Atopic Dermatitis--eczema

     I've had this skin disease since I was born. Not too many people understand the effects it has on a person. Recently, I've begun to see my beauty for what it truly is, and only because I have incredible friends and an amazing Husband to tell me and show me. I've felt so ugly and unattractive since I was a little girl because of this disease. But before I go on, let me share with you what Eczema actually is.

     Eczema is a skin disease found in children and infants, most of whom outgrow it by age 2. However, in some cases, like mine and many others, you don't. Adults can get this, also, although it isn't as common as it is in children. Thirty percent of the U.S. population is affected by this skin disease. There are different types of eczema, the most common is known as 'Atopic Dermatitis'. There are many symptoms of eczema, including:: patches of chronically itchy, thickened, dry skin and appears usually on the hands, face, neck, and legs. For children, the inner creases of the knees and elbows are often affected. There is always an itch before the rash appears. From my experience, this itch is like nothing you have ever felt. It feels as though there is something itching you indescribably under your skin and no matter how you scratch, you can never get it. Doctors and Dermatologists say that you're never supposed to scratch it because it makes it so much worse, and this is 100% true. It's a hard fight, going against yourself and trying your hardest not to itch. Especially when it affects your hands, because you use them for everything! Scratching leads to sores that crust over. (Disgusting, right?) Some people even develop small fluid-filled blisters over the patches on their skin. During eczema breakouts, you have to be very cautious, because you are even more susceptible to viral skin diseases like cold sores, genital herpes. Just having this disease puts you at a higher risk of contracting it. No-one knows exactly what causes eczema, but the thought is that it's linked to an over-active response in the body's immune system.  There is no cure for this skin disease. Doctors prescribe treatments such as creams, lotions, pills, etc. Eating healthy and being aware of your disease is the best way to keep it treated. Being too hot or too cold can trigger a breakout. Sweating, not using the proper soaps and lotions, etc can also trigger an outbreak. WebMD.com has some very useful information on Eczema. Just type 'eczema' into the search engine and you should find an overview.

      For me, my eczema has made me feel so hideous and unattractive for my entire life. I can't look people in the eye because when I was young, this disease affected my face, as well as every other area listed. The only time people looked were to stare at my disease, and it made me so very uncomfortable in my own body. I use to wish to wake up as a different person every morning. This disease has made me despise myself. I never wore flattering clothes and always wore a hoodie, with my hands covered. Very few people ever saw my hands until high school when I wasn't allowed to wear hoodies in class. They always stared and said the same thing 'eeewww, what's wrong with your hands??'. That's enough to make anybody feel like a freak. And I already felt like a freak! I felt ugly and undesirable. From the time I was about 11, it really hit me that I felt I was gross because of this disease. So I would hide myself behind books and keep to myself and never had many friends. And all of the friends I did have, they approached me initially because I felt like such an out-casted gross sideshow attraction. Kids made fun of me and made a spectacle of me, but I quickly learned to ignore all of them. This disease is painful physically, mentally, and emotionally. I've developed clinical depression because of it, and now I take prescription anti-depressants every day. I wish I could just live my life and not have to worry about my skin or what climate I'm in, or what I'm touching constantly. I feel so deformed because of this disease... It breaks my heart every day i look at myself and cry, despite my medications. I have a very supporting small group of 5 friends that understands and helps me through this, but even so, it still hurts. I'm not too socially sensitive about my eczema, but I do wish that there was a cure. I hope that one day, science can give us that cure. Some days, I can't even pet my puppy, or wash my hair because it hurts while a breakout is occuring. I can't wash dishes by hand or touch certain things. I have to use certain detergents and make-ups. It really is a hassle because the treatments for this disease aren't cheap. This is very depressing for me.... If there is anyone out there who can relate to me, please feel free to add me and message me. People that deal with these diseases and have to cope with them for the rest of their lives need alot of support, I feel. And it couldn't hurt if I had a friend who actually had a skin disease/Dermatitis and could relate to me.

