What to Wear…What to wear….

The weather’s getting warmer, the sun’s shining and everyone around me is loving it. But me? I used to love summer. I could wear my nice dresses/ skirts, shorts and show off my skin. But now, after 5 years of eczema, the scratching that comes with it and the deeply ingrained scars all over my legs and arms because of it all…I dread summer!

I have beautiful girls all around me (2 sisters who are gorgeous to top it off!) who can wear whatever they want and then there’s me. Before my eczema, I used to be a pretty confident person, I had good self-esteem, was pretty happy with my figure and didn’t think twice about wearing what I wanted. When your body is covered in scars/ eczema patches it becomes hard to keep the confidence to wear what you want. People always tell me that I shouldn’t care about my eczema, but funnily enough these people are eczema free….if they saw my whole body in all of its eczema glory they would think twice before saying it. I cover it up so they don’t know the truth.

When I imagine myself walking down the road with a pair of shorts on with a tank top now, I can imagine what I’m feeling:

  • Embarrassed
  • Scared
  • Uncomfortable
  • Sad
  • Self conscious
  • Vulnerable

If I ever have my eczema on show, I feel like I have my eyes down to the floor, I get hot and bothered, freak that someone I know may see me and just want to get to my destination! I get frustrated sometimes that this is the way it is. I’m 21 and I can’t wear what I want to, well I can, but I wouldn’t feel safe, I wouldn’t be in my comfort zone. It really gets me down sometimes, I try not to think about it because it isn’t exactly going to change any time soon, but it is hard. I see everyone around me showing skin, skin that they don’t even know how lucky they are to have! Skin I envy.

I used to love the summer sun and I still do I just can’t enjoy it like I used to. I hate the depressing words coming out of my mouth right now but sadly this is what goes through my head. I love to wear nice clothes and when I go summer shopping, I just dream about wearing those little summer dresses and sleeveless tops. I know I can wear them, but I’m not confident enough in my own skin to deal with the emotional side of people looking at me, it’s hard enough when they look at my face when it’s flared so how would I cope if I had more on show?

I feel frustrated sometimes that though there seems to be so many eczema sufferers out there, people just don’t understand it. People I know ignore it when they see me (not sure if that is a good or bad thing) and don’t try and understand (or even care) what impact having this skin problem has on me. Whilst we all have exams to worry about and everyday stress, there’s me dealing with my skin at the same time, trying to sleep properly, trying to stay happy and positive, trying to think of something other than my skin for 2 minutes. But they don’t know this. Eczema is a secret battle I have that no-one but me and my nearest and dearest know about and even they don’t know the whole of it. It’s a big secret that I don’t want anyone to know about because that means they would know, they would know I have eczema.

It sounds strange but I don’t like people knowing. This is why summer isn’t a good time for me. I’m not ready for the world to see me in all of my eczema glory, have eyes staring at me wondering what’s happened, wondering why I don’t stop scratching, wondering what I have. That’s why this summer will be another covered up summer. I’ll be wearing legging, trousers, cardigans and anything else I need to keep my eczema off show.

I only hope that in the future I can be confident enough to wear whatever I want and not care. But sadly, I still care about what others think and what they think about me.

Comments
20 Responses to “What to Wear…What to wear….”
  1. Nadi says:

    I am 17 years old & have had eczema since I was like 3
    I am African American so the scars look even worse on me than ever. I am a junior in hs & its summer in Philadelphia, the season I dred. I have been hiding my arms & legs for as long as I remember. Having friends wearomg asimpleb clothes likebabtshirt can make me feel so sad inside. I envy opl wot smooth nice skin. EcEma os tjebworst

    Like

    • Selina says:

      I feel for you 😦 hiding my arms has become a bad habit to break. I tried to go out yesterday in just my maxi dress but I still held my cardigan in my arms to cover the scarring at the elbows…..It is so hot atm that its frustrating we feel the need to cover up but the looks you get from people can make it difficult….maybe we should take up a challenge to go out more without hiding away….

      Like

  2. Addie says:

    I was google searching natural eczema remedies and your blog popped up, and I started looking through it. I have been fighting eczema since I was born, so just over 15 years. Nobody understands, and this post sums everything I have been feeling, and thinking in about 7 paragraphs. I think that is pretty impressive. I’m sorry you have it, but at the same time it is nice to know I’m not alone because it always seems that I am. When I was really little I never really payed attention, but after the growing amount of scars, and everything summer is miserable. You can’t enjoy it like everyone else, and it has always been a struggle. Thank you so much for understanding. It actually gives me a sense of hope. ❤ Keep on fighting.

