Ever since a young age I’ve had eczema covering all the skin on my legs. For years I covered myself in steroid creams and went to bed with my hands covered in bandages to stop myself scratching in my sleep. I’d constantly be down the doctor’s with my mum checking to see if there were any new creams available.
Primary school was bearable with eczema, as at that age none of us cared if anyone was different, we just accepted each other the way we were. It was when I hit high school things began to get complicated. Going to a high school where only a few of the kids already knew you was difficult and I remember dreading PE. As soon as we’d got changed into our PE kits, the interrogation began, ‘Ewwww, what’s that on your legs?’ ‘Have you fallen over or something?’ ‘Do you have a rash?’ No one really understood what it was.
There were a couple of people who had touches of eczema on their arms, but nothing too bad.
All throughout high school I wore thick black tights or trousers wherever I went. Outside of school I still didn’t get my legs out. Even at home I preferred to cover them up than keep them bare. I’d always keep an ear out for any possible remedies. I tried bathing in salt water which was unbearable given all the open sores on my legs which wasn’t really worth the pain, bathing in porridge, which was odd but soothing, I tried a butter imported from Africa that a relative had recommended but all to no avail. I eventually got to a stage where I just gave up. I’d resolved to myself that I would be stuck with eczema for the rest of my life as I clearly wasn’t growing out of it like my younger brothers had. Sometime later after the period of giving up, I came to NewGenn. It was only after I got a job here that I discovered the EXeczema programme. Obviously at first I was sceptical, I’d tried and failed a lot in my time and to think that my eczema would clear up after 2 weeks, when I’d been trying for 18 years seemed ridiculous. So I began the programme feeling doubtful but anxious. When I began using the wipes to just clean the affected areas I immediately noticed a difference, there had been times in the past where my legs would be particularly dry and I’d tried wiping them to just add a bit of moisture, usually this would result in a lot of stinging and verbal abuse to the packet of wipes. Whereas this time, I felt nothing, there was no stinging sensation that I was used to, just moisture. I began to use the wipes religiously every morning, afternoon and night. I soon began using the hand rub as a body wash in the bath, now I had been used to leaving the bath to be greeted by red inflamed skin, but this didn’t happen, nothing happened. After towel drying I didn’t feel the need to moisturise straight away which I gathered was a good sign. I kept up this routine for a week and then moved on to the hand wash. I found that rubbing the hand wash in, leaving it to sink in for a good time then washing off was the best method.
After the two weeks were up, I noticed a huge difference. The skin on my legs that was usually cracked and dry wasn’t, it resembled the normal skin I had everywhere else. There are still scabs on my skin that I’m waiting to heal over, but once they have healed I’ll post some pictures to show my journey. I can’t really explain the difference that it’s given to me personally, now I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to have my legs out, I don’t dread going on holiday and going swimming. It has changed me so much and I’m still quite shocked at the thought of life without eczema, but it is really happening and can happen for anyone else caught in the cycle. I know that the process is difficult going against all the natural urges to moisturise, but in my opinion its worth that uncomfortable stage of breaking tradition to be rid of eczema.

Jessica Underwood
Accounts Assistant, NewGenn

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