The Most Hurtful Comments
Some comments are eye-roll worthy, some are downright annoying, and others can be just plain mean. On top of living with a skin condition that we have no control over, we are sometimes treated like punching bags. Our skin may be thicker (literally) but that doesn't mean it's impermeable to the hurtful things that someone might say about us. The Editorial Team at AtopicDermatitis.net asked our advocate team about the most hurtful comments they’ve heard about their skin and this is what they had to say:
Being called names
Jeff: This is a tough one because there have been so many of the years. I’ve heard everything from, “People don’t want to talk to you because they’re grossed out by your skin,” to repeatedly being called “eczema boy” or “pimple boy” when I was in first grade. Out of those comments, the second one stands out the most. I vividly remember a third-grade student making comments like that, among others, on a routine basis. I still recall his name to this day, despite those incidents taking place over 23 years ago.
Chad: I hear it all the time, "red man," from work and from ice hockey. It is frustrating having the skin condition and I do not need people making comments about it.
Pointing out the flaws in my skin
Raelle: An adult reacting to my skin that I tried to hide saying, "What's that!?" It was said in a tone of voice with despair, shock, and confusion while other people were around. To me, it feels like the same level of ignorance that shows when people say, "You are so skinny." Speaking on the appearance of another person in that manner is never acceptable. You never know anyone's internal battles and even if it may not look bad on the person does not give you the right to speak on their body image.
Daisy: Sometimes people don't have to say anything just by staring for a long time or pointing at me bothers me. Also, people have asked me what's wrong with my skin in front of many others. I don't let it get to me anymore because I remind myself everyone is fighting their own battle.
Being called abnormal
Cora Lyn: I have two. One close friend who was trying to show some empathy once told me she wished I could be normal. I am normal! I just have a skin condition. I’m not my eczema. It shouldn’t have hurt after living over 70 years with eczema, but it did, even though it came from a place of caring. But the topper? “Your skin feels like sandpaper.” After that, any others are unimportant.
The redness on my face isn't caked on makeup
Ashley: I was in high school and out to dinner with my dance team when I overheard someone say "I think she's wearing too much makeup." I pretended like I didn't hear her, but knew it was because my cheeks looked dark red, almost blue due to the flare-up I was experiencing. Fortunately, a good friend who knew my condition, replied to her, "That's not makeup, she has eczema."
Eczema isn't contagious and I'm not going to die
Louise: One man thought I was going to die. He said, "Wow, you look really bad, and obviously, you are not seeing the right medical professionals to help get this problem taken care of. I am afraid I will catch what you have." Also, "I am highly concerned that you are going to die from this." (The person never contacted me again).
What are the most hurtful comments that you’ve heard about your skin?
Have you been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis?