My Skin: A Beginner’s Guide to How Much It Sucks


I suffer from the skin condition eczema. I have a particularly bad case, if all the dermatologists who have said, “You have the worst eczema I’ve ever seen!” are to be believed.1

Not to mention all the random people who remark with horror/concern/morbid curiosity, “Oh my, what happened to your [arm/face/hands]?” “Did you burn yourself?” “Has Collin been splashing you with acid when you’re out of line?”2

It flares up with stress. You know what I imagine will cause me some stress? My wedding. And I’d really rather not have red, cracked, peeling skin on my hands and face the day I get married. Or any day, really.

This morning I woke up and the skin around my eyes had cracked along all my little expression lines, oozing in some places. I put on some skin cream, it burned. I canceled my plans to go to a baseball game because I didn’t want the unseasonably cold wind to further stress my skin.

I’m not going to be able to cancel my wedding if (when) my skin acts up that day. So I guess this means I have to go back to a dermatologist, have my exceptionally effed-up skin remarked upon and possibly photographed, and say, “Please help me fix my skin for my wedding.” And if the dermatologist were a cartoon character, his head would start making cash register noises and his eyes would scroll through ever-increasing numbers of dollar signs before—KA-CHING—landing on “SALE” tabs.

I’ll shell out big bucks for steroid creams with unpleasant side effects. I’ll take rose oil pills and pray for at least a placebo effect. I’ll pretend because eczema is a disease and because it causes physical discomfort that this isn’t mostly about vanity.

And if I turn evil, I’ll pitch to the dermatology practice that they should really consider setting up a booth at the Bridal Expo.

1Last time I saw a dermatologist, I had my hands photographed for use in educational materials. If someone shows you an illustration of hyperlinear palms, they could be mine!
2This is an actual question asked by my actual gigantic, scary, detective-in-West-Baltimore cousin in the presence of my actual fiancé, who may have actually shuddered with actual terror.


  1. Aw man. I am so sorry. Good new is Collin loves you anyway.

  2. If it’s any consolation, I’ve never really noticed it.

    • Yes! It is a consolation. I probably should have included a disclaimer in here for readers who don’t know me that I’m not disfigured. Writing this post when my skin is exceptionally bad might have made me sound melodramatic.

  3. :( My little brother has eczema. Poor kid wore sweatshirts and pants for an entire summer (90-100 degree weather). There’s no messing around when it comes to that stuff. I’ll be praying for your appointment! And like Cupcake said, your boy loves you, and so do your friends and family.

    • Eczema comes in all types, but mine responds well to sun. So I usually think of the summer as a good period for my skin, but it would be sad if my eczema didn’t react well with sun and I tried to keep it covered in hot weather. Hopefully your brother’s condition will improve!

  4. Good luck! Hopefully the doctors can help you without too much ka-chinging going on! I have psoriasis (that also flares up with stress) so I’m going to try to limit my stress and get something from the doctors that will help as well.
    Best wishes!

  5. I’ve never noticed it either. And you’re going to look beautiful at your wedding. And the baseball game was really freaking cold.

  6. That’s a rough one. My mother has REALLY awful sun allergies and is allergic to a great deal of commercial sunscreen. She gets huge red hives everywhere. It’s awful. When people ask about why she doesn’t want to shake their sunblock coated hand at an amusement park or why she won’t go on a beach break with them, they always add on “but I have this great sunblock you should try!”

    You consider doing experiments on yourself like that, dorkwad! People thinks she’s being fussy…. when she could really use a bit of sympathy and understanding

  7. Hi, this might be a bit late but I have only just started reading your blog!
    I also suffer from really bad eczema which flares up with stress and have been through countless diagnoses with various specialists (and had my skin photographed for research purposes!!), so I totally empathise.
    I saw a naturopath eventually and they recommended cutting out dairy – ie no cow’s milk or milk related products at all (no cheese, butter, yoghurt, milk, ice-cream, etc). It sounds dramatic but it worked!
    In any event, best of luck and keep positive!

  8. Um…I went to the dermatologist this week for a long standing, unresolved skin issue and they took pictures and got all excited that they could present my skin at the next “dinner meeting.” Then they told me that they thought I had a skin disorder so rare that it is part of the National Organization of Rare Diseases. Then they did two biopsies that required six stitches. Awesome!

    All that is to say that hearing that there is someone else subjected to the photos at the derm’s office has made me feel loads better. Thanks! :)

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