CUMMING, Ga. — It’s hard to tell by looking at her now, but Kristen Featsent has been dealing with a lot in recent years – mostly as it pertains to her skin.

“I had eczema as a child, but it was never life changing or life altering like it became in 2013,” she said. “What I’ve learned now is it was steroid induced eczema. I was in so much painm I went to the dermatologist about every week trying to figure out what else they could do for me. But every time the answer was ‘here try this steroid cream.’

Featsent says the doctors kept giving her stronger steroid creams until her body eventually became dependent on it.

“It would help for a day or two, maybe a week. The problem was, as soon as I would stop the steroid cream it would get much worse,” Featsent said. “My skin turned bright red. I looked and felt like a burn victim.”

By no fault of her own, she was dealing with topical steroid addiction and withdrawal.

“It literally felt like someone was lighting a match under my arm. I was like this for days, week,s months during the flares,” Featsent said. “Every time I would go to the dermatologist they would say ‘oh you just have a staph infection. You need an antibiotic, and oh by the way you need more steroid creams.’”

Featsent says she was using a variety of steroid creams for the better part of two years. They provided temporary relief, but everything got worse when she stopped using the creams.

“I never had eczema on my face, never had it on my chest, never had it on certain areas of my legs. I certainly never had it on my feet and my feet are still the last to heal,” she said. “ It ended up affecting my entire body, not to mention my entire life. It's completely turned my life upside down.”

Featsent, who is a mother of two, says she was not able to be the mother she wanted to be.

“My daughter, until recently, has never known a well Mom, much less a fun mom who can do the things that we’re supposed to do together and enjoy life together,” she said. “I have had to dissect every aspect of my life for the last 6 years...from where are we going, what do I need to take, what do I need to wear? I've lived in 100% cotton clothing, t-shirts, yoga pants, white gloves. I'm pretty sure I'm known around town as the crazy lady in white gloves.”

She eventually turned to stem cell treatments and has seen great results. She also uses holistic approaches to every day life and works hard to stay healthy.

“Yoga has been a huge help in many ways for me, meditation, Tai chi, acupuncture, and chiropractic,” Featsent said. “Look at your diet, figure out what triggers are there, eliminate some of those things. For some people it's as simple as eliminating the inflammatory foods.”

Her advice is simple.

“If you have any kind of skin rash, don't use steroid cream,” she said. “It's a Band-Aid. It's not going to fix the problem.”

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