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Eczema, Dermatitis, Psoriasis: BASS SOLUTIONS

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by bassicgroove, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. bassicgroove


    Dec 5, 2008
    My whole life I have had eczema on my wrists, fingers, and feet, but it has never kept me from playing my instrument. However in the last few months, my eczema on my hands has become inflamed to the point of extremes. I cannot spread my fingers without the webs in between cracking, and the dryness underneath my fingernails cracks and bleeds whenever I play. There could be many causes for this recent inflammation ranging from stress, metal allergies, other contact allergies, food allergies (gluten, yeast, etc.) and the cold winter weather; and I have doctors appointments scheduled with specialists in the coming months to try to finally get to the bottom of it. I'd normally go to an eczema forum for remedies but I've tried every moisturizer on the market, ointments, prescription cortisone creams, light therapy, daily meditation.. everything. I'm on talkbass because I NEED to continue playing. I'm a fourth year student at the Bard Conservatory of music, I have recitals scheduled throughout the spring on upright bass and electric bass, and I just can't afford to stop playing, it would mean my academic career, and several disappointed venues in NYC and the Hudson Valley. There has been threads talking about ways to play through the dry skin, but they have ended prematurely. I've heard talk of silk gloves, kevlar gloves, finger tip protectors, nylon strings. Has anybody actually tried any of this stuff? I'd rather not go out on stage looking like I'm ready to give a cavity search, but if that's what it takes fine. Anybody else with eczema? contact dermatitis? psoriasis? It sounds extreme, but I now literally can't touch the instrument that I love.. you bass players could imagine what it's like.
  2. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    Have you been to a dermatologist to do "patch testing"? Basically a test to figure out what you are allergic to. It helped me a lot. I have eczema too, probably not as bad as you right now though, but left untreated, it got quite terrible.

    I have been told fish oil (omega 3 tablets) can help with dry skin conditions. I am taking that now for my dry eyes and can not confirm if it works for the skin too. I do use Aveeno moisturizing cream all the time. Mostly on the top half of my hands.

    Make sure you are wearing gloves ALWAYS when outside this winter. I have watched my hands crack and turn instantly dry in just minutes on a cold day.

    Do you have a humidifier in your house/room? The low moisture levels will NOT help your hands during the winter.

    Definitely see some doctors and get fully evaluated. Figure out what you are allergic too and do your best to avoid it. I found out I am allergic to certain chemicals in deodorant and I am allergic to nickel.
  3. Beefpatrol


    Dec 18, 2011
    I haven't had the allergen tests, but I did figure out that I am probably mildly allergic to latex. (Actually, most people that are "allergic to latex" actually have a chemical sensitivity to one of the substances used in the production of natural latex products but aren't actually allergic to latex itself. It is possible to be allergic to latex itself too though.) I had what looked like Eczema on my feet until I stopped wearing rubber flip-flops. At first, I thought it was athlete's foot, but it wasn't in the typical locations; it was over large parts of the bottoms of my feet, not so much between the toes. An antifungal cream for athlete's foot did help quite a bit but it didn't fix it completely. Maybe I had athlete's foot too. Maybe it was just the moisturizing ingredients in the cream that helped. Maybe both. Maybe it was a coincidence.

    I had something similar several times on my hands too, especially when I was in college. I noticed that it seemed to show up when I wore certain pairs of gloves, including rubber gloves and a pair of leather gloves with GoreTex in them and some other kind of lining.

    If Cortizone didn't do anything for you, (which is surprising,) the only other thing I can think of is something that seems to help with autoimmune conditions in general: regular exercise.
  4. I have psoriatic arthritis,so I know how you feel. It's not fun,for sure.
    The meds that work best for me are Enbrel Injections,and Clobex spray-on medication. The Clobex HAS ABSOLUTELY BEEN A GODSEND. I just don't know what I would do without the stuff. A warning though. ALL OF THESE MEDS ARE VERY,VERY EXPENSIVE.
    If you don't have insurance,the Enbrel will run you in the ballpark of $3,800.00 a month. In laymen's terms,it costs roughly ONE CUSTOM BASS GUITAR PER MONTH. :eek: What's really messed up is the cost of these meds. These pharmaceutical companies ARE MAKING A KILLING off of peoples misery. Crazy.

    This condition is NOT FUN,for sure. One thing that seems to help my condition is exercise,believe it or not. It seems if I taper off of my 25 miles per week running,it tends to flair up more. Exercise will also keep your mind clear,too.
    Since arthritis is a huge part of my condition,it's a must that I keep my weight down,to avoid wear 'n tear on my joints. And,that's hard,being 6'5",260lbs,running 4-5 miles per day,5-6 days per week. Running can put a beating on you,if you are a big guy. I try to run on grass primarily,unless I enter a 10k,or half marathon. My goal is to enter a marathon and finish. But,at 45 yrs. old,I'm not gettin' any younger.

