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Venting Aloud: *Itch Sessions

Eczema is frustrating. We hear you, we see you, and we understand. But, why?

Is it the embarrassment and shame that we sometimes feel? Is it the comments or unsolicited advice that others who don't live with this visible skin condition feel the need to share? Is it the vast number of treatments or skincare products that just don't work? Is it how it affects our relationships with friends, family, and partners? Or is it because we've encountered health professionals who just didn't get it?

What are *itch Sessions?

What if it's all of the above? Eczema is frustrating. We may not feel the need to explain ourselves to each other, but a vent session here or there never hurt anyone. That's why we've created a series of what we're fondly calling "*itch Sessions" to give the community the opportunity to vent aloud about eczema's stigma, treatments, impact on relationships, and experiences with medical professionals.

How have you felt stigmatized because of your eczema?

Self-confidence can be challenging for anyone, let alone someone living with a visible skin condition. People stare, make commentary, and share their opinions openly – sometimes a little too openly. It's no wonder so many of us struggle with our self-image and feel embarrassed or ashamed.

Maybe you've experienced subtle looks, loud commentary, or something else entirely. How have you felt stigmatized because of your eczema?

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How have treatments and skincare products let you down?

Though there's an abundance of skincare products and a growing number of treatments on the market for eczema, very few tend to work. Eczema-prone skin is sensitive to irritants and triggering ingredients, and what works today might not work tomorrow. Plus, some people who don't live with the condition seem to have an opinion on how to treat or "cure" eczema. It can all feel very suffocating.

Maybe you've experienced this and more. What have your experiences been when it comes to your eczema care and treatment?

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How have your relationships been affected?

Whether it's canceling plans, feeling misunderstood by those closest to us, or embarking on a new relationship and coming clean about our skin, eczema reached far beyond us. Loved ones may feel frustrated because we feel too embarrassed to go out. Arguments may start because loved ones who don't live with the condition just don't understand. Or someone who's new to eczema may feel overwhelmed by the condition and reject us because of it.

You might not have these specific experiences, but we've all had our own trials with relationships. What have yours looked like?

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How have medical professionals let you down?

The people who really should "get it," outside of others living with eczema, is our team of healthcare professionals. But that's not always the case. They may understand the medical terminology and pathophysiology of the condition, but they aren't living it day-to-day. They may believe that specific treatments we don't want to take should be tried, or maybe they've run out of new ideas for treatment plans. It's okay to feel disappointed or aggravated by our doctors.

Maybe you've had an entirely different negative experience with your doctor. What did that look like, and how did you handle it?

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This is a safe space to vent, vent, and vent some more. We hear you, we see you, and we understand.

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