Author Topic: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?  (Read 12647 times)

justajane

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My dermatologist is awesome at diagnosing all the random rashes and problems on my uber-sensitive skin. What is not awesome, however, are the cost of prescription creams, ointments, and oral medication solutions.

Just today, I was prescribed an antifungal/steroid cream that would cost $100 per tube. Additionally, he suggested an oral pill to control my rosacea that would cost about $200-300 a month! Thanks, but I'll pass.

Instead I'm trying a mix of over the counter and DIY fixes to control things.

In short, how do you control your eczema/rosacea/acne or whatever other uncomfortable or unattractive skin problem that you have? Also, what are your long term strategies (dietary, hygenic or otherwise) for keeping your skin clear? 

For eczema, I use Cetaphil and as little steroid cream as possible.
For fungal skin infections (candida, cheilitis, etc - be glad if you have no idea what I'm talking about here), I use dollar store athlete's feet cream, cortisone, tea tree oil, and (believe it or not) yellow Listerine. I also try neosporin just in case it's something else.
For allergic reactions, I take Benadryl when needed. I might go on Claritin for a few weeks.
For rosacea, I just put up with it and maybe dial back my caffeine intake.

Anyone else have Mustachian solutions? Or hacks to get cheaper prescriptions for these things?

galliver

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2015, 03:58:00 PM »
As an antifungal: try garlic. You can make a "lotion" out of it by soaking minced garlic in olive oil (or any oil of your choice). Downside: smelling like garlic. But that might not be too bad for, say, feet. :)

Frankies Girl

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2015, 04:24:50 PM »
I have roseacea, and and none of the pills or creams my dermatologist prescribed worked at all. Money down the drain as far as I'm concerned.

So I did a ton of research, and discovered IPL, and now you can't tell I have roseacea at all.

IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments are not necessarily inexpensive ($100/treatment), but since I've been keeping up with them, I can go longer in between treatments, and I no longer have serious flushing/redness unless I get overexposed to sun or severely overheated. It took about 3-4 treatments to really start seeing any difference, but after about 6-8, it was a miracle - no more redness! I go in for touchups about every 8-10 weeks now, and it is wonderful to no longer be red and have the little broken veins all over, and IPL also improves the overall condition of your skin so fine lines and the like disappear too (it encourages the production of collagen... but not gonna lie - it hurts when they're working on you! It also could cause some bruising in the early days since the technician might have difficulties judging just how strong to have the settings, but that never happens to me any more).

I moisturize my face at night using a either coconut oil or olive oil with a little teatree oil. Teatree is supposed to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system.

I also use CereVe as my daily moisturizer. It was recommended to me by my dermatologist as it blocks the sun damage well and is kind to roseacea/sensitive skin. I love it, and you can find it in drug stores (at least I can - Walgreens).

http://www.amazon.com/CeraVe-Moisturizing-Facial-Lotion-Ounce/dp/B003WN1ELQ

sugarsnap

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2015, 04:30:19 PM »
I've found most of my issues all flare up when I eat dairy so I avoid it rather than taking all of the random drugs and tests the doctors prescribe.


lakemom

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2015, 05:32:33 PM »
Both I and a close friend have solved skin issues by totally giving up wheat.  She's given it up totally and I do fine as long as I only eat it once ever week to ten days.  She had bad eczema and I had mild eczema. We both came upon the solution at different times and discovered we were both avoiding wheat when we went out to breakfast one morning.  We're not "gluten free" but wheat free in that we both eat other grains that do contain gluten, it seems to be the wheat specifically.  In my case whole wheat product is worse (ie quicker and worse flare ups) that white products.

Doulos

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2015, 06:11:00 PM »
Fly to Israel.
Go swimming (floating really) in the dead sea.

Seriously.  It is renown for healing skin conditions.
This is not a cheap solution, but compared to medical bills it actually might be less expensive.
Plus it is an awesome vacation.

Also, Deadsea skin care products are available for purchase.  Also not cheap.

Krnten

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2015, 07:05:31 PM »
I think my post got deleted so trying again:  other countries might have cheaper prices on all these things so you could check next time you go abroad or put in an order when a friend or relative does.

That's what I've done for retinol creams when I don't feel like going to a dermatologist.  Also the various international "sketchy" mail order pharmacies apparently aren't all that sketchy, at least acc to a planet money podcast a while back.  For the most part the drugs are what they're advertised to be.

frugaldrummer

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2015, 09:10:07 PM »
Go completely 100 percent gluten and dairy free for a month. If your skin clears up, reintroduce dairy first. If nothing happens after a few days, reintroduce gluten. Odds are one or both are a trigger.

If that doesn't give you an answer, do a full elimination diet to look for other causes. And avoid inhaled allergens like dust mites and cats and ragweed if you can. Eczema is usually caused by allergies.

Cwadda

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2015, 09:26:32 PM »
Have you tried coconut oil? It's $15 at CVS. I've been using it on my face and it's been working wonders. All natural, edible, etc. I used to use Benzaclin which is $300 without insurance. You'd think adding oil to your skin would make your skin worse, but it works for me! Feels amazing when it gets into your pores.  Just be sure not to go crazy with it in case your skin has a bad reaction to it.

Here's a link to what I use.
http://www.cvs.com/shop/household-grocery/food-snacks/condiments/nature-s-way-organic-coconut-oil-skuid-863112

couponvan

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2015, 06:55:00 AM »
I don't have a true cheap solution, but my DH uses Enbrel w a HD plan. We are on the hook for 100% the first $5k, then all care is 100% covered.

At least for now, Enbrel offers $4,000 copay assistance each 6 months.  We have ours on a July/February 6 month cycle.  The first $4k covers January, the second $4k covers February, then we pay nothing for any medical for the rest of the year since we've spent $5,000.  I am sure at some point our health care plan will treat this differently, but the expensive prescription actually saves our family money due to the secondary support.  You do have to fill out health surveys to get the support - I figure DH makes about $2.5K per survey since there are 2 each year and give us the $5K in savings. They completely fixed his and no real flares in 8+ years.

justajane

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2015, 08:19:10 AM »
Thanks for the responses everyone! You've given me some new ideas to try.

Regarding coconut oil, because of its natural antifungal properties, I do use coconut oil regularly, but on my face it causes acne. It's awesome elsewhere though!

Great suggestion re the Dead Sea. I actually have floated in there, but it was spur of the moment - in other words, I didn't have a bathing suit and was on a day trip. Let me tell you - the bus ride back to Jerusalem was very itchy! It turns out letting that amount of salt dry on your clothes and skin is not a good idea :). I'm sure the Israeli next to me was thinking, "Stupid tourist...." the whole time. Hopefully later in my life I can experience the healing properties of the place for real. Although, have you heard that the Dead Sea is shrinking rapidly? It might not exist for our children's children. 

I suspect that some of my problems might be caused by dairy and wheat, but I just haven't been willing to eliminate two of my favorite food groups. My eczema is thankfully very minor, so I just deal with it when it flares up. I have a much more serious problem with dermatitis (seborrheic particularly), and that appears to be related to seasonal changes and candida (which could be partially dietary but almost always happens in the spring and fall). It really sucks, because most dermatologists will diagnose but not be able to determine the cause.