    Good luck,
  5. Farfetched


    Jan 7, 2009
    How much dairy do you eat? Milk, cheese etc? I found that decreasing my dairy intake helps with my eczema. Not completely, but somewhat noticably.
  6. acubass


    Oct 10, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    I would agree that a radical change in diet may help, assuming that you don't eat well of course.

    You should also go see an acupuncturist / Herbalist. I've heard about good result with the chinese herbs.

    I jut watched a movie called Fat sick and nearly Dead about a guy with chronic urticaria who radically changed his diet to rid himself of it. Again I'm not insinuating this is your fault, don't want to come off that way. Wish you luck.
  7. A change of diet may work for some,but it hasn't worked for me. I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in 1988. Believe me when I tell you. I HAVE TRIED EVERY SINGLE REMEDY that I've heard,or ran across. No such luck on the over-the-counter/home remedy fronts,either. Plain and simple,sad but true,it takes a lot of money,prayers,and a little luck,I suppose.
  8. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    My sympathies, it is impossible for people who do not suffer from this affliction to understand the sheer hell that these diseases inflict on a person. These are very difficult conditions to treat.

    I suffer from severe psorisis linked with psoriatic arthritis. I also have occasional flare-ups of gout. Like the others who have posted, I have tried every kind of topical treatment both over-the-counter and perscription to no avail. I have tried dietary modification and some homeopathic remedies and though this has been helpful in controling gout (along with the use of allopurinol), it has had no effect on the psoriatic conditions.

    I have lost all faith in dermatologists, I am convinced that they are, by and large charlatons that can think of nothing more that to peddle snake-oils many of which are very expensive and are (questionably) effective against only the mildest of skin irritations.

    I have had better results working with my rheumatologist as he has been able to administer more aggressive treatments. However, I had moved away from them because I was alarmed at the potential side-effects of the medicines used. But after spending the last two and a half years trying everything suggested and perscribed by the dermatologists, and other methods, I will be going back to the rheumatologist!

    I strongly suggest that you start with your general physician. Explain your condition and have a full spectrum blood test taken. They need to check uric acid levels, tyroid and liver function and it will be helpful to make certain that you are not showing any specific vitamin/mineral deficiencies or markers of arthritis. Constant high stress and emotional agitation can aggrivate the condition as can food or medicine allergies and low level infections but they are most often not the underlying cause.

    Your physician will most likely send you to a dermatologist or even an endocrinologist (if thyroid issues are evident) if you do not get favorable results from the treatments I would recommend you visit a rheumatologist especially if your dermatologist is reluctant to administer the more aggressive treatments (methatrexate, embrel, humira, etc.).

    I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are able to find a treatment that will allow you to get your life back.
  9. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    I have mild eczema and my physician just declared it as an allergy to something and left it at that. I had a blood test and all. Kinda lame.

    Two weeks ago I started going to an chinese acupuncturist after being pushed to do so by the gf. Immediate results but I have to take some herbal pills (Chinese medicine). The procedure can be a little painful as my skin gets tenderized by a tiny mallet of needles.

    The acupuncturist did warn me that I have like a 50/50 success rate. Treatment is slow and takes weeks. He says for really bad cases it takes him 10 weeks of visits So far so good.

    But treating active areas like the hands id imagine is real tough.
  10. bassicgroove


    Dec 5, 2008
    Thanks for the advice guys, there's a lot here to take into consideration and I'm glad to see people willing to share their advice. I have an appointment with my general physician on Tuesday. I'll tell him all of my symptoms, which include signs of a larger problem like fatigue and headaches early in the day especially with alcohol, a vitamin D shortage on my last blood test, indigestion after eating certain common foods, and of course the eczema. Likely it will turn out to be a food allergy, that is my prediction. The "patch testing" sounds helpful though, the eczema seems to get irritated when I touch rubber, my bass strings, and the aluminum on my macbook, especially if my hands are moist. I live in NY on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley so sometimes I can underestimate the dryness of the air over the winter months so that tip about putting on gloves immediately when going outside will serve me well. @millsbass5, I don't think my eczema condition is severe enough to warrant such intense medications, especially at that price, so I think I'll try a lot before resorting to those sort of things. In fact I'd never heard of psoriatic arthritis before I posted this thred, so I'd like to clarify that I have no other problems with my hands besides the eczema. That's a shame about the Enbrel and everything costing so much though, it aches just thinking about the consequences of what our pharmaceutical industry has become with issues like this. I'd agree about the exercise though, I notice a drastic improvement when I exercise regularly, and I must say it was tough for me to get enough focused exercise in the last few months because I was doing a study abroad in Europe. I think it's good for the body but more importantly good for the mind, it always helps to get better sleep, and I think this would help the condition drastically.

