Since being in quarantine I’ve been diagnosed with several skin conditions —dermatographia (skin writing), dermatitis (eczema), and I’m currently healing from cryotherapy on my hand for another skin condition.
Lately, it really feels like my skin is taking on all my mental stress from everything that’s happening in the world. Dealing with this is physically uncomfortable and has been mentally draining. As women, we are taught that we are supposed to always look good, and take care of our skin and that blemishes and imperfections must be avoided at all costs. Growing up, I was often complimented about how smooth my skin was, so now it has been hard to look at my skin and feel like it’s less than what it’s supposed to be and what it used to be.
None of these skin conditions have a permanent cure, but I have learned ways to manage them and prevent flare-ups while working with the dermatologist. Interestingly, my dermatologist said that she has seen an increase in skin conditions during the pandemic, specifically on hands, due to drying of the skin because of increased or excessive hand-washing. This makes it clear that COVID-19 itself is not the only thing affecting us. There are a lot of secondary effects on our minds and bodies that are often going unnoticed.
Though it’s been scary to have to go to the doctor so much during the pandemic as we are all trying to avoid public places, it reminds me that I am lucky to have access to affordable healthcare when so many of my friends and family don’t. It also makes me think about how aside from everything we are dealing with collectively, everyone is dealing with their own personal struggles that we don’t know about.
For that reason, I decided to share my story with some friends, and to my surprise, they immediately started opening up about other skin conditions they’d been struggling with, like rosacea and psoriasis, and how these are things no one talks about. I think no one talks about them because there is shame in skin imperfections, but I also think that it’s time to normalize them. And though it may be hard to share personal stories like this one with the world, right now I believe in sharing our stories.
Because our lives aren’t only the good and blemish-free snapshots we share on socials.
Because sharing our stories might make even just one person feel not so alone in their struggles and it helps us stay strong and connected.