I realize now that I made a blog post all about my current skincare routine without going into detail about my eczema journey. Yes, I do have eczema but it is not the kind you hear people mildly complain about on a day to day basis. My case was, and still is, a bit more severe.
DISCLAIMER: These photos may be a bit much for some people. View at your own risk… Also, they were taken a hot second ago so they may be a bit fuzzy.
When I was about 16 I started to notice dark, dry patches forming around my mouth, nose and eyebrow area. My mom setup an appointment at a basic walk in clinic (not a dermatologist for whatever reason…) to get the situation looked at. The doctor concluded that it was mild eczema, gave me a cream, and warned me not to use too much unless I wanted my skin bleached. Cool story bro, case closed…
SIKE!! It only goes down hill from here.
Fast forward a few years later. I finally completed my first year of college and things were feeling pretty good. My facial eczema had seen some better days, but I switched up my moisturizers and started using Gold Bond lotion on my body. I mean it’s Gold Bond, would the commercials really lie to me? I was fortunate enough to land my first on campus job, which required me to move into my dorm before the academic year started. The job was more than a job, it was a student leadership position that required a lot of time and effort. I was beyond excited to start the program y’all, my energy level was on 10!
A few days later, I notice what looked to be a pimple on the middle of my arm. A pimple. On my arm…A pimple? WHY WOULD THERE BE A PIMPLE ON MY ARM? (actual thoughts from my brain at that time). – See the thing is, I rarely get pimples. I may get one or two a year, but that is really it, so I was kind of confused. I decided to ignore the pimple and to keep focusing on training for this leadership position (mistake #1).
The days passed, everyone moved back on campus and the academic year had started. My classes, studies and this new job took up a lot of my time. Looking back on it, I was pretty worn out and stressed but I was too busy enjoying the flames to notice that I was in hell (did I tell you I was a bit dramatic?). The busier I got, the more these little pimples began to multiply and itch…and spread, and grow. Something was defiantly going on and it was NOT acne. Like any other grown, sophisticated young adult would do, I called my mom and sent her pictures. She was freaking out and so was I! I waited entirely too long to inform her of my condition and it was rapidly getting worse (mistake #2).
The pimples turned into a rash and that mother f*cker was spreading everywhere. My scalp and ears were pealing like a reptile shedding its skin. My mom took me to a urgent care clinic. Doctor assumed it was Psoriasis and recommended a dermatologist. That dermatologist was booked solid for weeks at a time, so I had to wait another week until I could visit my mom’s dermatologist. A week of suffering and an expanding rash later, my moms dermatologist did not know what was going on, but he knew for a fact that it was not Psoriasis. His assumption was that it was just a random rash that got way too inflamed. He gave me a shot, tons of scalp and skin creams, and advice on how to clear up my new spots.
I realize that up until this point, I have not really mentioned my eczema but I promise it is all about to come full circle.
Post rash my skin was rash-less, but it did not return back to normal. My skin was just so parched now and non of my previous moisturizers could quench it. I had tons of new eczema patches on my face and body and they were R O U G H. My scalp was so dry and 10x flakier than usual. I personally feel like that random rash triggered my eczema to get worse(see, full circle). The stressful school year and job position made things no better either. On occasion I still experience eczema breakouts. They are milder than the pictures, but still an inconvenience non the less. Skincare is a struggle bruh.
Time has passed and after spending tons of money on new products, two haircuts from an extremely dry scalp that caused hair loss (that story is for a different post), and five more dermatologist appointments later, I am still hanging in there. I’ve finally found a regimen that works for me. My skin is more hydrated and radiant than it has been in a while, for this I am grateful. All things considered, I learned 3 valuable lessons:
- TRUST YA GUT AND CALL YA MAMA ASAP
I should have BEEN called my mom when I noticed the first “pimple” and thought it looked out of place.
2. YOUR HEALTH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING
It could be a new school year, a new job, hell even a new house – but nothing is more important than your health. I should have put my studies and job on hold so I could have a more flexible schedule for dermatologist appointments.
3. STRESS IS DANGEROUS!
I never realized how damaging stress could be on my health until the initial rash, and other, more mild eczema breakouts post rash. There is nothing wrong with the thrill of living a busy lifestyle, but it is a problem if it compromises your health.
Pick yourself, always.
If you’re still rocking with me after this long blog post, then you are the real MVP. Let me know in the comment section if you have eczema, and what products help you manage it best.