Contact dermatitis: final update


Yesterday I saw my dermatologist for the last time (for now!) and I'm pleased to say that we have something of an answer for what's behind my white patches.

There's some background here. A while ago my GP mentioned that he'd once prescribed some medication along with some fish oil to one of his patients, and she broke out in a rash. He told her to stop the fish oil. The rash went away. Then he said to reintroduce the fish oil but to take it at a different time of day to the other medication. After that she was fine to take both.

When he told me this, I said if that were the case, I would expect the white patches to be all over my body. He agreed.

Here's what happened next.

A couple of weeks ago, I applied my self-tanner to my body three days in a row because I wanted to review it (oops, haven't done that yet). Now normally I only tan around once a week, so I guess I hadn't noticed anything before because I was never dark enough to see much difference. But when I applied the tanner three days in a row, I noticed white patches suddenly appear all over my body. I might never have known they were there otherwise.

Ahhh. Now we're getting somewhere.

Everything suddenly made sense to me. Yes my skin's dry but in many ways I have 'rhino skin' because I've never had a problem with active ingredients. My body is another story. It's highly strung and always has been. It reacts to everything. There's a reason why I found pregnancy to be so difficult: I could feel every creak, every change, every niggle. It was a bloody disaster.

So of course my skin issue relates to what I might have taken or eaten over the last few months. Of course, of course. It was never contact dermatitis: that's why the treatments didn't work. It was some kind of allergic reaction.

I gave this information to my dermatologist over the phone after I discovered the white patches on my body, and at the time he wasn't sure that was the case, but it was a very quick phone call and when I sat down with him yesterday and explained what my body is like, he agreed with me.

We looked at the things I've changed since November, when the white patches first appeared. I've changed my multivitamin since then (I tend to buy whatever's on special); I've tried a different sleep medication (I suffer from very severe, hyper-arousal insomnia and need to take sleep meds twice a week so I can have a normal life); and my sister-in-law left us with some Echinacea when she visited in November because we were all sick and I've recently finished off the bottle.

It's most likely the sleep medication (an antihistamine that's known to dry out the skin, which could explain the textural change in the white patches - hence why they're not holding makeup or self-tanner) but of course we're not sure so I've now removed all the new stuff and gone back to my old routine.

Apparently the white patches should go within two to three months. Excellent. Better than two to three years.

In the meantime he's suggested laying on the moisturiser every day to help manage the textural issue. Perhaps he doesn't realise how much moisturiser I use anyway...

I don't need to make another appointment with him because my skin should sort itself out on its own. Hallelujah.

The end.

Well, I'm pleased to finally bring some kind of resolution to this series of posts. For a while there it looked as though nothing would help my contact dermatitis: but we now know that's because it was never contact dermatitis at all. It just looked like it was because it appeared to be limited to my face and that's where I use active ingredients etc that might cause such a thing.

It was my damn, highly strung body the whole time. Of course it was. What else, really, could it have been?

That's all from me. Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All images courtesy of

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