The key messages for other young people with eczema were:
The young people we talked to had tips for others with eczema. Many were aimed at people who had recently been diagnosed or were unsure how to look after their skin. People were also keen to hear more about other's experiences with eczema and to see how these compared with their own. As Aisha said, “I think people who have eczema have a lot of questions and I think people who have had eczema for a long time have even more questions about the condition.”
- work out your triggers, because these vary from person to person. Many said that finding out about triggers was ‘trial and error’. To help with this, some people used ‘food diaries’. Stress is a major emotional trigger for a lot of people and can be difficult to avoid. Some people had found ways to manage their stress, such as Gary with going on walks.
- be aware of lifestyle choices and their impact on your eczema. These include: sleep, diet, alcohol and smoking. Himesh and Ele said that keeping hydrated by drinking water is a simple but helpful thing for their skins.
- get into a good routine with putting on emollients and looking after your health generally.
- keep an eye on changes to your eczema. This way you can see if it starts to get more severe or develops on a new part of the body. Evie takes photographs of her skin when her eczema changes to show her doctors at her next appointment. The itchiness of eczema can be difficult but Molly and Abid encouraged others to try not to scratch.
- see a doctor and find out what help they can give. If you don’t feel your health professionals (like GPs or dermatologists) are doing enough to help or you don’t feel comfortable with them, be insistent or arrange to see another. You can ask your GP for referrals to see a dermatologist and also for emotional support.
- try different treatments if your current ones aren’t helping. There are different kinds of prescribed treatments (e.g. emollients, steroid creams, phototherapy) and different brands/ingredients available. There are also shop-bought products you can try and alternative therapies.
- do some research about eczema, but don’t trust everything you read online. Laura found it helpful to learn about how the skin functions. Looking online can be a good way to find out about the different treatment options too, which you can then talk to your doctor about trying.
- don’t miss out on having fun and doing the social things you want to. Naomi said that being with friends takes her mind off eczema and Cat finds her skin is better when she’s happier.
- lots of people had positive messages to help people cope with the emotional side of eczema. They said to be confident and not worry about what others might think or say, but understood this can be hard to do at times. Talking to people you trust, such as family and close friends, can help. It can also be good to speak to others with eczema, including through eczema charities and support groups.