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7 tips if your eczema makes you feel self-conscious

Harris has also embraced showing her skin, flare-ups and all. “Your instinct may be to cover up your eczema with long pants, long sleeves, or makeup, and I get it: There are times when I don’t want to show my skin to the world, or deal with people’s uninvited questions or stares,” she says. “But know that there can be tremendous freedom in unhiding your eczema. When we show our skin, we can transcend shame and embrace who we really are.”

2. Be honest about your struggles, with loved ones and yourself.

For Jill Taylor, 45, simply being open about her condition has been one of the biggest game-changers in feeling more comfortable. “It’s so easy to hide away when you’re feeling self-conscious, but I’ve found that the more I socialise, the less noticeable my eczema becomes,” she tells SELF.

She’s also learned to be honest with people about what’s happening with her skin. “If someone asks why I’m not wearing a short-sleeved shirt, or if they stare at my hands, I’ll tell them that I have eczema and it’s been acting up. It sounds simple, but this honesty has helped me to feel more comfortable in my own skin. Most people that stare aren’t trying to be rude; they’re just curious and once they know what they’re looking at, they usually move on.”

Elin Alexander, 31, who has dealt with various forms of eczema since childhood, also says that being open about the challenges of eczema with friends and family has helped her cope. “Don’t be afraid to tell close family and friends what you’re going through,” she says. “They may not entirely understand, but they can be a great source of comfort and support.”

3. Find a community that gets it.

Julia Bobak, 31, was diagnosed with eczema as a teenager and has since learned that its particularly aggravated by stress and anxiety. “It’s a vicious cycle, which is compounded if it’s in a visible area, as this can make me feel embarrassed to go out,” she says. “The whole experience is incredibly isolating.”

One thing that has helped her is finding other people who understand her experience firsthand. She’s found many people who share their stories on social media and engaging with them has helped her to feel less lonely.

“Even on days when I don’t want to leave the house, I can find [comfort] in online communities,” she says. “It helps to normalise eczema and reminds me that people are probably paying far less attention to my skin than I think. This gives me the confidence to get back out there.”

4. Face your worries head-on.

Zoe Ashbridge, 32, has had eczema all her life, but it wasn’t until it finally healed that she realised she’d stopped looking other people in the face. “My skin was knocking my confidence so much that I spent more time looking down at the floor than up at the lovely faces of the people who were talking to me,” she says. “I felt so ugly that I wanted to spare people my face.”

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