    Like

    • Selina says:

      I understand completely. I’m hoping that this summer with my elbows calmer and more smooth I will be brave enough to bare my scars….it is just that fear of eyes turning to my arms to wonder what happened….we’ll see….its sad when you see so many nice clothes and just think wait I can’t wear that my arms will be out….such a dilemma! People really dont appreciate how amazing it is to have normal skin!

      We’ve got to make the most of it though! I think now if those around me love me and more importantly I love myself, then I should be brave enough to do what I want. But the importance of our appearance in this day and age sure makes that tough!

      Like

  3. Samantha says:

    Hey! This is the second time I’ve come across this blog post and it feels so good to know that I’m not the only one dealing with eczema! I mean, not good as in we have eczema, but as in we can relate to this situation. I, too, feel the same way every summer. I was actually looking at dresses and sometimes it upsets me that people would comment that I should treat my skin before wearing the dress. They don’t get that its not easy and the marks don’t disappear overnight.
    I feel like my eczema marks make me so self conscious about my skin. Its all over my back, arms, shoulders, neck, hands and legs. It doesn’t help that my parents tell me that a guy would never want me because of my bad skin if I can’t get it together.
    I just don’t know what to do. Every time it seems to improve, a flareup happens. My skin has NEVER been 100% clear. It makes me jealous seeing girls who have such perfect skin and how they can wear anything they want. If I had perfect skin, then u would feel so much more confident about myself. Sorry about the rant. I just had to let it out :/

    Like

    • Selina says:

      Hey Samantha! Firstly I know you know your own parents more than me but they aren’t right in my mind. I have had guys love me just fine when I didn’t even love myself when looking in the mirror. The funny thing is eczema just helps you to see who really cares and sees you and who is shallow and superficial. If people are so bothered by your skin then they’re not even worth your time!

      Clothes wise Ugh I can join in your rant here lol I hate trying things on then feeling that it would better suit someone with “normal” skin but you know what why do we allow other people to affect our moods so much. Trust me I’m the same but u get so frustrated with myself for being so bothered about OTHERS. What about us, what we want.

      What is your current eczema status?

      Thanks for sharing Samantha. Glad you could relate. One of the reasons I started this blog. I just wanted someone to understand!

      Like

  4. Beatrix says:

    I jut covered this blog now! Oh my God you guys just moved me to tears. Since i got eczema i just feel friustrated hate myself hate my situation envy all that thing. Im also fat and have strecthmacks. But then i found you i read you all. I cant believe that i have so many friends to be going through with. I just want to cry. All your story just remind me of mine where i use to be asked why i always have my socks very high, what is on my hand, being teasing that i am scabious oh my God it all just break my heart. Can we stick together? Okay now im gonna cry

    Like

    • Selina says:

      Hi Beatrix, I’m so glad you found us! Your definitely not alone, there are so many of us out there that we can only strive to comfort and support each other through something only we can truly understand.

      Hope your eczema isn’t too bad right now and you find some useful tips on here! So many people write tips its great. I might have to think about posting them separately so they’re easier to see!

      Hope you’re well. Eczema does not define you and though I know how hard it is to think of anything else,. Give yourself time to relax and breathe! I find mediating has helped me to just be calm even if it’s just for 10 mins. It took some practise but it’s hear when you can’t switch off your negative thoughts! xx

      Like

  5. Casey says:

    Hi, I just found out about your blog today. I’ve been suffering from eczema since 2007. It started when we moved to another country.

    As a child I’ve always had food allergies. I was allergic to chicken, eggs, seafood and other foods. I would get rashes on my neck and arms when I ate those foods. But once I take my antihistamine I would be fine. I actually got this from my Dad’s side.

    I’m from a tropical country in Asia. We moved to New Zealand in 2007 and that’s when my eczema started. It started from small patches on my arms. They wouldn’t go away even with antihistamine. I was prescribed different creams that even made it worse.

    It started spreading throughout my whole body and my face too. I would say that it started getting really really bad in late 2008 to early 2009. I was the only one in my whole school wearing white long sleeves during summer time. It was so tiring having to explain over and over again why I was wearing long sleeves under my uniform.

