Skin Type: Eczema
Prominent Location: Face
Trigger: Seasonal changes, Sweat, Alcohol, Sugar
Imogen tells us about growing up with eczema, the joy of finding Epaderm in Australia, and why a glass of wine might just be worth it sometimes – even if it triggers a flare!
“I have had eczema since I was a baby,” says Imogen, calling us from her sister’s house in
Australia, where she’s living for the year. “It was always just controlled with emollients, and very occasional use of steroid cream. Then I went travelling when I was about 22, just after university, and I picked up a strain
of MRSA – like a staph infection, basically. And since then it's just driven my eczema crazy. It's been really hard to control.”
“I’d say I’m an unusual case where it gets worse as you get older!” she says. “Normally it gets better! But I still don’t regret anything about going travelling.”
“I think when I was very young, it was difficult to understand and accept that I couldn't do things that my friends could do,” reflects Imogen. “Like, for example, if you're on a school trip and everyone's going in the sea – I had to sit on the beach with the teachers.”
“It’s a massive learning curve, when you’re that age,” she adds, “to understand that you have to adapt your life quite a bit to
“I have gone through periods where it's really affected my mental health. I think it it's very frustrating when you can't recognise what's triggering it. And it can feel very much like it's your fault.”
After a lifetime of adapting her life around her eczema, Imogen takes a positive and pragmatic approach now. “I work in fashion, so that obviously creates its problems – but I just have to be very selective about what clothing I wear.”
As sweat is a trigger, she also adapts the way she exercises. “If I’m running or going to the gym twice a week, then by the end of the week my skin will have flared up, and I don’t want to go again! It’s quite frustrating. So I tend to do things like yoga when I’m having a flare instead.”
Of course, there is one thing that Imogen can always rely on
during a flare, and that’s Epaderm.
“I must have started using Epaderm in my late teens, about 10 years ago,” she says. “It’s really the only thing I can use when I’m having a bad flare.”
"When I came out to Australia, I was really panicking that they didn’t have Epaderm – because my skin reacts to everything
else! But luckily I found it.”
Imogen's Words of Wisdom
Continuing the theme of practical, sage advice, Imogen has some final words of wisdom about the discourse around
eczema on social media. “Everyone is saying, “Oh, if you just use this one remedy, it will cure your eczema.” It can lead you to feel quite guilty, as if you're managing your eczema wrong.”
“But it’s just a case of trying to
understand what's going to make it worse, and just weighing up the benefits and the risks. You know, like, “Oh, I'll have a glass of wine and maybe my skin won't be great tomorrow.” But that's the price you pay!”
Cheers to that!