A mum who blames the menopause for causing eczema to break out across her face and neck and was so embarrassed by her “red raw” skin she didn’t leave the house for three weeks is sharing her £9.50 “wonder cure”.
When Lisa Dispirito, 54, first noticed an angry red swelling on her neck in January 2022, she thought she was allergic to a perfume she had been bought for Christmas.
But the rash spread rapidly and the retired bank manager who had always had a clear complexion, eventually realised she had eczema triggered by hormonal changes during the menopause.
Lisa, who lives in Bideford, Devon, with her partner, John, 55, a retired taxi driver, and has two grown-up children, Kia, 27, and Georgia, 23, said: “At first I wasn’t too worried but as the days and then weeks progressed, the rash spread all over my neck and chest and then to my face and eyes.
“Every morning when I got up, I looked in the mirror and it had got worse.
“I’ve had clear skin my entire life so I was really shocked by it. It honestly made me feel really low and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get rid of it.”
She added: “I didn’t want anyone to see my face and there was a period of three weeks where I didn’t set foot out of the house once.”
Desperate to clear up the livid and itchy rash, Lisa began ordering various face creams online.
She said: “I was trying everything, all the high street brands, but it just got progressively worse.”
She added: “It was red raw and itched like crazy. The dryness was so bad around my eyes, it looked like I had two black eyes. My skin was flaking off.
“I stepped up my cleansing and moisturising routine but nothing seemed to give me any relief from the itching or clear up the furious rash that seemed to be spreading and intensifying.
“I was really worried and became quite depressed about the state of my skin. I had never had any skin problems before like this and eczema did not run in my family.”
Lisa admits she was reluctant to make a doctor’s appointment and wanted to fix the problem herself.
She said: “There were a number of reasons why I didn’t want to see a doctor, knowing how stretched they are for appointment slots but also just not wanting to go out in public.
“I took a picture of my face in case I decided to ask for a phone appointment.”
She added: “I felt like I was in a nightmare, it was just awful. My partner was really supportive but I didn’t even want him to look at me and was in a separate bedroom as I couldn’t sleep because of the itching.”
Lisa also hid her skin from her daughters, not visiting them in Kent during the flare-up.
“My daughters didn’t know how bad it had gotten but it was making me agoraphobic,” she said.
By March 2022, Lisa says the red rash and dried skin had spread across her face.
She said: “After being unable to leave the house for three weeks, I ventured to Morrisons at the end of the road.
“I tried to cover up the eczema by putting a scarf round my neck but it was impossible to hide.”
She added: “I only lasted 10 minutes before leaving and returning swiftly home.”
And Lisa felt glad she had retired in May 2020 and didn’t need to face workmates.
“I told my partner that it was a good job I wasn’t working because I would have been off sick for weeks.”
“There was no way I could have faced going into work with the state my face was in,” she said.
Determined to find out what was going on, Lisa Googled her symptoms – and came to the conclusion that the menopause was to blame for her eczema.
She said: “I started to research my symptoms online to try and work out what was causing it. I even thought it may have been shingles but realised the symptoms didn’t match up.
“I read an article online about a lady who had similar symptoms to me, face eye and neck eczema, which had been triggered by the menopause.”
She added: “I had started to develop some menopausal symptoms last year and realised that was the only hormonal change I had experienced which could have caused the eczema.”
Finding Skin Shop’s Hydrosil Dry Eye Gel, costing £9.50 online, and Hydrosil Turmeric Butter & Hypoallergenic Milk Salve, costing £10.95, Lisa decided to give the products a try.
She said: “At this point, I’d tried everything and nothing had seemed to work but I’d heard good things about this one after watching reviews on YouTube.”
She added: “It wasn’t an overnight cure. My skin was so sore that it needed time to heal and I could tell the products were soothing it.
“Within two weeks, my eczema had cleared up. I couldn’t believe after all this time of stressing and trying out different brands, that this had finally worked.
“I used the eye gel and turmeric butter regularly throughout the day and it worked wonders.”
She added: “So much so that I don’t need to use it daily anymore.”
Now, Lisa says she only uses the gel when she has a flare-up.
She said: “I’m still on my first bottles of the products because I don’t need to use them all the time, just when my skin gets dry again.”
She added: “I still get the odd flare-up from time to time but I nip it in the bud with the eye gel.
“Looking at the difference, sometimes it’s hard to believe my own eyes after all the ups and downs I have been through with my skin.
“I’m socialising again and no longer feel like a prisoner to my own skin.”
Consultant dermatologist Dr Eva Melegh M.D. said: “Women entering menopause are more prone to developing dry itchy skin and eczema.
“The reduction in the hormone oestrogen is what can trigger eczema outbreaks in menopausal women as oestrogen is a major factor for collagen production which keeps skin flexible and moisturised.
“The skin around the eyes and on the neck is particularly susceptible to dryness from a drop in oestrogen, as it’s very thin and so isn’t able to retain much moisture.”