Are You Comfortable in Your Own Skin?
Last updated: April 2023
When you’re younger, looks matter. When you’re in the last quarter of your life, as I am, looks become a bit less important. I still want to look my best, and I try to stay on top of fashion. But the makeup, hair, etc. gets afforded less time. I now don’t worry what other people think of how I look as long as I am clean, well-turned out, and reasonably presentable for whatever occasion arises.
Why don't I mind my friends' comments?
When friends notice or comment on my skin, it’s generally when my face is inflamed and red, and they’re just asking if I’m all right. As we age, there are worries about blood pressure and other health problems that are far more important and less visible. I know they’re asking because they care, not to be nosy, or cause me embarrassment. It’s the care a friend shows when they see a spider has landed on your hair, and they actually use their fingers to remove it. That is caring.
What do I do to manage my eczema?
There are things I still need to take time for. Wearing nitrile gloves when cutting veggies or almost any food has become commonplace. Also, for dishes, cleaning, and many other things around the house. If I need to wear them for any length of time, I use medicated ointment or just a heavy cream under cotton gloves. Then cover those with larger plastic gloves. This is all done without even thinking about it now. If I happen to be in a time when my eczema is almost nonexistent, and I’m only dealing with very dry skin, I often skip these precautions. Occasionally I get reminded that being lazy about it comes with consequences.
What does it mean to be comfortable?
When you become “comfortable in your own skin,” as the saying goes, life is easier. I’ve become comfortable in my own skin, whether it’s red and rough, cracked and bleeding, painful and itchy, or, at best, just dry and flaky.
There are times when I have focused on my skin more than I probably needed to. Using tweezers to peel every last bit of the flaking skin off my face (when the moisturizer doesn’t quite glue it down) before leaving home. And yes, there are times when I still become frustrated with the time and expense my eczema requires. But for the most part, I am now comfortable in my own skin.
How have I handled my recent flare?
A few weeks ago, in the middle of one of the worst flares on my face and neck, I was invited for an outing with a longtime friend who I hadn’t seen in a long time. There was a time much earlier in my life when I would have canceled rather than go out with my face looking like this. It was a wonderful time I’m happy I didn’t miss it.
As I write this, I’m hopefully seeing the calming of that flare, as I’m scheduled soon for a lovely birthday lunch with a few friends. Do I wish my face was not quite so inflamed? Of course. But it’s not going to stop me from having a lovely visit and great food.
With age comes acceptance, if not wisdom.
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