I’m Alex, and I’m 15 years old. My aunt, Michelle, is the managing editor at Poosh and asked me if I’d be willing to share my journey with eczema. So here it is!
I have struggled with severe eczema since I was born. There’s never really been a time when I wasn’t struggling with it. Eczema is a condition that makes your skin incredibly itchy and inflamed, and it can look like a rash. Over 31 million Americans have some form of eczema. I have a severe form that I continue to struggle with. While many people grow out of their eczema, I never did. Ahead, I’m sharing treatments I’ve tried throughout the years as well as photos so Poosh readers can see the ups and downs of my flare-ups and to bring comfort to those who might also be dealing with sensitive skin issues.
I’ve tried almost every treatment that there is. I’ve tried light therapy, bleach baths, wet wraps, and I was even on a medication that’s used to treat some kinds of cancers. The first treatment that I can remember doing is light therapy when I was about 5. I would stand in what looked like a tanning bed for a few minutes each week. Luckily, my aunt Michelle would take me to most of these sessions, and she’d comfort me by playing fun music to help the time pass. These machines use UVB light to reduce itching, calm inflammation, increase vitamin D production, and increase bacteria-fighting systems in the skin. I did this for about six months.
The treatment that I remember doing for the longest is a medication called Methotrexate. I was on this for about five years, and it was probably one of the most effective treatments that I’ve done. The reason I quit taking it is that it stopped being as effective and I would’ve had to get a liver biopsy to make sure that my liver was in good enough condition to increase my dosage.
In 2017, I went to a program at National Jewish Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. This was a major turning point in my journey with my skin. It was an intense two-week program where I went through allergy testing and various treatments. I still use all of the strategies that they gave me there (like the wet wraps and bath soaks), and they have continued to work years later. I also met new friends during the program who I still stay in touch with.
The below photos show six-week progress on Mometasone Furoate Ointment (the latest topical prescription I’m on), and consistent bath soaks followed by sleeping in overnight wet wraps (as needed).
Like most 15-year-olds, I love to play with makeup and experiment with different skincare products. The difference is, I have to be very careful with makeup and skincare brands that I use. I always have to look out for (and avoid) products with dyes, perfumes, and other irritants; otherwise, my skin flares and it’s difficult to get it back under control at times. Tower 28 is one of my favorite makeup brands because it’s directly approved by the National Eczema Association, so I can feel safe applying it to my skin.
Having eczema has taught me to be confident in myself. No matter how much I struggle with it and how frustrated I get, I always remember that it’s a significant part of who I am and always will be. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who speak out about their struggles with skin conditions, have definitely helped me to be less self-conscious about my skin. Kim has been so open about her journey with psoriasis, and hearing her feel vulnerable makes me feel better. To anyone else who has problems with their skin, I would tell them to always be confident in themselves, and that they are not alone.
Shop some of my go-to products that work for my skin below.
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