Ele has had eczema all her life. Her doctors have prescribed her a number of topical treatments with little success. She now tends to use shop-bought creams and hopes to manage her eczema in the future through a healthier lifestyle.
Ele has had eczema her entire life, but isn’t sure what causes it. She predominantly gets eczema on her hands, eyelids and the back of her knees, although she has also had it on her legs and the inside of her thighs. She feels lucky that her eczema is relatively minor, however she says she is unable to wear jeans or trousers because the material irritates her skin. Her eczema gets worse when she does not drinking enough water, eats salty food, has caffeine and dairy products, and not enough fruits and vegetables in her diet. She stays away from perfumed shower gels, uses gloves for washing the dishes and finds that cheap soaps irritate her skin. Weather changes also affect Ele’s eczema, with winter being a particularly bad season for her. She lived abroad in Egypt for a year during her undergraduate degree where the warmer climate improved her eczema. Ele’s eczema is also affected by stress and became notably worse during her A-levels and when she was diagnosed with depression.
Ele and her doctors have tried to use a variety of topical creams for her eczema with little success. She is allergic to E45 and many steroid creams. The financial implications of having to pay for prescriptions that do not always work have been a particular worry for her. She has used Bio-Oil, Dove and Nivea moisturisers in the past. Although her skin responded well to these at first, they stopped working after a while and started burning the skin on her hands. Whenever she can, she prefers to use natural ingredients to sooth her eczema. She often uses the internet as a point of reference when her skin feel itchy and she has recently tried some home remedies such as applying cold porridge and natural yoghurt to her hands.
Ele had been very self-conscious about her eczema as a teenager. There was an incident whilst she was working in a caf‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬© whereby a woman told her she didn’t want her touching the sandwich she was making. Although she now feels able to openly speak about her eczema, she still sometimes catches people starring at her hands in public.
Ele’s hopes for the future are that she will be able to control her eczema through a healthy lifestyle. She worries that eating healthy is very expensive but hopes that it will be easier when she moves in with her boyfriend as they will be able to split food bills. Ele had considered trying some steroid creams again but finds it particularly difficult and impractical to make appointments and visit her GP within the working hours of her current job.