1. Flare-ups happen at the worst possible times.
Upcoming wedding? Beach holiday? Black tie occasion? Oh, hi there, ECZEMA. It just loves to rear its head at the most inopportune times. As you probably already know, a red, itchy flare-up can be triggered by a number of different things: colder temperatures, indoor heating, and stress being just a few. It's pretty hard to avoid most of those, though.
2. All you want to do is SCRATCH.
All day, every day. We know scratching can cause skin to break and bleed, weakening our delicate skin barrier, but we just can't help it. To make matters worse, it's a vicious cycle that's hard to break. Luckily, oats and sweet almond oil are two of Mother Nature's clinically proven ingredient to soothe itchy skin—so you've usually got some of those packed away in your bag.
3. You wish you had an "it's not contagious" sign.
You can't catch eczema from shaking hands or from any type of skin to skin contact, you know. You can touch me. It's actually a hereditary skin condition—so if your mom has eczema, you're twice as likely to have either eczema, food allergies, asthma or hay fever. If your dad has it, you're four to five times more likely. Cheers, dad.
4. You've got your doctor's number on speed dial.
And you're not even being melodramatic. There are three ways to deal with a flare-up: a doctor-prescribed steroid treatment, or a natural, clinically proven healing balm, or a combination of the two.
5. Long, hot showers? Nope.
We've been there. Decompressing after a long day by taking a lingering, steamy shower is bliss. But for eczema suffers, it can wreak havoc on skin causing redness and inflammation. So for us, it's short and sweet showers with tepid water.
6. Your bathroom has more creams than a pharmacy.
*Sigh*. You've tried them all, but nothing works. At least you've got options.
7. Sleepless nights are a thing that is real.
It's okay, we didn't want a decent night's sleep anyway. Trying to sleep with itchy skin is so difficult, tossing and turning the whole night through to scratch against the duvet covers. *Yawns*
8. You're the master of covering up.
Your wardrobe is full of loose, long sleeved tops in a range of colors that can cover your eczema flare-ups. Cotton and breathable linens are the go-to fabrics of choice—you avoid wool and synthetic clothing, and you learned this the hard way.
9. You eye beauty product ingredient lists like a hawk.
Sodium lauryl sulfate, denatured alcohol, alpha-hydroxy acids, lavender oils and synthetic fragrances—it's a no from us. If you suffer from eczema, you're a master at reading ingredient labels and know to avoid the above ingredients in make-up, creams and even laundry detergent. It's not just you being fussy, promise.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.