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Old 06-02-2011, 11:08 AM   #1
vicariousbliss vicariousbliss is offline
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Contact dermatitis? Eczema? I need help !

Hey, I have a couple of questions about my "mystery skin condition" and I'm hoping that I'll get some answers here (: I'm going to try and make it as short as possible....

This all started about a year and a half ago, when I noticed that the inner corner of my eyes had some hyperpigmentation, and it was a bit itchy. I mentioned it to my mom, but brushed it off as being nothing. (I'm black & have dark skin, just fyi) Anyway, it wasn't really noticeable. But by January of last year, I had developed these huge dark circles around my eyes. They were puffy and inflamed. When this initially started, I thought they were just dark circles, so I tried all sorts of creams, serums, etc that claimed to help get rid of them. Of course, that didn't work, and it just seemed to be getting worse.

From last January until now, I've seen doctors about this problem and have not been able to get a clear answer. I've been told it's everything from eczema, to a bruise, to allergic shiners. But these have all been [I]speculations[/I], no one seems to know what the hell it is.

When this first began, It didn't resemble a rash. But now, it definitely does. To help you picture it, this it what is looks like:[LIST][*] swollen[*] wrinkly[*] very dry and sometimes flaky[*] hyperpigmentation going around the whole eye[*] these very, very tiny bumps that seem to be right underneath the skin[/LIST]In a nutshell, it just looks INFLAMED.

A dermatologist who I've seen recently alluded to the possibility of contact dermatitis. He didn't actually say it, but he did ask me if I used hair dye and nail polish. (which I do)

As of now, I'm 95% sure that that's what it is: contact dermatitis. I seriously don't know what else it could be, because it just doesn't look or act like plain old eczema. :/ I have friends with eczema, and theirs looks TOTALLY different. Well, I've done[I] a lot[/I] of research on allergic contact dermatitis the past few days, and I have begun using only natural things on my face and body, and I've stopped wearing all makeup and nail polish. The only things I use that aren't 100% natural are my shampoo, conditioner, and body soap. However, these things contain very mild, gentle ingredients and have no fragrance, parabens, preservatives, detergents, etc.

Now the thing is, I have the same dry, scaly skin on my hands and my legs. Like my eyelids, the skin on my hands do not itch. My legs do itch, but only when I break out in hives. For whatever reason, I keep getting hives on my legs, and only my legs. This just makes me even more certain that I have some sort of skin allergy. (I also have other allergy symptoms such as post-nasal drip, rhinitis, etc)

I'm sorry this post was so long , but I just wanted to make sure to include as many details as possible (: Now, my questions are:
1) Based on the above description, do you think my eyelid "rash" is contact dermatitis or atopic eczema?
2) Dry skin on hands/legs: Contact dermatitis or atopic eczema?
3) Does eczema have to itch in order to be eczema?
4) Any other advice you'd like to give me??

By the way, I'm 17 years old.
Also, I have an appointment with my dermatologist on June 15, and an allergist on June 16, but I'm curious to hear input from other people.
[B]THANK YOU FOR READING![/B]