occurred to me to check the ingredients list.  What did I find?

Sure enough.  Parabens!

I looked at an older bottle.  No parabens.  Apparently, Eucerin decided somewhere along the way to change their formula and include the one thing I was trying to avoid.  And, I was making it worse by using more!

I switched to an Aveeno lotion and within a few weeks, the rash on my hand went away.  Now, whenever it’s time to re-stock on Aveeno, I check the back of the bottle before putting it in my cart.  So far, paraben free (let’s keep it that way, Aveeno!)

It just goes to show, if you’re using a product for a particular reason, always check in to make sure that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, or in my case, not doing what it wasn’t supposed to do.

Have you ever used something for a specific reason only to find out the hard way that the company changed it up on you?