"Eczema is a disease that no one can understand fully unless they have experienced it themselves. For 15 years of my life, I have battled this disease by myself. But I’m starting to realize I don’t have to endure this fight all alone."
Published On: Oct 15, 2020
Last Updated On: Oct 29, 2020
I knew it would come to this day … the day that I’ve been dreading to type about … the day I actually take the time to share the confessions behind my eczema.
See, all my life I suffered with eczema. It started right before puberty, and I’ve still carried on with this condition up until now. I find myself sitting here thinking how can I help others? So many people could use my help when it comes to this subject, yet it’s so difficult to talk about.
As a child, my eczema was primarily on my eyelids, around my mouth and on my forearms. Twenty-six years later, I have it under control where I can finally come out of my shell and show off this beautiful skin that has been hiding underneath.
I was always teased throughout middle school. I was asked, “Why are you wearing eye shadow? Or even questions like, “What were you doing that your mouth is all pink and red?” The questions became even more uncomfortable once I got to high school. It’s a shame that people don’t truly know how uncomfortable it is to have this condition let alone having to deal with the ignorant questions. I still managed to keep my head up high.
My mother was always making sure I had the best treatment(s) in the world. When I say treatments, yes, I was a child who suffered from asthma along with allergies. She took me to all the specialists and dermatologist, yet nothing really worked.
It wasn’t until adulthood that I took control of my own body. I started doing a lot of research on atopic dermatitis and took matters into my own hands. I was tired of dealing with itchy, scaly, blotchy, red/pink skin. I stopped using exfoliants to try and “scrub away” my eczema.
I cut out all juices with high sugar. Sheesh, now that I think about it, I barely even drink juice. I cut out dairy from my diet because, along with my eczema, I realized dairy would make me have acne breakouts, especially on my chin where I started to develop “cystic like” pimples.
After noticing that this was helping, I added more whole foods into my diet, including more fruits and veggies. I stopped eating out and cut down my coffee intake to only a cup in the morning. I incorporated brown sugar and honey and coffee scrubs into my skin care routine. I even threw away any products that had fragrances. (And trust me, it has been a B A T T L E.) But I am so happy with how far I’ve come.
Now before I go, I want to let all the other eczema warriors know: Don’t ever let someone bring you down over a condition you can’t fully control. We were born to stand out and give our story to help others suffering from the same condition.
There is HOPE! You keep looking for a better outcome because, somewhere along that line, you will get there! DO NOT LET ECZEMA STOP YOU! You are BEAUTIFUL, and you are RESILIENT!
Karina Santana is an eczema warrior living in Philadelphia. Follow her on Instagram @_k.santana_