    When I started high school, people started bullying me because I was wearing long sleeves and my face was red and had open wounds all the time. It resulted to me cutting, missing school and I started getting really depressed. Not only because of the eczema but the fact that I’ve developed these huge red stretch marks on the folds of my arms, on my stomach, breasts, thighs and legs!!! I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to use steroid creams every single day for 2 years!!! My GP didn’t even tell me it was steroid!!!

    My parents decided to send me back to Asia for treatment since I wasn’t getting any better. Our family doctor treated me in just 2 weeks. I also think that the fact that it’s a tropical country helped my eczema. I stayed there for about 2 months then went back to NZ.

    After about another 2-3 months it came back. So I went back to Asia again and got a dermatologist. Again, I was treated within 2 weeks. By treated, I mean, no itching, no more dead skin cells – but of course I still had scars and stretch marks. But after about staying there for another 2-3 months my skin had less scars.

    I went back to NZ and so did my eczema, unfortunately. Now, I can’t go back to Asia anymore ’cause not only is it pricey, but it also affects my studies.

    Although, I did learn a few things when I got treated in Asia.
    – I was given the wrong creams. They are especially made for European skin.
    – I was given steroid creams for a VERY long time.
    – I under went through Photo therapy which wasn’t necessary.
    – My dermatologist and GP here didn’t give me any information on eczema. I had to learn about it back in Asia.
    – The weather here is one of the major causes of my suffering.

    Since my eczema came back, I learned to start doing my own research. From there, I found the creams I use now to help me survive. I might never get rid of the stretch marks forever and I’m probably gonna have to wear long sleeves and jeans all the time but I don’t really care anymore. Besides, I believe in God’s miracles. God didn’t give us this if he didn’t know we wouldn’t be able to go through it. 😀 I also believe he guides technology to solve different diseases today. I mean, look at cancer. Cancer still has some chances to be treated too. 😀 We just have to believe and stay positive.

    No matter what happens in this world and in this lifetime doesn’t matter once we spend eternity with the Lord. 😀

    Anyway, here are the creams and whatnot I’ve used so far and have worked wonders. Some of them are just not available in NZ which sucks.

    What I’m using now:
    – St. Ives Shae Butter and Oatmeal Lotion
    – ” Body Wash
    – Phenergan (antihistamine)
    – Viaderm-K (for my fingers that have itchy blisters)
    – Nivea sunscreen SPF 50

    What my dermatologist and doctor from Asia made me use: (I personally would have stuck with these but then again, we don’t have them here)
    – Ponds cream (green lid)
    – Ivory soap
    – Physiogel Cream
    – Physiogel Soap
    – Physiogel Shampoo
    – Spectraban sunscreen SPF 60

    My eczema is now more manageable. There are still some very itchy nights, but oh well. Who cares? 😛 My face is all cleared up and it has been since I started using St. Ives. I also use oatmeal to wash my face every morning. I use it to exfoliate too. 😀 For my body, I use sugar to exfoliate and sometimes oatmeal too. 😀

    Sorry for this really long post. I’m new here. I’m 17 BTW. I’m actually really worried now that summer is just right around the corner. But life is too short, so I might as well enjoy it in my jeans and long sleeve shirt right? 😛

    Just remember that you’re not alone. Think about all the things you are thankful for. My Auntie had cancer. She’s gone now, but we used to go to the hospital together. She was always more happy and positive than me. Just think – if she was able to be happy and positive despite knowing she had cancer, surely we’ll be able to enjoy life and not let stupid eczema get in the way right?

    Stay happy and God Bless. 😀

    Like

  6. Rachel Lim says:

    The thing now is not to sympathise each other, its to find a solution to this problem. Anyone please, just teach us a way to dress nicely without showing skin?

    Like

    • I will be doing a summer clothes article soon as I thought it would be useful too for us to share our ideas of what we wear.

      We want to cover up but also feel good about ourselves.