QuinnJammin QuinnJammin
18-21, F
8 Responses Feb 16, 2010

hi, I am also one of those adults who never grew up from eczema, but I understood very soon that I am the only one who can cure this, no doctor and no oinment can do the job. <br />
I know every case is different because we are different indviduals, but I wrote a story in a hope that it will help somebody like us with this annoying disease. <br />
Here's the link with my observations if you would like to read: <a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Have-A-Skin-Disease/1709892" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a>

You're not the only one. I've had this since I was three, and still feel disgusted by it. They said it will subside as we age, but I still feel the same. I'm 18, and I'm worried. But its nice to know you're not alone.

I;ve also had it since i was 2-3 months old. I am almost cured now, hope my advice will help you. <a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/uw.php?e=1709892" target="ep_blank">EP Link</a>

Hey hun, try using organic shampoos and conditioners like "Avalon" it's Sodium lauryl sulfate and paraben free. I think they might have body washes as well otherwise try sukin. <br />
<br />
And take heaps of Omega 3 pills, you can take up to 6 a day for the first 2 months, it suppresses your bodies susceptibility to become inflamed which is technically what ecczema is. Overreaction to normal stimulus.

Truthfully, I can't say why it was decided that we suffer from this disease. And I know exactly how you feel. Although, I am one of the few lucky ones, it's subsided over the years, so I don't break out as much. BUt Just like you, I can use one kind of soap, an dhave very limited choices in anything else. Body sprays, hair sprays, cosmetics, and the extreme heat and cold break me out into blistering, sore patches all over my arms and legs. I recently discovered that my eczema isn't like normal eczema, it's something different called hydro-something. My doctor prescribed me hydrocortisone 2.5% and it's been working wonderfully, paired with Ivory soap. When I shower, I make sure I use all the right things and I pat dry. I even apply petroleum jelly or baby oil in the shower to try and keep the moisture in. I have to carry lotions and soaps around with me when I go out, and it is a hassle. But please don't let it conrtol you! I had to learn to live with it, not around it. I am fortunate enough to have a very supporting boyfriend. You should never feel ugly, you are a beautiful person. You suffer every day of your life. You are strong, and you can and will overcome this disease. I can give you a few tips and some advice if you need, but I can't garauntee that it will work perfectly, because everyone is different. But I would love to help you if I can!! Remeber to stay strong, and even when you feel like hiding and breaking down into tears, remember that you have been learning to live with this for 17 years and you are winning the battle. Unfortunately, there isn't a cure for us just yet, and I'm hoping that science with prevail for us sometime i the near future. Until then, I can support you and be here if you need to talk or vent :) Thank you for commenting on my story!

Hi! I have the same exact issue. I am currently 16 ( 17 this month) and am a junior in high school. Almost everything causes me to break out into itchy, painful, burning patches all over my face, neck, and more. It is so much more uncomfortable than most can imagine and going to school with it is the worst. I already feel ugly, not to mention uncomfortable, and this makes it 900 times worse, and it is taking over my life. I cannot go outside because the sun kills. If I’m hot, it may as well be hell. I react to about 95% of makeup, so I can almost never wear any. I can’t wear anything with fragrance in it… so I’m limited to like 2 kinds of ****** shampoo and conditioner and deodorant. The list goes on and on. So I can’t tan because not only does it hurt so badly, but when I get even a little tan, it peals off all patchy all over my body (mostly my face) and it causes me to hate summer. But, I feel everything happens for a reason, so why do I have this? To make me realize that there are some people with really bad diseases and I should be happy for what I have? To appreciate the days that I feel no pain? To not let this condition control my life like it has been?

thanks, i rly appreciate it. same to you, definitely. the disease has completely ruined my self image.

aw honey! eczema is awful! i've had it since i was a baby, too. i was covered from head to toe! i still get it on my hands most of the time, especially with where i work. and so many things can trigger it! if you need someone to vent to, i'm here! *hug*