This week we welcome a fantastic guest writer to Balmonds!
Amara Howe is a writer and blogger who has been exploring issues of skin positivity, especially in her definitely-worth-a-follow Instagram account. She writes about the realities of life with eczema and the challenges of itchy skin, as well as the crucial importance of a killer outfit, often involving a good splash of mustard yellow!
Here, Amara talks us through how to keep positive in the heat.
Ah, the great British summer! Packed tubes, restless nights, walking around the house in your pants and the daily ‘it’s too hot!’ from every one of your colleagues. Sound familiar? Sure, it’s not all that bad, what with the bank holiday weekends, pub gardens, football season, regular BBQs and more ice creams than necessary, but for someone with eczema it’s an entirely different story.
Now don’t get me wrong, winter is just as bad for us eczema sufferers. In fact, every single day is bad for eczema sufferers but for the sake of this blog and for the sake of this beautiful weather, I’m focusing on staying skin positive in hot weather. Why? Because it’s hot and you deserve to make the most of it.
So let’s start off by talking about sweat. Now, sweating is completely normal. It means our bodies are working to help cool us down. But when it’s a million degrees outside you’re likely to sweat a lot more than usual and believe me, sweating and eczema do NOT mix. One minute you’re soaking up the sun’s rays and the next minute you’re in a toilet cubicle having an itch-fest.
Now we all know ‘stop scratching’ is not the answer. You’re allowed to scratch, it feels bloody fantastic, right? But what’s most important is trying to not scratch in the first place. So let’s get to it.
The number one top tip for eczema is dressing practically for this hot weather. Cotton or linen are both lightweight and soft on the skin so your skin is able to breathe. If you have to wear a suit to work consider commuting in something comfortable and changing when you get to work. Remember, your boss should be understanding of your skin condition so tell them if it’s affecting your work life.
- Keeping Cool
The second most important thing is keeping cool. Heat rashes are common for people with eczema so try to refrain from getting overheated. Simply buying an electronic handheld fan from a local supermarket will help cool your skin down when it gets too hot. There are also some fantastic cooling sprays available to spray straight onto your skin – basically, a perfume for eczema!
- Drink Water
It seems obvious but so many of us forget to drink water and when it’s boiling hot outside for some reason we seem to forget even more! Keeping hydrated is incredibly important for anyone but even more important for someone with eczema. You should aim to drink 2-3L a day in order for your body to flush out any toxins (your body is likely to be a lot more susceptible to these if you suffer from the scratches). No, it won’t cure your eczema but it will help, I promise.
I know I’ve said you’re allowed to scratch, and you are but think about it... how much is it mind over matter? Recently I’ve been trying really hard to stop myself from scratching unless I feel like it’s absolutely necessary. As soon as I feel a tingling sensation I close my eyes, count to twenty and by then the tingling sensation has gone. Giving yourself time to stop and feel a sense of calmness is incredibly important.
Remember: Your Skin Does Not Define You!
Eczema is an awful condition and no one, not even your worst enemies deserve it. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magical cure for eczema just some handy tips to help you manage it as best as you can. The most important thing is learning to love yourself beyond your skin and as you know, this can be incredibly difficult. Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy and learning to look past the rashes is hard.
Just remember, no one sees what you see when you look in the mirror. Us humans always tend to pick up on our flaws and forget all the positive things about us. Why not stand in front of the mirror now and tell me: what is your favourite thing about yourself?
So get your cotton on, fill up a water bottle, and meditate with your mini fan on the go!
Photos of Amara by Sophia Mayanne
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.