I’ve had eczema since childhood. For years, I believed it to be a contact allergy to detergents, such as washing up liquid and soap. Steroid creams provided short-term relief but never a cure. As a child, it appeared on my inner elbows and knees and by the time was a teenager, it was particularly bad, appearing all over the back of my neck, hands and face. Exam stress made it worse and it knocked my confidence.
The break-through came when I started university. My Finnish housemate told me to switch from cow’s milk to soya. He said it helped his sister’s eczema overnight. I was desperate for any glimmer of hope. I switched. Back in those days, soya milk was hard to find, but I managed to get some in the local Holland and Barrett.
Within days, my eczema started to retreat. Gone were the sleepless nights covering my hands with gloves and socks to stop myself scratching. Over the next few weeks, the eczema on my inner elbows, knees and neck vanished, with my face and hands minimising noticeably. And all from not drinking cow’s milk. Since that day 13 years ago, I’ve been a convert to soya, almond, coconut and even cashew milk. Of course, nowadays, it’s easier to get hold of!
I’m not going to tell you that I’ve cured my eczema this way, absolutely not. I still suffer on the odd occasion, normally during the cold, dry winter months. I still avoid soap and bubble baths (I like to use salts instead) but opting for dairy-free milk has made my eczema more manageable and less noticeable.