Public Health

The Real Feel of Eczema


How would I describe the way it feels to live in my skin?

Painful. Embarrassing. Frustrating. Tiresome. Annoying. Irritating. Upsetting. Hopeless.

I’m currently in the middle (or at least I hope it’s the middle and soon to be end) of an eczema flare up. Before it began, I was relatively okay. That’s probably an upside and downside of eczema. Sometimes I don’t have time to actually cherish my eczema free moments. Although, in my case there’s no such thing as being eczema free.

To this day, I feel frustrated at the mere thought of going to the doctor because I feel like I receive no valuable help. It feels like I spent most of my childhood sitting in an uncomfortable chair, listening to the doctor prescribe me a small box of steroid cream and an emollient.

I would use it religiously and watch as it improved before it got worse again and I was back to square one. Eczema is like a never ending journey and sometimes, I don’t mind it so much, other times it can make life a miserable experience.

It’s frustrating because there’s no cure. There’s no magical cream that fades it away. It’s just a matter of trial and error and patiently waiting. Currently, I’m fortunate enough that I’m able to manage this current flare-up without it hindering my day to day. I have patches under my eyes (that burn and itch like something else!) and very badly cracked skin on my right hand.

For my face, I’ve been forced to use makeup and lip balm – to conceal the eczema and to prevent it from getting worse. If I’m in a dusty environment, my eyes can literally feel it. For my hands, I’m in gloves. I’m wary of catching an infection due to the broken skin on my fingers. Plus, it looks terrible and I feel self conscious about it.

It’s like a double sucker punch sometimes. I feel bad due to pain and itchiness and I also have to worry about how I look because of it.

Years ago, I had a very bad breakout on my neck – I’m talking ALL OVER to the point where I still have the hyperpigmentation to show for it. Turning my neck was unbelievably painful. I was forced to wear a scarf everywhere. I had this beautiful turquoise and silver scarf that I used. At the time, I’d just discovered that lip eczema was a thing and I was walking around with blackened lips.

This time around, when I spotted it, I knew to deal with it immediately and I’ve been able to conceal it with lip liner and lipsticks. Even that while helpful, is incredibly frustrating.

Emotionally, it does take a toll. I’m at the point of the flare up where I’m about to ditch the creams and just wait it out. Medically, that’s probably not the best solution, but I’ve found that leaving eczema alone and not focusing on it as much tends to be the breakthrough.

Hopefully, an effective cure is on the way.

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