Clara recently shared her story with ESC about the mental and emotional toll brought on by the itch of atopic dermatitis. Read her words of courage, positivity, and hope in this Share your Story feature. 

My eczema journey began when I was roughly two years old. My mom is actually the one who noticed that my skin was red and cracked and took me to see a physician. We were referred to a dermatologist and we received the diagnosis: atopic dermatitis (commonly known as eczema). We were told it was nothing to worry about — I’d be just fine, and eczema would have little to no impact on my life. Wrong! My skin progressively got worse and by the time I was in first grade, my body was covered with eczema.

In school, my skin was often raw, itchy and red, and while I luckily wasn’t directly teased, I do remember certain looks or hurtful comments. I was eventually able to control my eczema by applying a lot of creams and moisturizers and using the occasional topical medication, but it has always been there. Fast forward to grad school and I had an allergic reaction to a leather couch. My cycles of eczema started up again – but this time around, the flares added a new layer of stress on my mental health. I felt defeated, depressed, and lonely. Again, after a few years and a lot topical treatments, I was able to regain control of the eczema and my life. The only issue? I was left with the mental impact and the emotional toll. To this day, I still struggle to feel comfortable in my body because of the scars of my condition. I’ve learned overcoming the psychological and physical impact of eczema can be a lifelong process.

For those living with eczema, surround yourself with people who have a positive impact on your life as much as you can. This was hard for me at first. Do know that there is support if you are willing to find it, such as with organizations like ESC. Forgive yourself for not always treating your skin with kindness and don’t hesitate to educate people who don’t understand the condition or comment on your skin.

On behalf of ESC, we thank each and every person who shares their stories as a way to build community, give support, and make others feel better and more confident in their skin. Want to share your story? Email us at info@eczemahelp.ca today.