I have very sensitive, eczema prone skin. I used to think this was because of some mysterious ingredient in my skincare products that I could never seem to isolate. How embarrassing for someone in my profession. Recently I’ve had allergy testing done by my dermatologist that confirmed that I have an allergy to nickel. I always suspected this because I had a lot of problems wearing jewelry that would cause a rash where the metal touched my skin. The solution that worked for years was just to buy really good quality gold jewelry (with a lower nickel content). However, since I’ve been post-menopausal I’ve become more sensitive and even my gold jewelry seems to eat through my skin.
In the fall I developed severe eczema around my eyes. The skin was red and swollen and would then peel away leaving my skin even more sensitive. For a while I quit wearing all eye makeup. I tried cutting everything out of my skincare routine but it never cleared up the eczema. Cortisone creams from my dermatologist helped for a short time but then thinned the skin so much that the eczema would come back with a vengeance. However, there were three products that never stung my skin: Soothing Seawhip Cleansing Milk, Ginseng Tea Toner and Revitalize Cell Therapy. And the interesting thing was, my eczema got worse each time I stopped using my toner.
I’ve since discovered that the root of my eczema was not my skincare products at all but the food I was eating. Nickel is in the soil where we grow our food which gets absorbed by many foods. Particularly whole grains, chocolate, cashews, kidney beans, green leafy veggies, legumes, bean sprouts, nuts, seeds, soy and canned foods. What’s left? And, to make matters worse, all the hardware on my kitchen cabinets and the faucets in my bathrooms are all made of satin nickel. How pretty.
This is what worked for me. I’ve discovered that taking 500-1000 mg Vitamin C before each meal allows me to eat most everything. You see, Vitamin C binds with the nickel and it makes it more difficult for it to get absorbed. I’m also very good about taking Omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation. I run water for a minute or so before I use the faucet and drink only purified water. I disinfect my hands each time I use the faucet. I avoid mineral based cosmetics and alway follow cleansing my face with a toner. I even wipe it over my eyelids. The eyelids are thinnest and most delicate area on the face. Therefore you can experience allergic reactions in this area even when the culprit is not placed directly on the eyelids. Oh, and I also stay away from Moroccan Oil. which is a product that I love for my hair, but sure enough, every time I use it I get a severe reaction on my eyelids.
I hope this story helps you discover why you might be getting eczema. 15% of the population has an allergy to nickel. You may not be allergic to nickel but take a look at some alternative causes to your eczema. The place to start is to get some allergy testing done. This may help with the confusion and save you months or even years of discomfort and aggrivation. Good luck!