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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Thursday, March 05, 2009
Dyshidrotic Dermatitis
A close up of my right ring finger tip.My camera phone is actually a 3.2MB Sony cybershot, with a flash and a macro setting, so I was able to take a fairly clear photo of the tip of the ring finger on my right hand. The skin here is actually more translucent that the photo shoes, for what barely shows up in the photo is far more visible in real life: Beneath the surface of the skin there a number of vesicles (hard, fluid filled "pockets").

I remember the first time I had this. I was examining an itchy irritation on one of my toes only to discover (just beneath the surface) a number of tiny, more or less hard "mini-blisters". The smaller ones were colored yellow, and the bigger ones were darker, almost brown. There were many of them, close together, and over the course of a few hours they even started to join and form larger vesicles. My toes were pretty dry to begin with, and eventually, because I wouldn't leave them alone, the skin broke, and cracked, and peeled wherever these vesicles had formed. It was pretty itchy after that, and annoying, but eventually, after about three weeks or so, they went away.

Every now and again I get them on my toes, or on my fingers, and have learned that it is in my interest NOT to prod them until they burst, but to ignore them until they go away.

I asked a doctor about them one day, but, not having any at the time to show him, he wasn't really sure, and suggested maybe it was some sort of virus or something. So when I noticed them this morning, I thought I would check the net and see if anyone knew what it was.

I quickly discovered that the condition is called Dyshidrotic Dermatitis, or Dyshidrotic eczema. No one knows what causes it yet, but there are a lot of things that can bring on an outbreak.

One such thing, or so the legends go, since there isn't a lot of hard science in this area to say with certainty, is caffeine.

Now, I don't normally drink a lot of coffee; but I do like to sip an occasional hazelnut blend, but this weekend we picked up some instant coffee (hazelnut of course) as a treat, and I have had a half dozen cups or so since. Note this, on weekdays, at work, I usually drink a Diet Dr. Pepper or two, only because the only other diet choices are colas, and I am not a cola fan. I don't care for caffeine, but I am not afraid of it either.

Now this coffee purchase has certainly augmented my caffeine intake of late, and perhaps (in hindsight) that is why I have noticed the occasional vesicle here and there. I have learned that if you leave em alone, they go away a lot faster. So I don't really pay attention to them any more. But, as I say, in hindsight, my increased caffeine may have brought them on if the link between the outbreak and caffeine is a legitimate one.

But here is where something even more interesting comes into play. The other day my wife came home from visiting a friend with a plastic bag full of tube shaped, individually "foil" wrapped, coffee packets from some Korean company. We didn't know it at the time, but this particular product had been recalled in Canada just after the melamine thing because it was discovered that the creamer it used contained milk, and milk wasn't listed as an ingredient on the label. Whether the milk was also (possibly) tainted by melamine is any one's guess, since it was recalled for the one reason, it solved the other. Either way, ignorance is bliss, right?

They packages said, "Mocha" on them, which it turns out was a misnomer, they contained no chocolate, and frankly, after having sampled one, I have to wonder what the Koreans think coffee is supposed to taste like. I had a pretty standard mug, and poured out a glass of boiling water, and dumped in a packet, and found myself to be drinking a very watered down version of almost coffee. I tossed in another packet or two, and while it still tasted watery, at least I could tell it was supposed to be coffee.

The info on each packet was written in Korean, having only the product name in English, so I couldn't tell if these were supposed to be added to an existing cup of coffee as a "mocha-fier" or if they were intended to be coffee all by themselves. Having tasted it even doubled up in a glass, I concluded that this could not be intended as a stand alone beverage, and therefore decided I would use them as mocha-fiers (that was, of course, before I learned there wasn't actually any mocha in them).

So last night I had a couple of cups, of regular coffee, adding a couple of these Korean coffee supplements to each - wasn't terribly sure if they were good or not (I was adding them to my pre-hazel-ified coffee after all) and instead brought a bunch into work. I figured I could try them out on regular coffee here.

That was when I thought I would check out the nutritional information on them. What I found was that these were not meant to be used as supplemental - but each was intended to make an unsatisfyingly weak cup of coffee; weak in flavor that is. They had as much caffeine in them as any other cup of Joe.

