My Skin Allergies

My Skin Allergies

This might not be a good first article for my blog, but I have decided it will bring great awareness to other people  who are suffering with this condition, and that – to me – is  a strong reason that is enough to write about it in a personal level.

 A child suffering from allergies

Ever since I can remember, my resistance to skin problems has always been an issue. I can clearly remember that when I was in primary school I had this skin condition at the back of my knee, and I want to be blunt about it rather than be embarrassed, but I will use the medical term for it because if I write the common term for it on here – it gives me shivers and I cringe – it is called Tinea. And bless me, the only person that has initiated to give me relief from it, was my teacher. She powdered a penicillin capsule and mixed it with baby oil, gave it to me. Although after that I can still remember that the doctor prescribed anti-fungal creams, then from that time on I lived understanding that these creams were my ‘bestfriends’ that until today I still have one tube with me in case I get panicky about itchy things on my skin. I also want to add that I  easily develop ‘boils’. Again, I grew up wondering why but the past few years I learnt that it has something to do with my diet and my resistance, but this topic I want to reserve for my next writing task as I strongly feel that I can write with extensive regard about these things considering that it is based on a not-so-good personal experience.

Relocation and my bout with skin dryness

So you might wonder why I have talked so much about the above introduction, let me explain.

I moved to the UK almost six years ago, June 2008, to be exact.  I came here to start a new life with my partner ( but sad to say things did not work out for over a year now) who is English while I am originally from the Far East. So from the time when I arrived here I was in a state of  ‘awe’ to how cheap and readily availabe pastries are in the supermarket whereas back home in Asia you only indulge in these sweet things if you are in a coffee shop, which doesn’t happen a lot, or you are in a birthday party. In short, my newfound addiction to pastries and dairy came about here in the UK. And there was no stopping me.

I then developed a routine of going to Greggs bakeshop on a daily basis to get my dose of caramel doughnut. Quite shocking, isn’t it? But that is how it unfolded. And when food shopping comes, we would pick a caramel ice cream or croissant with pecans. What I am trying to point here, is my change of diet – pastries and dairy. Not good.

From what I can remember, after a month of moving here, I developed a rather strange light black patch but scattered although confined in one area at the top of my buttocks area, in the middle sort of where the spine ends or above the coccyx — sort of like a mouldy look. With this panic scenario again, I went to buy a teatree antibacterial cream which I kept on putting daily but to no avail. It did disappear after about six months but  I can’t really say why or what I did to make it disappear. There were times I used epsom bath salts and soaked in it 3 or 4 times a week.

I also developed severe dry skin the moment I arrived, on my first shower. The conclusion was the water in the UK is full of calcium salts compared to back home. With this I started to use moisturisers or lotions which I used to hate back home, never did use it there.

My Diet

I never really cared about what I eat anyway. I would, on a daily basis, eat white rice and mostly eat it with fried eggs – two, not one! It is fair to say that my daily meals will never be complete without eating meat like fried bacon, canned meat like Spam and corned beef.  And the worst part is, being an Oriental like me, we love soy sauce. I also loved prawns – heaven! I am generally mostly into ‘oily’ foods. While most English people shun fatty parts of pork or lamb meat, I don’t. I literally make sure I buy the fatty parts or else my braised pork dish is bland to my taste. In short, I was stubborn about avoiding fats for health reasons, plus maybe it is this illusion that my body back then was good as a teenager, deluded, I was.

What is frightening to recall was my fondness for prawns, and until about 4 months from the time I moved here, I became allergic. What happened?

 I discovered this when I was at a Chinese buffet restaurant where I started to experience ‘palpitations’ and I could feel hot blotches on my cheeks — swollen small areas of my skin, quite bumpy when you touch it. So from that day on I became dependent on antihistamines. And up to this day, I panic at the thought of forgetting to bring my anti-allergy tablets with me, literally hidden inside my wallet. I forgot to say, I stopped eating prawns from that day, as far as I can remember, but let me say, I am quite in denial why I can’t enjoy prawns – they are the best thing for me; had to say bye bye to t-empura prawns and those crunchy coating – thanks to Japanese cuisine.

My Life as an Allergy Sufferer

Living a life with allergies is never easy. And I am very sure that there are a lot of people that are like me out there, here in the UK.

Speaking from personal experience, this is never easy. I could not go out without bringing a small canister with me filled with skin lotion. To be honest, I find it frustrating. Why can’t I just go out without so much fuss like the regular person next to me? Why do I have to panic at the thought of eating something in the restaurant that has got prawns in it? I realised, life will never be the same again, but it will have to be more of trying to adapt and being ‘friends’ with hypoallergenic lotions and the works. Welcome to the modern world!

Sometimes I wonder why this is happening. I have many things on my mind about the reasons why people develop allergies but I won’t discuss it on here. (Reserve for my next writing piece)

There is no denying that my skin condition started me experiencing getting very short tempered and moody. Now, I can finally vouch that mood swings do happen. They are real, afterall.

Maybe, it has something to do with the state of being ‘irritable’ about the frustrating skin condition. You try hard to understand why this is such and such. You try to convince yourself that after a few days, you will get better, you will get back to that normal skin that you used to have. No complications whatsoever.

But with time you learn to accept, to the point that, you start to label yourself as someone with ‘sensitive’ skin. With this, you categorise yourself with the products you use like when you go to Boots to  buy cosmetics or bath products. And there is a certain degree of jealousy that I feel when I see other people use products that are mainstream and for the general public. I am also jealous of the fact that some people can literally pick up these fancy skin products that are so full of fragrance in them while for myself I have to make do with products like Simple with just 100% bland translucency in it. Exciting, not!

Skin Problems and Treatments​

Throughout those years and up to now, I have used all sorts of products, some with good and bad results.

 I recall when I was in my University days, my last year to be exact (1997 up to 1998), I was seeing a dermatologist regularly. Why? Mixed reasons, actually, For one, vanity. But it was more of my acne problem, to be fair. But back then my skin was overwhelmingly classed as ‘oily’. What a contradiction if you compare it what is happening with my skin today.

So those were the days where I started to use a facial cleanser because I was told I needed a ‘mild’ product for my skin but all throughout I really liked it as it sounded like a status symbol to me, or that yearning to be different  from my peers. With this product I was able to wallow in my so-called ‘different’ sensitive skin connotation. Are you wondering what this product is? It is called Cetaphil.

My Goal

I have this feeling that my site’s predominant articles will be about allergies, skin condition, especially Eczema. But I will try hard to talk about many things that I can relate to so as not to make this as blog about allergies, otherwise I might as well get a new name for my site.

With this writing I am really hoping I can reach out to other people with their stories about suffering from skin allergies and bad diets. I have finally found a writing haven where I can share my stories although there were times that it  really held me back thinking that my experiences with this is not valid enough or not a big impact to merit an attention, but hey, why should I worry about that now? As long as I try my best to be genuine about my journey with this skin conditions, it might be a relief to some if they can identify with me and corroborate some daily encounters with having a very sensitive and dry skin.

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