A-Z

Eczema (young people)

Family life and eczema

The young people we interviewed often talked about their families and homes. Many lived with eczema since they were young. They had heard stories from family members about them scratching and eczema being on different parts of the body. Early memories of eczema include parents taking them to see a doctor and putting on treatments, such as emollients. They could also remember things from their childhood about eczema triggers. Hazel couldn’t have sweets at her friend’s birthday parties because they’d flare-up her eczema. Laura’s mum liaised with her friend’s parents when she went over to play so they knew what foods she couldn’t eat because of her eczema and asthma.
 

Aadam talks about his parents first seeing his eczema symptoms.

View full profile
Age at interview: 18
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 1
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I don’t really remember much, but from what my mum tells me, it was around the time she took me to visit family in Atlanta. And when I was going there, I was completely fine. While I was there, I sort of began itching and scratching and on the way back you could tell by just well, she didn't know it was eczema then. She just assumed it was dry skin. But it was sort of developing eczema. So, yeah, and as time progressed my parents were very concerned, because I wouldn't stop scratching. I would always cry about it. I was in a lot of pain. So they would try all sorts of cream. I mean, the amount of time and money my parents invested in trying to find a solution is quite sad, actually, because they did have to go through a lot.
Family support with going to the doctors and information about eczema

Those who’d had eczema most of their lives were often first taken to see a GP by their parents. It was usually parents that talked to the doctor, giving information about the child’s symptoms and helping work out triggers. Parents were usually the main source of information about eczema and explained what doctors said back to the child. Many stressed that eczema isn’t contagious, but Katie-Lauren and Vicky remember their little brothers refusing to hold their hands. Georgia used to read a book with her mum to help explain eczema to children. Aadam worked with the Fixers charity to design his own illustrated story book and received lots of positive feedback from parents of children with eczema.
 
Text onlyRead below

Aisha’s parents took her to see a GP when she was a baby. At first, they were told it was cradle cap and nappy rash but she was later diagnosed with eczema.

View full profile
Age at interview: 21
Sex: Female
HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I had eczema when I was a baby. My mum said it just sort of started with, you know like nappy rash and cradle cap, and she thought it was just normal cos I was her first, so she was like, "Oh what is this?" And so the doctor just sort of sent me away and said, you know, "Put a bit of E45 on it and it'll be fine."  But then it sort of started getting more… just the normal symptoms of eczema you know, sort of really dry and sort of when I was scratching it, it was sort of bleeding and stuff, and so then the doctor told my mum that it was eczema and, I think, I mean it sort of cleared up quite well because I had a bit of like very, very sort of dilute steroid [laughs] and it sort of cleared up fine. And then, well I can remember it sort of being, I think around… six/seven'ish, is when it sort of started to come back.
 
Text onlyRead below

Aisha’s family, including her dad and auntie, helped persuade her GP to give her eczema treatments.

View full profile
Age at interview: 21
Sex: Female
HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
My eczema usually flares up pretty bad in the winter, obviously with like the cold and then the central heating and it being so dry. So, that’s when it's at its worst in general but, I remember sort of when I was in Year Three it was just sort of like, it just, I couldn’t deal with it and I think I went to the doctors with, I think, my mum, [participant deleted words], my auntie, they were like, "Guys we need to sort this out." And then I sort of started getting it in my scalp which was like, "What is this?" like I, you know, you don’t know what dandruff is as a child and then suddenly to sort of have sort of big itchy bits in your head and it's sort of getting infected and it's just, it's just awful. And, I'm just trying to think… So, yeh and then it was really bad and then my dad was like, "OK nobody's doing anything; I don’t know why the doctors aren't taking this seriously," so he took me to the doctor and he sort of said, "Look she really needs something a bit stronger than sort of the zero point zero zero one percent of hydrocortisone," that obviously they want to give to kids because it's very mild but still, mine was a lot more severe than I think what the prescribed dosage for those sort of medicines are. 
 

Shams' mum took him to doctors’ appointments when he was little. He listened to the doctor and translated for his mum.

View full profile
Age at interview: 18
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 7
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
That was the sort of, my first taste of sort of random independence where I had to start translating for my mum cos there would be occasions where doctors could not get translators or interpreters in. So, it would kind of end up being my responsibility to, having to make sure I understood what I had to do with certain creams and how to use them. My mum also had to understand it, and it was really difficult in my early years cos admittedly I was naïve; I was a child so half the time I didn’t pay attention, or I ignored all the doctor was saying which usually brought back problems later on when you got the medication. Fortunately enough obviously medication has the instructions written on but if a doctor has sort custom instructions, like specifics.  

