A-Z

Naomi

Age at interview: 17
Brief Outline: (Text only clips) Naomi has had eczema all her life. As a child she was admitted to hospital for it once, but as she has gotten older she has learned to manage her eczema better. She recommends eating health and drinking lots of water as the best method for treating eczema.
Background: Naomi is 17 years old and a business administrator. She is single and lives with her parents and siblings. Her ethnic background is Mixed (Black Caribbean and White).

More about me...

Naomi was born with eczema and feels that her skin condition is something that has always been a part of who she is. She has struggled with it in the past, but as she has gotten older she has learned to control it better. She has a family history of eczema with her mum and some of her siblings also affected by it. As a child, she was once hospitalised for uncontrollable itching due to her eczema. Naomi usually gets eczema on her arms and she also has it come and go in patches on other parts of her body such as her hands, neck, chest and legs.

The area in which Naomi gets eczema changes depending on many factors. For example, she has learned that wearing certain clothing irritates her skin. She tries to stay away from wearing wool and prefers to wear cotton instead. Changes in weather conditions also affect Naomi’s eczema. In the summer months her eczema gets inflamed from sweating and in the winter her skin tends to dry out and sting. She has also found that both rainwater and seawater irritate her skin so she tries to stay covered up if she goes outside in the rain and tends not to go swimming in the sea. Naomi finds it difficult to wear certain types of jewellery and tends to avoid using shower gels, bath bombs and creams with fragrance as these also affect her eczema. 

Having eczema has interfered with Naomi’s social activities. She has missed out on seeing friends due to her eczema in the past, although she tries her best not to let eczema rule her life. She finds it difficult when her friends go swimming and she isn’t able to join them. Naomi has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past and feels that her eczema is a contributing factor. However, being able to meet friends has had a positive impact on Naomi and has helped through difficult times in her life. In particular, she found it helpful to speak to a friend with psoriasis who she realised she has a lot of things in common with and who she could relate to. 

Naomi often uses the internet as a point of reference for treatments options for eczema and has found that changes in lifestyle can make a difference. Her family and friends often come to her to advice on skincare and she recommends eating a healthier diet and staying hydrated by drinking more water. She wishes that there was an easy cure for eczema, however she understands that this is not the case so she advises others to treat their skin as well as possible with a healthy lifestyle.
 

Naomi was unsure about the links between eczema and asthma, but found that there were some shared triggers.

Text only
Read below

Naomi was unsure about the links between eczema and asthma, but found that there were some shared triggers.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But I don’t know if it was linked though. Cos I know a lot of people have…you know if they have eczema, they most likely will have asthma as well, or if they’ve asthma they’ve got a bit of eczema. Like my brother has severe asthma and he only gets patches of eczema, only like yearly. So, I think it is…I think it must be linked.

Yeah

Is it similar, like triggers that you said about pollen and flowers?

Yeah

Is it mm?

Going outside [laughs] makes me go, "No, can't breathe, go inside." You know, walking and…and now it's really weird – my asthma is bad in the winter, it's very bad, a very…when I recently went to my GP, well the nurse, my nurse practitioner, she was like, "You have to go and see the asthma nurse." I haven’t done it yet, that’s really bad, cos she felt…she heard my chest, said, "That’s really, really, you know very inflamed, you should sort it out." And I said, "Oh it's cos it's the weather." When it gets warmer my asthma's fine, though my eczema – it's never fair on me that, you know. Uh times like Spring isn't too bad because it's a mixture, you don’t have weeks of hotness or weeks of freezing temperatures you know. So, it is a nightmare cos you can't win.
 

Rain water can aggravate Naomi’s eczema. On one occasion, she was left with a raised scar.

Text only
Read below

Rain water can aggravate Naomi’s eczema. On one occasion, she was left with a raised scar.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Except, when it rains and I'm wearing dolly shoes it's…that’s the bad thing about not wearing socks cos I have like sores on my ankles, so when it rains, that rainwater stings, it absolutely kills, and that’s the only…rainwater does sting. And I remember, I thought I was allergic to it once, cos when I went out and I didn’t put my hands in my pockets – my coat didn’t have any pockets and it was like a leather jacket – and when it poured it my…this, all raised up and now it's permanently like that. Apparently just cos it rained and it irritated.

Oh wow

You wouldn’t think rainwater, the most natural thing, would irritate skin.

But it does mine. Even on my face, when it rains my face is down, if I had just my scarf I'd have to cover up my face. So, I've realised my skin isn't too happy about rainwater.
 

Naomi had impetigo when she was younger and had to stay at home.

Text only
Read below

Naomi had impetigo when she was younger and had to stay at home.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Yeah, so and I've had…I've had many infections as well. I had impetigo.

OK 

Which…that was only when I was a kid, only had it twice, cos my brother got it and he touched me and then I had it [laughs], that was odd. But yeah that was when it was really bad because, you know it's like an infection, so you have to like stay at home, you can't go out cos if someone touches you; touch their own skin, it will spread. So, yeah that was…that was quite…I remember that being painful and crying a lot when I was a kid.
 

Naomi felt like she stood out at school because of her eczema and skin tone.

Text only
Read below

Naomi felt like she stood out at school because of her eczema and skin tone.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Well, as a kid emotionally – mm, you'd feel not…well as a kid you didn’t feel normal, you didn’t know it was normal. I was the only person in my class that had eczema, so people really didn’t understand it. And I used to be teased for it as well cos I was different.

