(Memories from early childhood all the way up to current adulthood based on the ebb and flow of my eczema/dermatitis).
My earliest memory of eczema is being a small child (probably 4-5 years old) and my mother tying socks onto my hands at night so I wouldn’t scratch. This tactic worked, as long as the socks stayed on, but despite her best efforts to tie tight knots in the strings, finagling the socks off and finally managing to itch was the most delightful feeling!
I remember being a young girl in gymnastics class. I had eczema on my wrists and elbows. Nothing crazy or widespread, just some scabs, but kids still managed to notice and give me funny looks.
Still as a young girl, I remember having eczema in the creases where your leg meets your buttock, and being concerned that it would be very evident when I put on my swimsuit to go in the pool. Why did I have this? Why wasn’t I like other kids with normal skin?
I remember puberty – Thank goodness for puberty! I don’t remember a single instance of eczema from about age 14 to maybe age 19. Which is wonderful, because kids can be so cruel in high school, and I have no idea what I would have done if I had these present rashes at that time. My heart goes out to anyone that has to deal with the ostracizing of eczema during those formative years. I was able to be in so many activities, from cheer to track, without giving my skin a second thought. I don’t even think I put anything on it day to day!
I DO, however, remember going to gym class in high school and getting paired up with the guys for square dancing. One guy peered at my face and said critically, “You have wrinkles under your eyes”. (I had very faint Dennie-Morgan lines, a sign of dermatitis/allergy, which even I wasn’t conscious of until he said something and I didn’t know they were an indicator that comes with eczema). Well thanks a lot, kid. I go home, peer at myself in the mirror, and settle on using my mother’s Oil of Olay cream to try and ‘remove’ the wrinkles (which probably ended up irritating my skin).
Onto college age, and ending the period of puberty. In early college years, I remember getting up and putting on anything that I wanted to … again, no thought of my skin. I could wear skirts, shorts, tank tops, you name it, no fear of rashes, no self-consciousness. I must have had really great skin back then. Awesome!
In my third year of college, I was afflicted with some type of eczema/dermatitis around my eyes, probably similar to what I have now except not as bad. I remember working in the cafeteria and wearing a cafeteria-issued hat to try and shield my face so that people couldn’t look at me as much. So many cute guys came through the cafeteria line and I desperately wanted to smile and flirt with them, but I couldn’t help feeling self-conscious.
From the end of college until about 1.5 years ago, the skin on my face was fine and I don’t remember giving it a second thought. Of course I used mild moisturizers and all that, and I didn’t wear a lot of makeup, but I definitely had no reason to be obsessed about its condition.
On my wedding day, the makeup artist looked at me, smiled, and said, “You have great skin, doing your makeup should be easy”. I had a perfect wedding and I looked and felt like a million bucks. Those were the days!!!!
A year later on a friend’s wedding day, I got airbrush makeup done. I had false eyelashes too, and I was beautiful and glamorous! The pictures of me look absolutely flawless. The current Me wants that old Me back!
Now here I am. I wake up every day not knowing what will greet me in the mirror. Praying it will be clear, bright, healthy skin, but more often than not, it’s red, rashy, irritated skin. However, now that I found out I seem to be sensitive to aloe vera and beeswax and have eliminated all products with those ingredients…. I remain optimistic that I can get back to feeling attractive in my skin! 🙂
What are some of YOUR skin memories??