By Kacie Wedel
Oftentimes I have felt rather alone in my dealing with eczema. Some of my family has it, but not quite to the extent that I do. Eczema is a condition that consists of dry skin that can become easily inflamed. For some, the inflammation is nothing more than a slight red patch that can occasionally itch. Sadly, for myself, this would be the state of my skin on a good day.
Despite feeling alone in this journey, there are many others in the world who suffer from eczema.
While cases are more often reported in children, approximately 1 in 4 adults report an onset of symptoms.
Eczema acts as though it’s a never ending rollercoaster, and if I’m being honest with you – I’ve always hated amusement parks. I have no desire to ride rollercoasters, yet here I am constantly hoping the ride will soon come to an end. Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for eczema. For a little over 25 years now I’ve had to continuously try and figure new ways to cope with this chronic skin condition. This has brought me to the realisation that, while I will always have to remain cautious with my skin, this doesn’t mean I can’t live my life to the fullest!
Accepting My Eczema
Before coming to this realisation, I had to work hard to accept myself as I am. We are all human. We all have faults and things we see as “flaws.” It’s so important that we work on this form of critique and how we see and talk to ourselves.
Emma Breschi: On The Power Of Self-Acceptance
As a child, I tried every topical ointment, cream, and lotion you can think of. This worked for temporary relief,
but the real monster of it all waited for me at night.
Having chronically sensitive skin can result in a constant itch. And when I say I can’t begin to describe this feeling – I mean I cannot begin to describe it. You’re desperate to sleep, but lie awake with paranoia thinking there are bugs crawling on you. Rest assured – there wasn’t. But I’m sad to say that no amount of self comfort takes away that lingering thought.
Being a very deep sleeper I constantly felt as though I had no control over scratching at night. I tried sleeping with gloves on and while this is helpful for some, I seemed to always take them off. When I’d wake up, my arms would be bloody and would scab. This resulted in the inability to fully extend my arms until the scabs healed. And thus began the song that never ends, a continuous cycle of scratch, bleed, scab, long for healing, scratch, bleed… you get the picture.
Eczema Induced Exhaustion
As I got older, and managed to better control my stubborn self, I decided I was tired. Tired of dealing with people giving me a sideways glance. Tired of being covered in red splotches, waking up with swollen eyes and hot skin. I grew tired of dealing with what has felt like “paper skin” for the majority of my life. I needed a change and I needed it as soon as I could manage.
In order to feel a change in ourselves, we must first take action to make a change.
I’m sure we all wish we could snap our fingers and improve ourselves instantly! Being that the universe doesn’t work that way, we need to be proactive.
After having a rough go at it for so long, I sat down and looked into my skin condition. I’ve seen plenty of doctors so I knew the gist of it all. “Stay away from perfumes.” “Bathe in cool water.” (Guilty of not following that one to the best of my ability!) “Learn how to manage stress.” So I have this foundation of knowledge, yet this pain is never ending and these flare ups happen more and more.
What can I do differently for my eczema?
My skin has endured many unpleasant experiences so finding a decent skincare routine has been difficult. After having been prescribed steroid after steroid, paired with hearing the horrors of potential topical steroid withdrawal, I decided enough was enough. I grew a preference for things that were natural and more sustainable. Having tried all the tips and tricks recommended, I finally stumbled upon my current saving grace – jojoba oil.
I then use an all natural balm from a local Naturopathic Physician that is made up of fantastic healing products such as calendula flowers, comfrey, and CBD. Utilising these two products and refraining from wearing makeup has made such an improvement.
Stress can be a major trigger for eczema and I was born riddled with anxiety. Similarly, our gut health has been said to have an effect on our mental health. I knew if I started to eat better and exercise more, maybe I would see results. And guess what? I did! I cut out almost all sugar, I found my new love of pilates, and concentrated more and more on natural products. My eczema all but disappeared for a solid three years. It was so relieving to feel a much needed break from the stress sensitive skin can bring.
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The Role Of CBD In Skincare
Ending Eczema Anxiety
Of course, good things must come to an end and my eczema showed back up with the worst vengeance. It came back and spread to the majority of my body, rather than being in just a few places. It is now on my scalp, my eyelids, my chin. A vast amount shines bright around my neck as if I have rope burn. The eczema continues down both arms, my inner thighs, and finally behind my knee. Because of this wildfire-like spread, I have to do biweekly injections that are so ungodly painful. Thankfully, the jojoba oil paired with the CBD balm is continuing to work its wonders and is keeping me sane.
Despite this present flare up being the worst I’ve gone through, I at least now know better ways to cope with the itch and pain. I have learned a great deal of patience throughout my journey, and while I have days where I am miserable, I wouldn’t change who I am. I know that my current state of my eczema is due to a large amount of stress thanks to several sudden lifestyle changes. And because of what I have had to go through in the past, I know that I can beat this and find my way back. We all go through trials and tribulations. Whether it’s a chronic skin condition such as mine, or a chronic illness of another sort. We struggle in life, but if I have learned anything over the past 25+ years it’s that our struggles don’t have to be constant.
Our value isn’t limited and our confidence doesn’t have to depend on us looking a certain way.
We are all beautiful and unique, and we all deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin – as sensitive as it may be.