I’M STEPHANIE AND I HAVE ECZEMA.
It is something I have spent decades trying to manage and hide, but I have come to the realization that neither works in a life with eczema. My attempts at managing and hiding this condition left me with a life full of insecurity and anxiety, and it took a worldwide pandemic for me to wake up to that realization.
I was only a few months old when I was diagnosed with eczema or atopic dermatitis. Eggs were my first allergy that triggered eczema flares though many more were added in the years since. My early years were full of doctor visits, creams, antibiotics, antihistamines, egg-free cupcakes, itching, bleeding, oozing, and sleepless nights, and most of that continues to be a part of my life today.
“YOU”LL GROW OUT OF IT by the age of 10…or 15….or 20….” I heard that a lot from my doctors when I was younger. Unfortunately for me they were wrong. 30+ years later and I still have eczema. From my scalp to my toes, it has appeared on pretty much every part of my body, though thankfully not all at once. My hands have always been my worst spot, and there are always one, two, or even more parts of my body that flare up at different times.
Even though my middle brother had a milder case of eczema, growing up I always felt like the ugly duckling and alone with this condition. Not only was it painful to experience, but it was painful to open myself up to others in the fear that I would be rejected for the look of my skin or the idea that I was contagious.
It was really hard to see myself as beautiful or even as an equal to everyone else, and it left me full of insecurity and anxiety. I did everything I could not to let my eczema hold me back in life. From playing sports and studying to traveling the world and building a great career, I refused to let my skin get in the way. And yet I missed the biggest area in which I had already let it impact me: MY CONNECTION WITH OTHERS.
The insecurities about my physical appearance, fitting in, and trusting others, kept me from building relationships and creating those deep connections. Whether it was completely trusting God and believing that I was beautiful because I was created in His image, or letting friends, family, and significant others through the walls I had built up, my eczema ended up doing the one thing I desperately did not want it to do: HOLD ME BACK from experiencing life to the fullest with others by my side.
So the Eczema Sample Store and this blog is my attempt to change that, to shed light on the struggles that come with a life with eczema, to believe in the truth that I am beautiful in my own skin, and to ensure that the world sees that there is more to me than my eczema. Eczema will always be part of my life, but I will only let it be one element of who I am. I hope for all the eczema warriors out there that the same is true for you too.
This website is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.