12 Ridiculous Things People Say To Eczema Sufferers
I suffer from Eczema since childhood but it was always controlled. The worst came when I was in Army and the year after. During this period, I have heard of many statements and questions that made me more insecure about my skin and self-confidence.
Eczema is not contagious, and although there is no cure per se, it can be a manageable condition. However, there are still many misconceptions surrounding it.
Some of the statements and questions regarding it are what I wished people who have not had this condition not say to me. I believe other Eczema sufferers would agree with me as well. Let's take a look at them and why.
1. Just stop scratching.
I wish it was that easy to JuSt StOp ScRaTcHiNg. I know my family and friends mean well but this phrase upsets me the most. If only it was that easy to “just stop scratching”. Then they would jokingly go on and say stuff like if you continue scratching, I’m going to tie you up, thinking it’s funny.
For those fortunate people out there who have normal skin, just so you know, it’s the Eczema that causes the scratching, and not the other way around.
2. Just ignore it and it will go away.
This is similar to the point above. As much as I want to ignore, the itch is usually unbearable which is why I have to attend to it.
3. Have you tried ______?
The problem with this statement is people who suggest supplements, creams, or products are usually not the one suffering from Eczema themselves. As such, they are suggesting stuff they have heard or read online which Eczema sufferers themselves already know or have tried.
Trust me, people with Eczema usually already did a lot of research about it and tried countless of products. Whatever that you have suggested, they probably already heard of it especially if its common items like TCM, coconut oil, Cetaphil, fish oil supplement etc.
If anything, I believe they would rather take advice and listen to someone who has already walk the talk and tried something that works for him.
4. Have your tried moisturising?
No shit captain obvious. I can confidently say that everyone who has Eczema has definitely tried moisturising his/her skin before. This is what every doctor suggests to the patient, apart from being made known by the media. The dry skin will cause cracks and itchiness blah blah.
As much as I hate the greasy texture of moisturisers on the skin upon application, I have also tried it before. But since it does not help, and even worse, makes me feel greasy and uncomfortable, I stopped applying it.
5. Is it contagious?
Hell yeah Eczema is contagious. Please stay far away from me and don’t pass me your stupidity as I’m afraid it may be contagious too.
Someone with Eczema already probably feels shitty about him/herself and that statement is just going to make him/her more hurt. Please be considerate to other people’s feelings.
6. What’s wrong with your ______? / Why is your ______ red?
You don’t have to tell them that there is something wrong with their skin. Trust me, they already know it and are more self-conscious than you. Reminding them about it is just going to bring up their insecurity and make them feel bad about something they are usually not in control of.
7. You need to put some cream on that.
Sure, but tell me what cream I should put that works. Most Eczema sufferers have already tried lots of creams and oils but to no avail. If you are unable to tell them the specific cream or product that works for you or for someone that you know of that they can try, maybe you should not say that statement because it just adds on more insecurity to something they already know of.
8. Have you seen the doctor? / You need to see a skin specialist.
I can guarantee you that people who suffers from Eczema has seen a skin specialist before. But why they stop seeing could be because the treatment was ineffective or that they are scared of the side effects of topical steroid creams. They want to find a product that they can use naturally without any side effects in the long-term.
9. You must have an unhealthy diet. You need to eat healthier and cleanse your body.
Unless the person is allergic to a specific food, it is not easy and practical to avoid certain foods to see if it helps your Eczema. Worse still, it might even result in an eating disorder as you start to exclude many food groups as you start being paranoid whether the food you consume will affect your skin.
Take it from someone that has tried a vegetarian diet, vegan diet, raw vegan diet and even did a 7-day water fast, and 56-day juice fast. Just try to eat as healthy as you can (i.e. avoiding deep-fried food, unnecessary desserts and sweet drinks) for general health and maintain a healthy body weight.
10. Why did your skin flare-up?
How would I know? There could be several reasons for skin flare-ups such as stress, environment, diet. The human body is a complex organism and everybody is unique.
11. Your skin is so scaly / flaky.
Yup, I scratched it so it's flaky when the wounds are healing and then i scratched it again. Reminding Eczema sufferers of their flaky skin just makes them feel guilty of their scratching when they have no control over it.
12. Just run the wound over water or dab it with a wet cloth.
For some this might work. But for me, after running water over the wound or wetting it, the itch will be gone temporarily for about 30s. After that, it would come back again. Not ignoring the part where you will feel a burning sensation when the water touches the open wound. Ahhh the pain!
Being someone that used to suffer from deliberating Eczema and constantly scratched my skin till it's raw and bloody, I understand the pain and uncomfortableness of dealing with Eczema. (Click here to learn about my journey and how I overcame it.)
I know that most of you have good intentions and want to help your friends or loved ones that suffer from Eczema. However, sometimes it is better to not say the obvious statements or ask the obvious questions that make them feel even more insecure and guilty about something that they are born with and have little to no control of.
Sometimes, just treating them like a normal human being will make them feel normal as well.
What ridiculous things have you heard people say to you or your loved ones who suffer from Eczema?