My Eczema Diary: September 2011

I’ve written a few blogs recently and thought I’d write an update on my general eczema and how it is and what I have been up to.

Firstly, right now my eczema isn’t gone as I still get it on my arms, neck and shoulders quite badly, but on my face, stomach and legs it is calmer than it has been for AGES! My face for the first time in a long time (at least a year =/) is looking healthy. It is just frustrating though that my neck, shoulders and arms are so stubborn!! They are constantly going through phases of being rough, dry and bumpy with little red bumps which look like rashes. I really want to reduce these so my eczema really is calm! I am so grateful though that it is calmer than it has been for ages. As it has affected my mood alot.

I am currently feeling a lot more happier and content. I guess this has been for many reasons:

  • My eczema is calmer so when I look in the mirror I feel a lot better about myself.
  • I am sleeping so much better now that I don’t have a constant itch!!
  • I feel like being more directly involved in changing  my lifestyle to improve my eczema has had a really positive effect, I feel like I am doing my part in helping it get better and it makes me feel better about myself and more proactive whilst I do it. If you have read my previous blogs you’ll know that I have begun to realise that my eczema isn’t just going to go away overnight and that I have to help myself. Steroids etc haven’t worked for me and now I kind of see them as a ”quick fix” and that is not what I want. I want to manage my eczema long term. Therefore, slowly but surely I am incorporating changes that will help benefit my health in general and my eczema. Such as the gym, herbal teas, getting enough sleep, having a good routine. I personally now don’t feel like I am doing as much as I could be though I keep talking about trying juices and buying a juicer and trying a raw food diet but I haven’t got round to it. So I really hope that I push myself further to be more involved in making the changes that really could make a difference!
  • My studies are over and the stress has gone, though now the stress of getting a job is taking over!
  • Being in the comforts of my own home where I feel safe and well has really helped me. At university, I disliked the atmosphere in the house, how I felt when I went there, the cleanliness and everything just made it a chore to live there. It made my negative mood about my eczema worse so it really has helped for me to move back home to a place which is a lot more comfortable for me. And somewhere I can walk around without feeling self conscious. I think having a ‘safe zone’ in a way is really important and home is that for me again now.
  • I have been a lot more sociable with friends that I hardly communicated with whilst at university and it has been great to spend time with people who are real friends to me and (and family). I have family issues with some external family but having my immediate family be there and my friends really overrides this. The people in my life have really helped make a difference.
Things that are making me feel down:
Even though my eczema is looking up I still feel down at times about it sometimes. It isn’t back to normal it is just reduced compared to before, this has lead to me having some times where I feel low because:
  • I wonder why I have to deal with this. Why I can’t have normal skin and just worry about the same things everybody else worries about instead of spending at least 60% of my time thinking about my eczema. I am happy to change things in my lifestyle to help, but sometimes I feel so frustrated that I HAVE TO do this. That I have to worry about my skin so much whilst most of the population out there don’t think twice about their skin because it is normal. I know there are other skin problems too, even spots, but I guess I just don’t think they are as bad as ours. They are still classed as ”normal”.
  • Not being able to comfortably wear what I want because of my scars and self consciousness. I like my figure. It is something I have never had a problem with and though sometimes I feel like I can look on the skinny side, I have never had a problem with my shape. However, since my skin became bad and scarred after long term eczema, I feel like I cannot wear what I want. I find dresses that I absolutely LOVE, outfits which look good but then I put a cardigan on top and its totally ruined. I have no way around this so it really gets me down as I just can’t dress the way I want. Well I can but the feelings that come with going out in public with eczema on show isn’t worth it for me yet and this can truly get me down. I’m 21 and should be able to wear what I want like all of my friends but I can’t. I have to consider my eczema before I buy an outfit and it really is such a frustrating effort.
  • Sometimes, I feel low just thinking about the ”if” it comes up again. When I have to attend events/weddings etc I’m dreading a flare up as I haven’t been able to work out what causes mine except my life events, stress and weather all things that go up and down and I can’t help them (hence my aim to manage my eczema so flare ups are at bay!).
  • Finally, I feel low when I compare myself to my sisters. After having eczema, I feel like I look like I’ve aged, I don’t have my old glowy skin and I just don’t look great when I stand next to them. Obviously they can’t help it they just have normall skin but it really does make me feel down to know that I’m the ”ugly duckling” with my skin at times. We all have similar figures but my body is covered in this eczema.
That is my eczema updates for now anyway. I’m mostly feeling good now. My aims for now are:
  1. Get a good gym routine going. Though I’ve been going it is far from regular and if I want to see the benefits properly (and get my moneys worth!) I need to make it a priority and make it happen!
  2. Buy a juicer and have my vegetable/fruit juices. Right now, not having a job has delayed this as juicers can be expensive and I don’t feel like I have the money to splurge. However, it is something I think will help me and if not my skin my general intake of fruit and veg!! Also, to buy organic produce!
  3. Cut down on my snacks!! I eat a lot of crisps and chocolates and I don’t think this is doing my eczema or my newly placed spots any favours! If I’m serious about managing my eczema I need to take all things into account. I don’t want to cut everything bad out as I don’t want to resent doing it but I want to reduce my unhealthy habits and increase healthy ones!
  4. Get a job. At the moment this is something I need as a new graduate. It is the next life event in my life and (whether it brings an outbreak or calms my skin) I feel like it is something I want to start now and get into that new routine and it is stressful not getting one. Plus it’ll get me into a better routine which will hopefully help too.
  5. Enjoy life. I don’t want my eczema to hold me back so I think it is really important that I don’t let it get in the way of me living my life. It already hinders some aspects like my clothes etc so I try to live the rest of my life as fully as possible so I don’t let life pass me by.
  6. And most of all, take care of my skin.
Comments
8 Responses to “My Eczema Diary: September 2011”
  1. Ellie says:

