It was September of 2017, and after three years of living in Nashville, TN, I opted to quit my job and move back to my parent’s house in Georgia. At this time my father was in New Mexico beginning his new job. My mother, who isn’t in the best of health, was all alone on their 5 acre property just outside of Atlanta. So I quit my job, my lease happened to be ending around this time as well. I helped my mom sell the house and prepare for the moving company to haul our cars and possessions to New Mexico.
Fast-forward to early November of 2017, we’re getting settled into our new house in New Mexico. Within the first month my skin starts to show signs of CU (looking back I know it was CU. At the time I thought it was dry skin)
After showers I would develop hives and rashes on my arms and chest, subsiding after about an hour. I didn’t pay much attention to it. Over time my condition rapidly worsened. Showers bothered me, sunlight bothered me, exercising bothered me. I soon realized a rise in body temperature was the culprit. That’s when I started my research and stumbled upon this site.
It is now April of 2018. I eventually became so sensitive that the act of getting out of bed in the morning and walking straight to the medicine cabinet for my daily anti-histamine would start to cause a flare up. I was miserable and depressed. Saying to myself “I am only twenty-five, and my life is over.” My mental and physical condition was not in good shape. I became a hermit. Avoiding phone calls from my friends back home in Nashville. My life became a 24/7 bout with avoiding triggers.
My biggest fear was that my CU would forever worsen. I have never been suicidal, but I couldn’t fathom it getting much worse and living with it day in and day out. My anti-histamine was barely working by this point.
I was fed up; I was suddenly motivated to find the root cause. For the longest time I convinced myself that I was stuck with CU until my body decided to correct itself. But in a sudden surge of motivation. I decided that something was most definitely causing this and it wasn’t random.
I made a list of every chemical and food I come in contact with on a daily basis. I immediately stopped eating eggs, using coffee creamer (I held out on eliminating black coffee for now). I stopped using shampoo, body wash, conditioner and deodorant. I started taking cold/ luke-warm showers instead of long hot ones. I also quit smoking. And as soon as I quit smoking. The hives on my forearms immediately ceased.
By this time I was inspecting my skin closely and came to realize that the redness on my arms, shoulders, neck, upper back and legs weren’t from too much sun (although the sun wasn’t helping either). It was damaged skin. Basically I had dermatitis from not properly caring for my skin Looking back I never applied moisturizer I took long hot showers, never applied sunscreen. And I was always cold so I occasionally sat in front of space heaters in the winter months. I had been unknowingly wrecking my skin for years.
I began moisturizing my whole body In the A.M and the P.M. I would then apply Vaseline over the lotion on the red/inflamed areas of my skin. Lotion wouldn’t stop the itching. But as soon as I covered the lotion with Vaseline the itch was gone.
I’ve been doing this for five days as of now and the redness on my skin is decreased by about half. And best part is. Hives have decreased by about 90% so far. That’s where I’m at as of now. I know that CU can be triggered by so many different things. But in my case it was triggered by not taking care of my skin properly. I was inspired to right this post since my CU has gone in remission. I’ve always enjoyed reading the posts from those whom have been cured or gone into remission.
I will be posting my daily regimen and some information below. Some of this may be pseudoscience but it’s been working for me.
After years of long hot showers, never moisturizing, rarely using sunscreen, exfoliating too often and using harsh soaps. I had severely damaged my skins moisture barrier. Then moving to a dry climate is what I believe was the final straw that sent my body into chaos.
Now that my moisture barrier was severely damaged my CU was being triggered by toxins, like Pollen, dust-mites, cigarette smoke, sweat and soaps. Normally these things would not bother me. But these toxins were seeping through millions of micro cuts on my skin and causing hives, inflammation and rashes. In conclusion all of my problems seem to circle back to a damaged moisture barrier.
Also referred to as the lipid barrier. This minimizes water loss and keeps toxins out of the body.
Here’s an article that goes more into depth. Simply Google “damaged moisture barrier” or “dehydrated skin” for an abundance of results on this topic.
Some of you may be able to handle gentler shampoos and body washes. But my skin isn’t ready for those to be incorporated back into my routine yet.
Shower A.M: Use Cold/Luke-warm water and keep the showers short as possible. No body wash, shampoo or conditioner (I will occasionally shampoo my hair over the sink. Doing my best to keep it off the rest of my skin). Dry off by patting, not rubbing. Rubbing will only irritate the skin.
Moisturize: Use your lotion of choice and moisturize immediately after you shower. Then you have to lock in the moisture with Vaseline, or something of that nature. When I only applied lotion to my skin the itchiness did not subside, it was only after locking in the moisture with Vaseline did the itchiness disappear and the redness started to fade.
Anti-histamine: Pop your favorite anti-histamine for precaution (talk to a doctor first). Zyrtec works for me.
Hydrate: Drink lots of water
Shower P.M: Same as A.M.
Moisturize P.M: Same as A.M.
Conclusion: I’m only on day five but I have seen such drastic results that I’m almost certain I’ve figured out the root cause of my CU. I hope to be able to stop using the Vaseline soon. But will continue to do so until my moisture barrier is strong again. Also I am very pale so the redness is easy to see on myself. It may be harder to notice if you have a darker complexion.
I truly hope this information helps someone else. Or at the very least is encouraging for others out there. CU was the worst thing to ever happen to me. It wasted almost a year of my life. Others didn’t understand it. I felt alone and depressed. It was the first time I felt like I would do anything to get rid of it, and that’s terrifying to me.