Eczema can be unpredictable and embarrassing, flaring with utter disregard for social plans, professional obligations, or scholastic responsibilities.
It’s little wonder that research found that nearly one-half of adults with atopic dermatitis avoid social interactions because of their appearance. We asked the eczema community:
What do you do when your eczema flares in public?
“Grin and bear it. I often feel the need to mention it to those around me so they understand why I may seem distracted. I hate it when people ask, ‘What happened to your face?’ I’d rather just help educate everyone before that question comes up.” – Laura L.
“Generally, if eczema flares in public, I drink some water as a cooling technique and semidistraction, or I excuse myself from the gathering to scratch in the bathroom.” – Rebecca V.
“Pop antihistamines and try not to scratch, then go home to smother myself in ointment as soon as possible. My friends understand.” – Elizabeth S.
“Just sit and be miserable like I am now.” – Sharie S.
“I can usually tell by how it feels if I need to go home and take it easy, or if I can grin and bear it. I always have Aquaphor and Benadryl on me everywhere I go.” – Elizabeth K.
“I just sit there and let my face weep, and if anyone points it out, I start crying. I mean, there is not much I can do about it.” – Gabriella A.
“I try really hard not to itch it. It kind of helps that it’s on my chest and ankle, which are both awkward places to itch in public, lol.” – Charlie Anna H.
“I’d itch! Sometimes I bring cotton gloves (it’s on my hands) and wear them. I know it’s awkward.” – Alem M.
“Eh, I just scratch or rub. I don’t hide it anymore. If people don’t like it, they can look the other way or make themselves out to be an ass for drawing attention to someone who is obviously in pain.” – Emily B.
“Wear flip flops so that rubbing feet and ankles together is easier and more effective. For hands, sticking them in pockets and rubbing them on the rough inside and/or excusing oneself for a full-on scratch fest outside.” – allergykid2006
“When my eczema flares in public, I stay quiet and as calm as possible — otherwise I know it will get worse.” – iharrydo
“Having a bad flare of dyshidrotic eczema on both hands at the moment. When I see people staring at my hands, I try to let them know that it’s eczema and I’m not contagious. Sometimes I don’t even make it that far because some people walk away in order to avoid me.” – anabrathwaite
“How about when people want to shake your hand, and you’re like ‘Nooooo!’” – aj_is_awsome
“I keep hyaluronic acid with me. If my face itches or burns, I find a bathroom to rinse my face off really, really well … then use the acid.” – missxiuni
“There’s nothing TO do about it! I take myself away from the stressor if I can. For example, moving outside or near a fan if it’s too hot inside. But most of the time, I just have to grin and bear it.” –kristinahowell7
“Applying a cold flannel or napkin to the area to limit itchiness and scratching!” – amberwhiteford.physiotherapist