A WOMAN has told how she almost died after using hand sanitizer that peeled off her skin and made her hair fall out.
Lauren Rigby, 22, says she has been left “looking like a monster” after she suffered an extreme reaction to anti-bacterial gel.
Lauren, from Australia, had been out shopping with her mother at the start of the pandemic when she was forced to use the store’s hand sanitizer.
She told 9Now: "They were saying please use hand sanitiser so I just put a little bit on and it started burning.
"I asked mum 'are your hands burning'? she said, 'no'."
By the time they had returned home Lauren noticed she had developed a rash all over her hands.
She soon found out she had eczema – but didn’t think much about why it had appeared.
Soon after more outings, she realised that the antibacterial substances being used in shops and restaurants were the cause.
She explained: "I started noticing at the shops they were spraying disinfectant, even on the clothes, and then I noticed my body was covered in a rash after trying on clothes.”
Her body began to have an extreme reaction with her skin peeling off and even her hair started to fall out.
She added: "I was so swollen that if you touched my arm it would leave a dent and my skin peeled off into piles that we had to vacuum up.”
A few weeks later Lauren was rushed to hospital where she learnt her eczema had triggered a genetic condition called Erythroderma.
Lauren, who's training to be a vet nurse, said: "How can something so tiny change my life.
"I've never used hand sanitiser this year and I'll never use it again."
Now. one year on. Lauren must bathe her skin every day to calm her skin – but medicine is finally helping to bring it under control.
And Lauren’s condition is not unusual, as doctors say there has been an explosion of people seeking help during the pandemic.
Melanie Funk from Eczema Support Australia said: "Certainly hand eczemas and facial eczemas are increasing with the pandemic measures.
"It's important to remember that eczema can impact every part of your life and every part of your body, it can be awe consuming.
"You shouldn't suffer in silence, there are others that understand, get support, get help, get treatment."
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