My brain: Don’t scratch! It’s going to leave deep scars and make it worse!
My heart: Scratch! Scratch!
Can you pretty much relate, huh? Welcome to the life of eczema warriors. It is a constant battle – food, skincare product, weather and utterly deciding whether to scratch or not.
Eczema, which is known as atopic dermatitis is a condition where your skin becomes red and itchy. It can occur in anyone regardless of age. Yes, there is no cure for it. Some people get seasonal flares, whereas in severe cases, the flares would never calm and heal for months.
Generally, people with skin issues have gone through this at least once in their lifetime. I was 13 when I started having flares. In a gathering, one of them approached me only to ask, “Are you going for the appointments as scheduled? Because there are a lot of children here”.
So, they were afraid that I might spread it without being aware that most skin issues/diseases are NOT CONTAGIOUS! I was hurt as I was young and did not understand what was happening to me.
Such scenarios still happen, but most of us are not bothered by them anymore because we know we are more than that.
Living with eczema for years, I hesitated wearing anything that would expose my skin. Many of us do have scars all over our body. Wearing dresses and shorts sometimes makes us uncomfortable.
From the girl who hides and covers up the patches with plasters to the girl who embraces her scars, here I am letting you know everything is possible. I can assure you when you have support from your loved ones (for me, it has always been my family) and a little too much courage, you will be there.
“What happened to your leg?”, “Why are your lips chapped?” are some of the questions that we encounter. Although we realise that people are concerned, it does not make it any better because they remind us of our flaws or something that we would want to take our mind off.
Friends come and go, but eczema is your eternal best friend. Visiting multiple doctors (costing a pretty penny, thanks, mum and dad!), trying out products and waiting for those lines “There is no cure, yet you can manage it” is no stranger for us.
In the past couple of years, I was only getting occasional flares. However, it started appearing on a new spot, my upper lips, where it can either be calm or worse till I struggle to open my mouth without pain.
Oh, licking the lips after the scrumptious meals or even accidentally is like the biggest sin because we wake up to blisters.
Everyone is challenged differently where my heart goes out to warriors out there who go through much worse flares every day.
Life with eczema requires a lot of trials and errors. I’m still learning to fathom my body entirely and not here to advise on what you should be doing but to list the possibilities for a change.
Stress and hot weather are my absolute triggers. My body gets extremely itchy when it’s scorching hot and it resembles a series of flares. During stressful times, I neglect my needs – not taking care of myself, resting well and keeping hydrated which undoubtedly works against you.
There is no such thing as ‘too much’ moisture when you have eczema. My doctors suggested I moisturise my skin as soon as I’m out of the shower and reapply lip balm every two hours.
It keeps my skin hydrated and less itchy.
I was never on specific oral medications as I consume anti-allergic tablets when the itch gets intense. I focus more on the natural way of soothing them.
Applying aloe vera gel, coconut oil, pressure and ice packs do relieve the pain. When I give up (none of these things works), my legs will start crawling to get the topical creams and ointments.
Limiting junk food, exercising and prioritising all colours in your meals not only improves the symptoms but promotes good health too. I see changes in myself where I’m energised, emotionally and mentally hearty with minimal flares.
In reality, I do get demotivated at times but, the thought of wanting to get better keeps me going.
As I conclude this article, bear in mind that you are not alone. Your scars do not define who you are, your purpose and what you stand for does. According to National Eczema, the next generation of biological treatments for eczema is coming. There is hope, there are us fighting with strength for better days.