A broad umbrella term to describe the condition in which people have dry, red patches of skin is called eczema. When self-diagnosing myself, the most applicable condition I could find is called ‘dyshidrotic eczema’ which according to nationaleczema.org, produces small itchy blisters which appear on my fingers. In addition to this, my eczema is only on one of my hands and both of my arms. Why am I telling you this? I think eczema is a very underrated condition, a lot of people get dry skin for a week or perhaps even a month and label it eczema and it’s an ordinary thing that affects a lot of people in a lot of different ways. It affects simple, ordinary day things such as deciding to wear a long sleeved t-shirt or refusing to take your hoodie off even if it’s boiling outside.
I’ve had eczema for about three and a half years, which is how long I have been at my current school for and at first I was quite ashamed and anxious, constantly worried that people would see my arms or my hands and think it was the most disgusting thing anyone had ever saw. Obviously that was a tad over-dramatic but I was a 14 year old girl and most girls are anxious about their appearance in some way. I think that an important thing to note is that most people won’t even notice your insecurity; when you look at yourself, the first thing you notice is your flaws whereas everybody else looks at you as a whole picture. Or perhaps they don’t and I’m just trying to be optimistic…Now, if I’m in an environment I’m comfortable in such as somewhere with my friends or even in class, I don’t feel like I can’t roll my sleeves up or have my hands on the table. However, if I’m in an unknown situation like a University open day or public transport, I wouldn’t even want to roll my sleeve up to look at the time on the watch but I suppose these things come in time.
So how do I deal with the eczema itself? At the beginning, when I visited doctors they would prescribe creams that aren’t pleasant to use: they smell, they’re sticky and despite what my mum says, they don’t work for me. These creams leave you feeling itchier than you felt previously and that just causes your condition to become worse. “If you put them on before bed, then you can just leave it to soak in”, correction: you won’t be able to sleep because you can’t physically stop yourself from scratching and then you wake up with sore hands that look worse than before. My solution: I don’t have one, the title clearly says ‘dealing with eczema’ not ‘how to deal with eczema’. Creams may work for some people but they truly do not work for me and despite what my mum says, I do try to use them.
However, if you just have dry skin in general, which I do, particularly on the facial area, certain moisturisers are a gift from the high heavens. Ordinary moisturiser which you will probably find, does not do the job, when you first put it on, you might look in the mirror and think that it’s working miracles, only to find that hours later, your foundation is pointing to the dry areas on your face with a massive billboard. But I’ve recently started using the Vichy: intense cream for very dry skin and it’s a lot more successful than past contenders. Although, I’m really no facial care expert.
But back to the eczema, if you see someone with red arms and hands, don’t judge them for it, it’s not their fault. We really did not ask for this cursed fate and we certainly do not need reminding.
Emily Simms: 21:42