So, he'll say like sort of ten millilitres of this, or something like that, and if a prescription only says, 'Take it twice a day,' that’s when the real problem kicks in. Medication may say take it twice day, but it won't specify how much you're meant to take and if I haven’t been paying attention that’s going to make a big prob…that’s gonna cause a big problem to a dosage or what I take.  So, it’ll later result in having to call back the doctor and my-myself being there present, phoning the doctor up and saying, "How does so and so work cos I did not catch you earlier?"
As young people grew up, often their parents were less involved in managing their eczema. Many started booking and attending doctor appointments on their own. Others prefer to take a parent with them to consultations and ask for their advice when making treatment decisions. Jessica’s mum gave her emotional, practical and financial support when she was seeking a diagnosis for vulval eczema.
 

As Georgia got older, her parents became less involved with her eczema.

View full profile
Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 4
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I’ve never asked them to step back, they’ve just done it themselves. And I don’t know if that’s because my behaviour has made them more inclined to do it, or whether they’ve done it because they want me to be more independent about it. I don’t know. My mum has always wanted to come with me to my appointments when I was older. But I’ve always said, “I want, I want to do it on my own because I want to speak to my doctor.” Cos [laughs] she had a habit when I was younger of coming with me to the doctor and saying this and that and deciding what was being done for me. And I needed to take that independent step to get it sorted on my own. So I am thankful for that. And I think even if they didn’t mean to do it, it’s still had a good impact on my life.
 
Text onlyRead below

George feels he has become more confident with ‘maturity’. This helped him tell his doctor how much eczema was affecting him and he was referred to a dermatologist.

View full profile
Age at interview: 17
Sex: Male
HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
So my family GP who I trust quite a lot. She, she’s known I’ve had eczema for a long time but I’m not really sure why she hasn’t referred me to a consultant dermatologist so a specialist because I think she didn’t realise how bad it was until I was more vocal about it which was when I could-. Cos when I was young I didn’t really know how to explain it so my mum had to do it but so yeah, now when I can talk about it and how much it hurts she understood how bad it was and sent me to someone who knew what they were doing.
 

Anissa’s doctor directed information about eczema to her parents when she was little.

View full profile
Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
What do you remember knowing about eczema as a child?

Not a lot. Obviously they direct everything to your parent. Which is a problem because once they’ve started directing it to your parent, they feel like you know what they’ve already told your parent, as an adult. So they don’t retell you the things they expect you to know, even though obviously you don’t know.

But I just, I just knew that I was in pain and that I had to be bandaged up. I didn’t really understand what it was wrong with my skin. No, like, I was never really told anything. I was just, lived through it without any information. Just being told, “Don’t scratch and do what we say.” 

So really when you get to an adult they should, or a teen, because teens do have comprehension [laughs]. But like, they should be telling you exactly what your condition is, as if it was from new to start off with. Because the understandings different now and you can fully comprehend what it is, and they should be telling you that. But they just believe that as a child you understood and you’ve carried on.
Help from family members with choosing and using eczema treatments

When the person with eczema was very young, parents usually made the decisions about what treatments to try. This includes both conventional treatments, like steroid creams, and alternative medicines like homeopathy. Vicky’s mum declined her taking part in a clinical trial because of serious side effects. At the time, Vicky wanted to try it but now thinks it was the right decision. A few young people said that their parents worried about steroid creams and cautioned them to be careful.

Some people took more of a role deciding about treatments over time. Family members sometimes made suggestions though. Ele’s gran sends her news clippings about eczema.
 

Molly’s mum often encouraged her to try alternative therapies and shop-bought treatments.

View full profile
Age at interview: 21
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 4
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
She would come home with kind of creams from like health stores and stuff and those like tried and kind of like herbal like pills to take that would like cure from the inside and stuff and like definitely tried them but if, I’d get so frustrated because if I didn't get an initial, an immediate, if it didn’t immediately get any better – I’d just get so angry that it wasn’t fixing it. And just there’s, there’s nothing, to this day there’s nothing that like will, other than the steroid cream, that will overnight fix it. And so obviously none of that was when it was really, really bad because today the steroid cream fixes it overnight but I never, it’s not as bad as it was then so I’d just get so frustrated I wouldn't actually like see through all these hints and tips, that was probably half the problem [laughs].

Did your mum sort of also do online research about eczema and?

