SOCIAL MEDIA

“Online communities can allow people with eczema to have more frank and honest discussions with people that truly understand what they’re going through - more so than when they are discussing their condition with a doctor or family.”

Social media and online groups can be a great source of support for anyone with eczema. They can provide useful advice, raise awareness, as well as making sure that you know you’re not alone. Online support groups can be a very positive support network for eczema sufferers. The communities offer a place for people to relate and interact with other people going through the same things, and have a role in ‘lifting the veil’ – showing that other peoples’ skin is not always perfect and helping to show people with eczema that they’re not alone in having insecurities.

“If someone has a hopeless day, everyone rallies round and gives advice and recommendations. No one ever brings you down, it’s always uplifting and I can rely on them for support if I need it – as bad as eczema can get, no one makes you feel worse. It’s always sympathy and encouragement.”

However, you have to be careful when going online to discuss your eczema. You want to support people who are going through flare-ups, but sometimes you don’t want a constant reminder of the struggles that other people are going through, as this could impact on your journey.

Online, unregulated communities can also mean eczema sufferers are exposed to bad advice that is not medically approved or safe. It is therefore very important that online communities are used with care, as although most of what is posted is supportive and positive for those with the condition, some people will post dangerous advice. This advice supports a recent study conducted by the British Association of Dermatologists, which found that 36 per cent of the most viewed eczema videos on YouTube are potentially harmful.


TOP TIPS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others online – you’ll never know how much make up they’re wearing, how the lighting is helping or what you can’t see in the picture.
  2. Don’t use social media to obsess about your skin – if you find yourself looking at it too much, delete the app from your phone for a few days and speak to your friends and family instead.
  3. Only trust medically-approved advice – if in doubt, arrange an appointment with your healthcare professional.
  4. Focus on the positives in peer-led forums, and support others.
  5. Remember that you are more than just your skin.