face with visible eczema reflection in glasses shows three people with sour expressions

The Worst Reactions To My Eczema

Some of the worst reactions I’ve ever gotten to my eczema have come from unexpected sources. Dealing with this condition, it can be hard to know what to expect. Sometimes the people you think should love and support you the most become the people who hurt you to your core without meaning to because both of you are surprised at how bad your skin gets for seemingly insignificant, harmless reasons.

Embarrassed by my mother

My mom is my biggest support and loves me fiercely, but growing up we did not always have the most harmonious relationship because of my skin. As a child, I felt so much embarrassment from her when we went to family parties or met with friends and they stare at my skin and ask a lot of questions about it. Some of the most difficult reactions she has had to my skin have been when I'm all alone with her and she would suddenly spring questions like “Why are you scratching so much?” “Why don't you just stop scratching?” “Why do you like to hurt your beautiful skin?” “Is there something wrong with you?” And so on.

Diminishing self-esteem

This really affected my self-esteem and made me question if I did indeed hate myself. Was I a masochist? I didn’t want to scratch, but I couldn’t help the intense compulsive desire to when an itch struck. And this is one of many experiences (often, they felt more like attacks) in my youth that sometimes still makes me question my level of attractiveness even though I am now 34 and am often told that I am beautiful and am in a committed relationship with an amazing man.

Rude cashiers

Other horrible reactions I've had to my skin and some that I have dreaded the most have been from cashiers. It seems silly because they're just strangers I'm having momentary drive-by transactions with that may or may not involve conversation. But, many of the cashiers that I have dealt with while having a flare-up on my face have been some of the rudest people I've ever come across in life.

Unsolicited advice

The worst is when they start giving unsolicited advice and hold me hostage in what they think is an attempt to help me. But what I’ve realized over the years is that this is actually their attempt to comfort themselves by seeming helpful but actually just doing it for their own benefit. To them, they think, at least I tried (regardless if it was asked for or actually helpful to me). And in these moments where I am stuck having to deal with their reaction or listen to their monologue about how to heal eczema regardless of their lack of experience made me feel so embarrassed (because there’s nothing more attention-grabbing than a customer holding up the line - thanks a lot), stuck, and frustrated.

Wishing I wasn't so polite

When I was younger, I didn't have enough information to explain what I was going through with confidence. And I would have too much low-self esteem to stand up for myself and just ask them to stop and give me my change or receipt. In hindsight, I wish I had the level-headedness and strength to not be so nice and polite and demand my change and just leave - or just leave.

How about you? What is the worst reaction you have ever had to your eczema? And more importantly, how do you deal with it?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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

Please read our rules before commenting.