The Emotional Effect of Eczema

The emotional impact of atopic eczema can be challenging on any given day.


“Mommy, someone asked me why skin looks like this.”

It’s that moment as Mothers that every possible emotion runs through our body and we want to crawl inside our child’s body and take away all their pain. My son Ryan asked me this question at the age of 5. He was in Kindergarten and came out of school with that question. Now let me point out that Ryan was actually not upset at all about this at that point. Ryan has atopic eczema as well as psoriasis. In the winter his legs look like snake skin scales. In the Summer his skin looks like tiny red dots all over his legs and the back of arms. Ryan’s eczema flare-ups occur mostly on the back of his neck and on the inside of the crease of his arms. On this particular day, he had a flare-up on the inside of his arms.

Skin care consistency is hard work!

Ryan wasn’t upset about someone asking him this question. The reason why I got so upset was because I had an immediate feeling of guilt that I’m not doing enough to care for his eczema. I was given the following tips to care for his eczema:

      1. No scented soaps. Use Cetaphil body wash for kids.
      3. Use hypo-allergenic sheets
      4. Use over-the-counter cortisone or prescription medicine for flare-ups.

Well, we all know as Mom’s that choosing our battles is the golden rule. Well Ryan Strongly Disliked the feeling of lotion (I’d say hate but it is a bad word in our house)! He doesn’t like how it feels when it sticks to his pants, he doesn’t like how it feels when it goes on… he just doesn’t like it!

So in breaking my number one rule of staying consistent I have slipped. I have slipped in being consistent with his lotion after a shower, I am letting him use the fun Ninja Turtle body wash, and I am not monitoring the temperature of his water to ensure it is “lukewarm”. This question that Ryan was asked hurt my feelings more than it hurt his because I felt so badly. I thought of all the things I could or should be doing to make sure “his skin doesn’t look like that”.

Some days are harder than others...

The same night, as he asked this question his flare-up, was the worst I had ever seen. He scratched his arms in the middle of the night so badly that he began to bleed. He cried so much that it made me cry. We tried cool compresses but it only seemed to make it worse. I had to wait until he fell back to sleep to put the cortisone cream on. This night of the flare-up wasn’t the first and it wasn’t the last. That night I did vow to become more consistent to take care of his skin. He still doesn’t like lotion, but that is a work in progress.

As parents and caregivers, how do you help support your child with atopic eczema? Have your own experience you would like to share with the community, check out our Share Your Story section.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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