By Liana Jacob
MEET THE stunning woman whose eczema was so severe due to topical steroid addiction that she fell into deep depression until she ditched the creams and overhauled her diet and now claims that her healthier body has strengthened her relationship with her boyfriend.
Network marketer and business owner, Danica Jaldbert (24) from British Columbia, Canada, was just five-years-old when she first noticed she had eczema on the creases of her arms and behind her legs and while it was mild at the time, her parents took her to see her doctor.
Her doctor then prescribed her topical steroid creams which she used daily and over a decade later, she noticed that the rash on her skin became aggressively worse and was spreading, mainly on her face, by the time she was 16-years-old.
Her skin flared up after consuming most foods including; citrus, sweets, dairy, bread and alcohol. It took her years to discover through research that it worsened due to the creams she was prescribed and that she had developed topical steroid addiction, also known as red skin syndrome. What she believed to be eczema, was actually the result of overusing topical steroids.
This realisation prompted her to withdraw from the creams in 2016, but it took two years for her skin to clear up and now she is on a mission to raise awareness of the dangers of topical steroids. Before, her appearance would affect her social life, as she would never go to the beach or swim in a pool for fear of being judged.
“I was five and had eczema on the creases in my arms and behind my legs; it was mild. My family always pointed it out. It didn’t feel good knowing I had a problem that was hard to control,” Danica said.
“The mild eczema wasn’t really a problem to me, but when I was five-years-old, the doctor prescribed me topical steroids and that when the problems took place.
“From the age of sixteen, I noticed that the rash started to spread, mostly on my face; it looked like chronic eczema.
“It affected my quality of life; I found it hard to swim in the ocean because of the way it was stinging. Going out downtown or anywhere I always carried moisturiser.
“I thought about my bad skin twenty-four-seven and it made me exhausted. I wore makeup every single day between the ages of sixteen to twenty-three. I always had to cover it up or sneak around so nobody would see how bad my skin was.
“I felt like I missed out on many things because I was always trying to hide my skin – mostly on my face. It was triggered by alcohol, food, citrus fruit, sugar, dairy, bread, basically everything.
“It also affected my relationship because when I was sad and depressed about myself, those vibes were passed onto him too.
“He understands that it’s out of my control, but when the addiction got bad last year, we hit a rough patch. I fell into a bad depression.
“I became intolerant to all foods. I couldn’t go to the pool or never wanted to go out and party. Alcohol made my skin look very dry and red.
“I was confused for many years because I didn’t know that it wasn’t a skin issue but a drug problem that I wasn’t aware about.
“I found out I had Topical Steroid Addiction or Red Skin Syndrome and after doing my research, I realised a lot of people in the world have this problem. I had to do a lot of research to find out that this was a condition.
“A lot of people come up to me asking how to cure eczema, but I think in my case it was more like a drug addiction.
“As soon as a went through my withdrawal and finished, what looked like eczema, went away too. So, who knows? If I never took the topical cortisone cream, maybe I would have been eczema free years ago.”
Her depression affected her relationship with her boyfriend so much they nearly broke up, but he stuck by her throughout it all and she now lives an adventurous life with him.
But now that Danica has stopped taking the drugs and her skin has cleared up, she now snowboards, travels, hikes and enjoys trips to the beach, swimming in the ocean. Her relationship has also strengthened.
“My boyfriend is five years clean and sober for drugs and alcohol and it’s kind of funny because he calls me a ‘drug addict’, even though I was never aware I was taking topical drugs, and we have the same ‘clean’ date, November 13, 2016,” she said.
“That was the start date of my withdrawal too. The withdrawal was crazy too; I had cold sweats, shakes. I feel amazing now – it feels like I have my life back. I’m traveling, going out with friends. I feel more adventurous and more social, like a better version of me and I’m definitely more outgoing.
“I cut out dairy, bread and sometimes meat. I cut out a lot of sugar and additives and preservatives. Now to this day, I can eat whatever I want.
“I’m just happy all the time; it really makes you appreciate the little things in life and I’ve learned to be so grateful for everything.
“Going through what I’ve been through has made me who I am today. I never take anything for granted.
“Bad times don’t last forever. A year or two may seem like a long time, but once it’s over you will barely remember it and you will just keep moving on with your life.
“You’ve just got to imagine how amazing your life will get afterwards and think of all the things you want to do when you’re all better. For months I thought my nightmare would never end and I wasn’t sure if I would make it out.
“Today I am just so happy I stuck through it. My life today is one-hundred-and-ten percent better. I get to experience things I never fully could back then.
“In the words of Selena Gomez: ‘until you are broken, you don’t know what you’re made of. It gives you the ability to build yourself all over again, but stronger than ever’.”