Sunday, July 6, 2014

Caffeine and Alcohol, my latest eczema triggers

Dear Reader,

hello!  I hope you are well.  I have been working quite a bit more intensely than usual and if you have been reading my blog previously you will know that I suffer on and off from bouts of eczema.  I usually get it under control and then don't suffer badly for years until suddenly my body develops a new sensitivity to something and I have to painstakingly work out what it is!  A heavy work load certainly increases the chance of my body becoming sensitive to some new chemical or other and it was a couple of weeks in to a hectic schedule that I went out for dinner with friends and downed a couple of cocktails.  In normal circumstances this would be fine for me but in my body's stressed out state the next day my skin was red and flared up terribly in the creases in my elbow.  I knew it was probably from the alcohol so decided not drink for the rest of the project. 

Unfortunately not drinking wasn't enough to make the flare ups go away once they had started and I battled with them constantly for the next few weeks.  I tried changing my washing powder, diet, moisturising constantly, using steroid cream and taking supplements.  The steroid cream would work but then as soon as I'd stop using it the eczema would come back.  It even spread to my back which has never happened to me before so I couldn't even comfortably lie down in the bath.  It was only in the last few days of last week that I began to suspect that my morning coffee might be causing my flare ups as they were calm when I first woke up and then bright red later in the morning.  I have drunk coffee in the morning for a couple of years but travelling in to a new work location and routine had meant I was buying one on the journey in to work which I suspect was a lot stronger than what I'd usually drink at home.

The change was almost instant.  I switched to buying a decaf coffee and after two days my skin was so much better.  It wasn't as dry and the skin was no where near as inflamed.  My back calmed down loads too.  I had a massive headache for the whole of the first day I stopped drinking coffee but after that day I adjusted fine and even felt that I was sleeping more deeply.  I was really self conscious of my arms and had been hiding them but now I felt fine having them exposed which was a relief as I had a week of performances coming up.
I know everyone's triggers are different but you never know, it might be worth trying to go without caffeine for a bit and seeing if it helps.  I'm just so glad I figured out my latest trigger!

Till next time :)

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