teens

"I didn’t want to look at myself": Ella was in Year 12 when a severe case of eczema spread across her face.

“I didn’t want to look at myself in the mirror,” 18-year-old Ella confessed after a recent experience with a severe case of eczema.

The uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst, recurring, non-infectious, inflammatory skin condition had suddenly spread all over her face. And the Year 12 student from Melbourne was struggling to cope.

“The stress of the start of Year 12 made my skin change from completely normal, to suddenly being very reactive to things,” Ella told Mamamia.

“I started getting spots of eczema on my face, then they developed into patches.

“At the worst of it, it was like a rash on my face, with blistering and peeling around my mouth and nose, then onto my cheeks.”

Stress eczema
"At the worst of it, it was like a rash on my face." Images: Supplied.

Ella admitted that she became very self-conscious about her face.

“I didn’t try to hide it with make-up, because I knew that wouldn’t help,” she said. “I was a little in shock, because I didn’t have skin problems previously, not even as a baby."

“Because I am quite pale, the redness of the eczema felt really obvious to me. I would sit in class and feel like so sore, like my face was burning.”

Ella says that the eczema made it difficult to concentrate, not just because it was very uncomfortable, but also because she was worrying about it all the time.

“I was thinking about what I could try next, because we’d tried everything like oils and vitamin E cream.

“I also worried a lot about whether it was something I was eating. I eliminated different food groups, and that didn’t work. I just didn’t know what to do.

“That was stressful and so distracting. I’d think, ‘will it get worse?’, and 'what will I do if it does?'”

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Then one day, Ella’s mum noticed an Instagram post by parenting influencer Rebecca Little, about a range of products by a company called Childs Farm, that helped Little’s baby daughter Charlotte with the condition.

“So, we got some products from the range, and I started applying the moisturiser four times a day,” Ella said.

“I couldn’t believe it – even the next day, it was better. And it’s been getting better ever since.

“The redness is gone. I didn’t get any scarring, and I still use the products every day.”

Stress eczema
“The redness is gone. I didn’t get any scarring, and I still use the products every day.” Images: Supplied.

The improvement in Ella’s eczema vastly changed the student’s outlook on the year, and she can now concentrate on her studies.

“I’d love to do something in law, with the courts,” she said confidently.

According to the Eczema Association of Australasia, one in three Australians suffer from eczema. The condition is most common in people with a family history of an atopic disorder, such as asthma or hay fever.

Most sufferers grow out of the condition in adolescence, though a small percentage may experience severe eczema into adulthood.

Topical ointments and creams can alleviate symptoms in some, but not all, cases.

Eczema Awareness Week is May 13 - 19. For more information, visit Eczema Association of Australasia at www.eczema.org.au. If your child suffers from eczema, please consult a GP or health care professional. 

Does your child suffer from eczema? What has helped them? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below. 

Nama Winston has had a decade-long legal career (paid), and a decade-long parenting career (unpaid). Now a Mamamia Contributor and freelance writer, Nama uses her past experience as a lawyer to discuss everything from from politics, to parenting. Instagram: @namawinston Facebook: @NamaWinston.
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