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Underneath My Skin – Sather Health
Diseases & Conditions Physical Health

Underneath My Skin

Eczema is a skin inflammation that causes red, dry, scaly skin and creates rashes and raised blisters that may ooze. Though it is a relatively common skin condition, its severity can range widely. These patches of skin may occur anywhere, from just on someone’s hands to a person’s entire body. There is still no known cause (though it can be genetic) for eczema, nor any cure; only oral prescription medications and topical ointments to relieve symptoms. One’s symptoms can flare for a variety of reasons, including scratching, high stress levels, eating certain foods, and extreme temperatures.

Having had eczema my entire life on both of my hands, I have certainly had my share of difficulties. While I never cared I had no chance of ever becoming a hand model, I always worried about shaking or holding people’s hands and having them feel my cuts and blisters. I pretended that I didn’t care about my skin condition, that I shouldn’t waste time and money putting on ointment if there isn’t even a cure, but I would find myself hiding my hands if a person I was talking to had any possibility of seeing them. If I had an important event or meeting that day, I would spend a good ten minutes getting ready, not by putting make-up on (for me, that only takes about five minutes), but by putting my prescribed ointment on the affected areas and then use ten bandages to cover everything up. My scratching habits are terrible; to this day, I rub my itchy patches against my clothes to soothe them, only to cause my blisters to bleed afresh.

In short, my eczema has always been a cause of my insecurity and probably one of the main reasons my self-image and confidence never started out very high.

It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I realized I had to do something about it. I can’t make my eczema go away, but I can learn to accept it. By accepting, I could then think of ways to deal with the condition with a clear mind. Rather than resisting treatment (putting ointment on every night, which I always thought was a hassle), I now try to remember because at least if my rashes do go away temporarily, my hands won’t be a sore sight to see anymore. Even though it is still a hassle, I’d much rather deal with that than seeing a stranger’s disgusted expression.

For those of you out there who are in the same situation as me, I hope you will feel less alone and learn from my experience. Perhaps you’ll even be the one to find a cure someday. For now, though, we should just make the most of what we can and accept our circumstances. Eczema, after all, isn’t detrimental to our lives; it’s merely another one of life’s obstacles that we can and must overcome. I’ve become a stronger person in the process, and I’m sure you will too.

Article by Lydia Hu

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