The rosacea diagnosis is new to me. That was the first time that the doctor had ever mentioned it yesterday. My poor husband swelled up like a Klingon once from rosacea, so I know it can be very disruptive at times.

Anybody ever gotten the full workup at the allergist to isolate the potential causes? I bet that's expensive. It cost me $750 last year at the allergist to determine that I am actually not allergic to penicillin. I shudder to think how much a larger range of tests would cost.

Here's to finding frugal yet effective ways to treat the body's largest organ! (that came out sounding weird, but you know what I mean).

Elliot

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2015, 08:29:47 AM »
Zinc soap (i use noble formula from amazon) is great for fungal issues. What a lot of people think is body acne can actually be fungal rather than bacterial in origin, and that's what I use the zinc for.

For rosacea/acne (i have both, but fortunately the rosacea is very mild) I see a teledermatologist, since there's not a derm in my area. She gives me a cream that controls the inflammation very well and it's about 20 a month for doc+meds. I also use a bland cleanser (johnson&johnson purpose, about $12 a year) and I found a great sunscreen by neutrogena. I cannot stress the importance of regular sunscreen use for control of almost any skin issue.

Cwadda

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2015, 09:40:10 AM »
I can give you a quick run-down off what I did for my face. But this is only really applies to my face, and not all my other skin. I am very self-conscious about my skin. It's always a battle to keep my skin in good condition.

1. Started off with low dose tetracycline (antibiotic) That didn't work.
2. Am on low dose sulfamethoxazole (antibiotic). Costs $20 for 60 days worth. Works pretty well and am still using it.
3. Having daily vitamins
4. Eating plenty of fruits/vegetables
5. Using a separate towel to dry my face
6. Not really using Proactive anymore. Have not used Benzaclin.
7. Washing my pillowcases often.
8. Started coconut oil a week ago. Really like it so far.
9. I only use Dial antibacterial soap. Everything else is too abrasive.
10. Exercise and physical activity. Sweating opens your pores well. Also swimming occasionally seems to help since the chlorine kills bacteria
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 10:03:59 AM by Cwadda »

Gerard

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2015, 09:48:31 AM »
My (admittedly minor) chronic seborrheic dermatitis (itchy/red/flaky skin on scalp, between eyebrows, and chest) cleared up entirely about 10 years ago when I started rinsing/dabbing with a mild vinegar-water solution... twice a week at first, once every two weeks to maintain. Apparently soap and shampoo were making my skin more alkaline, which wasn't good.

About 3 years ago, I went over to a no-shampoo, no-soap regime, which means I need even less vinegar-water maintenance because I'm not messing my skin up in the first place.

neophyte

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2015, 09:55:07 AM »

For fungal skin infections (candida, cheilitis, etc - be glad if you have no idea what I'm talking about here), I use dollar store athlete's feet cream, cortisone, tea tree oil, and (believe it or not) yellow Listerine. I also try neosporin just in case it's something else.

I sometimes get eczema that needs to be controlled with a strong steroid, then the steroid tends to lead to fungal infections (fun! fun!) Anyway, it's kind of weird, but I've had really good luck using Vagisil or whatever the over the counter yeast infection cream is called to control the fungal stuff.  I've used it for cheilitis too, usually clears it up in a day or two.

Mainly I try to avoid irritants and keep the spots that are prone to getting eczema well moisturized so I don't get to the point that I need to use the steroid cream. For moisturizer, I'm a big fan of CereVe and Aveeno. 

I get cheilitis when I sleep with my mouth open, which usually means a cold or allergies, so taking an antihistamine before bed when my nose is stuffy seems to help prevent that.

7. Washing my pillowcases often.

Seconding this. And I'm sure it goes without saying -- non-scented detergent.

justajane

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2015, 11:56:43 AM »
I get cheilitis when I sleep with my mouth open, which usually means a cold or allergies, so taking an antihistamine before bed when my nose is stuffy seems to help prevent that.

That's an excellent idea that never occurred to me and probably explains the seasonal aspect of it. Thanks for the insight!

Knock on wood, steroids have never exacerbated my candida problems (only antibiotics), and strangely enough, my problems never manifest themselves in the (ahem) places that women usually suffer. I get it in my milk ducts when nursing and topically on other areas of the body. A few summers ago, I discovered the wonders of Yellow Listerine to cure seborrheic dermatitis on my abdomen. It vanished after I starting applying it after showering. Another cheap antifungal solution is Gold Bond Foot Powder after applying listerine. I personally find nystatin to be the most useless stuff ever, and OTC remedies have worked much better for me.

AZO Yeast is also an excellent thing to take if you suspect candida.

@Frankie's Girl, I'm definitely going to check of CereVe, since I've seen that mentioned multiple times on here. I buy Cetaphil in bulk at Costco, but it's not great on the face. Plus there's the sunscreen issue. Now that I am nearing 40, I am stepping up my game when it comes to daily sunscreen use.

coffeehound

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2015, 03:27:34 PM »
Thanks for the responses everyone! You've given me some new ideas to try.



Anybody ever gotten the full workup at the allergist to isolate the potential causes? I bet that's expensive. It cost me $750 last year at the allergist to determine that I am actually not allergic to penicillin. I shudder to think how much a larger range of tests would cost.


I've had the work up for contact allergies, which were what was causing my ugly, ugly eczema around my ears/hands/fingers/face.  I don't remember the cost, but it was not a lot, nor was it a huge deal.  And, you know what?  It really helped, and was highly mustachian, because it turns out, the expensive hair/skin care products were *causing* the problem!  If you're having lots of skin issues - and I'm not a doctor here, but this works well for me - go buy yourself a bar of Dove soap.  Pricey, yes, but it rinses off completely, and is less likely to irritate your skin than just about anything else.  Oh, and you can definitely use it on your face.

Have you thought about using an 'elimination' diet for a few weeks?  You can find the guidelines on the web, and it may help you isolate what foods are causing you troubles.

Good luck.  Having your skin be at war with you is no fun at all.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 03:29:36 PM by coffeehound »

BlueHouse

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2015, 04:38:01 PM »
Go completely 100 percent gluten and dairy free for a month. If your skin clears up, reintroduce dairy first. If nothing happens after a few days, reintroduce gluten. Odds are one or both are a trigger.

If that doesn't give you an answer, do a full elimination diet to look for other causes. And avoid inhaled allergens like dust mites and cats and ragweed if you can. Eczema is usually caused by allergies.

Yes, yes, yes!  I had scalp and skin flakes constantly.  I cannot believe dermatologists don't tell you this -- my latest even said there is no connection.  I went off dairy for about a month, noticed a huge difference.  Ate dairy, it came back.  Went off for 5 full months and I can now tolerate occasional cheese and daily yogurt without scaling or flakes.  But if I have certain cheeses, it's horrible and embarrassing! 

Wheat definitely is causing inflammation and I think joint pain, but I've never made it a full month without any wheat before.  I keep trying.

