Saturday, 20 August 2011

Mysterious blister folk: you have come to the right place

Warning: if you're a runner look away. But if the above heading means something to you, read on my cursed reader...

So a quick scan through the hundreds of visitor statistics for this blog reveals that, of the five people who read this blog, one does so under duress and the other four are here searching for "weird blisters on the soles of my feet and hands". And I want you four to know, you are not alone and you've come to the right place.

For I am, and probably now forever will be a Person with Pomp: I have pompholyx eczema. And like you, I had to surf the net with my symptoms, which we all know is dangerous because on Google, you're never more than three clicks from genital warts. Having been misdiagnosed with warts and verucca - rather alarmingly as my hands and feet were covered, I too entered the blister search term and brought the diagnosis to my medical clinic. Alas, the staff there also had to google.

So here's my top tips for people who have suddenly found themselves with The Pomp.
  • What are you doing differently? And if you aren't doing anything differently are you really really really stressed? Because I've noticed that now The Pomp is triggered, it flares under stress. You may not feel stressed but if you're carrying a lot in your head or smoking a lot, that will probably count.
  • Have you been using any Dettol or similar disinfectant? Did you know that dettol can cross react with a common preservative in nearly every moisturiser, even the natural ones? And the reaction can be Pomp.
  • Are you using lots of chemicals like phenoxyethanol and butylphenol? Again they can trigger a pomp flare. And these are really common chemicals especially phenoxyethanol which is again also in natural type cosmetics because it's a really common and useful preservative.
These are just the things that triggered me and everyone is going to have different causes but if I can help one person, that would be great because I know what it's like when you can't walk, let alone run, can't sleep, are burning your skin with the wrong treatments and look like you have some sort of bubbly leprosy.

In terms of what helped me:
  • I reduced all chemicals and moved to products that had none of the above preservatives. I had to become an amateur scientist breaking down compounds, breaking down sales jargon ("dermatologically tested" just means tested on skin), breaking down all the scare mongering cliches ("contains chemicals found in anti-freeze" - yes well so is water) and spend hours pouring through chemist or natural health shelves. You also spend a fortune in revised products. I can recommend Faith in Nature and Aveeno as the more cheap range.
  • I treated with a cortisone cream over the counter and betamethasone and a LOT of it. Your skin on your feet is tough. Lather it on. Forget the 7 days only warning, you need to get better and run right.
  • Finally, once you've got your skin back to normal, you need to learn to walk again. This sounds silly but if you have had it as bad as me, I wasn't able to walk properly for six weeks and so some muscles compensated and others withered. And I am still trying to correct that in my right foot.
Finally, I guess you want proof that you have got the right thing... so as to spare anyone who has stumbled on here intrigued, I shall now link to the pics... Shudder.

Now you're diagnosed, please stay!

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