Growing up with eczema has always been a struggle for me. As you are reading this, you may be thinking...what? eczema? a struggle? YES! Unless you have dealt with eczema first hand or any other type of skin issue such as psoriasis, rosacea, pityriasis rosea, acne etc. then you probably won't feel me on this one. For me, growing up with eczema meant waking up to new ugly scars and wearing long sleeves, jeans and/or long jean skirts just to cover up my skin. My eczema began around the age of 8 or 9. I can remember constantly scratching and my mother and grandmother would always get on me and have to tell me to stop scratching and stop picking at my skin unless I want to deal with the aftermath...SCARS!
Apparently, I was not that afraid of scars because I unconsciously scratched in my sleep, at school, watching TV, you name it. I think it wasn't until I became a teenager that I realized all that scratching had left me with some pretty ugly scars.
Entering middle school was already hard enough with kids picking on me for having natural hair...now this. Something had to give! There is one particular time I can vividly remember back in middle school being called out because of my eczema. It was the end of the school day and the bell had rang so I stopped by my locker and walked to the bus per usual. This particular day it was hot outside yet I still wore one of my favorite long denim skirts, this one happened to have a slit in the back. As I was walking to the bus, there was a guy from my class also walking to his bus. I guess he felt the need to stare at my legs while I was walking (or maybe he was just curious to why I ALWAYS wore jeans OR long skirts) he yelled so loud and said "HEY FUNDA (that was my nickname in school because of my last name Funderburk) YOU HAVE SOMETHING ON THE BACK OF YOUR LEGS! I didn't even look back, I jetted to the bus. I never confronted him about what he said or how he made me feel, but to this day I know exactly who it was!
My mother would get me so many different creams and lotions to try, but nothing really worked for me. She even took me to the dermatologists a few times and they gave me hydrocortisone steroids which did assist in relieving the itch, but nothing truly worked as in healing and restoring my skin. My mom also only used all free and clear to wash my clothes instead. Still, I was so self conscious about my skin, but no one knew how I truly felt besides my mother and grandmother. On days that I felt the lowest, they were always there to make me feel beautiful. I was able to finally accept who I was, flaws and all because of the two phenomenal women in my life who helped mold the woman I am today. Don't get me wrong, even though I accepted who I was I still wanted answers!
As I got older, my curiosity grew. While I was in college I did a ton of research regarding eczema and I found out that while eczema was NOT CURABLE, it was treatable and I was determined to find out HOW exactly I could treat it in order to fully regain my confidence. The first thing I wanted to change was the laundry detergent I was using, so I took matters into my own hands and began making my own and I haven't looked back since!