EDIT:  and avocado -- eat at least 1/2 large avocado every single day.  It did wonders for my skin.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 05:17:22 PM by BlueHouse »

Daisy

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2015, 11:38:52 PM »
Lifelong eczema sufferer here...from my scalp to my toes.

Endless years of dermatological treatment with cortisone creams and injections, antihistamines, mattress covers to protect from dust (recommended by an allergist), etc., did not yield much success. Only one of those patch tests helped me determine I had an issue with two ingredients that are in most shampoos, conditioners, and lotions...so I carefully read labels for those.

In my mid-30s, someone suggested I go see a homeopath that had helped their son overcome their eczema. Needless to say, this was a life changing experience as I overcame the eczema (can still revert to it if I don't take care of myself).

It's been more than 10 years since the homeopathy cleared my skin up and the only time it came back was when my town was upgrading the water system and all of a sudden I started to get weird reactions so I ended up buying a water softener to clean the water out (both drinking and bathing water were irritating me). This episode took about a year between symptoms showing up until I figured out it was the water...well rather my homeopath suggested it after I told her the water smelled funny...she's always spot on in her diagnoses.

I've written elsewhere on these forums about what the homeopath did to help me. A lot of it is dietary in nature as others have noted. I cut out dairy, coffee, wine, acidic foods such as oranges and tomatoes (suggested by homeopath as irritants for eczema). She also put me on some homeopathic remedies that helped my body get rid of the toxins that had been suppressed by the cortisone for years. I also found I had a papaya allergy so removed that.

All in all it took about 8 months of a "skin transformation" from totally itchy eczema, to itchiness going away but stlll very dry and scaly skin, to eventually regular skin that doesn't really need moisturizing. I wouldn't have believed it when I started that my skin could actually improve so much. I was just hoping to get rid of the 24/7 itch.

Many years later, I can eat some dairy and oranges and stuff, but I space it out and it doesn't cause me issues. I eat a minimally processed food diet and eat all sorts of crazy healthy whole food stuff now, so I'm sure that helps too. Although my diet in the past wasn't too shabby, I've really kicked it up a notch in my 40s.

No one believes me now that I had these skin issues in my past when I try to offer advice to others suffering from it. There are tons of skeptics out there, but it's what worked for me.

Another side effect when I had the eczema is that I caught every cold that was out there and would constantly get sick. Not so after clearing up my skin. I guess my immune system was totally out of whack during that time. I'd also get really tired any time my skin flared up...that has cleared up as well.

I went from spending tons of money on cortisone creams, to basically nothing now.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 11:47:09 PM by Daisy »

jrhampt

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2015, 05:44:01 AM »
I think my post got deleted so trying again:  other countries might have cheaper prices on all these things so you could check next time you go abroad or put in an order when a friend or relative does.

That's what I've done for retinol creams when I don't feel like going to a dermatologist.  Also the various international "sketchy" mail order pharmacies apparently aren't all that sketchy, at least acc to a planet money podcast a while back.  For the most part the drugs are what they're advertised to be.

I was just going to post exactly this.  There's a prescription cream that I use for my rosacea -- it costs $100 a tube with insurance if I get it from my US pharmacy, but I can order it from a New Zealand pharmacy for $15 a tube.

aneel

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2015, 05:44:46 AM »
For fungal issues, I use anything mineral based, esp with sulfur. I also try to take a pro biotic (acidophillus is pretty mustachian friendly) to keep things in balance. And not sure if this is an option for you, but, my friend recently had a baby and learned that breast milk is thought to be very healing towards skin rashes on your baby. Then in her research, rosacea came up as something helped by breast milk. Her mother has rosacea, and seems to have had positive results with applying it to her flare ups!

jrhampt

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2015, 05:45:15 AM »
I have roseacea, and and none of the pills or creams my dermatologist prescribed worked at all. Money down the drain as far as I'm concerned.

So I did a ton of research, and discovered IPL, and now you can't tell I have roseacea at all.

IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments are not necessarily inexpensive ($100/treatment), but since I've been keeping up with them, I can go longer in between treatments, and I no longer have serious flushing/redness unless I get overexposed to sun or severely overheated. It took about 3-4 treatments to really start seeing any difference, but after about 6-8, it was a miracle - no more redness! I go in for touchups about every 8-10 weeks now, and it is wonderful to no longer be red and have the little broken veins all over, and IPL also improves the overall condition of your skin so fine lines and the like disappear too (it encourages the production of collagen... but not gonna lie - it hurts when they're working on you! It also could cause some bruising in the early days since the technician might have difficulties judging just how strong to have the settings, but that never happens to me any more).


Do you go to your dermatologist for IPL, or somewhere else?

Elliot

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2015, 07:53:20 AM »
I think my post got deleted so trying again:  other countries might have cheaper prices on all these things so you could check next time you go abroad or put in an order when a friend or relative does.

That's what I've done for retinol creams when I don't feel like going to a dermatologist.  Also the various international "sketchy" mail order pharmacies apparently aren't all that sketchy, at least acc to a planet money podcast a while back.  For the most part the drugs are what they're advertised to be.

I was just going to post exactly this.  There's a prescription cream that I use for my rosacea -- it costs $100 a tube with insurance if I get it from my US pharmacy, but I can order it from a New Zealand pharmacy for $15 a tube.

Azelaic acid? It'd OTC in australia and NZ, apparently.

justajane

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2015, 07:58:49 AM »
I think my post got deleted so trying again:  other countries might have cheaper prices on all these things so you could check next time you go abroad or put in an order when a friend or relative does.

That's what I've done for retinol creams when I don't feel like going to a dermatologist.  Also the various international "sketchy" mail order pharmacies apparently aren't all that sketchy, at least acc to a planet money podcast a while back.  For the most part the drugs are what they're advertised to be.

I was just going to post exactly this.  There's a prescription cream that I use for my rosacea -- it costs $100 a tube with insurance if I get it from my US pharmacy, but I can order it from a New Zealand pharmacy for $15 a tube.

Azelaic acid? It'd OTC in australia and NZ, apparently.

Is this the same or similar to Metrogel? Also, wouldn't the shipping be pretty steep?

jrhampt

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2015, 11:06:33 AM »
I think my post got deleted so trying again:  other countries might have cheaper prices on all these things so you could check next time you go abroad or put in an order when a friend or relative does.

That's what I've done for retinol creams when I don't feel like going to a dermatologist.  Also the various international "sketchy" mail order pharmacies apparently aren't all that sketchy, at least acc to a planet money podcast a while back.  For the most part the drugs are what they're advertised to be.

I was just going to post exactly this.  There's a prescription cream that I use for my rosacea -- it costs $100 a tube with insurance if I get it from my US pharmacy, but I can order it from a New Zealand pharmacy for $15 a tube.

Azelaic acid? It'd OTC in australia and NZ, apparently.