Yeh I think that’s probably where she picked it up. Also mum’s really good at chatting so I think a lot of chatting to people and obviously loads of people suffer from eczema so I think, when it was really bad she was talking about it a lot because she was obviously worried about me and anyone, anyone who kind of, had the magic tip or like “Oh this really helped for my son and daughter”, she’d come home with immediately [laughs].
 

Himesh talks to his uncle (a pharmacist) to get information and advice on eczema treatments like Protopic.

View full profile
Age at interview: 17
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 10
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Oh yeh like every now and again the dermatologist nurse would offer me like this new treatment, new creams or, or some sort of surgery or treatment kind of thing. So I’ll obviously go back to my uncle and he will explain to me properly what, what the ups and downs are what the, stuff like that basically, and so yeh. So he is quite handy I guess if I missed out any key information I guess on the day, so yeh.

Could you give me an example of the sorts of things, conversations you’ve had with your uncle where he’s been sort of able to fill you in on some of that information?

Okay so recently I had a conversation with him regarding this new cream that’s called Protopic that was offered by my dermatologist nurse, she said it would probably improve the redness of your skin. And it was different because I thought it was, I thought it was a steroid but my uncle explained it’s not a steroid so you can use as much, as much of it as you want, but yeh. So I started using it basically and sort of kind of, I kind of saw improvements in places but before I try creams or any new treatment I kind of test it out on my skin first so I’d put a bit of it, I’ll apply a bit of it on my arm for a day or so and see how it goes and then use it or not use it after that, so yeh.
Parents often helped with treatments, such as applying emollient. Himesh asks his mum to have a look at his eczema when he thinks it’s flaring-up to decide whether to use steroid cream. As people got older, they often preferred privacy when putting on their creams and parents sometimes helped out in others ways. Lizzie’s mum washed her hair when eczema on her hands made it painful. Aadam’s mum reminds him to take his antihistamines when the pollen count is high.
 

Vicky disliked having her emollients and steroid creams put on when she was little. Her mum tried to make it more fun and included her little brother.

View full profile
Age at interview: 19
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
My mum used to turn it into a game, cos I hated doing my creams, so she’d turn it into a game where I would have to run around and she would try and catch me but I wasn’t allowed to touch anything. And if I touched something that means she'd caught me. So yeah we used, she used to make a game out of it – that sort of thing.

That’s quite clever, do you know where she learnt about that?

I don’t, I think she just generally made it up cos I was a little shit [laughs]. Cos I didn’t, didn’t like my creams being done so, and she used to get my brother involved in it as well but like the stuff that, she’d just put the moisturising cream on him so he didn’t feel left out, yeah. That’s what she used to do.
 

Anissa remembers having wet-wraps with cool emollient when she was younger. She found they helped her eczema but drew attention at school.

View full profile
Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
If my skin was bad, so it would be red and open sores and everything – my Mum would put my eczema cream in the fridge and then, so it was cold. So if it’s cold, it doesn’t burn so much and it really reduces the scratching, itchiness. And then she would coat my skin in it and then coat the bandage in it and she’d wrap it round everywhere that had got sore or that I could, and it was mainly to reduce like the pain of it but to stop me from scratching. So anywhere that it was present, the eczema or anywhere that it looked like it might go. So if I had eczema here [points to part of arm], I had a bandage from here to here [points to length of arm]. And I’d have to sleep in them and if it was bad, then I’d have to go to school in them. They’re, sadly the creams smell like, like cream. They don’t smell revolting or anything and you wouldn’t be like, [inhales deeply] “I smell cream”. But I mean like, it’s just, I think I smell it, and individuals smell it on themselves a lot more than what it actually is. 

But it’s always like that kind of like, “Hmm” and then when you’re notably wearing bandages I think that makes you feel a lot more noticeable. Like people mention like, “Oh, why are you wearing them?” And you’re like, “Well, my skin’s bad.” And then obviously little children are like, “Ergh, that’s disgusting. Look at your skin.” And then, but, like, it’s just they don’t really understand what it is, they feel like they can catch it or something like that, which is ridiculous. 
It was often the young person’s mum most involved, with some exceptions. Naomi’s dad was “the main carer of my skin when I was younger”, although she preferred when her mum put on her emollients because she was gentler.
 

Georgia’s dad was very involved in her eczema treatments as a child.

