Thursday, March 29, 2012

EK update - the seasonal peel

My hands have been healthy for the last several months, and I really thought I'd turned a corner.  Then March came along and had to ruin everything.

I've been watching my hands, using my  Gold Bond lotion, and really happy that the skin on my hands has been healthy.  I notice that when I drink wine or beer my skin dries out, but a couple days, some hydration and lotion, and it's back to normal.  No peeling or blisters.

A couple weeks ago I started to notice that the skin on a couple of my fingers was becoming tough, almost hard, and more smooth than normal.  It wasn't long before the first tell-tale dry blister appeared, and it was all downhill from there. 


I won't show my fingers peeling,
just imagine peeling a banana.
My two index fingers, my right pinky, and my left 2nd finger, all peeled either in the middle of the fingers or at the tips.  My right index finger took the worst of it this time, with the skin at the joints being so raw that it hurts.  I'd take pictures, but A) who wants to look at nasty skin, and B) I'm not that good at capturing this awful condition and the pictures don't really do it justice.

I will say that this outbreak is less severe than the one I had last summer in May and June.  I would go so far as to say that the skin is even starting to heal. It's still annoying and it still pisses me off.

I'm applying the lotion like always, and it does seem to keep the skin from getting dried out, since the peeled areas are basically raw skin now.  I have one spot on my right thumb where I peeled a little much and got some healthy skin, and it's pretty deep and hurts like crazy.  

I went online again yesterday looking for more information and, wishfully, answers.  The forum that I'd found last year which pointed me in the direction of EK actually had recent entries from this year, after a few months of no activity.  I know the condition is not all that common, but, I am surprised at how little info there is out there on EK, so I was happy to see some more recent discussions about it.  I even found some talk about EK on a trade forum for manicurists

Still, it seems that even dermatologists are puzzled by EK and it's usually misdiagnosed for a long time.  There are people who use sandpaper on their hands to minimize outbreaks, some who swear by certain topical treatments, and others who find comfort in dietary changes. 

I'm going to settle on using the Gold Bond and see how long it takes to get my hands back to healthy.  At night, I'm mixing a little Bacitracin in with my lotion and I like to believe it's doing something to help heal the skin.  It's at least keeping the raw, deep peeled areas from developing infection.

They say that outbreaks tend to be worse in the summer, in the warmer months.  I was really glad we had this freakishly warm weather in March, but I could have done without an early outbreak of EK.