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Finding Solutions for Eczema

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True Beauty with Eczema: It’s About How You Feel

Medically Reviewed By Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP

“We need more goodness in the world right now” is a sentiment we are hearing more and more as we grieve the state of this world and as so many of us must continue to limit our news intake. We empathetic warriors – in particular those of us with chronic conditions like eczema – have to be careful about enforcing our boundaries and be aware of how stress affects our skin. Just like so many of our peers, even those without skin conditions, those of us with eczema worry about our physical beauty. But what does one do when they’re doing all the right things for their skin, even managing their stress, but their skin is going through what looks like a flare?

I’ve been there, and I’ve learned a lot. When this is your reality, first remind yourself that you are intrinsically beautiful, no matter what state your skin is in. Then, focus on how to feel beautiful rather than fixating on the superficial state of just looking beautiful. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather focus on what makes me feel beautiful instead of constantly focusing on my superficial  inadequacies. 

It’s about how you feel

In the past, I’ve spent hours diving into the internet, exploring all the products that could possibly remedy each flare-up. I would sit there, scrolling through lotions and creams, as they brazenly teased and tempted me with their 4.7 star ratings, sound promises, and same-day shipping.

However, after a lot of lessons learned, today I try to focus on how I feel rather than how I look. I know what you’re thinking: “You’re asking me to look past the physical even though it’s literally glaring me in the face?” Yes, this is definitely easier said than done! Though I’m not anywhere close to the level of a certain mirror-obsessed evil queen, I do understand wanting to be within the realm of your kingdom’s idea of beauty. But when this hurdle feels objectively impossible, I encourage you to do what I try my best to do when faced with daunting decision-making. Go back to the basics. In this case, let’s look to nature.

Did you know that butterflies can’t see their own wings? All those vivid colors and patterns that are so beautiful and eye-catching to us are not visible to a butterfly. Though they are not able to see their own wings, they are still able to use them for good. Butterflies use their strong wings to help pollinate the plants around them. So in a way, you can say that they use their beauty for good. And that’s how I feel we should use our beauty: for good. We are intrinsically beautiful, and that means that every part of you is what makes you beautiful. Your strong arms, sturdy legs, inquisitive mind, kind eyes, soft heart, and smart mouth; all of your features together are what make you beautiful. So whichever attribute you deem to be your greatest strength, use that to start changing your little corner of the world. You might not be able to see it, but when you use your beauty in service to others, they are able to see and sense how beautiful you really are. 

I know that dabbing on this season’s popular lip stain for a pop of color along with your other curated beauty-enhancers is a nice and easy way to feel pretty. It’s much easier than going out of your way to help someone else. Absolutely. But think of helping someone within your community – maybe even helping a fellow skin warrior – as a mutually beneficial exchange. You will be helping them through a challenging time, and you will be strengthening your empathy muscles to support those gorgeous wings. Why do you need to keep strengthening those wings? Because this world needs all the help it can get. You are capable and ready. But you have eczema? Exactly. That e-word is exactly what makes that other e-word – empathy – so strong. Empathy is one of the most underrated strengths out there. But in this moment in history, it’s something we very much need.

So how do I do this? How do I behave like a butterfly?

Remember you are intrinsically beautiful. That means every part of you that makes the whole. Use every aspect of your physical body, accompanied by your natural talents and gifts, to find what you are best at doing and do! Make sure that it is not only something that you are naturally skilled at, but something that also brings you joy. Allow this journey of helping those around you be mutually beneficial – not in the selfish sense, but in a way that helps fill your cup as you go so you have the fuel to keep going and doing good.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in my years on this earth, it’s that life is not easy, especially for us eczema warriors. But I have noticed that anything truly worth having in this life does not come easy. So why would obtaining true beauty be any different? If you want to be beautiful rather than simply looking beautiful, then take action. Allow your beauty to come because you’ve done something altruistic.

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Medical Reviewer: Meredith Goodwin, MD, FAAFP
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