This is my Eczema story. I was born with Eczema and the severity of my skin has varied throughout my life. Eczema has affected not only my physical health, but my mental health also. I will be breaking down my battles with my skin during key phases of my life. All information on products are based on memory alone and may have been reformulated.
I was born in Singapore on the 4th of April 1991. I moved to Scotland just before the age of three, where my father is from. I had skin complications from birth, with Eczema being the main case. I was diagnosed with an allergy to G6PD, a common symptom that is paired with Eczema. My two brothers also suffer from Eczema, with each of us having unique cases. At a young age, my skin was quite mild based on the photos that I have seen of myself!
As I got older and started Primary school, my skin started to deteriorate. Not much changed in my daily routine in terms of dieting and exercise, however I did get a pet dog called Jambo! On reflection, having a dog wasn’t ideal as it was a main trigger for my Eczema. I was scratching a lot more and wasn’t in control. Scratching for all Eczema sufferers is the greatest form of relief and it was very comforting for me.
My skin at this age was rough and very dry. At some points my skin became so severe that I looked like a burnt victim. It wasn’t a pleasant sight and it was very concerning for my parents. At one point I was wearing bandages to school to maintain the cream that was put on. My skin wasn’t the best and my joints suffered the most. My Eczema covered probably around 20% of my body. My legs were worse. I used a fair amount of creams, but the ones I can remember where the following:
- E45 Moisturizing Lotion
- Aqueous Cream
- Oilatum Bath Oil – made my skin very soft!
- Hydrocortisone Ointment
I was a lot more active as a teenager. My joints were still a victim, my legs especially. I loved scratching my legs, it was my greatest joy and form of relief. My skin became more controllable at this stage as I was educated about how to maintain it. I changed creams which may of contributed to the reuslts.
All my creams were prescribed by the NHS (National Health Service in the UK). My mother would bring back some new creams to test out but the majority of the creams I used consistently and frequently were prescribed. at the time I used high quantity of creams. I did not evenly spread it out. My thinking was the more I applied, the faster it’d heal. This wasn’t the case and I went through tubes quickly!
I mainly switched to a cream called Diprobase and started using Aveeno products. My mother suggested coconut oil is good for the skin so I used to have a bath that had some coconut oil in it. I didn’t see any improvements, all it left was a very dirty bathtub and me stinking of coconut!
Adulthood was when my skin was fluctuating behind good and bad. Currently my skin is the best condition it has ever been, but this was from a year of probably the worse case I had.
At university I started having many complications with my knee. I had a total of five surgeries within 4 years which is quite excessive. I had to take a lot of antibiotics and painkillers when I was undergoing my recovery. My social life was different as well, as I indulged myself in what adults like and can do, drinking alcohol! I was working in kitchens at the time, exposing myself to many different kinds of cleaning products that had an effect on my Eczema on my hands and harms.
My Eczema varied a lot. My face was my main area of concern as it was an area that I could not hide. I was reliant on steroid cream to get a ‘quick fix’ but all it did was leave my forehead red raw. I wanted to go out and have clear looking skin. Every time my friends took a picture, I could see how bad my skin was in my forehead especially. Using steroid creams was a bad practice, especially when overusing. I was reliant on it without knowing the consequences. When I lost weight, my skin got better as I went off steroid creams for my face, and was becoming more healthier.
I moved to Hong Kong (where my mother is from!) in 2016 and the humidity did wonders to my skin. Although my Eczema was at its worse in 2018. It became very raw and was spreading to my body. I started getting skin discharge which was something I have never experienced. My confidence was shot and I didn’t have the tools to manage my skin. I didn’t go to a doctor or dermatologist as it is very pricey in Hong Kong.
Looking back, what influenced the worst stage of my Eczema was my living conditions and lifestyle. I wasn’t eating as well, I wasn’t exercising enough. I could of cleaned more as my place I was living in had mold growing on the walls. Hong Kong is very humid bare in mind! My skin was deteriorating and the temperature changes weren’t helping. My joints became so bad that my legs became stiff.
I remember everyone kept asking about my forehead, because it was always red and asked if I was sunburnt. I don’t know what sparked the change, but one day I decided to take matters in my own hands. This is what I did:
- I exercised more, going to the gym 5 times a week
- Started meal prepping and cooking more. Less intake of fried foods and eating more vegetables.
- When I was at home I cleaned my bed sheets regularly with detergents that my skin was comfortable with.
- When I got home, I’d shower and use a sponge to scrub my entire body with Dove’s Sensitive Body Wash (best thing ever).
- NO STEROID CREAMS. Used lotions that my skin worked well with. I was using DML Moisturizing Lotion.
It took time. It wasn’t a quick fix by any means. I became healthier and I saw HUGE improvements in my skin after a couple of months. My weight went down and was feeling more confident. Since then, I have kept up the same routine. My cream consumption has gone considerably lower however.
To all with Eczema, we all have our struggles. Take action. Assess your lifestyle and make those changes. You can do it.