Amy is one of many sensitive skin souls who suffer from eczema. Here she shares her experiences and advice.
I have to start with a confession. My job at Pai requires that I understand sensitive skin and make recommendations based on that understanding. However, a recent reappearance of eczema on both hands really showed me that I still have so much to learn. Not just about your physical condition and what can trigger it, but also about how you can feel about it.
I had eczema since childhood. My eczema comes in waves – just when I think I haven't had it for a while, the next day I'll scratch the inside of my index finger. I went through most of my adult years with no signs of it. It wasn't until spring in my late twenties when it showed up in the most irritating places – my eyelids.
That's how I actually came across Pai. After weeks of asking salespeople and trying many different products to no avail, I started doing my own research to better understand what to look for on the ingredient lists.
In this blog I read how seasonal changes and allergies can be triggers. I immediately felt better because it was talking about exactly what I was experiencing, and with my new knowledge I was in a much better position to regain control.
A shared problem is a halved problem …
A few years later I worked in the marketing team. When my next flare started on my hands, I felt I had enough knowledge to handle it myself.
It turned out that this was not the case. Trying to get to the bottom on my own (it's very much in my character not to ask for help, to my real disadvantage), I let it get so bad that my hands were in one when I asked for help really bad way. Basic daily tasks like typing were painful, physical touching like shaking hands was unthinkable, and comfortable sleeping was a write-off.
Sarah was horrified that I hadn't come to her earlier.
Finally, I knew I had to ask for advice, and after a regular marketing meeting with Sarah, I decided to show her my eczema. I should say at this point that Sarah was horrified that I hadn't come to her earlier. She is extremely open and always takes time to talk to people, especially if they have problems with their skin.
She took a quick look at it and then surprisingly didn't really ask me about my skin. She asked me how I feel. What I'm not too proud to say is that I almost burst into tears. I felt lazy. It had really depressed me. I know it sounds ridiculous, but the worst thing for me was that I was recently married and unable to wear my engagement and wedding rings really annoyed me. I am also a fairly tactile person and often gesticulate and touch people, which I definitely could not do because I did not want to pay attention to my hands.
But what came next was something I had never heard of before.
Then she asked me about things in my lifestyle – that's the stuff I thought I knew. I had a healthy diet, drank lots of water, moved well and was not particularly stressed. But what came next was something I had never heard of before. "Did you eat oats?" Sarah said. "Oats?!" my answer was: "Yes, they are great for eczema." I had muesli every day. I didn't know they were my number one trigger.
Sarah explained that oats can currently be a fantastic sedative. But if it is ingested, there can be real problems. I cut it out the next day and my eczema started drying out almost immediately. Sarah asked me to keep her informed and told me that it would not necessarily be an overnight solution.
No matter who you are or what you do (even if you should know this stuff like I do), it's okay to ask for help …
Next came extreme dryness – a huge improvement over the rawness I had experienced before. At this point I only needed moisture, moisture, moisture. I used our Instant Therapy hand cream every 5 hours for about 5 days all day. It's the only hand cream I've ever come across that doesn't take 10 minutes to dry after application. I could put it on and go straight back to my emails.
See there, in a few days it was practically gone and I could put my rings back on. And shake hands with as many people as they like, whether they like it or not.
If I think about it positively, I can better understand what it feels like to be at a loss, what to do with your skin, what really helps me in my work. And knowing that asking for help no matter who you are or what you do (even if you should know this stuff like me) is okay. There are people with a fountain of knowledge here – of course Sarah, but also our brilliant customer experience team.
If this seems familiar to you even from a distance, I strongly recommend not keeping it to yourself. You can always talk to someone at Pai like I did. A shared problem is a problem that is halved or, in my case, solved.