Yes, there's no generic version of azelex/finacea here in the US, and even with insurance, the price for me went up recently from $60/tube to $100/tube.  So I did a little online research and am now using Skinoren, which has the same composition as Azelex but is wayyy cheaper (yes, even with shipping - I just order several tubes at once) if you order it from NZ.  I didn't know it was OTC there, but that makes sense.  I'm not really sure why you have to get a prescription for it here.

Elliot

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2015, 01:10:56 PM »
Yeah I have to use the finacea (gel base) because the cream base of the skinoren exacerbates my acne. Womp womp.

galliver

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2015, 04:39:40 PM »
Lifelong eczema sufferer here...from my scalp to my toes.

Endless years of dermatological treatment with cortisone creams and injections, antihistamines, mattress covers to protect from dust (recommended by an allergist), etc., did not yield much success. Only one of those patch tests helped me determine I had an issue with two ingredients that are in most shampoos, conditioners, and lotions...so I carefully read labels for those.

In my mid-30s, someone suggested I go see a homeopath that had helped their son overcome their eczema. Needless to say, this was a life changing experience as I overcame the eczema (can still revert to it if I don't take care of myself).

It's been more than 10 years since the homeopathy cleared my skin up and the only time it came back was when my town was upgrading the water system and all of a sudden I started to get weird reactions so I ended up buying a water softener to clean the water out (both drinking and bathing water were irritating me). This episode took about a year between symptoms showing up until I figured out it was the water...well rather my homeopath suggested it after I told her the water smelled funny...she's always spot on in her diagnoses.

I've written elsewhere on these forums about what the homeopath did to help me. A lot of it is dietary in nature as others have noted. I cut out dairy, coffee, wine, acidic foods such as oranges and tomatoes (suggested by homeopath as irritants for eczema). She also put me on some homeopathic remedies that helped my body get rid of the toxins that had been suppressed by the cortisone for years. I also found I had a papaya allergy so removed that.

All in all it took about 8 months of a "skin transformation" from totally itchy eczema, to itchiness going away but stlll very dry and scaly skin, to eventually regular skin that doesn't really need moisturizing. I wouldn't have believed it when I started that my skin could actually improve so much. I was just hoping to get rid of the 24/7 itch.

Many years later, I can eat some dairy and oranges and stuff, but I space it out and it doesn't cause me issues. I eat a minimally processed food diet and eat all sorts of crazy healthy whole food stuff now, so I'm sure that helps too. Although my diet in the past wasn't too shabby, I've really kicked it up a notch in my 40s.

No one believes me now that I had these skin issues in my past when I try to offer advice to others suffering from it. There are tons of skeptics out there, but it's what worked for me.

Another side effect when I had the eczema is that I caught every cold that was out there and would constantly get sick. Not so after clearing up my skin. I guess my immune system was totally out of whack during that time. I'd also get really tired any time my skin flared up...that has cleared up as well.

I went from spending tons of money on cortisone creams, to basically nothing now.

Good luck.

First of all...I totally believe you that treating your water, making dietary changes, and possibly some herbal/natural remedies helped with your skin issues...clearly there was some irritant that you eliminated and/or some deficit your fulfilled by making these changes, and I'm glad you had a knowledgeable guide who suggested these changes. I totally agree that modern Western medicine often ignores lifestyle factors like this, opting instead for symptom suppression. When obviously, diet, activity, sleep, pollutants, and allergens are all important considerations. And even psychology/stress.

That said, homeopathy itself is completely scientifically implausible. Most of the remedies are diluted so many times that you're lucky to get a molecule of the "active ingredient." Maybe it was advanced thinking for the 19th century but it runs counter to all our understanding of chemistry and physics. Any continued usage of it probably relies on poor understanding, belief in the supernatural, or the placebo effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy

MGeegs

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2015, 08:34:43 PM »
I suffer from eczema and have tried many things so here is a list - see what works for you.

- wash less. I only use soap on stinky bits every day, not all over. Use bar soap (or anything with as few chemicals as possible). Try dropping the frequency of shampooing. Try using cooler water.
- exfoliating gloves are (counter-intuitively) great.
- oatmeal baths calm the skin. Bleach baths help with low-grade infections that can make eczema red and angry.
- "lock in" moisturiser with Vaseline
-  antihistamines help with itching at night. Well my doctor says it has no effect, so it might be placebo, but honestly I don't care.
- I've switched to homemade household cleaners and sensitive washing powder

Slight more out-there options that apparently work for some, but not me
-stop using steroid creams, look up "topical steroid withdrawal".
- take vitamin d
- take probiotics
- try an elimination diet to identify food triggers

As for acne, research oil cleansing! My skin loves it.


Almosthw

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2015, 08:44:13 PM »
Haven't seen anyone else mention this...my husband was having serious case of contact dermatitis. Did the skin allergy tests with no allergens identified.  Dr recommended wearing only 100% cotton, 100% polyester, or 100% silk and avoiding non iron fabrics.  Making this change worked! Apparently, he was reacting to the chemicals used to combine the different material types.

Scnrn

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2015, 01:33:20 PM »
Hi,So sorry for your skin issues.They are so hard to deal with and most definitely not one of the better parts of medical care.I had terrible excezma and even for a period as a child would have to put some "medicine"on my hands and the seal my hands in gloves and then my skin was supposed to be sloughed off in the morning.Also was not allowed dairy during this wonderful treatment.Needless to say it did nothing except torture me .As a nurse the years of gloves with powder were also really bad.What has basically cured me was finding out that my daughter had nut allergies while I was nursing her.I gave up peanut butter and my hands improved dramatically.Also now that Nitrile gloves are used at work that eliminated that irritation.I only use "natural" dish soaps .Using regular dish soaps is immediately itchy and irritating.Also any of the regular liquid body washes tend to be irritating-especially the ones that are supposed to be moisturizing. I suspect it is all the fragrances.I use grape seed oil on my face at night.I tolerate Oil of Olay with SPF sensitive on my face.
Also for a long time I would get cracks in the corners of my mouth(painful!!!!)and my mouth would always feel dry.I tried a lot of changes with toothpaste thinking at first that it was the mint etc.Eliminating the sodium laurel sulfate was finally what cured that. I still believe in fluoride but was able to find natural TP without the SLS.Also recently made the discovery that some of the Sensodyne Proenamel is SLS free.
I use Mineral fusion blush.It is the only kind that doesn't make my cheeks feel like they are burning. I can't remember what is not in it that is in a lot of other make up but it was something specific.Also I can not tolerate wool and lanolin and touching anything musty or moldy makes my hands swell immediately.
Also you may have to experiment with laundry detergents. My Dad could originally tolerate free and clear type detergents but got so that even those made him very itchy and there was only 1 brand(which is escaping me at the moment) that worked so you may need to experiment there also.
I also can't tolerate no iron fabrics. A lot of present day woven fabrics are "no iron"Apparently they use formaldehyde in the processing.feels like constantly being poked.Makes me itch remembering!
Good luck on finding some solutions.

