I have had eczema (atopic dermatitis) now and again throughout my life, but it was mostly mild to moderate and it was manageable. However, in the last few years my hands have flared up worse than ever. I had experienced eczema on my hands before, but it was mild. This time it was different, it
was very severe – the skin became dry, itchy and very inflamed. The skin would crack, bleed and cause me incessant pain. After some time, the skin became thickened. I was even wondering if my fingerprints would be altered.

I went to see my family doctor for help and I tried many creams, none of which seemed to help. The painful hand eczema continued. I tried to manage it with a very arduous routine of applying treatments and then putting on cotton gloves. I would then have to apply creams throughout my work day, and at night I would apply petroleum and then put on cotton gloves again. This severe hand eczema was impacting my life significantly. As an artist I work with paints, inks and clays, all of which made my hand eczema worse and creating my art became difficult and painful. I had to make choices and stop some activities all together; hoping the elimination of contact with certain mediums would help. I am also an avid golfer and would have to apply creams, wear cotton gloves, and then cover the cotton gloves with my golf gloves. It was painful to hold to the golf club, but I couldn’t imagine a life where I had to give up all my favourite activities.

After my family doctor had exhausted all his resources, I requested he refer me to a dermatologist –
which would change my life. The dermatologist was able to offer me a new oral medication. I tried it
and it was very simple – a once a day pill that cleared my hands within three months.

I feel like I got my life back. Soon after experiencing clear hands I was able to caress the back of
our 9-month-old grandson – something I had not been able to do since he was born due to my rough
hands. I didn’t realize how bad my hand eczema was, until I saw how good it could be.

If you’d like to learn more about raising awareness or sharing your own personal journey with eczema, email Jennifer at info@eczemahelp.ca, call us toll free at 1-855-ECZEMA-1, or visit us at eczemahelp.ca