• Justine Charles de Leon

Interview with Jaerielle: Eczema and What You Should Know About It

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Breaking the Misconceptions Surrounding Eczema

Eczema is the umbrella term for a group of skin conditions characterized by its dry, rough, scaly, inflamed appearance, and itchiness.1 Eczema can develop at any stage of life, and it can range from mild to severe. Eczema develops due to a combination of environmental triggers, allergens, and genes.2 Specifically, a gene variation changes the skin’s barrier, preventing it from providing proper protection against environmental triggers, irritants, and allergens, which activates an immune response that causes the characteristic symptoms to emerge.2 It can be treated through over-the-counter remedies, prescription topical medications, phototherapy, immunosuppressants, biologic drugs, and natural/alternative treatments.1

It’s important to note that eczema looks different for everyone; its symptoms and location on the body can vary between people. Eczema cannot spread from one person to another due to its relation to gene variation, so it is not contagious. Having this skin condition causes many to feel self-conscious and insecure because they experience stares, harsh comments, and are avoided by others. Eczema is nothing to be ashamed about, as it is a common skin condition experienced by many around the world. In hopes to raise awareness of eczema and break the preconceived ideas that revolve around the condition, we interviewed Jaerielle, a 25-year-old working student who has eczema.

1. What are some common misconceptions about eczema?

Jaerielle: “They think that you can outgrow it, or you can get rid of it, but the truth is eczema is actually an auto immune disease, so if you have it, you have it for life. The people who have “gotten rid” of it, they have it maintained or during that time it hasn’t activated [the inflammation].”

2. What are some tips you would like to recommend to those experiencing eczema?

Jaerielle: “My biggest piece of advice when it comes to those who are struggling with eczema is definitely the temperature of the showers that you take. So cold showers are better; hot water dries up the skin so that actually irritates the skin even more, that which can cause flare ups. Diet, what you eat, red meat. Any food that is inflammatory, red meats, you can avoid, because of the GMOs that’s in it. Fruits and vegetables are very much recommended; any antioxidant, anti inflammatory, turmeric is really good, it helps reduce swelling.”

3. Is there anything else you would like to mention to someone struggling with eczema?

Jaerielle: “It’s obviously a struggle, like I have been dealing with it my whole life, some days are better than others, some months are better than others. I just have to say, it does get better if you take the right measures to help yourself. Obviously it is a lot on the mental, because if you’re struggling in your body image, it can hurt, like how you think of yourself mentally and how you look at yourself. So, just continue to love yourself, and continue to be diligent with your skincare routine, the way you eat, and even environment plays a big factor. Stress inflames your skin as well as your gut health. It can be bad for that as well. Always be mindful how you are mentally as well, because that can add to it.”

Eczema is real and it can have mental and emotional implications towards those who have it. However, we can help raise awareness by debunking the misconceptions people have towards the condition. It is important to encourage our friends and families who have it, to not let this condition negatively affect their self-esteem and self-worth. Let’s be there for those who suffer from eczema by letting them know that there is no shame in having this skin condition.

1 https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/

2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20353273

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