View full profile
Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 4
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
My dad had the most prominent role in my eczema. He was always there to put my creams on for me, bathe me, come and sit with me in the middle of the night cos I couldn’t sleep cos it was so itchy and aggravated. I think it was very painful for my mum to watch me grow up with it and stop it from, me from being sort of a normal, healthy child. That I couldn’t, I couldn’t go out and play with other children because they might be, they didn’t understand what was wrong with my skin. Or I couldn’t go, I couldn’t go swimming. I never learnt to swim as a child because my skin was so bad. Which has been a hindrance. And it, it’s just general things like that that have had a big, a big impact.
 

Aadam’s dad would pick him up from school when his eczema was sore.

View full profile
Age at interview: 18
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 1
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
When I was in primary school, I think at least once a week I would have to go home, because of my eczema. Sitting in class, especially when you are bored you begin to scratch and I think that’s something I sort of notice now. Like you subconsciously begin to scratch and then I still do it to my face now [laughs] I have to be careful about that. But when I am not careful then I realise what I’ve done and that it’s really stinging and itchy. So my dad would always get a hard time having to pick me up. So he would have to come like out of work, usually. Because his job back then was quite flexible and it was quite fortunate to have him around, but if not him then one of my aunties would pick me up or something. And I did miss a lot of school.
Financial support

Parents and grandparents sometimes gave financial support. This includes buying things, giving money or lending it for:
  • prescription treatments (for those people who have to pay charges) and private treatments
  • shop-bought bath and beauty products which were ‘eczema-friendly’, such as moisturisers, make-up and make-up removers
  • cotton clothing and bed linen
  • eczema-friendly laundry detergent/powder
  • seeing a dermatologist privately
  • seeing an alternative medicine practitioner and having treatments
Sometimes parents couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for things. Shams remembers adverts online that promised ‘miracle cures’ for eczema. He asked his mum to buy one, but now thinks it was probably a “scam”. 

Generally, as people got older, they covered the costs themselves. Parents sometimes helped out though, especially for those with a low income (e.g. studying at school, college or university). Molly’s mum sends her back to university with washing powder that doesn’t aggravate her eczema. 

Family histories and experiences of having eczema

Some people thought their eczema was genetic and had family members with eczema, another atopic condition (e.g. asthma) or a different skin condition (e.g. psoriasis). Others were the only one in their immediate family to have eczema. No one had children, but some wondered about having children in the future and whether they would inherit eczema.

Older family members with eczema, especially siblings, were often a source of advice and help. Likewise, young people sometimes offered their advice to family members. Naomi typed up some notes about living with eczema for her younger sister who also has it. Aisha thinks her family became more understanding through seeing her grow up with eczema. This benefitted her younger siblings and cousins who also have eczema.
 

Skin conditions are a frequent topic of conversation for Aman and his family.

View full profile
Age at interview: 23
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I mean a few members of my family have eczema. So m-my dad has it occasionally, my sister had it occasionally and my uncle has psoriasis, which is a kind of generally a lot worse. So immediate family like it always used to be a, a topic as you’re growing up, you know, how’s your skin, what’re you doing, because you don’t have to discipline to go through and do, do all the things that you need to do day to day by yourself. So you need a, a lot of support from your parents to just go through the kind of process of keeping yourself moisturised and up to date and that. As I’ve got older, it’s become less of a kind of concern, unless I’m experiencing a big flare up, people’ll be saying, well, you know , what’s up, basically. And that’s, you know, I’ll kind of know the reasons myself. But I, I haven't massively talked to family about it, recently. 
Emotional support

It can be difficult to talk with others about how eczema affects you and not everyone wants to discuss it. Jessica’s vuval eczema meant she had to “open up” to her mum about her sex life but found that she was very understanding and supportive. Examples of emotional support given by family members include:

•    reassurance to feel more comfortable and confident
•    ‘perspective’ and stress management
•    encouragement (e.g. to ask for a referral or try a new treatment)
•    opening up about fears and concerns
•    company at medical appointments and, for Aisha, skin camouflaging 
•    speaking up for the young person to professionals when the young person wants to try different treatments
 

Anissa challenges the idea that eczema is something to feel insecure about.

View full profile
Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Cos I have my big sister who’s, who’s always been really supportive and just been like, “If anyone cares about what you look like, that has no bearing on you, it’s just them.” But also, when it was getting bad, I just felt like, ‘Oh, I can’t leave the house. What am I going to do?’ And I wanted to leave the house. I didn’t want to stay in and it just made me feel like, ‘Well what am I going to do?’ So I, it started slowly. I didn’t like wake up one day and say, “I love my skin. Screw you.” 

