Embrace your Skin: Living and Thriving with Eczema - Guest Blog from Hypnotherapist Jennifer Austin

The journey of accepting your skin can be a lonely path and an emotional rollercoaster. Particularly when living with a condition like eczema. Eczema causes physical pain and discomfort but also impacts self-esteem and social interactions. People can lose confidence, self-isolate and even lose their sense of identity. They grieve for good skin days, their past life/self and things they can no longer do, such as exercise. It is possible to live a fulfilling, enjoyable life while managing eczema. This blog will guide you through accepting your eczema. You can learn to embrace your condition as a unique aspect of who you are.

The Mental Impact

The mental impacts of eczema can be as challenging as the physical symptoms. Mindfulness and stress-reduction strategies can be a transformative tool. Such as engaging in meditation, hypnosis, or deep-breathing exercises. This aids in stress management and fosters a deeper connection with oneself. This promotes a sense of inner peace. Acknowledging and expressing emotions is crucial. It's okay to feel frustrated or upset about your skin's condition. These mindfulness practices offer a pathway to resilience. They help to alleviate the psychological burdens. This is necessary to enable a more harmonious relationship with both mind and body.

Here are some things to address when working on the mental impact of your skin condition:

1.     Set aside unrealistic expectations. The beauty standards in the media cause us to think flawless faces are possible and the ‘norm’. This is not the case and it’s hard to accept your skin if you’re aiming for perfection.

2.     Stop comparing to others on their skin journeys. Copying a skincare routine that works for someone else, probably won’t work for you, and that’s okay. Everyone is different. Our diet, climate, hormones and even our genetic makeup all influence our skin. There is no ‘right’ way to deal with a chronic condition. You know yourself best.

3.     There is more to you and your identity than your skin condition. Your relationships, your values, beliefs, work, and hobbies. Your passion, love, kindness and goals.

4.     Listen to the flares. See them as a warning sign that you need to listen to your body and slow down. Perhaps you’re taking on too much right now, or aren’t doing enough of what makes your happy. Are you breaking out every month right before your menstrual cycle? Are certain foods causing flare ups on your skin?  Try viewing flares as a useful indicator. It's your skin communicating with you, rather than being the enemy.

5.     Be patient. Remind yourself each flare is temporary. It takes about 4 weeks for the surface of your skin to regenerate, so it can take time. Have faith in yourself, you’ve got through it before and you’ll get through it this time too. Your relationship with your skin will change over time, and your skin will change it’s needs to. If something isn’t working for you anymore, try not to panic, it’s normal and natural to need to make adjustments.

The Support System

The journey to embracing your eczema doesn't have to lonely. Cultivating a network of understanding allies can make it easier and more enjoyable. Ranging from loved ones to healthcare experts, or others like you. Engaging with people who have similar experiences fosters a sense of belonging and shared resilience. Connecting with online forums, Instagram and community groups offers a platform to exchange advice. You can learn from others' journeys, and feel part of a broader collective navigating the same challenges. If you are not already aware of it, check out Itch N’ Bitch for a wonderful skin community and even meet-ups.

Take Your Time

Living with eczema is a journey of self-acceptance and patience. Of resilience, and empowerment. Remember, your skin does not define your worth. Embracing its uniqueness can lead to a more fulfilling and joyful life. You can live your life, despite the flares. Together, we can learn to celebrate the beauty of diversity. As well as promoting awareness for all of us living with skin conditions.