Minty + Feature with Eczema Warrior, Katie
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF! BACKGROUND, CAREER, BUSINESS?
Hey, my name is Katie AKA @Mackies_Moments, Co-Creator & everything visual at @Itch_n_Bitch. For those of you that Don't know, itch & bitch is an Eczema & Skin Condition community & Podcast. We hope this Podcast can grow into a place where we can all share and connect through mutual understanding of our skin and ultimately remind people YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
WHEN DID YOU START NOTICING YOU HAD SENSITIVE SKIN/ECZEMA?
Some of my earliest memories are of my mum putting me in Oilatum baths and covering me in Diprobase/ my eczema creams and the feeling of intense itching. As a kid, I would get Eczema all over. Growing up, I never had any friends with eczema. Throughout the years, I always felt like I had to hide my skin as I felt conscious of it, the long sleeves in summer, the foundation on my legs in PE, and the missed nights out. It’s safe to say eczema has always been a massive anxiety trigger for me. Joining the online skin community and sharing my story has helped me reach a place of self-acceptance and every day I find myself slowly building towards being a confident badass itchy b*tch. I can confidently say that personal contact and shared experience have helped me way more than all the topical treatments.
WHAT HAS HELPED YOU CALM A FLARE-UP? ANY PARTICULAR PRACTICE, MEDICATION, OINTMENT, CREAM?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR TRIGGERS ARE?
Firstly if you can identify triggers that is one of the easiest ways to calm a flare. Knowing the trigger means knowing the appropriate treatment response. For instance, if I know it’s an allergy flare - I always have a lukewarm shower and wash off any potential contact irritants that could still be on my skin then I lather my body in thick style ointments to act as a protective layer to help seal & begin the repair & rehydration of my skin also if it’s particularly itchy I take an antihistamine and then put on fresh soft clothes.
Lockdowns allowed me to finally figure out a lot of my triggers. I’ve cut out dairy and I am happy to report my skin has been the best it's been in years - yes I still get flares but 80% of the time I know the trigger; dust/stress/cleaning products/ pollen to name a few! Slowing down and listening to your body can help you understand it more, like eat something then 30 mins to an hour later erupt in a red rash? THINK - what did I eat/ come into contact with? Take note and hopefully, you’ll also be able to figure out your triggers.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE ANOTHER ECZEMA WARRIOR?
The most important thing to do during a flare is trying to stay calm & remind yourself you’ve been here before and you can do it again and keep telling yourself you will heal. Focus on the small positives e.g. ‘ at least my eczema isn't on my X, Y, Z’. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and low when flares hit but sadly this won't help as we all know stress is also a major trigger. It's about following your flare care routine and reminding yourself you are doing the best you can. If you are struggling to achieve a positive mindset try reaching out to someone else who suffers - do not send them pictures of your skin without asking permission first though!
Treat a bad flare, like a bad day/week/month - self-care is key. REMEMBER it's okay to ask for help. I've taken time off work as I couldn't straighten my fingers due to how cracked and dry they were. Asking for help and being open about your skin is a vital step toward healing physically and mentally. We can't always control our Eczema, but we can control how we react to it. That is our power.