Daisy

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2015, 10:26:36 PM »
First of all...I totally believe you that treating your water, making dietary changes, and possibly some herbal/natural remedies helped with your skin issues...clearly there was some irritant that you eliminated and/or some deficit your fulfilled by making these changes, and I'm glad you had a knowledgeable guide who suggested these changes. I totally agree that modern Western medicine often ignores lifestyle factors like this, opting instead for symptom suppression. When obviously, diet, activity, sleep, pollutants, and allergens are all important considerations. And even psychology/stress.

That said, homeopathy itself is completely scientifically implausible. Most of the remedies are diluted so many times that you're lucky to get a molecule of the "active ingredient." Maybe it was advanced thinking for the 19th century but it runs counter to all our understanding of chemistry and physics. Any continued usage of it probably relies on poor understanding, belief in the supernatural, or the placebo effect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy

Well as a scientist/engineer and having taken multiple physics classes throughout the years, after my exposure to homeopathy I began to try and understand how it worked. Funny you should mention chemistry and physics because I tend to think of western medicine now as more chemistry based and some of the eastern medical practices as physics based (such as acupuncture and your body's energy fields).

The more I read about mirror particles and resonant frequencies, the more plausible homeopathy becomes. That's why the actual remedy you take is so important. The wrong remedy won't trigger your body to heal. I'm thinking it has to do with the resonant frequencies in the substance and your body. Google this and you will see a lot of information online.

Not that I need convincing that it works, as I experienced it myself. The diet changes remove the triggers for eczema, but the homeopathy actually is what changed my skin from the dry, scaly, itchy mess it was to the thankfully wonderful skin I have today. I used to sleep with a tub of moisturizer by my bed every night and constantly apply, and now I barely even moisturize.

It wasn't a placebo. I had only started the dietary changes and hadn't even done all of it. Once I started the homeopathy remedies, my body immediately started to react. I began to ooze a disgusting vinegar smelling thick liquid from behind my ears and my stomach. I was on a business trip at the time and had to return home early because the changes going on were getting intolerable at first. It was definitely a big change that happened immediately...not something that would happen with a small dietary change. My homeopath had warned that it would get worse before it got better as my body was reacting to the remedies.

I bring it up because homeopathy was never on my radar ever until someone suggested it to me. I hadn't even heard of it. If it was a placebo, then it was quite a successful one that has lasted over 10 years. I guess the cortisone creams and such couldn't produce this placebo effect. I really thought all of that stuff would work and it didn't. I really thought this homeopathy thing was a fluke when I first heard of it and only went because of the suggestion and my attempt at all of the other "regular" approaches never worked.

As you can see on this thread, people are spending $100 on tubes of cortisone cream and it's not really solving the problem. In fact, it could be creating other side problems using so many steroids. I think it's worth giving something else a shot.

I know how hard it is to suffer with these skin issues. I know most will just ignore what I say but maybe if just one person goes and tries an alternate approach, well then I would feel like I've helped someone.

Have a great day.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 10:30:59 PM by Daisy »

m8547

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2015, 11:27:23 PM »
I'm allergic to a lot of creams and lotions, including hydrocortisone. I haven't yet been able to figure out if it's a particular ingredient of class of ingredients since there doesn't seem to be a lot of overlap in the ones I'm allergic to.

FYI, Target has cheap store brand antifungal creams. Terbinafine, Tolnaftate, or Clotrimazole. Terbinafine used to work best for me, but now I seem to have developed an allergy to it. Clotrimazole never worked, but Tolnaftate seemed to work this time.

I've had allergy tests for food and seasonal allergies, and they told me I was allergic to almost everything, including some things that I'm not allergic to at all (like eggs). I'd say it has only limited value.

Diet is definitely a factor in my skin problems, but I haven't been able to figure out any specific substance yet. I tried a gluten free diet for a few days, and as a result I learned that I'm probably allergic to beef! I ate almost nothing but beef and cheese for those few days, and I woke up one night itchy all over and it was slightly difficult to breathe. As long as I have it only occasionally I'm fine, though, maybe a little itchy.

I switched to bar soap, and that seems to help. I try to only use powdered laundry detergent since it rinses out better and has fewer chemicals than liquid. I need to find shampoo with fewer chemicals, and I should switch my hand soap to bar soap when I run out.

Aveeno lotion works best for me. I'm allergic to many of the others dermatologists have recommended, such as cetaphil (maybe it's the almond oil) and Eucerin. Or if it's not an allergy, it makes my eczema worse.

There's some evidence (you can look up studies in the medical literature) that taking probiotics as a child helps reduce the risk of eczema. As an adult they didn't seem to do anything for me, and maybe made it slightly worse. I don't think any studies have been able to show a benefit for adults yet. You can make your own probiotic yogurt if there's a particular strain you like. Just dissolve the contents of one capsule in cooked milk (basically heat to 180F then cool to 100F to pasteurize it again) and leave in a warm place overnight, like making yogurt. Try this at your own risk, of course.

There's a company that makes probiotics for your skin. https://www.aobiome.com/ Maybe worth a try. They say that surfactants/detergents kill the bacteria, so you have to be careful if you use it not to render it ineffective. Apparently you can get the same bacteria by rolling around in the dirt, as long as you don't mind being dirty.

justchristine

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #32 on: April 02, 2015, 06:06:14 PM »
I have psoriasis, have had random allergic rashes, chronic dry skin and acne. 

I used to spend $$$ on prescriptions until I realized I was wasting money and not getting any better.  After some trial and error, I've found olive oil is the magic formula.  I use it to wash my face and most of my body.  I only use soap for my hands and privates.  I've found the generic aveeno body lotion doesn't irritate me.  This combo has cleared up most of my skin issues.  Now if I could just find a simple solution to my newly developed dry eyes...Sigh

justajane

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2015, 06:45:11 PM »
I have psoriasis, have had random allergic rashes, chronic dry skin and acne. 

I used to spend $$$ on prescriptions until I realized I was wasting money and not getting any better.  After some trial and error, I've found olive oil is the magic formula.  I use it to wash my face and most of my body.  I only use soap for my hands and privates.  I've found the generic aveeno body lotion doesn't irritate me.  This combo has cleared up most of my skin issues.  Now if I could just find a simple solution to my newly developed dry eyes...Sigh

I hear ya on the dry eyes. I can't wear contacts for this reason. Plus apparently Lasik is not recommended if you have them.

galliver

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2015, 01:03:42 PM »
Google this and you will see a lot of information online.

Googling is interesting because alongside accurate information you can find "information" about how vaccines cause autism and how to build a perpetual motion machine.

I am very well aware that science and medicine do not have everything figured out, and thus there is definitely room for individual belief in there. Basically, if something hasn't been properly scientifically tested, and that information just isn't available, or if the *reputable* information is highly contradictory, it's up to the individual to make the call based on their subjective judgement, intuition, or arbitrary chance. What else is there to do? But it sounds like you're trying to use quantum mechanics concepts to pseudoscientifically justify a mesoscale phenomenon. That's like saying you're late to dinner because of relativity.

