Many people suffer from dermatitis, a common irritation of the skin that can present in different ways, for example through itchy skin, dry skin, or a rash.
This type of irritation can impact one’s life in many different ways, depending on its frequency and severity. This article will outline the different aspects of life that dermatitis can have an impact on, and will also provide some suggestions on how to cope with the effects of the condition.
Getting a good night’s sleep can be extremely difficult for people living with active dermatitis. The constant itching, burning or sensitivity that dermatitis causes can make it nearly impossible to get rest at night. There are a few different ways to improve your symptoms and condition experience so that you can get some sleep. A few being: medication, anti-itch (or prescription dermatitis) cream, wearing 100% cotton clothing that is non-restrictive, washing your bedding with detergent made for sensitive skin, avoiding sleeping in extreme temperatures, and using a humidifier to add moisture in the air.
Being in a relationship while living with dermatitis can bring a host of issues, both mentally and physically. It can be uncomfortable to discuss personal health issues with your partner, however, a good partner will be understanding and will care about your health and want to help in any way that they can. Explaining your condition to your partner and how it impacts your life can be very helpful, in strengthening your relationship and also in reducing your anxieties when it comes to the impact you think your condition may have on your relationship. Physically, you may have times where you want to avoid physical contact with others, for example when you are experiencing a flare of your dermatitis. This is completely normal and you should not feel embarrassed or self-conscious about not wanting physical touch. Share how you feel physically with your partner so that they understand that you may need some time without physical contact, and that it has nothing to do with your relationship with them – you just want to feel comfortable.
Branching off of the topic of relationships, dermatitis can change the appearance of one’s skin, which can often lead to one’s self-esteem feeling quite low. Whether you find yourself worrying about what others think of your appearance, or being unhappy with it yourself, it’s important to remind yourself that your self-worth does not come down to any physical attribute. It’s normal to feel self-conscious about your skin, with or without dermatitis. As you work towards getting your condition under control, be kind to yourself and remember that it can take some time to manage dermatitis and that as long as you are taking care of yourself the best you can, you are on the right path. Confiding in a friend, family member, or professional can be helpful when struggling with issues of self-esteem relating to your condition.
Having dermatitis can impact your relationship with your work in varying degrees, depending on what your job is. For those with physically demanding jobs, there may be times where the pain or itching you experience from your dermatitis makes it difficult to do your job properly or confidently. For those with less physically demanding jobs, your dermatitis still may impact your ability to work. In both scenarios, the best thing to do is to disclose to your employer or HR department that you live with dermatitis. It can be helpful to explain the impact your condition has on your everyday life. It also will help for when you need time off in the future to attend a doctor’s appointment. Most people will be understanding and be grateful that you have shared with them. You can also gain a sense of support and community by sharing your diagnosis with your co-workers. It is ultimately up to you what you disclose about your health with those around you.
School and University
Living with dermatitis can impact your experience with attending school and/or university. There may be days where your condition may be more active and impacting you more physically/mentally than ‘usual’. Similar to the advice given for attending work, sharing your diagnosis with those at your school or university can help provide you with the support that you need. There are different ways that you can be accommodated at school or university, and a good first step is to speak with your GP or dermatologist (or your specialist doctor) on the worries you are having about attending school and how they may be able to help you in your experience. When it comes to friends at school or university, disclosing your condition can be helpful in creating a support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – that’s what friends are for!
These are only a few aspects of life that having dermatitis can impact. We hope that the suggestions provided in this article help you navigate these areas of life with more confidence.
We have launched our My Derm app this year, reach out to us to learn more about how the My Derm app can help you self-manage your condition with confidence! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat. Download it here!
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