It was over five years ago, and it came out of the blue. All of a sudden Benjamin starting getting rashes on his skin. At first you think it's just temporary, but then it doesn't go away - and it got very, very bad.
What do you do? It started with googling.. ..and you finally see that you have "eczema" and it is just an unexplained thing that just happens. But we are "Type A" people (desperately seeking more "B," but that's another story!) and not doing anything didn't seem like an option.
Suffering. It's hard to see your darling husband suffer like that. He tried EVERYTHING. Light treatments at a local dermatologist that looked like a tanning booth. Creams. Then the steroids started, and everyone was suffering!
Desperation. Hundreds of dollars (per visit!) to a "we don't take insurance" allergist in New York City, and on our second visit she shared that all tests for common environmental allergies came up negative -- dust, pet hair (thank goodness!), etc. So, she counseled us:
Allergist: It appears to be something you are eating. I can test for things, but in my experience false positives are common, and then you will give up foods you don't need to or shouldn't. The best way is to do food elimination and test.
SO WE TESTED. Now, looking backward, we should have started with the 7 most common allergens, you know, the ones that food companies have to call out on labels. But we went by what we ate all the time: Salad? Tomatoes? Chicken?
Almost TWO years pass
After lunch at a local sushi restaurant, Benjamin had a particularly bad flare-up and so we thought -- maybe it's soy? And it was soy. And it's in EVERYTHING.
(Coincidentally, we launched Seed because we knew that people like us went natural because of healthy lifestyle changes, and allergies was definitely one we formulated to -- making sure our products were clear of wheat and dairy and nuts. But we used soy in our body lotion, and have since taken it out.)
Since Benjamin took soy out of his diet, his eczema really only acts up after eating at a restaurant, where despite sharing allergies with them you can run into issues. He only uses fragrance free products (of course, Seed!) and has found his skin to be more sensitive now to things like liquid hand washes, detergents, and such. But his eczema has never acted up like it did before -- and through the last few years, we are very confident that the soy elimination was the remedy. We owe a great deal to that allergist who counseled us as she did, rather than continue writing prescriptions for steroids.
This is only his experience, our experience. But I really believe that many people could eliminate their eczema with similar testing. If you have gone through something similar, then you know it can be a long road -- if you haven't found the problem yet, stick with it. And in the mean time, read our previous blog on "What is Eczema" for tips on treatments.