Maintain a positive body image
Gabby Bachner, a pharmacy student at the University of Georgia in Athens, learned she had eczema shortly after going to college. The specific type it has, called contact dermatitis, occurs when the body touches something that causes an allergic reaction. Bachner, who works in pharmacy, found that his scrubs and some ointments had caused his eczema.
Eczema can cause unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Itchy, dry, cracked, scaly or uneven skin
These changes can also have an emotional and mental impact. Bachner said the flares of his eczema definitely affect his self-confidence.
Eczema and Mental Health
Your skin is your largest organ, so appearance problems can have a psychological impact.
Less self-confidence can affect your mental health. “Because both children and adults have eczema, we know that there is a higher rate of depression, ADHD, anxiety, and numerous sleep disturbances,” says Mamta Jhaveri, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
People with eczema are more likely to have depression and anxiety than those without it. The probability is even higher if you have severe eczema. This can lead to a frustrating cycle. “Stress worsens eczema and eczema worsens stress,” says Jhaveri.
There are three main ways in which eczema affects your mental health:
- Chronic itching. Eczema often causes itching that you can’t control. When you’re in public, it can be hard to hide scratches. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and worries about what others think.
- Inflammation. Chronic conditions such as eczema are caused by inflammation. Jhaveri says it can frustrate your energy level and make it harder to focus.
- Impressive symptoms. It affects areas where eczema is difficult to cover, such as your face, eyes, hands, or limbs. These areas can be swollen, scaly, cracked or bloody, whatever can lower your self-image.
Bachner says the past holidays with eczema were never stressful. Before the trip, he often did a pedicure. The lotions used during the treatment caused eczema in his legs. And because many eczema therapies don’t work right away, he couldn’t control the onset before he left. This made it difficult to be confident with the swimsuit. He feared that people would mistake his condition with an infection.
Combined with low self-confidence, itching, and fatigue, being around others can be hard to turn on. People with eczema want a comfortable and private environment. Maybe you should stay home and take care of your skin.
“A lot of the work is lost, the school is lost and people sometimes reject social interactions,” says Jhaveri. “Eczema can also affect intimacy. … If it affects the face or any intimate parts, it can affect the relationship “.
How to feel more confident
When Jhaveri treats someone with eczema, he also uses the anxiety and depression rating scales to measure the impact of the skin condition on mental health.
But the first line of treatment is always to control eczema. “Sometimes that will in itself help with mental side effects,” he says. If the skin symptoms do not go away, Jhaveri will help people find more help.
The way to build trust is slightly different for children than for adults. Here are some things parents can do to help build their children’s self-image:
- Ask about their classmates. It is important to ask the parents of a child with eczema about their school and social life. If you think your child’s peers are bullying you because of your situation, deal with it first.
- Sleep. We can help you and your child’s doctor solve problems related to your child’s eczema. Your child may be advised to take melatonin supplements or anti-itch medications to help them sleep at night. Good sleep has a direct link to the child’s self-image. The more they sleep, the more confident they will feel and focus on school, which will boost their self-image.
These steps can help adults improve their mental health and body image:
- Get professional help. If eczema affects your confidence, talk to a therapist or psychiatrist. They can help restore self-confidence and give advice on how to deal with the mental side of the skin condition.
- Join online support groups. Jhaveri often suggests that people with eczema join Facebook support groups or join the National Eczema Association. These outlets help you connect with others and share tips for building trust.
- Talk to your family. Being comfortable can help you emotionally affect how close your family is to your eczema. That way, you’ll be able to talk to or bow to someone when your self-image isn’t the highest.
- Practice meditation meditation. Stress relief can play a big role in your body image and confidence. Jhaverik proposes meditation or another relaxation technique, such as yoga, tai chi or music therapy. All of these things can help you reconnect with your inner self, he says. This can help you see the effect of eczema on your self-image.
- Write a drop down. Jhaverik said it can help you write a story or magazine about the effect your skin condition has on you. Sharing with someone close to you can help you release the bulk emotions and help you support your feelings.
- Take a step back. Bachner says one of the best things he can do to regain confidence is to think logically. It’s easy to feel like everyone is focused on your eczema, he says. But most people won’t notice your flares unless you even point them out. It is important to remember that self-confidence comes from self-acceptance. “It’s not your fault for having eczema,” Bachner says. “Try not to let them drive you crazy. … People don’t care what you think. “