      Like

  7. june says:

    I can totally feel you. every single one of you ): i am 20 and i’m from Singapore. Sometimes just shopping with friends will make you feel very self-concious because you know they are able to wear clothes and shoes that you can never buy because it’ll show my eczema. I have eczema on my legs and its really annoying because i cannot wear slippers so i’ll tend to just wear shoes and socks all the time. ): it sucks especially when you’re on a beach holiday and everyone is wearing slippers and bikinis. i’ve started to buy more maxi dresses because it can cover up my ugly legs. I can totally feel all the girls here. I hope all of us can win this harsh battle together.

    praying for all of us that we’ll have clear skin one day. (:

    Like

  8. brittany says:

    life is really difficult when you’re dealing with eczema. i have had eczema since i was two, and im now 19. i have scars everywhere, some scars are the size of cigarette burns and others bigger than a quater. i also have discoloration which makez things even more unbearable; i cant remember the last time i wore a bathing suit or a backless dress or even shorts. ive been teased, bullied, called names and it hurts like crazy. i dislike it when people say i know how you feel and its gonna be ok when really they have no idea. waking up with blood stains and dead skin everywhere, having to use certain soaps and lotions and creams etc i felt like a freakin experiment. i am a christian, and there have been many times i would shake my fist at God and cry out and stuff, but lately i have decided to try my best and be positive. sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. but i know that no one deserves to go through things like this.

    Like

  9. Elise says:

    All of the emotions you feel when your eczema is on show is exactly how I feel. I have had eczema since I was 5 I am now 15. It totally sucks, when im at my favorite store and trying on shorts and stuff i walk out to see how it looks and all the lights and mirrors totally make my eczema stand out. I have really bad scars on my legs from years of scratching. Everyone is like is it really that hard just not to scratch? Ugh i just wish all the scars would just go away!

    Like

  10. jakelin says:

    I’m 15 i have eczema and i hate cause i can’t wear shorts or tank tops without people starting at me and talking about how nasty my legs and arms look. every time i try to wear shorts or a tank top i feel so uncomfortable when i walk down the hallways i feel like everybody is looking at me and just talking about how nasty i look. when people ask me what i have i never know what to say. i always try to cover up my eczema when ever i can. I’ve tried even singe cream and lotion there is and my eczema never gets better i don’t know what to do anymore.

    Like

    • I’m so sorry to hear this….eczema can really get us down but please don’t give up!! I’ve been there and trust me, we deserve better. We deserve to be happy….we just unfortunately have to make a lot more effort with and for our skin than others!! But we will get there!!

      Keep positive and keep going because you are worth it!

      Like

  11. Jackie says:

    I realise I’m a bit late reading this, but it’s just getting into summer where I’m from (Australia), this was like reading my own thoughts! I’m almost 18 and my friends took me out shopping for a dress to wear for my birthday dinner/clubbing, I almost broke down in tears in the dressing room as they had angled mirrors and I have pretty bad eczema from the nape of my neck and down my back (not to mention my arms legs shoulders and stomach) and it was all I could focus on
    Is is cruel to say I’m glad I’m not the only one who goes through this every summer (well all year really considering where I live)? I would not wish this on my worst enemy, it’s ruining my life

    Like

  12. felinemenace says:

    this post really touched a note! i cover up ALL the time, as my arms and legs are just a patch work of marks. and yes, people dont understand how difficult it is NOT to think about our itchy/hot/dry/burning skin. :S

    even my bf gets anoyed with me telling me not to scratch or worse says that i’m overreacting. sigh.

    I pray every day for clear skin.

    Like

  13. Mara says:

    Wow I know exactly how you feel. I’m 19 and I have eczema which now has left me with scars all over my body. It’s summer now again and I hate it it used to be one of my favorite seasons. It makes me so jealous to see all these other girls wearing cute dresses and shorts while I wear long sleeves and jeans since I need to be covered. I dont think I will ever be comfortable just showing my skin to the whole world. I am also dreading going to florida this year its going to be so hot 😦 how are you with dating? I feel like I have to push guys away because I dont want them to see my eczema eventhough I do want a boyfriend. I feel like eczema ruins my life.

    Like

    • Hi Mara, I’m glad someone has been able to relate to my blog! I started this as a way to vent and just share how I feel and I’m glad you can relate to what I have said. There aren’t many people I know who truly understand what we go through. I also hate summer because of the need to cover up even when the weather is so warm and all I want is to wear something nice!

      But weirdly enough, when I go on holiday the sun does my skin a lot of good! Like if my skin is all raw, flaky and sore, a week on holiday tends to calm it right down! I think the sun helps the inflammation (which is the worst part for me) Is this the case for you? I know eczema is different for everyone though.

      How do you manage your eczema if you don’t mind me asking? What I am currently doing is just not working enough for me to keep it at bay sadly.

      Like

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