[Laughs]

I started slowly and then I realised no ones’ going to say anything and if they do, everyone else in this place is going to look at them like they’re arseholes, because they are. And then I started thinking, ‘Well, if no one’s going to say anything, are they even noticing?’ Like when it was massive, like really bad and spread over big parts of my skin, I’d be like, ‘yes they can notice. I bet they think that it’s disgusting. I bet that I’m putting them off their food or something’. And slowly I’d go out and probably sit in a café and I’d be like quite, and I’d notice that no one, no one was looking. No one thought anything of it. They did not care.  Occasionally you’d probably got someone look at your arm and then walk off. And I realised that they may think like, ‘Oh, look at her skin,’ for five seconds and then they’ll never think about it again. Or even pass through their mind at all after that one second of them going, ‘Oh, look at her skin.’ And that doesn’t even, just because they looked it doesn’t mean that they’re hating like on your skin.
Others preferred not to tell family members too much. George knows he can talk to his parents about how eczema affects him but says he’s mostly “got used to it”. 

Some people held back from talking to their parents about the distress of eczema because they didn’t want to upset them. It can be really hard for family members to see a loved one struggling with the physical symptoms and emotional distress of eczema. Aisha says seeing her younger siblings and cousins with eczema “evokes the emotions” she had as a child. Family often shared the happiness when eczema improved too, as for Katie-Lauren when she had red-light therapy.
 
Text onlyRead below

Katie-Lauren keeps a lot to herself as she doesn’t want to worry her parents.

View full profile
Age at interview: 19
Sex: Female
HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Whereas I tend to hide it away from my parents, because I don’t want them to feel bad or like be worried, because that night when they had to take me to A&E – my mum was really terrified and like my dad was really angry, not at me but, like, at the dermatologist because he’s the reason. And obviously, I don’t, like, because I had them up dead late, like we was in the A&E like 3am or something like that. And I don’t want it, I don’t like my eczema affecting other peoples’ lives. Cos obviously they would have to get up for work like three more hours later.
Attempts by family members to be helpful can backfire and make the young person feel more self-conscious or frustrated. Family stress can also be a trigger for flare-ups. Being told ‘don’t scratch’ is well-intentioned, but can feel like the other person doesn’t understand how itchy their skin is. Sham’s mum told him he had to keep going to school, even when he was in a lot of pain, which made him feel “sad” and “angry”.
 

Gary says that stress, with his family and romantic relationships, is a key trigger for his eczema.

View full profile
Age at interview: 23
Sex: Male
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Stress is really bad for it.

OK 

But not every kind of stress because stress at work, it doesn’t affect it. Friends – not really, only family, and I just, I just told you about, I just thought about it with my mother when I was home a couple of weeks ago that I'm kinda like-, I like to dictate and I like to be the ruler. I like to tell people what to do and I don’t really like when they tell me. And at work when they try to push me down.

I always go like, “Yeah OK,” I just let them. I smile at them and I ask like, “Yeah OK, it's alright,” and when they calm down and then I give everything back.

[Laughs]

But I cannot do this one with my parents because I love my family and they stress me a lot and my brother as well. And my brother is like the closest person for me in the world but he can stress me in such a bad way [laughs]. No-one can make me feel as stressed as him.

If I'm sad it doesn’t trigger the eczema, if I'm only sad. Only the stress and only this kind of emotional stress – everyday, driving a car; someone comes in front of me; I get angry, I push the horn – it doesn’t change my skin. Work or other stuff. It's mostly emotional, only my ex-girlfriends could trigger it, and then my family. Yeah.

Because those are the kind of relationships that I cannot push down in how I would like to. Because at work it's easy because if, even if it's my boss and tells me something really bad, I can still punch him. They're going to fire me – who cares, I'll find another job, but I cannot do this with my father or my mother [laughs], so that’s kind of really bad because I have all this pressure inside me and I just think can't get it out. And then my mother comes to me and, “Hey, talk about it.” I don’t want to talk about it because I talk about it and then I get angry again [laughs] and it makes no sense. For me.
Eczema triggers and using treatments at home

Identifying triggers can be trial-and-error. Laura’s parents discovered many of hers (such as peaches and lanolin) when she was little. Laura has since done her own research, coming across “things that probably twenty years ago my mum had read when I was first diagnosed”. Ele, Cat and Katie-Lauren have been given fragranced bath products as gifts before, which would trigger their eczema, and so they pass them onto their mums. 

Some people had pets growing up – however, because of allergies to fur/dander, these were often fish. Aman’s parents got a dog whilst he was at university which triggers his eczema.
 