I'm not trying to convince you, really; you'll believe what you want to believe. I'm just putting the alternative perspective out there to encourage others to be critical in considering it. I used to equate homeopathy with naturopathy, so I lumped it in with alternative treatments I think have plausibility but may not have been sufficiently studied (e.g. herbal remedies). I was horrified when I found I had spent money on Oscillococcinum (introduced to us by a family friend, so I trusted it blindly!), which are for all intents and purposes, sugar pills.

MissPeach

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2015, 02:32:20 PM »
I was in a similar situation and going off the steroid creams was very difficult. My skin flared up big-time.

I found the root cause of mine were actually skin allergies to some products I was using. Once I got rid of them the redness cleared up fast. For acne my triggers are hormonal. I've had some luck implementing Ayurveda techniques. Look up the skin mapping (this is used in Chinese and Indian medicines) and it can give you a clue to what internal things are triggering your acne. I knew mine was hormonal because of when it comes on but the skin mapping basically was another way of confirming it.

For fungal infections I prefer hydrogen peroxide. It's my go-to wound care. Way more effective than the OTC ointments. I've even used this successfully for a toenail fungus that my derm wanted to laser.

Elliot

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2015, 05:06:54 PM »
I use Dakin's solution (1:10 bleach and water) for athletes foot, jock itch, ringworm, and toe nail fungus. The method and frequency of application depends on the area being treated. It is also good for cleaning wounds in general. I don't keep rubbing alcohol around the house, and I only have hydrogen peroxide at home for removing blood from laundry (I'm a nurse).

Daisy

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #37 on: April 03, 2015, 08:51:51 PM »
Google this and you will see a lot of information online.

Googling is interesting because alongside accurate information you can find "information" about how vaccines cause autism and how to build a perpetual motion machine.

I am very well aware that science and medicine do not have everything figured out, and thus there is definitely room for individual belief in there. Basically, if something hasn't been properly scientifically tested, and that information just isn't available, or if the *reputable* information is highly contradictory, it's up to the individual to make the call based on their subjective judgement, intuition, or arbitrary chance. What else is there to do? But it sounds like you're trying to use quantum mechanics concepts to pseudoscientifically justify a mesoscale phenomenon. That's like saying you're late to dinner because of relativity.

I'm not trying to convince you, really; you'll believe what you want to believe. I'm just putting the alternative perspective out there to encourage others to be critical in considering it. I used to equate homeopathy with naturopathy, so I lumped it in with alternative treatments I think have plausibility but may not have been sufficiently studied (e.g. herbal remedies). I was horrified when I found I had spent money on Oscillococcinum (introduced to us by a family friend, so I trusted it blindly!), which are for all intents and purposes, sugar pills.

We obviously have had different experiences with homeopathy, so I will leave it at that. It's not a belief thing for me and didn't work because of that because I had never even heard of this field of alternative medicine before I went.

For many people, the regular course of action with steroidal creams and antihistamines doesn't work either. Doctors tell you they don't know what causes it and there isn't much they can do for you except for these creams. I think for some not-so-chronic cases the creams may provide some relief. But my case was really bad...scales on my scalp, dry and itchy patches all over my skin, face, etc. I'd wake up surrounded by flakes of skin on my bed that would fall off of me as I scratched my way through the night. Forget about a good night's sleep. I'm so happy to be over it.

Eczema and other skin issues are a quality of life deteriorating condition. Having a 24/7 itch, emotional issues due to the disfiguring caused by the bad skin, side effects due to excessive steroid use...it's really tough to deal with. I really wish everyone can find what works for them and can find some kind of relief.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 08:56:07 PM by Daisy »

purplish

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #38 on: April 03, 2015, 10:16:24 PM »
Now that I am nearing 40, I am stepping up my game when it comes to daily sunscreen use.
I'm allergic to the active ingredients in chemical sunscreen, and I struggled to find a light weight daily moisturizer.  I've been using Paula's Choice (http://www.paulaschoice.com/shop/skin-care-categories/sun-protection/_/Skin-Recovery-Daily-Moisturizing-Lotion-SPF-30/) for almost two years, and I love it.  I do use a heavier cream at night.

Love Paula's Choice!  Her stuff is great cause it's formulated for sensitive skin, works well for me.

What's helped me a lot is only using laundry detergent for sensitive skin, NO softener, and no dryer sheets.  My skin got much better after I changed to this!  Plus it's cheaper and less waste anyway.  Something else random which has helped a lot, is to STOP taking multivitamins!  Sounds weird but my skin got much better after I stopped.  Somehow all the extra vitamins just did not get along with my skin.

For in the shower, I use only Dove body wash.  For my seborrheic dermatitis, I just use the store generic brand head and shoulders shampoo, it's only a few dollars.

Also, years ago I was getting all these awful rashes and I couldn't figure out why- turned out I had become very allergic to nickel!  Even the buttons on my jeans were causing a rash.  I would get rashes on my elbows from leaning on something metal.  Once I started being more vigilant about what I touch, I have gotten way less rashes.  So I think looking into allergic reactions is important.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 10:18:48 PM by purplish »

justajane

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #39 on: April 03, 2015, 10:20:44 PM »
Well, in other health news, I fell down the stairs today and broke my foot in two places. Ouch! For the moment at least, solving skin problems is on the back burner. I'm more likely now to need advice on how to treat bed sores ;).

For those of you involved in the homeopathy discussion, do you just mean natural remedies? Is diluted tea tree oil considered homeopathy? Essential oils in general? I do think some of these things are taken too far, but the judicious use of natural antifungals has been quite effective for me personally. When I had systemic and topical yeast infections while nursing, nothing works for me but grapefruit seed extract.

Daisy

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2015, 10:44:18 PM »
For those of you involved in the homeopathy discussion, do you just mean natural remedies? Is diluted tea tree oil considered homeopathy? Essential oils in general? I do think some of these things are taken too far, but the judicious use of natural antifungals has been quite effective for me personally. When I had systemic and topical yeast infections while nursing, nothing works for me but grapefruit seed extract.

No, homeopathy is a specific approach where a very diluted substance (in my case it was sulfur, graphites, and some beetle type extraction) is taken. The theory behind it is that the particular substance in large quantities would actually create the symptoms you are currently having. But in extremely diluted forms, your body begins to deal with it and kind of "heal itself". This is where I think the "resonant frequency" thing comes into play...I'm certainly not an expert on the science behind it...I was just trying to understand why it had worked for me.

That's where the controversy comes from because it's hard to understand how such an extremely diluted substance can even be detected by your body. Since it is an alternative form of medicine, it doesn't seem like there have been a lot of funds to test it like say conventional drugs have. So many think there is no way it can work.

The diluted substance is given in small pill form. They sell a lot of these at Whole Foods and other places. However, I suggest going to a homeopathic professional. The way it works is that if the substance you take doesn't match your symptoms, then the remedy really doesn't work. You won't see any results. So you just taking a guess at what will work may not show any results. A professional will have the experience and knowledge to be able to try different things until they find one that works. And they may have experience with your particular condition to be able to better match up the remedy. Also, places like Whole Foods don't sell the whole range of remedies available or at the proper doses.

