This is not an easy post for me to compose, as I’ve just broken out with my worst yet rash of Atopic Dermatitis/ Eczema from working outside in the heat and sweating. When I work doing shoots outdoors (or indoors without proper AC), my skin gets REALLY upset. What exactly happens? First, I break out in rashes from the constant sweating, the skin gets red/ irritated, itchy, then as I fight with the “keep it dry” mantra using medicated Hydrocortisone ointment, bacteria moves fast and my ordeal is a lost battle. It will usually take more than a week for my skin to heal up, the areas where there are folds in my body such as the armpits, elbow and under chin become super sensitive, broken/ raw (it is so painful) not to mention terribly embarrassing to mention. Of course avoiding to sweat/ keeping areas dry keeps eczema at bay but I still have to function, like everyone else does in Singapore’s heat. The process for me personally, is a one step forward, two behind scenario. On my last trip to the USA, landing in dry California immediately stopped the eczema rash within two days. I was not sweating and perspiring the way I do in Singapore. Coincidence? You be the judge. Sweat is the rash trigger.
Today I met with my dermatologist and was told I have severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis better known as excessive underarm sweating, all just lovely right? I live in a very hot, humid climate, am always on the go and the sweat is non-stop from the car, outdoors and many public areas which do not have air circulating and I should mention I love to exercise and do high intensity cardio. The air conditioning of Singapore is not like it is in the USA which is mostly central (or the UK where it is perpetually mild so you hardly ever need AC), take this from me, it is a big struggle to stay dry for most. At the advice of the GP and my own intuition, I made the decision to start using Botox in the underarm areas to fight a real fight and cut the possibility of yet another rash. The process is tiny injections superficially into the nerves to stop the glands from perspiring excessively. Getting injections was very beyond painful because my armpits are broken out and tender since Friday last week when I spent a good 8hr shift doing makeup/ hair. On Monday, I started a course of antibiotics to stop the bacteria from growing.
The lesson I learned is, eczema/ atopic dermatitis is a horrible non-curable condition but there are things you can do to fight this nasty ailment. Use soap free products like Cetaphil cleanser and Dermalogica Ultra Calming serum (used in my chin area when I was itching and started feeling the red bumps, huge relief), as well as my other friend Hydrocortisone ointment 0.1% (prescribed by a dermatologist). Another nugget I found out is that there is medicated anti-perspirant. You bet I ordered myself some through Amazon (and a big thank you to my sister who will send it to me from CA). Last but not least, I now firmly believe in Botox! As I endured the multiple injections one by one as the kind doctor handed me a box of tissue (total of 50 mil injected), all I kept thinking was being rash and sweat free for a while (the suppression is temporary, probably 4-6 months and I am OK with that). Keeping calm, DRY and carrying ON.