Will Eczema Ever Be Normal? ... Spoiler Alert It Is!

Last updated: August 2021

Two songs come to mind when I think of the word normal. “What’s normal anyway?” by singer Miguel and “Normal Girl” by SZA. I feel like people with moderate to severe eczema, myself included, tend to think that everyone else has “normal” skin in comparison.

Misunderstood and dismissed

Others could never begin to imagine our level of suffering. We may think that we are too uniquely inflamed and broken to connect with the milder eczema sufferers or even other skin disease sufferers. If we are not inflamed enough without hope or considered a life-threatening condition, we aren’t seen as important as other well-known disability diseases. It is a middle ground that could leave us to feel outcasted.

What's normal anyway?

In “What’s Normal Anyway?”, Miguel states,

“Too opinionated for the pacifist, too out of touch to be in style.

Too immoral for the Christians, but too moral for the cut-throat.

Too far out for the in-crowd… what’s normal anyway?”

There is no such thing as normal skin

His quest to feel normal or find somewhere that he belongs causes him to question the very idea of normal and rather embrace the idea of acceptance, having no need to fit in anywhere. In my opinion, this is the best conclusion to make about eczema. Our skin is not considered normal. Clearly, flare-ups are extreme cases of skin problems, but the reality is that no one has “normal” skin. If people actually spoke up about the problems they do have with their skin, we would all realize that we all are in this quest for normalcy, just at different levels.

Personal senses of normalcy

No one wakes up and says, “Wow, I feel normal today,” connecting that to this universal idea of normal. On a good day, what is usually meant is, “I’m feeling like MYSELF, like MY normal.” Understanding that my normal is not anyone else's normal, but we all know what it feels like to be our personal best selves versus not. I say this to highlight the reality that normal is unknown. It is simply an idea. Many people I grew up around always thought that my skin was normal because I would mostly disappear or hide the problem when it was not. This is normal for most people, so we never truly know how common our problems are unless someone has the courage to speak on them.

Eczema is more common than we think

Newsflash, eczema is normal! Many children have it, and many adults say they grew out of it, but if you follow the skin type of many of those adults, they still have signs of atopic dermatitis. Dry skin types or eczema-prone adults who have to use a certain product to combat breakouts are well-known, normal skin types. They’ve just developed a maintenance routine to keep things under control. In the eyes of a moderate to severe eczema patient with patches and irritation that stick around, they will look at the dry skin, eczema-prone individual and think they have “normal” skin. That normal-skinned person will then look at someone else who doesn’t have to deal with what they do and think the other person has normal skin, and the cycle continues.

Transparency and vulnerability are key

When I say newsflash, that cycle is what I’m referring to. The severities may differ, but everyone can relate to not having what they consider normal with their own skin. So, the next time you feel outcasted with no one to relate to, understand that there is no connection without vulnerability. Without transparency and being open with what you are going through, you won’t experience the compassion that many can feel towards those with eczema because they too have a certain level of understanding of not living up to their personal normal. Tell me a time you were surprised to hear that someone you knew had eczema too. Many found an online community like this one with so much in common that you actually feel normal!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Which allergies do you live with? (Select all that apply)