I'm going to Around 8 years ago I had a rash around my elbow creases, my knee pits, my armpits as well as my groin area. I eventually consulted a doctor about this and they subsequently diagnosed me with eczema and prescribed an ointment to treat it - It was quite some time ago so I can't remember what It would have been.
Prior to that, I had been really suffering - I could not shower, sleeping was difficult, etc - and I tried to narrow down the cause(s). The understanding from my parents was that It could be a milk allergy, and so I abstained from taking milk for a few months but not much progress was made. After the consultation, It simply turned out that the primary allergen(s) was related to a chemical (or various chemicals) in the shower products I was using - notably NIVEA shower gel.
So once I substituted them for more dermatology-friendly soaps and consolidated those efforts using the ointment my doctor had prescribed, there was a significant reduction in the potency of my eczema, but the only places on my skin that served as a visual reminder of the condition were my elbow pits. I was 13 at the time, I only ever used that ointment once but that progress remained for 8 years with no problems. It was practically an afterthought - no itching, no inflammation, no stings while showering, etc. I was using basic moisturizers like Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula, NIVEA Creme, Vaseline Cocoa Butter alongside Pears soap.
For some context, I'm a university student studying abroad as part of my course, and so far I've only been in this new country for 2 years but I often head back home at the start of every summer to see friends and family. As you can expect, this isn't an option during a pandemic, so I've extended my stay to the next university year.
It's been 2 years in which I've been eating the exact same food weekly, wearing the exact same clothes probably longer because I do not buy new clothes often), sleeping on the exact same bedsheets, showering and moisturizing with the exact same products, sleeping in the exact same position, but into that extension around mid-September I had my first and only flare-up after 8 years.
It mostly developed around my elbow pits, the left side of my neck, and my hands. Now I suspect the latter was caused by the Carex handwash I was using more of due to the pandemic, but I have a less precise reason for the former two results. I suspect that they were caused by the status of my pillows and the way I was sleeping - my pillows had collected a lot of dirt and i usually sleep by wrapping my arms around them and resting the left side of my neck on them.
I subsequently replaced them for completely new duck feather down pillows, but nothing. I then suspected that the flare-up might be a consequence of the detergent i was using, so i started washing them with non-bio fairy pods, but still nothing. I next considered tge fabric of my bedding. As it turns out they were made of a cotton blend that had a majority of polyester. I doubted this conclusion because I had been sleeping in these same blankets for over a year with no issues, but I replaced them pure cotton alternatives, and still nothing. I bought an air filter to clear any potential dustmites, and still nothing.
Instead my eczema would always be much worse when I was in bed regardless of the fabric, detergent i was using. Blisters would form on my hands, my neck and elbow midway throughout the night but would almost entirely clear up once I took a shower.
So the next action I took was to get creams that could hopefully treat my condition. I started with off the counter stuff. I bought an Epaderm cream - did not work - then tried out Dermalex for Eczema - it helped but it was particularly expensive for such a small amount. I tried E45 Eczema Repair - and eventually ended up using Aveeno Dermexa cream as it was the most effective for its price.
However, it's progress started to plateau and short on money, i reverted back to using some Dermalex i had lying around. It's suggested that results will show up within 4 weeks of use and that's exactly what happened. I started notice white flecks on my skin, but the eczema was noticeably cleaning up.
However, the moisturizer I was using - Aveeno Skin Relief - started to be a lot more ineffective for my skin as I was constantly dry regardless of how much I applied. So i bought "La Roche Posay Baume AP+" that helped immensely, however It stung every time I applied It to my skin, so i substituted it for "Avene Xeraclam Cream" and used it alongside E45 Repair cream.
Whatever progress I made started to regress once I made this change as I my skin started to become more red. At this point sleep was near impossible as my skin was constantly irritated - i suspect it was infected too - so I returned to Dermalex, but It wasn't helping either. I tried various other moisturizers like Vanicream and Eucerin Ato Control that worked well on areas without eczema, but they were far too greasy or caused minor inflammation otherwise.
I finally consulted a GP and they prescribed me Dermol 500 lotion and Hydrocortisone 1%. I gave a 2 day period before I started using the Hydrocortisone but the Dermol lotion was by far the most effective moisturizer I was using and pretty much smoothed out my skin and reduced most of the blisters, however their was a single drawback - my body was still incredibly dry regardless of how much Dermol I applied. I tried ****** Moisturizing Cream but all it did was cause minor inflammation and so I've ended up finishing a 500 ml bottle in 3 days.
My dermatologist is not taking appointments currently, so MedHelp was the next place i considered for advice. I have not been able to get proper sleep in the last week. What could i do to treat the condition, and more importantly how can i locate the trigger.