    When reading your blog it really made me well up, from relief I guess that other people really have been going through what I go through everyday. I’ve had eczema since I was about 2 and I am now 23. It was a lit worse when I was younger and school was really hard for me, I had bad skin on my neck face, arms and behind my legs. I got through it with steroids but I was so miserable and feared them because the doctors said it can thin your skin, as if my skin needed any more damage?! My skin has got better as I’ve gotten older but i still suffer from flare ups, stress makes it worse and I found it really hard at work, especially because I worked in a fashion house where everyone had perfect skin and models everywhere, I just felt resentment and anger and I still feel this sometimes. If it’s on your face you can’t hide it and make up only makes it worse. All I want to do is hide away. My sister has perfect skin and I always use to think why me??! I don’t think people realise how much it can effect you, and your blog is sun a great place for people with eczema as we can all relate to each other. I just wish I had this when I was at school/uni. I’m very lucky as I have a supportive family and boyfriend but still feel like they can never relate to how I feel and how depressed it can make me.

    On a more positive note I really find that healthy eating make all the difference. I went for an allergy test and found out that wheat made my skin worse as well as the usual culprits such as milk, chocolate, sweets, e numbers, fizzy drinks, artificial flavours, msg’s, cheese. I stick to soya milk and try to have all natural foods.

    One more thing is olive oil. I really struggled with skin products, even showering can be bad because your skin can be really dry when you get out and moisturising creams just made me red raised and itchy. Olive oil has been a god send, I really recommend it.

    Thank you for your blog, it’s been amazing to read and for the first time in years read how I have been feeling for years!

    Like

    • Hi Ellie,

      I’m so sad to hear how much your story actually relates to mine as I hate knowing you have been through it all too!! How are you holding up at the moment? Sisters, models, even my mum…all of their skin just depresses me! I feel ugly. The annoying thing is I don’t hate my body, I’m okay with it, but I can’t wear anything to compliment my figure unless it involves full sleeves and full length!! The only time I dare to wear short sleeve is when I have to at the pool/ sauna or when I know it is going to be dark like at night outdoors!!

      Steroids are a no no for me too! I know other people are okay using 1% ones, but after seeing what they have done to my skin. No way! Unless I’m desperate, I just can’t use them as a long term solution! That would be for the rest of my life and I cringe at that damage!

      You know you always have support here so please keep in touch!

      Keep smiling!

      Like

  2. Kelly Salazar says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I also suffer from eczema, but it is no longer over my whole body. I started breaking out about 5 years ago and I didn’t have insurance so I didn’t go to the doctor. It spread from my face to my legs all over. My step mom’s friend is a doctor and she agreed to see me out of the office for no charge. From what she could tell, she thought it was scabies (I had just been on a plane right before the breakout). She prescribed some medicine and I used it. I was getting married in 6 weeks, and was really worried it wouldn’t go away. Even though it was medicine for scabies, the spots cleared and I’m probably the only on who can notice the discoloration on my skin in my wedding pictures. After I got married I had insurance and went to a dermatologist when I started to break out again. She diagnosed me with eczema and I’ve been using steroid cremes and cetaphil ever since.

    Now it seems my most common break out area is my face. Like you, it completely effects my mood and the way I feel about myself. I find excuses to work from home and to not see people. If possible, I keep a fan on my face all day as keeping it cool helps it to feel better. I don’t like using steroid cremes, and don’t use it unless I just feel like nothing else is working. I have heard that aloe vera works well. Have you tried that yet? I don’t like to keep spending money on different treatments, but I know my confidence and self esteem would sky rocket if I didn’t have these flare ups. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear from others who know exactly what I’m going through and what I’m feeling. I pray daily for complete healing, and I will be praying for all of you as well. Thank you again for sharing!

