Living with: Eczema | Big Society Girl

Eczema is a condition that is common, more so amongst children than adults. There’s so much more to having eczema than someone who doesn’t have it might realise. It’s one of the conditions that I have that is most annoying, and that’s why its first in this series.

It is a genetic condition and it produces red patches of skin that are thick, dry, and itchy. As well as these patches, eczema produces spots, they look like tiny pimples but are extremely itchy. Once scratched, they spread, cause dry patches and can cause skin infection.

People sympathise with parents when they are told their child has eczema, because it affects their ability to be a child and play without a care in the world, but what about adults suffering with eczema? When I tell someone I have eczema, I can guarantee they only think of it as “a bit of dry skin”. It’s generally not as bad in adults as it is in children, but it can be just as annoying and debilitating when it flares up.

Unlike a lot of people, I can’t wear make up everyday, not even eyeshadow. It makes my skin red and sore around my eyes mostly. and face make up just generally makes my face hurt! The only way I can describe how it makes my skin feels to non-sufferers is to imagine you have a face mask on, one that dries solid and will crack if you move your face. Now imagine your skin feeling like that, you can’t ease it and you can’t just peel it off like you can with a mask. It’s awful.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday (1st April 2014) about ten minutes after I had got out of the shower. You can click the images to enlarge them so you can see just how bad it is. It affects me most on my forehead and around the sides of my face, but my nose is always pretty flaky (eurgh, right?). I also get it on the top of my back, my chest and the top of my arms, so I never want to wear clothes where my arms back or chest might be on show. Shopping can sometimes be a nightmare.

Eczema9 Eczema4Over the years I’ve used so many different treatments, and there is no cure. There are a few types of creams and lotions prescribed by the doctor, including ointments, steroid creams, shower gels, bath oils, and moisturisers specifically made for eczema. I’ve tried them all and my skin still looks like this after 21 years of living with the condition.

I currently use two treatments, the first being Diprobase, a moisturiser which is so gentle it can be used on babies. I have to apply this twice a day and after I shower, or my skin becomes itchy and I increase the risk of a skin infection. Skin infections are caused by the skin being scratched and any germs that you might have on your hands gets into the skin and then voila, it’s nasty.

The second I use at the moment is Eumovate, which is a steroid cream and it’s really thick. Steroid creams are really good, they clear up little patches (like the one you can see on my right cheek) and stop the itching. Steroid creams can increase the risk of skin infection, just like itching can. They thin the skin so they can only be used temporarily, useful during flare ups but not so good for the long-term annoyance of it.

Eczema12

During Summer I don’t suffer so badly with the itching because I have to take antihistamines daily to keep my hay fever under control. They take away the itchiness of eczema and  a bit of sun usually helps the case.

This is what I live with on a daily basis, and not everyone has seen my eczema when it’s like this, even though most people know I suffer with it, it’s not always so visible because creams take the dryness out of it.

If you enjoyed reading the first in my series, keep an eye out for more about similar daily conditions.

If you suffer with eczema and want to talk about it, feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me @bigsocietygirl

Natalie

 

 

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15 responses to “Living with: Eczema | Big Society Girl

  1. Hey :) I suffer with eczema too, so I understand where you’re coming from! Mine has got slightly better over the years but I weirdly always just get it like on the inside of my elbow on one arm really bad but rarely anywhere else. Although it has started to flare up on my eyelids recently which is very annoying!

    Hopefully your eczema will settle down, I’m unsure how old you are but mine has got better over the years and now its mainly triggered by stress and hormones x

    Hayley x

    http://hayleyjachz.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Hey! :) thanks for commenting!

      It’s a common place to get it on joints but I only ever suffered with it there when I was young. I don’t get it there anymore. It is sooo annoying isn’t it!

      I get it on my eyelids, it makes you feel like your eyelids weigh a tonne doesn’t it?!

      I’m 21, so i’m not holding out much hope haha, although I am in my last year of uni so hopefully after that stress it will subside a little!

