(Audio or text only clips) Hazel is 21 and has had eczema since she was 3 years old. Her skin scarred more easily and became very sensitive after she developed chickenpox at age 13. She has tried a number of prescribed and shop-bought products over the years of having eczema.
Hazel is 21 and has had eczema since she was 3 years old. Hazel and her parents had initially expected her to grow out’ of eczema in her childhood. Her eczema became more severe after she caught chickenpox at age 13. Her skin has since been very sensitive and prone to scarring. This also emotionally affected Hazel a great deal.
Hazel’s eczema affects different parts of her body, including her neck, elbows, hands and knees. She has seen a number of GPs for her eczema. These appointments have been mostly helpful but she recently had an upsetting experience when a GP made a negative and uninvited comment about a patch on her face. She feels it is important for GPs to be careful when asking sensitive questions and to be aware of how they phrase comments to their patients. She was aware that it could be difficult to judge because people have different emotional triggers but that it could be helpful for doctors to reflect on if someone said it to you, how would it make you feel?
Hazel has tried different medications for her eczema, including bath oils, soap substitutes and steroid creams. Her most recent set of prescriptions were very expensive as they included a number of different products recommended by her GP. She described investing in these as a really big chance to take because treatments sometimes work for only a few weeks or months before she then has to try something else. She currently uses a number of natural ingredient products which are animal cruelty-free because she finds that these are good for her skin and less expensive now that she pays for prescriptions.
Hazel found it difficult to access the same GP when she moved away from home to go to university. Another aspect of university was the use of communal washing machines for her laundry as some detergents left in the machine could flare up her eczema. She found strategies to deal with this such as having a friend use the washing machine before her. She found that peers from extra-curricular clubs and groups were sometimes a source of solidarity if they too were affected by having sensitive skin. However, she found that meeting new people, especially children, can be quite hard if they stare or ask questions about her eczema and scars. Her current job includes working on projects about positive body image and self-esteem. This part of her work has helped build Hazel’s confidence and she feels this is important to address, particularly for young girls and women.