Hannah, a member of the EOS Youth Panel, is sharing her experience of having eczema as a teenager.

Hannah has had eczema since she was a baby and had a particularly hard time as an adolescent. Her story is below.

“I’ve had eczema all my life, but it was definitely at its worst when I was a teenager. I would get flare ups on my face all the time, especially on my eyelids.  

“When I went to the GP to talk about my eczema, they were mostly concerned with how painful it was and how effective the treatments were. But at that time, I was fixated with how my eczema looked. I found the visibility of it very hard to deal with. 

 “I eventually had a severe flare up all over my face, eyelids and neck. It took over a year and lots of prescriptions from the dermatologist for the flare up to completely go away. I couldn’t open my eyes properly in the morning. I couldn’t be in direct sunlight for more than 5 minutes. Even during that time, how I felt about my eczema was sometimes worse than how much it actually hurt.  

Hannah during a flare on her face

 “I still have eczema, but I have never felt as self-conscious about it as I did when I was in high school. I still get flare ups, but nothing like the severity of those I got when I was a teenager. For me, the severity of my flare ups peaked when I was 18. I haven’t had any major flare ups for the past five years now. 

 “It can feel like an endless cycle of trying new treatments again and again, only for them not to work. It’s really disheartening to recover from a flare up and try a new cream and it only making your eczema 10x worse. 

 “Eczema was a huge part of my life in high school. Now, it’s a very small part of my life. It’s only in the past year I’ve started thinking about my eczema a bit more than usual after joining the EOS Youth Panel.  

 “Everyone on the EOS Youth Panel has had some direct experience with eczema. For me, it’s been great to chat with people who have been through similar experiences. And it’s great to feel like you’re making a positive difference in tackling eczema. It’s also made me realise how much of an impact eczema has had on all our lives. I feel proud of the resilience I’ve built up because of it. 

 “Eczema can have a massive effect on your mental health. It’s always there. You never know when it’s going to get better or worse. There can be so many triggers to deal with all at once. And when you do get flare ups, they can be very visible and painful.  

 “My coping mechanism for dealing with my eczema as a teenager was to just try and ignore it. But I’ve found it much better to actually talk about it now. It’s been really rewarding to listen to similar stories and to share my own. “