If You Meet Someone With Eczema…
Tips to help cut down embarrassment, annoyance and humiliation for everyone. Feel free to comment with more suggestions, or tell me if you think I’m off base on something.
– Asking “what do you use?” or “What helps you?” are much better questions than “Have you tried XYZ I just know it would help!” Asking what works is a more positive point of view to come from, and reinforces the feeling that you can control eczema to some degree. Most eczema sufferers have tried so many treatments they could spend a good deal of time regaling you with stories what they tried and how their skin reacted, and the descriptions would probably get more graphic than you want to hear.
– Please, please, please don’t tell someone after just meeting them and looking at their skin for 10 seconds that you know exactly what would “cure” them. Petroleum jelly may have helped your niece’s mild eczema, Lubriderm might work great on your moderate eczema, and fish oil may help your brother’s dog’s contact dermatitis. But you don’t know the medical history of this new person; what they’ve tried and what their triggers are.
– This sounds obvious, but don’t make fun of their skin. It’s the same thing as laughing at someone during an asthma attack, teasing a diabetic because of their diet, or making jokes about any other health problem that causes pain and alters your entire lifestyle. It is not funny. People with eczema, especially severe eczema, have been ridiculed as long as they’ve had the disease and they don’t deserve it and they don’t need it. They’re in enough physical and emotional pain already. When you can’t bear to see your own face because it’s covered in oozing welts that won’t heal you are quite aware that you are not what people want to see. We do not need ridicule or pity, but compassion. No matter how a person looks they are still a person. Mocking your friend, even if you think it’s funny, and you mean to be affectionate, is not funny. Personally I’m sick of being teased for how I eat; It’s necessary, not optional. Yes my diet is boring, but I’m far more annoyed by that than anyone else is. I’m sick of being teased for the fact that when I sit down I tuck my pants in to the back of my legs so the skin won’t touch itself; that’s necessary not optional.