It's definitely hard to wrap your head around, especially since it's not much accepted in western medicine and most people don't have exposure to it. In other countries such as India it is very popular. I work with people of Indian origin and they all swear by homeopathy. If you know anyone from India they may be able to recommend someone they know in your local area. If you live in South Florida, I can recommend mine (PM me). I think it's also popular in some parts of Europe.

Exflyboy

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2015, 12:40:18 AM »
My Wife is a redhead and get excema. and uses Cetaphil and is prescribed protopic cream..

She had prescription NB, UVB treatments that cost a fortune!.. I built a UVB (NB= Narrow band) flourescent fixture, after we got the dermatolagist to give us a prescription for the tubes (6ft long). I bought the ballasts and special end fittings on line.

So now we have out own in home treatment medical light setup for about $500.. paid for itself in less than a year.. and has an expected 20 years life.

We have a bar of dead sea soap! which helped.. then I read about the benefit of magnesium salts... Hmm.. so she now takes nightly baths using Espom salts.. Huge difference!

The next thing I am going to experiment with is magnesium oil.. which is simply magnesium chloride dissolved in water.. you spray this on with a spray bottle.

The idea is that I am a bit nervous about dumping all that Epsom salt into the septic tank.. so using a spray bottle would use a lot less chemical, and probably save money assuming it works.

You probably gathered I have and engineering/science background, but building a UV lamp set up is not hard.

Rural

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2015, 05:56:34 AM »
If no one has mentioned Dr Bronners tea tree oil soap (I've read many but not all of the posts), I've found it works wonders for any little irritations, for poison ivy (after an outbreak starts), and for small cuts.


 I imagine it would work well for eczema and similar, too, if tea tree oil helps. For our purposes, it can be very diluted, so it should be a chap source of tea tree oil.

couponvan

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2015, 09:59:18 PM »
Well, in other health news, I fell down the stairs today and broke my foot in two places. Ouch! For the moment at least, solving skin problems is on the back burner. I'm more likely now to need advice on how to treat bed sores ;).

OMG justajane!  I just read this and I hope you are doing OK - I guess you'll be adding calcium to your diet as well to prevent future breaks? How did that expense fare with your medical plan? The whole ACA has made things super complicated for us, but I think we've finally unraveled the puzzle.

We are $0 for the rest of the year thanks to the copay/coupon assistance from Enbrel, and I breathe a sigh of relief and count my blessings that the kids will be covered no matter what crazy "par core" idea they come up with out in the back yard.  FWIW, last year on DH's insurance our son got a freak illness which required several heart scans - to the tune of thousands of dollars of copays out-of-pocket since DH's insurance had prescription meds being separate from doctor visits on his plan.  When I had a socket wrench dropped on my face during a DIY (you can read about my shame on the wall of shame if you look it up), that was another added "unexpected" expense. I can only imagine what a break in two places could cost.  Keep turning and those bed sores should clear up.

justajane

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2015, 05:52:27 AM »
Well, in other health news, I fell down the stairs today and broke my foot in two places. Ouch! For the moment at least, solving skin problems is on the back burner. I'm more likely now to need advice on how to treat bed sores ;).

OMG justajane!  I just read this and I hope you are doing OK - I guess you'll be adding calcium to your diet as well to prevent future breaks? How did that expense fare with your medical plan? The whole ACA has made things super complicated for us, but I think we've finally unraveled the puzzle.

We are $0 for the rest of the year thanks to the copay/coupon assistance from Enbrel, and I breathe a sigh of relief and count my blessings that the kids will be covered no matter what crazy "par core" idea they come up with out in the back yard.  FWIW, last year on DH's insurance our son got a freak illness which required several heart scans - to the tune of thousands of dollars of copays out-of-pocket since DH's insurance had prescription meds being separate from doctor visits on his plan.  When I had a socket wrench dropped on my face during a DIY (you can read about my shame on the wall of shame if you look it up), that was another added "unexpected" expense. I can only imagine what a break in two places could cost.  Keep turning and those bed sores should clear up.

Thanks for the kind thoughts, couponvan. Your luck sounds about a good as mine at the moment. I'm not sure yet what it will cost. Probably over 10K. We're pretty disappointed, because 2014 was a record health care year for us, and not in a good way. I was pregnant and had a suspected pulmonary embolism scare in January. It ended up being nothing (thankfully).  That cost $4,000 and made us reach our high deductible in the first two weeks of the year. Then I had a few regular but still costly hiccups during the pregnancy. Then the birth. Then my older son fell and sliced his chin open. Another ER visit. Then I got the worst ear infection known to man that spread into my face (cellulitis). 3 ER visits and 2 nights in the hospital (ca. 15K). Worst pain of my life. Then we all got Influenza A (two urgent care visits for ear infections for the boys and pneumonia for me). We have decent insurance, but all told, I believe my husband said we spent out of pocket last year around 9K.

I thought this year would be better, but apparently not. I sound like an old person based on this description, but I'm only 37. Here's to hoping 2016 is a better year for health care costs :)! But we have three boys, so.....urgent care visits are probably on our new norm. I've been healthy my whole life (no hospital visits, no broken bones, rarely sick, no skin problems until my thirties), so this has all thrown me for a loop.

Like skin issues, I think there can unfortunately be a cascading effect with health in general.

galliver

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #45 on: April 06, 2015, 06:17:38 PM »
Well, in other health news, I fell down the stairs today and broke my foot in two places. Ouch! For the moment at least, solving skin problems is on the back burner. I'm more likely now to need advice on how to treat bed sores ;).

For those of you involved in the homeopathy discussion, do you just mean natural remedies? Is diluted tea tree oil considered homeopathy? Essential oils in general? I do think some of these things are taken too far, but the judicious use of natural antifungals has been quite effective for me personally. When I had systemic and topical yeast infections while nursing, nothing works for me but grapefruit seed extract.

:( A speedy recovery to you!

Daisy explained homeopathy quite well. One thing she didn't go into is the extreme nature of the homeopathic dilutions. Take the remedy I mentioned, Oscillococcinum,  which is supposedly a remedy for the flu. You can look up the ridiculous historical reason if you're curious, but its "active ingredient" is duck liver. The dilution goes like this: you combine 1 part duck liver with 100 parts water, shake it well, take out 1/100 of the result (1/101 if we want to be exact...), combine with 100 parts water, shake it, and repeat 198 more times (this is called a 200C dilution). The result is, theoretically, a 1:100^400 ratio of duck liver to water. There are only 10^80 atoms in the known universe. (If it should have been 1:99 or 1:101^400...I don't really care, the order of magnitude and the point still hold.) So it's pretty safe to conclude there isn't a chemical or atomic-scale justification for homeopathy. Beyond its implausibility, there's the fact that reputable medical studies have found it ineffective. Case in point a recent meta-study by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/cam02 All that said, the only way it will hurt anything but your wallet is if you forgo a conventional treatment for a life-threatening condition (cancer, heart attack, blood clot) to use it. It may even help, because placebo effect is a real and powerful thing.

