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Like many others, I suffered from eczema as a child. It wasn’t great and some days got quite bad: back of knees, hands, arms but not my face. It was only when I went to secondary school that it became something I was embarrassed about. When I was 15, a couple of the other delightful kids in my class started calling me Flake, (after the Cadbury’s chocolate bar) and would often sing the Flake advert that was on the TV at the time to me. . If you are of a certain age you might remember it. I found it on You Tube.

It also explains the use of a Flake bar in the film I made for my dissertation, Whose Wall Was It Anyway, in case you have seen it and wondered.

As I got older, it became less of an issue until, in my 30s, I was prescribed a painkiller called Naproxen for my knee pain. It altered my body chemistry and I became allergic to all sorts of things, which really affected my appearance. I did not look great, sometime my face would be purple, other times orange and it wasn’t great. I was getting most of my business through networking and I was becoming very conscious of it. Networking isn’t a beauty pageant of course but you always want to make the effort and present yourself as well as you can.

I was referred to the brilliant Dermo Term up at St Thomas’s Hospital in London and I had a battery of skin tests. It turned out that Naproxen had made me allergic to a whole list of things including citric acid (lemon juice), citronella, perfume etc.. It wasn’t an anaphylactic reaction, I was not in danger except I would sometimes look like Professor Plum (for those who remember Cluedo) after eating certain foods!

Obviously I ditched the Naproxen immediately but the allergies have stayed the same. It has been suggested that the microbiomes in my gut were altered, so it could perhaps still be sorted out. It is an interesting idea and I will look into this further.

Anyway, the dermo team were amazing (I love the NHS!) and got me on a daily regime that allows me to stay on top of my skin and keep it in good condition.

I have a product called Dermol which is perfume-free that I use when I shower and I have a product called Epaderm which I use for shaving and then slapping on everywhere afterwards. It is basically a thick sludge that takes a bit of getting used to but it is truly amazing. The deodorant I use is an amazing Forever Living deodorant stick that is also perfume-free and very effective.

I have followed this routine daily since and I will be forever grateful to the Dermo Team for putting me on this path. Naproxen was very effective at relieving my knee pain, I just wish I hadn’t been hit by the side effects but, on the other hand, I do not think my skin would be in as good condition as it is now had that not happened. Life has a way of working out sometimes.