Day 50 – DH

As I lay down this afternoon to get my lashes filled, I instinctively put my hand up to shield my forehead and eyebrows and apologised to the lovely woman about how ‘gross’ I was. She naturally said ‘what are you talking about?’ in that wonderful way that beauty professionals have – no matter what state you present in – they tell you you are lovely, but I still felt self-conscious.

This is weird in itself because – it really is true what people tell you – the older I get, the better I feel about myself. These days I can leave the house with hair dishevelled, legs fuzzy, no make-up (I never wear make-up these days), trackies and a singlet and I still feel the hottest thing since sliced bread. This would not have been true ten years ago. Ten years ago I would have slunk out as if apologetic for my existence – and to feel ‘ok’ enough to feel attractive would have depended heavily on time of the month, gym up keep and careful prep. I based my worth on what other folks thought of me and that was a constant slippery slope of trying to please everyone around me. I am def enjoying the freedom and confidence that comes with being older, more experienced, and just not giving a shit what other folks think anymore. I am either going to be really obnoxious at 90 or really rock and roll if I keep going at this rate ha ha.

And yet. Since my Coeliacs diagnosis I have been Gluten free for two and bit years, and like my ‘about’ page says, I have felt worse since. I put on weight no matter what I do, I suddenly struggled with stabbing and random gut ache most days but what had me down most was my skin and it’s seemingly sudden complete break down. I have always have ‘sensitive’ skin. I have never worn foundation or moisturiser on my skin because without fail I break out within an hour of putting it on. I don’t like the way it feels – like my face is suffocating.

In the last ten years or so I have gotten very small blisters all over my hands when stressed or in the darkroom too much. I had alway assumed it was because I had reached a ‘maximum’ level of toxicity in my system. Nearly 20 years in the darkroom, trailing my hands through chemicals and my art school antics, I figured had screwed me and made me sensitive to the world.

Since going GF though, not only do my hands still have their moments – and it is definitely stress related BUT now my face seems to be the hotspot. All the skin on my eyebrows, forehead, chin and around my nose peels off almost daily. It sounds like it looks gruesome – and it doesn’t thank god. I go bright red in an instant – and take ages to get ‘normal’ again (I can’t wear lipstick anymore because my face always clashes with the colour). I can’t walk ten metres without looking like I ran a marathon. My face is itchy and scratchy and I pick and scratch like a meth addict. It makes me paranoid when I am talking to anyone up close, and I have tried SO many things to ‘fix’ it. You name it I have tried it. Giving up Dairy is meant to significantly improve it and it seemed to be doing so for a wee while, but now it’s come back with a vengeance.

I use gluten-free shampoo and conditioner and stopped washing my face with anything but warm water and good clean flannel. I take Zinc, and fish oil and eat lots of good healthy fats. And yet.

There is something called ‘Dermatitis Herpetiformis’ which is associated with Coeliacs, (not herpes or dermatitis according my confusing source but rather a chronic ‘skin condition’ related to damage in the gut);  ‘Like coeliac disease, DH is treated with a lifelong gluten-free diet. It may take about six months to achieve moderate improvement in the skin condition and up to two years or more to achieve total control by diet alone, meaning that the skin response is much slower compared to the healing of the intestines with coeliac disease‘. This does not fill me with joy. And to be honest I don’t think this is my issue. My skin is not covered in small liquid filled blisters – and DH presents, er, lower down Legs, bum etc), usually after a glutening. Not on the face.

My skin is fucked all the time. I flake off on to anything I am wearing and am constantly conscious of my red face. I wear a fringe – not only because it looks hot duh – but because it covers my forehead and it’s sad, peeling, dry skin.

So, although my gut feels better, I don’t look as pregnant anymore and I feel like my weight is ‘settling’ since I went everything-free, I am still waiting to see an improvement in my skin. Although I am doing this ‘year of health’ to heal my gut, I would very much like to see my face settle down to a nice pasty, pakeha-white and not look sunburned or flushed all the time.

Wow downer man. Sorry peeps.

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