      :) x

  2. Thanks for telling me about your post on instagram! You are so brave about coming out and talking about this condition, its such a shame that there is still no cure as its a horrible thing to have, i used to have it badly on my body but i think i eventually grew out of it, i found that aveeno was the thing that helped it to the most! I really hope your condition improves and that you find something that will work wonders for you! Well done for this :) xx
    http://www.sleek-chic.co.uk

    • Thanks for reading! :) thank you…It is such an inconvenient condition, it just limits everything and it’s annoying! I was hoping I’d grow out of it but nope, it still plagues me! I haven’t tried Aveeno! I’m going to be trying some goats milk products soon, so I might have a look at Aveeno after I’ve tried those! You know, even my boyfriend was shocked by those pictures, he’s never seen it that bad either so it was quite scary putting my eczema on my blog for everyone and anyone to see! Thanks Nicole! :) xxx

  3. Hi! Great post – I’m 21 and have eczema. I got it when i was about 6 months old but it has definitely calmed down now. Have you used dermovate before. It’s the strongest steroid cream there is, therefore might be a bit much for your face (my eczema was literally all over my body). Also, the thing that pretty much cleared mine up was by using the Chinese herbal medicine stuff. It was fab and also got rid of lots of the scars that had accumulated over the years.

    • Hey! Thanks :) I’m not sure, I might have tried it when I was little, it was a lot worse when I was small. I’ve never heard of using Chinese remedies before for eczema, I have a few things to try out atm on recommendations of people including goats milk products, they’re supposed to be good! It’s good that it’s calmed down for you now you’re older, I wish it would do the same for me!

  4. Great post. I also suffer and have chemical dermatitis on my hands. Luckily my face is clear, but my legs can be agony sometimes. Like right now, I just had a bath with a lush bath bomb and it’s flared up. It’s awful being itchy all the time isn’t it?
    Mine went away during my teens and came back at uni. I just graduated last year and it’s settled down a lot more so I think stress definitely affects it. X

    • Oh that must be painful! I hate when that happens, you just want to relax and it turns into a nightmare because your skin hates everything :( it is, I hate the itchyness!

      That’s good to hear, I’m in my last couple of months now and I know i’m going to feel overwhelming relief when I finish, so i’m hoping everything will just chill out!

      Thanks for commenting :) xx

  5. A very open and honest post. I think a lot of people like you said dismiss adults. My housemate used to get it really bad too. He found sunbeds helped a little. Thank you for sharing xx

    • Thank you :) yeah it’s just expected that we deal with it but it’s hard, especially when adults have a lot more going on in life than children! Funny you should say that, I went on the sunbed yesterday :) it is a little lifesaver sometimes when it flares up!

      Thank you for commenting :) xx

  6. I also have eczema so I know exactly how much of a nightmare it is, it has calmed down a lot since childhood and I’ve left with it mainly on my joints and eyelids. I’ve recently started using La Roche Posay Cicaplast repairing balm which is the only thing I have found to put on my eyelids that doesn’t make them worse, I’ve tried all the usuals – e45 etc and some from the doctor but most only seemed to make it worse, the la roche posy is the only one that actually helps. Of course it doesn’t make it go away – as you say there’s no cure, but ti definitely soothes and helps!

    • Eyelids are one of the most annoying places to have it, I get it after I’ve worn makeup there and it’s just terrible. I’ve never used any La Roche Posay products but all I’ve heard about them is good things, if it doesn’t calm down after using this steroid cream I might have a look at it! Thanks for sharing your tips and commenting! :) x

  7. I only recently developed severe eczema so I totally understand your frustration. I am on exactly the same treatments as you, plus taking a course of oral steroids initially! I also use Eurax which is a little life saver – it’s a cream used to take out the itch – very helpful for sleeping at night! Have you tried it? :)

    • Oh no! Did they say what triggered it? Diprobase I find best works on my face, but I do have to apply it quite often which can be annoying! Aahh, I’ve never taken oral steroids, hopefully they work for you. No i’ve never used Eurax! I’m hoping it’s not going to get any worse, so hopefully my current treatments should work :) I hope yours improves! xx

  8. I suffer really badly from eczema too, around my eyes, my mouth, on my legs and my arms.
    It’s so painful and it actually began to rule my life for a while!
    Aveeno absolutely works – it’s cleared my flare ups up in just a few days and taken away all of the itchiness.
    I have the skin relief range so definitely give it a try if you havent :) xx
    http://just–kirsten.blogspot.co.uk/

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