Having previously shared my eczema journey in 2018, I’ve come to realise that a lot has happened since, which I wish to talk about. This prompted me to do an updated written version, offering insights into my rollercoaster experience with eczema. I also have a recorded version of myself talking about my journey on my YouTube Channel which can be found on the link at the end of this blog post.
Childhood and adolescence years
My childhood memories were mainly using aqueous cream and soap, as eczema was a distant thought. Yet, as adolescence came, eczema patches emerged behind knees, elbows, and armpits, foreshadowing challenges ahead.
In 2006, a dark patch on my right foot expanded to both legs, shattering my self-assurance. Dates and relationships became daunting, clothing choices were tailored to hide eczema, and my confidence was affected by the weight of it all. Eczema felt like an unwanted companion, casting me as different, abnormal longing for acceptance from others.
Starting my dermatology journey
A medical quest began with a GP referral to a dermatologist in 2007, then led to disappointing results from UVB light treatment. A nameless steroid tablet followed, leading to severe dizziness and nausea. 2012 witnessed the dawn of wet wraps and steroid creams, accompanied by a fleeting resurgence of skirt-wearing as lower leg eczema receded, leaving subtle marks around my ankles – a testament to progress.
Then another twist in 2015 as this was an era marked by stress-induced eczema’s resurgence across arms, hands, and neck. Medical interventions ensued, including a brief stint with Prediscone that cleared my skin, only to be shadowed by constant skin flaking, darker skin, and weight loss. I was very embarrassed due to flakes that seemed to appear in every corner of my life. Changing clothes became a cautious ritual, and daily vacuuming was essential to tame the fallout.
Post-stress was interrupted in 2017, revealing an office environment as an eczema trigger. An airless 10th-floor setting led to dermatology visits, occupational health engagements, and the revelation that severe eczema qualifies as a disability under the Single Equality Act 2010. A strategic relocation to a more breathable workspace in 2018 marked progress, with another round of UVB light treatment in 2019.
The Pandemic Era and Beyond:
During this time my skin was manageable apart from mild flare-ups when I had COVID-19. Despite life challenges and anxieties during this time, Neither the pandemic, being unwell with COVID-19 nor the vaccine noticeably caused major eczema flare-ups requiring treatment.
Exploring Treatment Horizons:
After exploring my diverse range of eczema treatments, I feel like I’ve tried everything although I know I’m exaggerating. Treatments and products I’ve tried include the following:
- Moisturizers, from Aqueous cream to Dermol lotion.
- Steroid creams, including Betnovate and Hydrocortisone, played their part.
- UVB light treatment, while not transformative, still made improvements.
- The ambiguous steroid tablet, potentially Methotrexate or Ciclosporin, resulted to reluctance.
- Wet wraps and bandages in 2012 and 2017 led to temporary relief from eczema.
- Natural remedies – raw black soap, turmeric soap, shea butter, and others – portrayed diverse outcomes.
- Engagements with apple cider vinegar, Manuka honey, and salt baths.
- Holistic treatments to heal trauma including change of mindset and EFT, did not lead to the desired resolution.
In closing, the path ahead is uncertain, although I agree that the mindset is a compelling factor, linked to my eczema stories and experiences. Topics on trauma, diet, and emotional well-being will be shared through forthcoming blog posts.