Want to know the reason why I show my Eczema off so much?
Because I used to do the exact opposite.
Do you know how much energy and effort goes into constantly worrying about others seeing your Eczema and stressing how they perceive you? It’s exhausting. The first time I shared my unedited skin on social media, I remember how scared I was to post it. In my opinion, I wasn’t looking my best. Back then, I’d only post to celebrate something or if I felt I looked particularly good, and this was neither of those moments. I secretly wasn’t feeling as confident as I portrayed. I felt scared to receive negative comments and be so vulnerable. Despite eczema being so common, it is still underrepresented, often hidden and generally not discussed.
Speaking of moments, I changed my account name to @Mackies_Moments when I decided to share all my life moments: the good, the bad and the ugly. The online world has become my sort of dear diary, and I am proud to have people benefit from my oversharing. I often get messages like “seeing you represent eczema in a more positive light and just crack on with life has been an inspiration,” “thank you for helping me better understand my daughter’s eczema,” and most commonly, “thank you for making me feel less alone.”
The difference with my diary is I am fully embracing its contents and broadcasting them to the world.
I want everyone reading this to know what makes you feel alone in one place can often make you feel like you belong in another. You’ll be surprised how the one thing you hide is usually the one thing connecting you to hundreds of others. My accounts have taught me the real meaning of community. And most importantly, they have taught me that if you surround yourself with people who get it, you’ll never feel alone again.
I’ve realised the very second you own your flaws, you become untouchable. No one can hurt you anymore because you are acknowledging your insecurities and taking control of your narrative; It’s not poor you – it’s powerful you. Like I said at the end of my last article, we can’t always control our eczema, but we can control how we react to it. That is our power. I have finally accepted my skin condition and realised it does not define me; it is merely a part of me.
From speaking to others, it’s clear that no two people have the same experience with their skin. Despite the different physical representations of skin conditions, we all suffer from the same self-doubt and negative thoughts that creep in every time our skin flares. Countless marketing strategies target these insecurities, from weight gain to skin needing to be flawless. The general message is, “you’re only as good as you look,” which is tough to ignore when you are already mentally drained from the pain and exhaustion of a flare.
Over the last few years, I have been happy that there have been references to Eczema in films/ TV and media. I remember sitting watching Netflix and being caught off guard by an Eczema joke here and there. It’s incredible to see such a common skin condition finally be mentioned. I genuinely believe the more this happens, the fewer questions people will ask and the easier it will become for sufferers to accept their skin.
I can happily say that personal contact and shared experience have helped me way more than all the topical treatments.
Nobody should ever feel like less of a person because of how they look. Change your thoughts, change the stigma, empower others.
Step forward: skin positivity.