Eczema, the tabloids and me

I’ve noticed something lately. Eczema has slowly and creepingly become regular fodder for the tabloids. They appear to love nothing better than to reel off stories of how something as simple as household porridge oats have ‘cured’ someone’s otherwise stubborn and angry eczema (accompanied by equally sensational pictures of horrific looking skin) or how someone’s child screamed the house down and ripped themselves raw before finding a miracle new cream.

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When in fact, as most of us know, the boring truth of the route to good skin is careful daily management with the occasional and timely application of prescription creams from the GP. And sadly there is no cure. Well, not yet (I’m always hoping).

Which is why I was so surprised that, when I spoke to a tabloid journalist – banging my skin-mind drum and soapboxing about body confidence and self-esteem issues, that I was represented fairly, the condition was treated with respect and some very sensible advice was offered – without resorting to sensational miracle cures.

Read the article online here.

The whole thing came about when I was approached by the British Skin Foundation (a charitable organisation which does amazing work for people with skin conditions in the UK) to become a media case study. I have written so much about the lack of real pictures of real people with eczema in the media, that I decided to put my money where my mouth was and throw my hat into the ring.

Mirror journalist, Rosie Hopegood, called me up one afternoon and we had a jolly nice chat about eczema and how I have managed it over the years – she even allowed me to waffle on about the importance of addressing the psychological issues attached to skin conditions (for probably a *little* too long). We said our farewells and I thought little about it.

The only moment I felt slightly uncomfortable was when she asked whether my eczema had ever affected my personal relationships, I dodged it quickly and evasively – in truth it has affected them a great deal – especially when I suffered from eczema all over my body (it’s confined mostly to my face these days) – but I was surprised by how panicked the question made me feel. That aside though, and in spite of nestling next to a headline on the cover which profiled a story about how an animal ate a girl’s nose (!), the results of the interview and the contents of the article were really quite encouraging.

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The article focused on the need to break the itch/scratch/itch cycle – which, as everyone who has eczema knows, would be the key to a lifetime of eczema happiness IF ONLY IT WERE POSSIBLE!

It offered general nutritional advice, explained what eczema is, accurately and sensitively, and even printed two pictures of eczema skin, neither of which were sensational – just honest to goodness eczema.

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Only one slightly melodramatic quote ‘I’ve taught myself to smile through the pain’ (cringe) – while of course I do try and put my best foot forward – if it really does hurt, I’m afraid I’m frowning with the rest of you!

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But in fact, Rosie summarised the whole of my eczema blog so succinctly and pretty accurately into this tiny little box – in this newspaper which I haven’t read since I used to visit my long gone Grandparents decades ago in a small East Midlands industrial town – that I think I’ll get me coat…

Well done the Sunday People!

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