    In terms of my diet, I like to think that I eat well and that whatever effect food is having on my condition it is as a result of an allergy and not an unhealthy diet on my part. I get all of my vegetable, dairy products, and meat from local farms when I'm upstate, and I never eat anything with bleached flour or high fructose corn syrup or anything like that. I've cut out gluten, yeast, and dairy from my diet starting this past Thursday so we'll see how it goes, it'll help to just get the tests done so I don't need to experiment with my diet.

    When I started the thread I thought I wanted advice about how to play bass while my fingers are like this, but I'm convinced now that I have to solve the problem and let my hands heal before I can play with joy, and any playing I do before that is probably just going to make me frustrated and thus worsen the condition. However if anybody has found any gloves combinations like the ones mentioned in other threads that has worked for them feel free to post it, I'm sure there's plenty of other people out there looking for advice on the topic so anything related should go up. Thanks again!
  11. Awesome Sauce

    Awesome Sauce Already tired tomorrow

    Dec 21, 2011
    NW Chicago 'burbs
    My wife has eczema, and after reading her your post she suggested that your flare up might be an allergic reaction. Have you replaced your EB strings recently (nickels to ss or vice-versa)? Have to started using a new rosin? A new cleaner for your instruments? Maybe something as simple as a new soap or laundry detergent? Or even a new pair of gloves or an unclean old pair? That's what we could come up w/ on our own, but the slightest deviation from normal can cause your skin to 'freak out.' She has been to dermatologists who have been unable to control her eczema and found relief on the 'net. She now makes her own herbal soap (Buys the base soap and adds brewed hers to it- very simple really) and hasn't had a single problem since she started using it. Of course she moisturizes daily w/ Cetafil, but the soap has been a godsend for her. Hope this helps.
  12. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Mount Prospect, IL
    Glad I could help you out. With patch testing, I found out I was allergic to nickel. There are nickel plated bass strings, nickel plated mic stands and so on. As long as I use Stainless Steel bass strings, the nickel already present in the strings is kept in check by the stainless steel ions.

    As for playing with the current condition on your hands, I think you need to avoid that until you have your ezcema under control. I can only suggest gloves with the finger tips removed. Then again, you could be allergic to the strings and gloves might not exactly help you out.
  13. One more bit of advice: You really,really need to consider what some these meds do to your body. I was once on very,very aggressive (maximum) doses of methotrexate. Sure,it "tamed" my symptoms down. But,boy did I pay. Those meds landed me in the hospital for over 3 weeks,due to my liver shutting down.
    Bottom line is,the majority of the meds on the market,for these conditions,will do substantial damage to your liver.

    So,it's a "damn if you do,damn if you don't" type of thing with these meds.
  14. I can't speak to the skin conditions, but I do get dry hands in the winter from over-washing them (I work in a biomedical lab and wash my hands >dozen times a day). For a lotion, I really like the Avon 'Silicone Glove'. Its thick and doesn't sting the cracks in my skin, like many lotions do.

    Good luck getting treatment for your skin inflammation. Immune disorders are tricky to diagnose and treat; the same with allergies too. :( Once an allergic response has been triggered, it can flare up and persist for weeks after the initial exposure (hives come to mind).
  15. jgroh


    Sep 14, 2007
    You dont have a nickel allergy do you? I do and could not play nickel strings or it would flare up my eczema. It took me a long time to figure that out as I didnt pay attention to what strings I was using.
  16. formy2000


    Jan 11, 2012
    As others have mentioned. Nickel was also the root to my eczema breaking out.
    I've played for over 30 years and it wasn't until 2003 that I started having issues. The doctor suggested that I switch to stainless steel strings instead of nickel wound and I have had no problem since....

    Until now...over the xmas break I bought an acoustic 5 string bass. I assumed that acoustic strings are made of a different material(s) than electric string.

    I have just bought phosphor bronze strings, so I hope that is the solution...as it appears there is no nickel content in those string.

    But to the OP's problem, try stainless steel strings....it may help ya :)
  17. A couple of possibilities- the allergies could be all contact rather than ingested.
    Biggest laundry soap culprit is Tide. Laundry soap tends to react where your clothing touches skin that can be moist- wrists, hands, and neck feet especially. Try unscented/hypoallergenic laundry soaps. Rinse twice.
    Shampoo, dish soap and hand soap are also major culprits. Whatever product you use, rinse it off really well.
    Johnson's baby wash is a great hand cleanser, and all around body wash and shampoo to relieve allergies. If you can't use Johnson's try Baby Magic ( different ingredients). Cetaphil is good also for cleansing.
    Coconut oil- if you can tolerate it- is a good moisturizer to put on at night and if you can tolerate gloves- wear them at night. That might get you through the day playing while you search for more answers..

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