A woman has told how she almost died after using hand sanitizer, which peeled off her skin and caused her hair to fall out.
Lauren Rigby, 22, says she’s been left to “look like a monster” after experiencing an extreme reaction to an anti-bacterial gel.
Lauren from Australia went shopping with her mother at the start of the pandemic, when she was forced to use the store’s hand sanitizer.
He said 9now: “They were saying please use hand sanitizer, so I just applied a little and it started burning.
“I asked mom ‘Are your hands burning’? She said, ‘No’.”
By the time they returned home, Lauren noticed she had pimples on her hands.
She soon learned she had eczema – but didn’t think much about why it appeared.
Soon after going out more, she realized that antibacterial substances used in shops and restaurants were the cause.
She explained: “I saw that in stores they were spraying disinfectant on clothes as well, and then I noticed my body was covered in a rash after trying it on clothes.”
The peeling of her skin caused her body to react excessively and even her hair started falling out.
She continued: “I was so swollen that if you touched my arm it would leave a dent and my skin would pile up which we had to vacate.”
A few weeks later, Lauren was taken to the hospital where she learned that her eczema had given rise to a genetic condition called erythroderma.
Lauren, who is training to be a vet, said: “How a small thing like this can change my life.
“I’ve never used hand sanitizer this year and I’ll never use it again.”
Now. on one year. Lauren must bathe her skin every day to soothe her skin — but medication is finally helping to get it under control.
And Lauren’s situation is not unusual, as doctors say there has been an explosion of people seeking help during the pandemic.
Melanie Funk, of Eczema Support Australia, said: “There is certainly a rise in hand eczema and facial eczema with epidemic measures.
“It’s important to remember that eczema can affect every part of your life and every part of your body, it can be bewildering.
“You must not suffer in silence, there are others who understand, seek support, receive help, receive healing.”