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What's it like living with Eczema?

‘Ello folks,
I wrote this post a while ago, and for some reason never got round to publishing it.
What is Eczema? Well, it’s not pretty and it’s not always easy to live with. There are worse things in life but still, when you suffer with this skin condition it can have the tendency to take over your life.
My journey with it began in my younger years when I was about five and lasted until I was about eight or nine. My mam would often tell me stories of how badly I was affected by it, but I don’t remember it myself. The unfortunate situation is that my struggle with it didn’t end there.
Fast Forward to about the age of 15/16, the stress of GCSE’s dawned upon me and then came the vicious return of my eczema. The flare up began on my neck, before spreading to my face, arms and hands. It was itchy, it was sore and I was very aware that I automatically became less attractive when it was at its worst. Now, at this point in teenage life it’s not unusual for someone to want someone else to be attracted to them. Lets be real, I wasn’t the prettiest person to start with and eczema made this ten times worse. The whole ordeal made me incredibly self conscious and people often stared in horror, instead of just asking what it was.
It didn’t end or disappear when my GCSEs finished, in fact I still have it today and it has been dreadful over the winter months. I work in a customer facing environment and also attend university. It’s not always easy to pretend like I can’t see when people are gawping at my angry, ugly skin. I see you, but I can’t let it get to me. If I let it affect me too deeply, I would never leave the house again. It sounds dramatic but it would be much easier than having to deal with people staring and people asking questions like: “did your boyfriend do that to you?” … As in did he strangle me. Seriously, I have been asked that before and only managed to politely reply: “no, it’s eczema.” I know it looks horrendous and it hurts like hell sometimes but could people leave the ridiculous questions in their heads, please? A little tact would go a long way.
Millions of people suffer with the condition, mainly children. The daily upkeep of your skin with a condition such as eczema is difficult. There’s no “quick fix” or “cure”. It often takes numerous variations of different creams, ointments and emollients (moisturisers) before you find a one that works for you.
Steroid creams are the most effective short-term solution for eczema. These creams are mainly prescribed when you’re having a nasty flare up, but there are options that can be bought over the counter as well, mainly hydrocortisones as they are the weakest of the steroids. They mustn’t be used for more than 3 – 7 days (dependant on strength) and should not be applied to the face as they can thin the skin and it’s the most sensitive/thinnest skin on the body.
Emollients are thick moisturisers which can help soothe the skin and sink deeper than ordinary moisturisers. Personally, I use dermol cream and usually in conjunction with a steroid cream when my skin is at its worst. But there are many options available to try and most don’t require prescriptions: Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy is just one example.
I hope this post helps people get a better understanding of the condition. It wasn’t intended as a rant but it did sway that direction at times as it’s a topic I feel strongly about. I’ll put some links to other websites that might help give a better explanation of the condition and other helpful websites for describing different treatments etc below.

Until next time,

Luce xo

Other useful pages to take a look at:
NHS
British Skin Foundation
Talk Eczema

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