Allergy UK have developed this in depth booklet to help those living with or caring for a child living with eczema.
For the second phase of our campaign, we wanted to encourage people to take a closer look to truly see and understand the truth behind living with allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis.
There’s no hiding a life with eczema, and 1 in 10 adults are living with this distressing condition. If you know someone with eczema, you might have noticed their cracked, dry, inflamed skin, or questioned their itching. But did you ever consider their pain? This, for them, cuts deeper than only the scars on their skin. The looks, the judgement, and the fear from others, can bring on feelings of shame and isolation.
We launched our ‘It’s Time to Take Allergy Seriously’ campaign on the psychological impact and isolation that comes with having an allergy. This is especially true for those living with atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that can be both physically and psychologically debilitating.
Through our campaign we
- Highlighted the invisible impact of living with eczema
- Challenged common misconceptions
- Changed the narrative
The invisible impact
Atopic dermatitis, also commonly known as eczema, is often trivialised as ‘just a skin condition’, but in reality, it can be anything but. Eczema affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 10 adults in the UK but still remains misunderstood and stigmatised. While there’s often no hiding dry, itchy, inflamed skin, the real story may be happening beneath the surface. This often very visible condition, affecting areas such as the face, neck and hands, can have invisible impacts that cut deeper. Living with a long-term skin condition can take an emotional toll – feeling powerless with a new flare-up, exhausted with the management of symptoms and isolated because of the judgement of others.
Beyond physical discomfort, living with atopic eczema can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health. The visible symptoms of eczema can make many feel self-conscious about their appearance, making it challenging to socialise and form relationships, leading to isolation and loneliness. A hallmark symptom of eczema is relentless itchiness that can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty sleeping, further affecting one’s mental health.
A 2017 report looking at the impact of living with atopic dermatitis highlighted that
82% of respondents said their atopic dermatitis affected their mood
Over 70% of respondents said they felt depressed
It can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem, with 73% of respondents reporting difficulties
58% said that it impacts on their personal relationships
7 in 10 respondents said that their sleeping habits were affected by the condition
73% of respondents stated that their social life is impacted by the condition, with 6 in 10 stating that it made them want to stay indoors.
Challenging common misconceptions
Despite how prevalent atopic dermatitis is in the UK, there are many misconceptions that surround eczema: it’s contagious, just a bit of dry skin, you’ll grow out of it. The list is endless. If you live with atopic eczema, you’ve heard them all. During our conversations to raise awareness of the truth behind eczema, we will dispel some of the most widely-believed and deep-rooted misconceptions. These include;
- Eczema can be cured
- Eczema in skin of colour
- Eczema is contagious
Changing the narrative
Beauty is not skin deep. Having eczema doesn’t define you. Society and social media have portrayed an often-narrow definition of what’s considered beautiful, with filtered images and face tuning to hide dry skin, acne, pores and fine lines. Behind the perfect filtered portrait is real, beautiful eczema skin.