Now, it is funny that the two unrelated google searches I did this morning should cross over one another, because in the search for information on these brown vesicles on my finger, I came across a page that linked outbreaks, in some people at least, to too much caffeine over a short period of time. Sort of a caffeine induced stress that weakens the system allowing the outbreak or something like that.

Then I learn that over the course of the last two days I, who rarely drink coffee, have had the equivalent caffeine intake as if I had drank a couple of pots to all to myself.

All things being equal, that has been the only real change in my diet these last couple of days, so I may have discovered one of the triggers for this sort of outbreak - at least, one of the things that triggers the outbreak for me.

Your mileage may vary.

Labels: ,

posted by Daniel @ 11:28 AM  
  • At 1:37 PM, March 05, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I know, this is a sort of "Monday" post, or at the least, a post that would be interesting only to me. But it being my blog, I reserve the right to post the inane. ;)

  • At 1:42 PM, March 05, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    I note that caffeine increases the cortisol (the "stress" hormone) levels in the body, and stress is listed as one of the triggers for eczema in general.

  • At 1:56 PM, March 06, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    It is kinda weird looking at a picture of my finger, btw.

  • At 1:04 PM, March 14, 2009, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    Unclean! Unclean!

    Now you've got me staring at my fingers. Way go Cup o' Joe.

  • At 11:15 AM, March 20, 2009, Blogger Missy said…

    Daniel, I visited this post after following you from Rose's not too long ago. I have a similar condition, but on my face. For about a year now it has been very bothersome, and embarassing. After reading this I cut out all caffeine - just to test it. Within a few days, it was gone! One day I drank a cup of tea and it reappeared, but was gone again in another day. Yea! You cannot imagine how excited I am. Thank you for posting what was on your mind that day.

  • At 12:43 PM, March 20, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Missy, that is so cool! I am very glad to have been of some use to you in this department.

  • At 8:10 AM, August 17, 2011, Blogger Chris said…

    Daniel, I have been dealing with the exact skin condition in your picture. I was actually amazed to see your symptoms to look exactly as mine. After visiting my allergist yesterday and receiving a potential diagnosis of Dyshidrotic Dermatitis she put me on some Hydrocortisone cream as a potential treatment. I have dealt with this for a couple years and believe mine may be more caused my environmental changes with humid weather. Recently I made the switch off of coffee to black tea and only two cups a day, but do have my fair share of stress in my life. Anyway thank you for the post, good to know I'm not alone and potentially helping me find what my trigger is for this.


  • At 8:16 PM, December 30, 2011, Blogger Pagan said…

    same thing here. Mine seems to come on ever xmas season. I'm in retail so both stress and HEAVY caffeine intake happen. I'll try to cut it out. thanks!

  • At 9:09 AM, September 07, 2012, Blogger Unknown said…

    I have been having the same condition for a year now and in a much bigger scale. I basically tried EVERYTHING! I saw 3 dermatologists and two home-doctors, yet their only solution was to have put corticosteroid creams on my hands and they said it would be like that for ever... But after a huge research I did on the net I discovered this amazing book ''The fungus link'' by doug kaufmann and after a specific diet for a month my skin got 10 times better. To make a long story short anyone having these problems try stopping sugar (everything that contains sugar,including beverages,cokes, etc) and white flour products and yeast products. If you get better go and get the book I read. By the way this goes for all eczema, acne and similar problems,

  • At 11:57 PM, November 24, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ive had this for a while now probably a couple years and i dont drink coffee, tea, smoke or take meds. i also eat a balanced healthy diet and work out quite a bit. I believe the triggers are stress and heat as when im stressed and it triggers the DD when its hot its soo much worse. Mine only shos up on my ring finger at the tip and it rolls around to the sides of my nail and is super itchy. it then cracks and the skin peels back and makes my finger super sensitive and raw. lasts around a couple weeks. sometimes it can be coupled with blisters that form around my fingers that are much larger. its had this quite bad once where the blisters ended up on my feet aswell and they formed together to make huge ones that pretty much stopped me from walking. All the prescribed creams ive tried temporarily improve healing time but thats about it. theres not really a whole lot we can do about it. It sucks.

  • At 6:51 AM, December 22, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said…


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