Laura was 7 months old when diagnosed with atopic eczema. There are many triggers for her eczema, allergies and asthma including some foods and lanolin/wool. The main part of her body that her eczema currently affects is her hands.
Laura was diagnosed at 7 months old with atopic eczema when her parents took her to see their GP after she had started on solid food. Her eczema is linked to her allergies and asthma; these conditions were significant parts of her childhood, preventing her from doing a number of the things that other children she knew could do. Many of the triggers for her eczema were discovered by trial and error, including reactions when she ate fruits like apples and peaches or came into contact with horse hair and lanolin/wool.
During her teenage years, Laura’s eczema mostly cleared up and it now only tends to affect her hands. She took up taekwondo as a teenager a sport which required her to show and use her hands a great deal, and this helped build her confidence. However, she continues to find this to be a difficult part of the body to have eczema on owing to their frequent use (such as when shaking hands at work) and increased likelihood of infections.
Studying at university with eczema presented both benefits and downsides for Laura. She became friends with a course peer during university who also had eczema and this provided an opportunity to share experiences. She also lived abroad for some of her time at university and found that hot-dry climates significantly improved her eczema; however, she was not able to see a doctor or get access to prescribed medicated treatments whilst there. When she was a student in the UK, moving accommodation within her university city made it difficult to get access to the same GP and dermatologist. She also shared accommodation with other students who did not always understand that triggers, such as dust, meant that it was important to keep the house clean.
Laura has seen a dermatologist and a number of GPs over the years who have given her various treatments for her eczema. She now primarily uses a soap substitute and Aveeno cream, sometimes wearing cotton gloves at night to help the moisturisers absorb. As a young adult now, Laura is interested in learning more about the medical side of eczema which she was too young to understand when diagnosed as a young child. One recent experience that she found particularly helpful was when a GP explained the structure and layers of the skin because this aided her understanding of what eczema is and how different treatments work.