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Eczema (young people)

Messages for other young people with eczema

The young people we talked to had tips for others with eczema. Many were aimed at people who had recently been diagnosed or were unsure how to look after their skin. People were also keen to hear more about other's experiences with eczema and to see how these compared with their own. As Aisha said, “I think people who have eczema have a lot of questions and I think people who have had eczema for a long time have even more questions about the condition.”
 

Lizzie talks about the importance of moisturising the skin.

Lizzie talks about the importance of moisturising the skin.

Age at interview: 19
Sex: Female
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when I was 13 or 14 I would hate having to like stick cream on every single day, it was so laborious and really tedious. But now it's just like a routine; you can do it in two minutes flat, you know. Once you do it, you just pick it up so quickly. So, make sure you're like applying what your doctor's given you, and like also talk to your doctor about it, like actually get to know – like I don’t know what causes it – actually try and understand what eczema is about and like what you can do to tackle it in the long run, and talk about which creams might work best for you, and maybe even like talking to people in shops saying, I've found like when I've gone into like Lush for my soaps saying like, “I've got eczema, is there anything that you particularly recommend?” and the things they’ve given me have worked really, really well. So, you know, just make sure, when you're buying products that you're going to use on your skin, talk to other people who are in the shop who know about it who can help you out. And you know like don’t be self-conscious about it. I mean yeah, it can impair you but it's just part of who you are, and like when you accept that you will get on a lot easier with the fact that you have eczema, so don’t be self-conscious about it.
 

George has some advice for other young people with eczema.

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George has some advice for other young people with eczema.

Age at interview: 17
Sex: Male
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I’d say do your own research but don’t-. Be objective don’t, don’t trust any particular source. And then in terms of what causes it, what you can deal with it and if you find something that would really help like a cream – if you prefer creams or if you don’t like creams there’s, I think there’s other treatments that I am not aware of – but once you’ve done that, just see a doctor and that’s the best thing that you can do. Even if you’ve had bad experiences with them, maybe see a different doctor or ask for, to see a different GP because that’s the best way to deal with it. For me.
 

Laura has heard about using ‘food diaries’ to help identify diet triggers but doesn’t plan to try one at the moment.

Laura has heard about using ‘food diaries’ to help identify diet triggers but doesn’t plan to try one at the moment.

Age at interview: 22
Sex: Female
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See I don’t, sometimes when it comes, flares up, I wonder whether it's something I've eaten. But it's one of those things that I literally have to, I'd have to have a diary and a food diary, and I'd have to monitor everything I did and the extent that is just on my hands and the fact that I know when it flares up I can put creams and stuff on it. For me personally, I'm not going to bother, at the moment anyway. It's not worth it to spend all that time like recording everything I do and thinking about everything and, cos otherwise your life you'd be like, 'Oh should I do this, should I do that,' and you just go, like get on with it. So, I think more recently, probably there are things that might still be a problem but not that big a problem that I, it affects me too much.
The key messages for other young people with eczema were:
  • work out your triggers, because these vary from person to person. Many said that finding out about triggers was ‘trial and error’. To help with this, some people used ‘food diaries’. Stress is a major emotional trigger for a lot of people and can be difficult to avoid. Some people had found ways to manage their stress, such as Gary with going on walks.

  • be aware of lifestyle choices and their impact on your eczema. These include: sleep, diet, alcohol and smoking. Himesh and Ele said that keeping hydrated by drinking water is a simple but helpful thing for their skins.

  • get into a good routine with putting on emollients and looking after your health generally.

  • keep an eye on changes to your eczema. This way you can see if it starts to get more severe or develops on a new part of the body. Evie takes photographs of her skin when her eczema changes to show her doctors at her next appointment. The itchiness of eczema can be difficult but Molly and Abid encouraged others to try not to scratch.

  • see a doctor and find out what help they can give. If you don’t feel your health professionals (like GPs or dermatologists) are doing enough to help or you don’t feel comfortable with them, be insistent or arrange to see another. You can ask your GP for referrals to see a dermatologist and also for emotional support.

  • try different treatments if your current ones aren’t helping. There are different kinds of prescribed treatments (e.g. emollients, steroid creams, phototherapy) and different brands/ingredients available. There are also shop-bought products you can try and alternative therapies.

  • do some research about eczema, but don’t trust everything you read online. Laura found it helpful to learn about how the skin functions. Looking online can be a good way to find out about the different treatment options too, which you can then talk to your doctor about trying.

  • don’t miss out on having fun and doing the social things you want to. Naomi said that being with friends takes her mind off eczema and Cat finds her skin is better when she’s happier.

  • lots of people had positive messages to help people cope with the emotional side of eczema. They said to be confident and not worry about what others might think or say, but understood this can be hard to do at times. Talking to people you trust, such as family and close friends, can help. It can also be good to speak to others with eczema, including through eczema charities and support groups.
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