When it feels like your skin is against you.

All my life I have had eczema. I was diagnosed at 3 months old and have been living with it ever since.  My eczema has always affected my body confidence as I have it from head to toe, with the exception of my stomach and lower back. My childhood memories of eczema aren’t very clear, I remember being bandaged with zinc paste and wrapped up before bed, having gloves taped on to my hands each night to stop me from scratching myself.  Also using different creams, ointments and moisturisers to find the right combination that worked for me.

Let me tell you a few things about eczema:
●it is not contagious in any way, no matter what people may say.
● it can be brought on by changes to you environment
● coming in to contact with dust, animal hair,  pollen’s, to name a few, can cause it to break out.
This list is very rudimentary and definitely does not even scratch the surface as to what causes eczema or an out break.

Now let me tell to something about my childhood;
●I grew up on a farm
●We had a pet dog
● My main hobby was horse riding.

Now your may say why would you live your life with things that can constantly cause your eczema to break out or be a constant presence. Reason being ‘Why let something that is out with your control control your life?’. I honestly never really though about what  causes eczema and the hobbies or lifestyle that could have made it worse, until recently.

Through out my childhood and teenage years my eczema has always been the one thing I have been certain that will always be with me. Whether it be visible eczema on the skin or the scars that it has left behind all over my body.  It wasn’t until I finished my Masters and stated looking for jobs that I realised how much first impressions can affect your chance of a job.

I currently work in a supermarket, with mainly male colleges, where looks aren’t the be all and end all of your job. I have no pressure to wear make up or cover my eczema when it flares up on my arms (although I almost always wear a long sleeved top to cover it, for my own confidence) or face. For this I am thankful that my job and colleges are non judgmental, for the most part on how much make up a female should wear.

For this I am great full, as over the past year my eczema has had some of the worst flare ups and constant bouts I have ever had.

You may ask the question ‘what have you changed about your lifestyle to cause this?’.

Honestly I have no idea.

For the past 5 years I have lived in a small city, moved away form the farm and only occasionally see my family dog or go horse riding. So why is my eczema so bad? This is the question I have been asking myself.

As I sit here writing this I will tell you my current state of eczema.
Face- feels like sandpaper, skin feels like it is pulling backwards towards the ears from the chin and nose, but drawing in on my upper lip. Dry flaky skin around the eyes, where the skin is red and irritated.
Neck– front and center three wee bits of eczema that are scabbed over and red.
Chest– currently clear although itchy
Arms–  around the armpits covered red and raw. Fore and under arms 70% eczema coverage itch and raw.
Legs– few patches that consist of isolated spots of eczema
Feet– left foot 3 single spots on the upper part of the foot and itchy.

This is definitely not the worst my eczema has been or extensive as others, it is still incredibly uncomfortable to be in this skin 24/7 with no escape from it. It also does not make you feel particularly attractive, especially when your face feels like sandpaper all over and the skin is really tight.

Referring to my last post- rule No 1. Definitely is not in play at the moment and it hurts that it is not. I want to be able to feel sexy in my own skin  and push my body on a daily basis but I can’t.  Every time I sweat it aggravates my eczema causing it to become itchy weepy and incredibly sore.

So my alternative is very afternoon after work I come home sit on the couch and drink tea, although nice on the odd occasion it’s not particularly motivating after day 3. So back to why my eczema is so bad.

I honestly do not know. I follow an almost religious routine of showering- using a prescription shower wash, dry off, apply any lotions and potions (a nickname for steroidal creams and steroids we used as a child to make them seam less scary), apply moisturiser on top and apply moisturiser again just to make sure. This is the same routine I have followed for years, unfortunately I cannot have long showers as it dry out my skin.

Today is just another day I have survived having eczema and it will continue to partner me in life. Tomorrow can only get better.


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