No Longer Feeling Embarrassed About Having Eczema
Currently, I’m traveling around the South Pacific for 2 years and I’m now in Fiji. Sometimes, I think it helps to have a change of scenery to develop a change in perspective about life and even about eczema. Specifically how eczema shows up in your life and what your skin is capable of given the environment.
In Fiji, something that I’ve learned is that the locals are not shy about pointing out when you have something wrong with you. And being in this super hot, humid weather has both been great for my skin in certain parts of my body and worse in others.
The good parts are that the super humidity has cleared up dry rashes that have been occurring between my fingers as a result of an unstable diet during my travels. Also, I notice that the skin on my face is super smooth and soft and the lines around my eyes have greatly diminished as a result from all the sweating I’ve been doing. I also suspect that the heat has been good for my blood circulation.
Itchy flares on my neck
The bad parts are that I’ve been getting eaten alive by mozzies (aka “mosquitoes” as the Kiwis from New Zealand—another place I’ve recently visited—say) and while the sweating has been really good for my face and hands, it hasn’t been as great for my neck which has gotten itchier and flared more from it. Though, strangely enough, the mosquito bites aren’t as itchy in Fiji as they have been in New Zealand for me at least.
Going through all of these fluctuations in temperature, weather, and residence (mostly Airbnbing and occasional Couchsurfing) has made it difficult to keep a steady skincare and rash recovery routine like I would have at home. And so, especially with my neck, I haven’t been able to bounce back or hide the flare-ups as well as I could before.
What's wrong with your skin?
And so, recently, I was staying with a family at an Airbnb in Fiji and the hostess immediately commented on my neck and asked me what was wrong with it? And, whereas before I would feel defensive, sad, and embarrassed about visible rashes, this time around I somehow found myself seeing her concern, appreciating it, and then educating her on what I thought the root causes of it were at this time (change in climate, lots of sweating, stress). And I did it with a calm mindset and the knowledge that I knew what the sources of the rash were and how to balance it all out once I had the chance or traveled to another country with a cooler and slightly drier climate.
Once I educated her on my imbalances, explained everything to her about how I planned to remedy it, and most importantly, told her that I was not in any pain or discomfort (which I wasn’t when I was speaking with her), I could see that she immediately felt relieved and was able to let it go.
This was an amazing and life-changing experience for me and I am so grateful that I have observed my own patterns and triggers enough to explain them to others with confidence. It may take me some time to fully bounce back, but I’ve done it before, so I know I will again and that makes all the difference in the world!
On an average day, how would you rate your level of anxiety related to atopic dermatitis?