    Like

    • Hi Kelly,

      I can totally relate!! I used to be so confident before all this and now I just think of what I would have been like, what life would have been like for the past 6 years if I didn’t have eczema. I try not to of course and try to just think positively and try to manage it!

      I have actually just posted about trying Aloe Vera! Have you had a chance to try it yet? I’m trying to see what the best way of getting Aloe Vera is as I want a 100% version so it is completely natural.

      Like

      • Kelly Salazar says:

        I did try Aloe Vera but only for a day or so. I couldn’t find 100% but i found a 98% version. I used it on a small part of my face, but almost immediately it felt irritated and got red so I washed it off right away. I then started to use it on my hands where I had a few break outs. I really didn’t notice much of a difference so I stopped using it. I would like to try the 100% Aloe though.

        Also, in a lot of articles I’ve read I’ve heard that using Selsun Blue helps. I’m from the States and we have it there, but I haven’t been able to find it in the UK yet. Selsun Blue is a dandruff shampoo. I’ve heard it also works well with Rosacea. So while we were home over the holidays I tried Selsun Blue on my hands, as I didn’t want a crazy reaction on my face. It seemed to have the same effect the Aloe did-it seemed to dry out my skin and make my spots bigger. I used it for a few days wondering if that was what it was supposed to do and then it would go away. But the spots started itching day and night and they were only getting bigger, so I stopped using it.

        I also take lots of vitamins that I’ve read are good for eczema sufferers. I take Omega 3, Flaxseed oil, and evening primrose. I haven’t noticed a huge difference but these are good for you anyway, so I keep taking them. 🙂 I may try olive oil again (I tried it a year and a half ago when my hands were really bad, but it turned out I had a staph infection, and the oil didn’t do anything to help).

        Thanks for responding and for your posts! They are a great encouragement to me! God bless!

        Like

  3. missy crespino says:

    I have had eczema since I was 2 and it has always been a struggle in my life. Certain things make it flare up and now throughout these past months it has spread from just my ankles and back of my legs and arms to my whole body. Being in college it is hard to deal with everyone asking why im so swollen and red patches. It bugs me alot when people say they have eczema and it’s tiny spots. Growing up it was so hard to understand why Noone was going through the same pain as me. Reading this article touches a special place because I relate 100% to were I can’t wear jeans or certain pants and certain shirts and jackets because everything irrates muskin. Im on steroid cream and medicine to reduce but it doesn’t do much. Reading this article made me feel a million times better because it is the first time in my life I see that im not the only person that has it this bad. It sucks it look me this long to figure this out but knowing someone can relate after going all my life thinking I was the only one in all this pain and troubles makes me feel so much better. I cannot thank you enough for posting this

    Like

  4. oh my goodness, i echo EVERYTHING that you write here 🙂

    I have 3 wonderful sisters but sometimes feel so angry and depressed at having such horrible skin. I also have bad eczema marks so my entire body is completely discoloured even when i dont have a flare up.

    A few months ago i had a very bad very bad flare up on my face and weeping eczema which meant I couldnt wear make up. My job means me seeing and meeting clients on a daily basis and I literally wanted to hide from the world. People’s comments that oh it doesnt look so bad only made me more upset, as I knew that it did. Finally I decided that I will not let it affect me and made an effort to dress nicer, make sure my hair looked great etc so that even though my face looked like crap, i still felt good! silly i know 🙂 the good thing is that i havent reverted back to wearing foundation which saves me a considerable amount of time in the morning 🙂
    we need to support each other and educate others. 🙂

    Like

    • I totally understand! I feel like if I make my hair and clothes look nice I feel better about myself and feel less down about my eczema! When my skin is flared I cannot use foundation at all. I use it when I have special events like weddings etc as otherwise I feel so horrible next to my family with all the scars =/ but other than that, I think itll do more damage then good! Now that my cheeks are clear I do use blusher at times just to give my skin a bit of colour that the eczema has discoloured!

      And about other people, I have one friend who suffers from really bad eczema like me so I feel like I have her for total support, but everyone else (no matter how hard they try) really just don’t and can’t understand. It frustrates me when they just think we cause it by itching! When its not a choice. I HATE is when I itch but sometimes it just gets too much! It is one of the reasons I wrote this blog. Just so I could share my experiences with others and hear other people’s experiences. It really has been good to get it off of my chest and help others at the same time. I’ve had some really good advice too! So keep posting!

      Like

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