Camping With Atopic Eczema

In 2017 I was invited to attend a retreat for IBD patients. We camped out for a few days and while I loved the experience, unfortunately, my skin did not.

The environment is aggravating my skin!

The first night when I arrived I got in pretty late. I'd worked all day and by the time you add in the flight and drive to the camp, I'd missed a good deal of the night. Before I went to bed I decided to take a quick shower. It was then I began to notice that my skin was already starting to become aggravated. This made sense. I flew, the air was pretty dry alongside the hour long car ride in an entirely different environment from what I was used to. I didn't stress it too much. By the time I was ready for bed it became apparent that my skin was absolutely not made for camping. The cold, yet the oddly dry air of the outdoors made my skin tingle and burn. I tossed and turned during the night because between the itching of my face and the swelling of my arms, I was pretty frustrated.

Although I'd just showered the night before, I'm pretty sure I took another in the morning. I felt dirty and if there's one thing I do know, it's that my skin and dirt DO NOT mix. I brought ointments because I figured something like this might happen, but I honestly didn't expect it to get so bad, so fast.

When the nighttime is worse than the daytime

Throughout the day my skin didn't actively bother me. For a while, I'd forgotten all about it, but when night fell, I always got an abrupt reminder. The second night seemed worse than the first. The dark, swollen patches on my arms were now extremely itchy and almost felt sticky. My face was slightly swollen and I also noticed a bit of redness beginning to appear. Throughout the stay I continued to treat my skin as I would normally. It was also pretty apparent that I wasn't the only one having medical issues, a few other girls were having some issues too.

Weighing the pros vs cons of activities

While I did love the trip and it was such an amazing opportunity that I will forever be extremely grateful for, I don't think I will be participating in anything like that again. It's sad and unfortunate, but living with conditions that affect the skin requires a lot more work and care. Of course, going on the trip I knew I had atopic eczema, that's why I brought all of the products I did. I never want to limit myself or miss out on opportunities because of my condition but there are times when you just have to weigh the pros versus the cons. The trip was lovely, but it took me a long time to get my skin back into its normal state and routine. Those were truly memories that I will cherish forever, but that'll be my last camping trip for quite some time.

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