Daisy

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #46 on: April 07, 2015, 08:59:07 PM »
Then I got the worst ear infection known to man that spread into my face (cellulitis). 3 ER visits and 2 nights in the hospital (ca. 15K). Worst pain of my life. Then we all got Influenza A (two urgent care visits for ear infections for the boys and pneumonia for me).

Like skin issues, I think there can unfortunately be a cascading effect with health in general.

I used to get a lot of ear infections when my skin was bad as well. I never made the connection between the two when I was going through it. I was a regular fixture at the dermatologist office as well as the ear, nose & throat doctor. I haven't been to either in over 10 years after my skin issues were resolved. Nice people, but I'd rather not visit. ;-)

One of my ear infections was so bad I also ended up in the ER. I had been putting the prescription ear drops in my ear to stop the infection, but it was so bad my ear hole closed up so the drops weren't going in. It was one of the most painful things in my life!

The homeopath would ask a lot of strange questions. One was if I had a lot of ear wax. At that time, I had always had ear wax so I answered no because I thought the amount I had was normal. After my skin cleared up, I no longer have much ear wax.

During the homeopathic "skin transformation" "gross phase" (my wording, not hers), the stuff that was oozing out of my skin was also oozing out of my ears. I believe the eczema also extended to my ear drums and caused irritation and because of the little skin abrasions there, it was a ripe environment to get infections.

Afterwards I realized the ear wax was just one other symptom of my eczema. Now I am totally clear of that and have not had an ear infection in over 10 years.

The more I learn about holistic medicine, the more I like it. These practitioners look at your body as a whole system instead of focusing on specific body parts. It all works as a whole. Symptoms appearing on your skin are a sign that some nasty things are going on internally in your body and there is an imbalance. As an engineer, this view of the body as a system makes a lot of sense to me. In any design, the symptoms of a defect are not always the place where the original cause of the problem is.

You may also want to look into a functional medicine doctor who views the body as a complex system.

Merrie

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #47 on: April 07, 2015, 09:05:24 PM »
Ask your pharmacist! They will probably be glad to offer suggestions of prescription products you could ask your doctor for that would be cheaper than what you pay. Also ask your doctor for samples and coupons for brand-name products. As a pharmacist, I hate watching dermatologists write for all these spendy products that are minor reformulations of drugs that have been around a long time (Doryx and Oracea cost $700 a month and are just long-acting doxycycline; regular-release doxycycline costs $40 a month or so) and are available for much cheaper. I'll gladly give alternative recommendations to whoever asks me.

justajane

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #48 on: April 08, 2015, 09:14:04 AM »
I used to get a lot of ear infections when my skin was bad as well. I never made the connection between the two when I was going through it. I was a regular fixture at the dermatologist office as well as the ear, nose & throat doctor. I haven't been to either in over 10 years after my skin issues were resolved. Nice people, but I'd rather not visit. ;-)

One of my ear infections was so bad I also ended up in the ER. I had been putting the prescription ear drops in my ear to stop the infection, but it was so bad my ear hole closed up so the drops weren't going in. It was one of the most painful things in my life!

The homeopath would ask a lot of strange questions. One was if I had a lot of ear wax. At that time, I had always had ear wax so I answered no because I thought the amount I had was normal. After my skin cleared up, I no longer have much ear wax.

During the homeopathic "skin transformation" "gross phase" (my wording, not hers), the stuff that was oozing out of my skin was also oozing out of my ears. I believe the eczema also extended to my ear drums and caused irritation and because of the little skin abrasions there, it was a ripe environment to get infections.

Afterwards I realized the ear wax was just one other symptom of my eczema. Now I am totally clear of that and have not had an ear infection in over 10 years.

The more I learn about holistic medicine, the more I like it. These practitioners look at your body as a whole system instead of focusing on specific body parts. It all works as a whole. Symptoms appearing on your skin are a sign that some nasty things are going on internally in your body and there is an imbalance. As an engineer, this view of the body as a system makes a lot of sense to me. In any design, the symptoms of a defect are not always the place where the original cause of the problem is.

You may also want to look into a functional medicine doctor who views the body as a complex system.

This is all very interesting to me, Daisy. Thanks for sharing. I'm not sure I'm on board with homeopathy, but I do think you are indeed right that many causes and solutions often fall through the cracks of traditional medicine. I think this is because of the widespread use of specialties. They all have their focus, and while they are certainly trained and capable of looking at the body as the complex system that it is, I'm not sure this always occurs in reality.

It's hard, because internists can't always correctly identify a skin rash, just as the urgent care docs didn't correctly identify the bone that was broken in my foot. I had to go to an orthopedist to do that. After all, doctors are just people, and it's unrealistic for us to expect them to know everything.

But the underlying causes of things get lost in the round of specialists (other than my broken foot. It didn't take a genius to discover the cause of that was my clumsiness!). I have an excellent internist who does a pretty good job looking at me holistically, but even he has his limits, i.e. I've learned never to mention anything having to do with my lady parts. That will get the immediate, "Well, you should discuss this with your OB-GYN!" This is a shame, because hormones can play a large role in your health. OBs are actually pretty good at looking at women holistically, at least the good ones are, because they know that some women's only annual contact with a doctor is with their OB.

I'm pretty sure my ear infection was caused by overzealous use of Q-tips (really, don't stick them deep in your ear!), but even before you suggested this, I had a suspicion that my frequent use of Q-tips and overall itchiness related to eczema in my ears. My ENT didn't see that much upon inspection though. Anyway, you've given me a lot to think about and work through again.

Ask your pharmacist! They will probably be glad to offer suggestions of prescription products you could ask your doctor for that would be cheaper than what you pay. Also ask your doctor for samples and coupons for brand-name products. As a pharmacist, I hate watching dermatologists write for all these spendy products that are minor reformulations of drugs that have been around a long time (Doryx and Oracea cost $700 a month and are just long-acting doxycycline; regular-release doxycycline costs $40 a month or so) and are available for much cheaper. I'll gladly give alternative recommendations to whoever asks me.

Yes, the prescription was indeed for Oracea, and it turns out that my plan denied it outright. I know this, because I received a letter in the mail listing cheaper alternatives that they would cover. If that is the cost, I don't blame them for denying it! I did have a coupon, but even with that it was too expensive for me. Plus, I'm breastfeeding, and the trusty pharmacist (really - you guys are great) let me know that was a no-go.

sunnyca

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Re: What are your Mustachian dermatological and skin allergy solutions?
« Reply #49 on: April 08, 2015, 09:37:02 AM »
I have super-sensitive skin that's reactive to a LOT of things, but it's gotten much better in the past few years.  This is what I do:

- Wash my pillowcases and keep a dedicated towel for my face (all washed in unscented detergent and dried with wool dryer balls)
- Use either sensitive skin Dove (bar soap) or Body Soap lotion cleansers on my face (most other things are too abrasive or drying and can cause a reaction)
- Moisturise occasionally with plain aloe vera gel
- The biggest other change I've made is in my diet.  I've found that since I've upped my intake of green juices (wheatgrass, spinach, etc), veggies, and whole foods that my skin has gotten a lot better.  Some foods I eat can definitely affect my skin (like avocado- tragic!)