Aman, aged 23, learned from experience that a disciplined daily moisturising routine helps manage eczema and its various triggers. He suggests going to a dermatologist, as GPs may not be as knowledgeable about all of the treatments available.
Aman was diagnosed with eczema at a very young age. As he got older, he learnt that a disciplined daily moisturising routine is key to managing eczema. Aman identified his triggers through experience as he was growing up, although he suggests that keeping a diary of your body’s reactions might be useful. Some of his triggers include stress, coffee, exercise, spicy food, alcohol, pollen, and dog hair. He finds the Indian classification of hot and cold foods helpful, since hot’ foods like tomatoes and mangos tend to make his skin worse.
With regards to treatment, Aman has tried a variety of options. When he was younger, his parents took him to Chinese herbal therapy and acupuncture, although Aman did not find these very effective. He has taken oral steroid tablets during big flare ups in the past, but his skin has been relatively stable for the past year with the consistent use of moisturisers and steroid creams. One trick that he uses is rotating moisturisers every few months to prevent the skin from getting used to the product and becoming less effective. Aman generally sticks to prescription products because these are cheaper through the NHS and contain less chemicals and fragrances which might aggravate his skin than shop-bought brands. Aman’s says that the GPs he has seen have often lacked knowledge about eczema. He recommends that people with eczema go to a dermatologist at least once a year because of their knowledge about the condition and the wide range of treatments available. He has seen both NHS and private dermatologists, with these appointments being helpful turning points. Aman suggests going to a private dermatologist if you are under time constraints (e.g. during a big flare up).
A big change for Aman in managing his eczema was moving from university to working life. During university, his eczema followed a peaks and troughs cycle whereby he would get flare ups in stressful periods, such as exam times. Maintaining a moisturising routine and a good diet became less of a priority in comparison to attending lectures, making friends, and having fun. Since starting fulltime work, Aman’s life became more regimented and consistent. This makes it much easier to maintain a daily moisturising routine and a healthy diet, and as a result, his eczema has stabilised. He sometimes wears a tighter layer under his work shirts to help lock in the moisturiser throughout the day. He also keeps a short beard because shaving his face irritates his skin. Aman recognises that having eczema can sometimes make people feel self-conscious and avoid certain social situations. However, he feels strongly that eczema shouldn’t limit you and he has learned to accept his eczema, becoming more confident as a result.