Earlier this week I published a reel on Instagram about supporting people with eczema. I said that Deeper Than Eczema is not just designed at those with skin conditions. It is also designed for those who know someone who has eczema or a skin condition. This could be a friend, spouse, child, work colleague etc. I believe it is important to raise awareness so that people understand and also learn how to support someone. I will write more blogs and post more social media content to break this down even further.
Knowing how to support someone with eczema is important. There are many things that are helpful and other things which are not. For example, some people may think that eczema is just a dry skin condition which is definitely not true. Having eczema affects us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Personal examples of negative support
My negative examples include being asked if my eczema is contagious. Secondly, being stared at or being asked ‘what is wrong with your skin?’ in an insensitive voice or tone. Thirdly, being told to ‘stop scratching’ I have found unhelpful. I once had a hairdresser tell me that I have eczema because my mother ate badly while pregnant with me. I’m unsure if unhealthy eating during pregnancy causes eczema, however, I was not impressed. Oh, and by the way, I have not been back to that hairdresser since!
Sometimes my follow up appointments with GP’s and dermatologists have not been a positive experience. I’ve not seen a dermatologist in person since the pandemic so I do not have any recent examples. Instead, my appointments have been over the phone so it’s difficult for them to comment as they have not physically seen my skin.
My worst experience of negative support was being asked to move out by a previous landlord. Instead of the landlord and housemates confronting me about my condition first I was told to move out. This definitely affected the way I felt about myself as well as other people.
Personal examples of positive support
Despite my bad experiences I’m pleased to say that I’ve had a lot of positive support from family and friends. Examples of this include being able to talk freely about my skin, feelings, self-esteem and let out frustration. By doing this I know I’ve been heard and listened to as well as being shown sensitivity and empathy. I’ve had practical support including prayers for healing, product recommendations or tagging me on eczema and confidence quotes on Instagram. I’ve also been given skin care products to try and test myself.
Another example of positive support is at the workplace. I did have an issue with one particular office setting several years ago. I’ve not had to worry about office environments recently because I have been working from home. Furthermore, I’ve not had any major flare ups since I had covid last year. There were times where I had to take time off sick, attend dermatology appointments and to have UV light treatment. I have never been penalised about this or have been issues with attending appointments. Also I’ve never had any negative comments from work colleagues. See blog for more information:
I think that the more people are made aware about eczema, then the more understanding they will become. Also there will be less insensitive comments and actions from people. This was the main reason why I published an Instagram reel with myself speaking earlier this week. Despite my experiences I’ve learnt that without them I would have nothing to share to my audience. So I hope that reading about my experiences with others have helped you in some way.