Turning twenty-one, I thought the least of my worries was finishing university and moving back home for the summer. Little did I know that my skin had something up it's sleeve for me.
I couldn't believe it when I started getting eczema all over my body after moving back home. This was something I had as a child, and I can remember itching and scratching to the point when my skin was red raw and my mum would shout at me and tell me not to!
It's been two years now and at twenty-three I'm still no better or wiser about this skin condition, but here are a few tips that may help if you are also a fellow eczema sufferer (is that even a word? It is now.)
1. Try not to itch. It's the hardest thing to do, seriously. I have tried wrapping myself in ointment and cling film, wearing socks on my hand to fight the urge and worn full length clothes in bed so I can't get to any of my skin!
2. Wear 100% cotton. It really lets the skin breathe and that is the key here. Don't wear anything heavy and irritating to the skin, like wool as it will irritate the skin and your problem will get worse. It's hard in the winter to keep the skin cool because the Winter air is super drying and obviously you have to keep the body warm. Layers are probably best as you can add and subtract them as you wish.
3. Keep moisturised. I'd say moisturise 4 times a day. Especially when out of the shower and before bed.
|My skin picks! From L-R- Aveeno Skin Relief, Aloe Vera Gel, Garnier Intensive 7 Days Lotion, Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, Garnier Softening Toner|
|Primark 100% cotton pyjamas - £6|
6. If you flare up, try taking an anti-allergy tablet. These help me calm down a bit and not be as irritated. I'm sure its probably a placebo but it does do the trick for me personally.
7. Go to your doctors and see what they can offer you. They may offer a steroid cream for temporary use and it may help clear your eczema up for the time being. Eczema doesn't have a cure, so you need to bear this in mind. I always thought there'd be something to help get rid of it completely and was pretty gutted when I realised it wasn't that simple.
8. If your eczema gets worse, i.e you've noticed a red flushing across your skin/noticed it going in other places, then my best advice would be to ask to be referred to a dermatologist by your doctor. They can offer you better help than your GP as they are specialised in skin and have the resources to do so.
9. Take an allergy test. This may sound ridiculous (and I didn't know this) but allergies don't just start from birth. You can start being allergic to something at any age. It's always best to check if there is anything you can cut out or stay away from. (You should be able to get one of these at your doctors. They will take blood from just below your elbow and test it against all sorts such as; dogs, dust, grass, pollen, wheat etc.) Funnily enough I did one of these not long ago and found out I am allergic to house dust and grass! Which is fabulous considering summer is only around the corner and I want to spend as much time outside as possible, but I suppose it is far better than being allergic to my dog, Ben!