Cat fur triggers Alice’s eczema when she visits her family home.

View full profile
Age at interview: 22
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 7
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
When I was little and we found out I was allergic to cats, the cats that we had were short haired ones that weren’t a problem anyway but now my mum recently got a ragdoll cat [laughs] which is like the fluffiest creature you can imagine and it’s not really part of the conversation anymore, I just deal with those things, I think. sometimes if I’m sat at home sneezing then my mum will say “Oh you’ve been sniffing the cat” but [laughs] yeh I think it’s just, I think it made an impact when I was younger but not so much now.
The family home was often contrasted to living arrangements at university. Aman thinks his diet is much better at home than when he was at university. Laura found student accommodation generally “dirtier” than home so she had to be careful about triggers like dust. Alice’s mum did lots of housework when she was younger to dampen down her allergies, such as by frequently hoovering and washing bedding. Lizzie’s family home has a water filter and she finds it better for her skin than at university.

Sharing space can be tricky. Himesh’s dad likes to have the heating on and so Himesh uses a fan in his room to keep his skin cool when putting on emollients. People had woken up others who they were sleeping in the same room by scratching so much in the night.
 

Georgia is careful to avoid triggers when she uses the bath and washing machine.

View full profile
Age at interview: 20
Sex: Female
Age at diagnosis: 4
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I have to keep my bath really clean, especially cos I share it with my mum and dad and my boyfriend. I need to clean it after every time I use it and before I use it. Cos I just can’t risk being, sort of my bath being well, not infected but having some component of what somebody else has used. Because I can only use the things that I know will work for my skin. I couldn’t go out and buy like an Imperial Leather bath soap or something like that and expect it to work. Even with some, even though I like using Lush products, I can’t use some of theirs, like their bath bombs. Because they’re so heavily, sort of potent with smell that the fragrance will irritate my skin and whatever’s been made to colour it will irritate my skin. I try to do what I can, I find it hard to do, do the washing up cos I need to wear gloves all the time. And if I wear the gloves my hands will get sweaty and dry and itchy. I have to be careful with what kind of chemicals I use. My dad’s always very particular about not letting me do he, like heavy cleaning things like cleaning windows and carpets and floors and things like that, cos he doesn’t want to expose me to those type of chemicals. And he’s worked in he used to work, worked with solvent chemicals and he was always really careful about using the washing machine for my clothes and for his. So he’d, if he put like his overalls in, he’d make sure he’d sterilise the, like the barrel at least three times before he put my stuff in and stuff like that. So I have to be really careful, really careful in that kind of thing. But I think, I look forward to that when I move out, that I can, I don’t have to worry about that too much. Because I know only I’ve used it and I don’t have to worry about everybody else using stuff and things.
Everyday activities can be difficult when eczema is flared-up. Family members sometimes offered to do household chores for the person with eczema, such as doing the washing-up. Gary’s brother used to make him a cup of tea when his skin was painful and he couldn’t bend his limbs.
 

Katie-Lauren likes being able to take her laundry home whilst she’s at university.

View full profile
Age at interview: 19
Sex: Female
SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
As long as I kept my room tidy and like helped out, my mum did my washing for me. And, like doing it here now, it piles up quite quickly, because I, I can’t wear, once I’ve worn a piece of clothing I can’t wear it again because of my creams. So I end up doing a lot of like washing, which is really annoying because there is not like a laundry room here. You have to go for a walk and then you have to pay for it and you have to wait around, so it’s, it’s better like just taking my laundry home [laughs].

Can you sometimes do that because you are like an hour-ish away?

Yeah, yeah. If I go home for the weekend, I won’t get the train and my dad will pick me up, so I just take my laundry home and then my mum does it for me. I think she likes doing it for me, because, I think she feels like I am back home. And she knows to use like nice detergent on it. 
 
Text onlyRead below

Abid talks about using rubber gloves for washing up to avoid getting his hands too wet.

View full profile
Age at interview: 24
Sex: Male
HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
As someone who enjoys cooking so much I don’t enjoy washing up and not from just a scale of it’s not necessarily fun or whatever and I’m, I’ve just enjoyed a meal, I wanna relax or whatever, it’s actually the fact that if I get my hands wet that, that would, that’s a catalyst for my eczema to, to get worse. And I don’t feel like rubber gloves are like the best alternative I feel like I have to replace them every, y-you know, like every fortnight because there's, y-you know how it is when you, when you put in a pair of gloves and accidently some like water might leak in and like yeah it’s not fun. 
donate
Previous Page
Next Page