She’s allergic to any watery liquids including her own
sweat and tears!
It wasn’t until 2007 that photographer Valentina Bones
(25), who moved to California from Hungary, discovered she had aquagenic
urticaria – a rare condition in which hives
or a rash develop rapidly after the skin is exposed to water of any
temperature, according to Rare
“I was born and raised in Europe, where I never had any
allergies or skin problems. Shortly after I moved to America in 2007, I started
getting small red rashes on my face after getting in coats with water or
sweat,” Valentina said.
When she turned 17, Valentina noticed she was getting an
allergic reaction to water, which her mother thought was “something in the
doctor believed it was probably a vitamin deficiency.
A rash develops within two
minutes of her skin being exposed to heat as opposed to cold, which she
can tolerate for 20 to 30 minutes without getting a rash.
Her condition has caused strangers to stare at her, which
has made Valentina feel very insecure.
“For me, any liquid triggers aquagenic urticaria; water,
sweat, saliva and even juice from a juicy fruit. I don't do any sports or
physical activity I know will result in me getting unwanted attention due to
how my skin looks.
“I took night classes in college because it was too hot and
humid in the classroom during the day. As long as my body stays dry, my allergy
to water doesn’t make my life less happy.
“By the time I was 18, it affected my face, chest and
stomach area. The rashes are red, itching and burning. By the time I was 22, it affected 80 percent of my body; arms and
“I tried different allergy and herbal medication, but
nothing seemed to stop the itching, not even Aloe Vera or itching cream.
“After years of trying different methods to ease the pain
and itching, I've developed the habit to limit my contact with water as much as
I can; stay indoors during a rainy season and wear light clothing when it’s hot
outside,” she said.
The 25-year-old explained her daily routine, including how
she takes a shower.
“The most common question I get when I tell someone I have
water allergies is how do I shower? In the summer I shower with cold water, at
an average time.
“In the winter I either use wet washcloths or I shower with slightly warm but not hot water for
less than three minutes.
“I wash my hair separately by bending over in the tub so I
don't have to spend extra time in the shower with water getting in contact with
“I take bubble baths maybe twice a year as a treat, on my
birthday or Christmas. Which makes me really sad because I adore bath bombs;
you can find me at a Lush store smelling everything.”
Valentina says her growing social media presence has helped
raise awareness for the rare condition.
“Aquagenic urticaria is so rare that a few years ago it
didn't even have a name. I remember googling ‘water allergies’ when I was young
to find more information about it.
“All that came up on Wikipedia was simply water allergy
with barely any information. All I could find on it was that it’s very rare, it
affects one in 23 million people and there’s no cure.
“With the internet and social media growing at an enormous
speed, more and more people have been coming forward with this allergy and
finally someone named it.”
Sources: Magazine Features