I’ve partnered with Aveeno to bring you this personal blog post about my experience living with Eczema.
As I write this, I have eczema. But that’s nothing new. I get it a lot. In many ways, it’s part of who I am. I come to expect it and have learned to live with it. At this point in my life, eczema isn’t the end of the world for me. But I’ll never forget when I first got it; it felt like my skin was waging a war against me.
So, why on earth do I want to talk about and publicize my skin problem? Well, for one, it’s Eczema Awareness Month. And second, I’m not ashamed about having it. I made a YouTube video years ago about it that connected me to so many people going through the same thing. And recently, I shared my story and important facts to know about eczema with Health.com. Educating people is important to me because eczema can be really confusing. Whether you have it or you don’t, it’s hard to identify, predict and treat. The worst part is there’s no cure.
But I don’t want to sound morbid because eczema won’t kill you. My life is still awesome and I wake up every day happy. If I notice eczema developing on my body, I won’t lie, it’s pretty annoying…but in the end it forces me to take better care of my body. I examine myself more, I’m careful about the elements I expose my skin to, I choose food with healthy nutrients, and use nourishing and protective skincare.
Eczema means something different to each person that has it because there are different forms, symptoms and varying intensities. Generally, though, it’s inflammation of the skin. It tends to involve an itchy rash or dry, swollen skin that becomes red, patchy or blistered.
I have dyshidrotic eczema. I went to yoga at my gym one day and used a mat that hadn’t been cleaned properly. Within minutes my hands and feet began reacting to the mat. They were red, itchy and uncomfortable. I figured I was having an allergic reaction and scheduled an appointment with my dermatologist the next day. I was told I had Athlete’s Foot but that just didn’t make sense to me because my hands were incredibly inflamed too, with painful blisters forming between my fingers. What could this be short of a nightmare? I couldn’t shake hands with anyone, I was scratching myself raw and the more stressed I became from my symptoms the worse they got.
Keep reading to see how I treat and temper my eczema. Soaking in salts or oats is 1 way!
I finally saw another dermatologist who diagnosed me without hesitation when I showed him my hands. He gave me a steroid cream for the burning but warned me not to use too much. “The more you relax and take it easy, the faster it will go away” he said. He was right. But in my case, eczema never goes away entirely. When it comes, it stays for weeks and then recurs for months. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a month or two without any eczema. But there have been times where it’s occurred on my stomach and legs in the dead of winter and I swear it drives me mad because when it’s cold and you’re dressed in layers, these spots are hard to scratch!
Last year, I thought the waistband on my go-to black leggings would surely be the death of me. It kept rubbing against the eczema on my tummy and when I’d pull the waistband down to scratch the itching, I’d basically get caught with my hands down my pants! Not a good look! And there was the time I was a spokesperson for a video campaign where I had to be barefoot on camera. I could hear the crew baffled by what was on the bottom of my feet as they stared at the monitor. Oh right, that’s my eczema. Should I put my shoes back on? I have a lot of eczema stories like this, which I try to make light of…because as I said, eczema won’t kill you! If you can make fun of it, sometimes it helps people realize you’re OK and causes everyone less stress.
I believe life gives us challenges and we’re defined by how we’re able to overcome those challenges, not by the challenges themselves. I have a routine for my eczema therapy, which involves soaking, moisturizing, meditating and getting as much sleep as possible.
I like to soak in Epsom salts to relieve tension and then moisturize all over with Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream. I store it in the fridge so that it’s nice and cold before applying it. It feels best on itchy and burning skin this way.
I like to double up with Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm on my hands, feet and stomach where I’m most susceptible to a flare up. The Balm is thick and provides a protection barrier against further irritation.
Aveeno Eczema Therapy Hand Cream goes everywhere I go! My hands are chronically dry and this is where eczema can debilitate me the most, so I’m constantly rubbing it in, especially between my fingers.
There are lots of products made for dry and sensitive skin but Aveeno is the #1 dermatologist recommended over-the-counter eczema moisturizer brand in the US. It’s formulated with oats to effectively relieve the itch associated with skin irritations like eczema. Specifically, the Aveeno Eczema Therapy Collection, has been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance for treating eczema. I love that it provides soothing relief but I also like that it’s affordable and comes in large sizes. When you live with eczema that’s important. I go through my supply pretty quickly, especially during colder months when my skin is the driest. The Aveeno Eczema Therapy collection is sold at Walmart stores and most pharmacies.
If you have eczema and you’re reading this, I’m proud of you for doing your research. I know living with it is not easy. You’ll have good days and bad days. But the more you love your skin, the less it will feel like it’s under attack. Eczema is just another challenge in life that you’ll overcome. Share your story this month, treatment tips and inspire others to stay positive too!
XO, Bianca Jade
#Aveeno #EczemaAwareness #EczemaMonth