17 May, 2019

What it’s like to live with eczema

Hear from three people sharing their stories of how Eczema has affected their work life, relationships and self-confidence.

How long have you had eczema for?

Sarah: I was born and raised in New York and am 23 years old. I have had eczema since I was a baby, but it got worse with each year. My eczema became so severe that my quality of life was affected. Now I take Dupixent and have clearer skin.

Kirsten: I'm 48, living in Edinburgh as an occupational therapist. My mum says I developed eczema when I was old enough to worry, and it is still worse when I am stressed. If I'm tense, my skin starts to itch.

Chance: I’ve had eczema since I was a child, I’m now 20. My treatment hasn’t really helped over the years, but it started with lotion and steroid creams and now I just use lotion, but it doesn’t completely make my dry skin go away.

Why are you sharing your story now?

Sarah: People assume eczema is a small nuisance but eczema can significantly decrease your quality of life. The impact of eczema on a person's life can be quite severe and people suffering from eczema are ashamed to take time off work or school because of a painful flare up. If more people become aware of how much eczema affects us day to day, we would not feel ashamed of having to take a day off work or class due to flare ups..

In what ways do you think eczema has affected you?

Kirsten: My hands are often a mess because of eczema. I have to be careful what toiletries and cosmetics I use. When I go swimming I have to be very careful to shower thoroughly afterwards. It affects my sleep sometimes; I've been known to remove the cotton gloves and scratch my hands till I bleed without waking up.

Chance: My self confidence is almost non-existent. I hate shaking people’s hands because of my hands are so dry and wrinkly. My hands look like those of someone in their 80s. I always have to put lotion on constantly which sucks.

Do you believe a cure for eczema is coming soon?

Sarah: I do not, and mostly that is because of the slow progress of understanding what even causes eczema.

Chance: No I feel like eczema will be around for a long time or else we would’ve already had a cure.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about living with eczema? How has it impacted your life?

Sarah: Be open to others about your need for self care.

Kirsten: Find what works for you. Lots of the products doctors recommend make my eczema worse.

If there were one thing you’d want every eczema patient to know, what would that be?

Kirsten: It's not always possible to cure eczema but it should always be possible to manage it.

Photo credit: Roya Ann Miller, Alpha stock images - Unsplash
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