HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE WITH ATOPIC DERMATITIS

“When you have an eczema flare-up you forget about your pretty face and great personality, as all you can think about is your skin. In those bad times your eczema defines you and that’s how you see yourself.”

As anyone with eczema will know, atopic dermatitis can impact your desire to socialise. This can be due to feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness, or anxiety caused by being in a situation where you are unable to tend to your skin in the event of a flare-up. As a result, you might avoid social situations, and could feel isolated from family and friends.

HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE1

You deserve to enjoy a fulfilling social life - surround yourself with understanding family and friends and take practical steps such as writing a checklist to help you focus on something other than your skin.

Finally, remember to revisit your doctor to ensure your treatment suits your lifestyle and habits.


SOCIALISING TOP TIPS

  1. Make sure you tell friends and family when you feel anxious in a social situation. Talk through your fears, and try to address the root cause.
  2. Start new activities that get you up and about and don’t worry about your appearance.
  3. Write a list of thoughts and activities that boost your confidence – make sure you read through them whenever you feel low and spoil yourself when you need to.
  4. Write a list of your positive personal qualities and talents – your eczema doesn’t define you, and you won’t let it dictate your social life.

READ MORE ABOUT
SOCIALISING

Three adults in their 20s, Amara, Aramide and Zainab, were interviewed to give their experiences of living with eczema.

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"“What other people see isn’t necessarily reflective of how bad my skin is. No one can visibly see how unattractive or sore I feel.”
— Amara

Amara, Aramide and Zainab said that at some point in their lives, eczema had negatively impacted their social life and that they had struggled to communicate this to friends.

Amara, Aramide and Zainab also sympathised with those whose fear of their skin being sore or bleeding made them hesitant towards socialising with friends or intimacy with their partner. Zainab described herself as being a “hermit” during her final year at university when a flare-up was particularly bad.

She recalled that her skin used to stop her enjoying warm weather, saying:

“I used to hate summer because of my allergies, and all the heat and sweating really aggravated my skin. Once during a visit to Hyde Park my back was burning with itchiness in the sun so much that I ended up scratching up all of my back.”
— Zainab

Although socialising can be hard during a flare-up, Amara, Zainab and Aramide stressed that changing your mind-set is really important, and self-confidence is the key to accepting something you cannot change. Whilst everyone deals with their eczema in a different way, make sure you are taking steps to boost your overall confidence. This can be as simple as exercising or getting your hair done, or looking at yourself and remembering all your good qualities.