And I was also…I was also, I think…no I wasn’t, there was another person, but there was only two people that were my skin tone as well back then. So, I was bullied for my hair, my skin, everything and it…and as a kid, you know you don’t feel…I never had that much friends, that’s why that friend I've known for thirteen years was the only one I had during that time. So, yeah that, as a kid, I can't really say cos you don’t…you're just a child, you don’t understand feelings that well, you just sort of know, you know you feel sad. I remember refusing to go to school cos I didn’t want people to stare at me and stuff like that. So, it would get quite psychological.
 

Naomi explains about emotions and eczema.

Text only
Read below

Naomi explains about emotions and eczema.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It's been hard, it's not easy; really isn't easy to have eczema cos it's a mixture of being physically in pain and emotionally in pain you know? You could have it severely and it not bother you in the, that much; you could have it a teeny bit and it completely destroy the way you think, the way…like your life, you might not want to leave the house cos you might have a massive scar on your face cos you’ve had eczema there or something you know. I just…I reckon doctors and GPs should…I mean a lot of them are very understanding, but they tell you the same thing; I want to hear something different that isn't going to be, "Oh I'll just give you these…this cream," and it's like, well I don’t need anything from that, it's just me paying for more stuff, like it probably won't even work. They should do like trials and they give you like a free sample and try it for like a week I reckon. Cos that would be…that might be more successful than giving them medication that would flare it up without them.
 

There have been times when Naomi’s felt suicidal about her eczema.

Text only
Read below

There have been times when Naomi’s felt suicidal about her eczema.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I've only ever had those suicidal thoughts only a few times. But I remember at the time I knew I'd never do it, but it's just something, and you think, 'Mm could I?' and I thought, 'No don’t be so stupid, you know you can sort your life out,' you know, 'get yourself, you know get some, you know…' I've got tremendous help here so, I know for a fact they're not going to make me suffer.

If you are feeling suicidal, you know or you're feeling low, really low, tell somebody. Like I got the courage to tell my mum that I had, I might have anxiety. I went…I had a depression when I was thirteen so that doesn’t help. But that’s over now. But I think out of that I've got anxiety problems so, now everyone…now wherever a job I get next or, even if I make a new friend, I tell them.

Yeah

So that they can understand I'm not going to…I'm not saying I'm suicidal because I want attention, it's cos it's generally you think that. I mean I've never…I would never, ever have the guts to do it, I don’t know how people can do it, it's so…it frightens me to think about it. But when you're in that time and place, when you're sat there itching or you're thinking about…you're relapsing back your life going, 'My life's been crap with this skin, I haven’t been able to have fun, haven’t been able to do this.' That’s when you just think, 'Uh, if I just ended it now would it be over?' and then, at that time you…like my mind just sort of flips and thinks, 'Hang on, look at the positives, you're life aint all negative. You’ve still got all your family – there's people out there that haven’t got parents you know - don’t be moaning about your skin, you know it will go away.' If you take care of it, it will either clear up a bit or could completely go away. 
 

Naomi thinks free samples of medical treatments would be good.

Text only
Read below

Naomi thinks free samples of medical treatments would be good.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I reckon doctors and GPs should…I mean a lot of them are very understanding, but they tell you the same thing; I want to hear something different that isn't going to be, "Oh I'll just give you these…this cream," and it's like, well I don’t need anything from that, it's just me paying for more stuff, like it probably won't even work. They should do like trials and they give you like a free sample and try it for like a week I reckon. 
 

Naomi is open about having eczema at work.

Text only
Read below

Naomi is open about having eczema at work.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It doesn’t bother me that much here cos everyone knows I have it, I just tell em and they go, "OK," you know, and they just sort of…no-one…it's so normal to people now. When you say, "I've got eczema, I've got psoriasis." People go, "Oh," you know, it's not like they go, "[intake of breath] You have a skin issue?" You know it's not…even customers they don’t really bother, they don’t really…I used to be worried about them looking at it, but I told my friend and said, "Oh my god is that?" She said, "No not really, not from afar," but they don’t know you personally; that could just be a burn or something you’ve had and they're not…it's none of their business anyway. So, I wouldn’t say it would bother me. It was only if I was to work with food which would be an issue. Like I thought of going into like bartending; I've always loved to like work in a club or something; not in the food but around. Maybe it's fine around drinks if I'm pouring drinks for people, cos I love working around people, don’t want to be sat in an office cooched up doing nothing you know, typing away, which is what I technically do but, here it's more peopley – you know you’ve got people coming in.
 

Naomi gets fed up with people giving her advice but would like to know about the experiences of others with eczema.

Text only
Read below

Naomi gets fed up with people giving her advice but would like to know about the experiences of others with eczema.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I get loads of people giving me advice, a lot of the time it's almost the same thing. "Have you tried this cream, have you tried that cream?" "I'm going to get this cream for you and you can try it," and none of it works. So, almost I don’t know if I would give advice; I'd probably want to know…I'd want to know about what, like how, like if they have eczema like me, I'd want, "Oh what clothes do you wear, like what bedding do you have, have often do you drink a day, how long do you bath, what baths do you put in your bath; is there any products, like scented products, that you use that won't irritate your skin?" You know I want to know things so that I could probably like, "Do you know any jewellery I could wear that might actually, you know won't irritate your skin?" You know things like that. 
Previous Page
Next Page