Home » My Nightmare Skin – Suffering from Atopic Dermatitis

My Nightmare Skin – Suffering from Atopic Dermatitis

by Lisa Jones
Published: Last Updated on 18 comments
A blossom tree in bloom

I’ve never exactly been blessed with beautiful, supple, softer than a baby’s bottom skin, but even by my standards, my skin has been a nightmare recently. Since October 2019, I have been suffering from Atopic Dermatitis.

What Is Atopic Dermatitis?

Atopic Dermatitis is a skin condition, similar to eczema. It causes the skin to become dry, cracked, itchy and in some cases, spotty, ooze a fluid and form a yellow crust. Which is exactly what happened to me. Nice.

Let’s Go Back

Since I turned 12 or 13, I have pretty much always suffered from acne. I was so embarrassed by my skin that I tried ALL the lotions and potions and treatments that you can think of. This is probably where my toiletry obsession came from. NOTHING worked! So, off to the doctors I went and tried some different options with them. Nothing worked. Still, I remained spotty.

When I turned 17, the doctor put me on the pill I was blessed with the clear skin of my dreams. But alas, all dreams come to an end and I had to change pill due to being on it for so long. My skin didn’t go back to how it was before when I was a teen but I would still end up with spots more often than I would like 😔

I came off the pill completely in December 2014 to start trying for a baby. I was terrified that I was going to end with more spots than a dot to dot book. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case, but still, I never ventured outside without my trusty layer of make-up.

In the first half of 2018, during my pregnancy, I was one of those annoying woman that glowed (well, in my opinion anyway!!) I felt beautiful!

Lisa smiling at the camera. Her is long and straight and she has makeup on. She is showing off her pregnancy glow
My Pregnancy Glow

How Did It Start?

Everything was fine with my skin until November 2019. At first, I just got a few spots around my nose and chin. I wasn’t too concerned, I was used to breakouts.

Lisa has shorter hair now and is wearing a black top. She is looking at the camera to show the start of the atopic dermatitis
When it first started

But they didn’t stop there.

It carried on getting worse and worse and more painful so I went to the doctors feeling like a teenager again. I was told that I had infected acne. I was given some antibiotics and antibiotic cream and was told that it should clear up soon.

Lisa is wearing a flowery top and eye makeup. She is smiling at the camera and showing the Atopic Dermatitis around her mouth
First doctors trip

But it didn’t.

So I took matters into my own hands and started using my son’s steroid cream. I know that you’re not meant to use things that haven’t been prescribed for you. But my mental health was seriously suffering and it was the thing that worked on my skin.

How Does It Feel To Have Atopic Dermatitis?

It’s an extremely embarrassing problem to have and felt like I was 14 again. I thought that people would be staring at me and laughing, thinking that I didn’t take care of myself. I didn’t want to go out very much and I was just constantly worried about what people would think.

This condition is so painful I would do anything to make it better. It makes brushing your teeth difficult and washing your face was a painful nightmare. I always had to be careful with Little J in case he knocked it.

My skin definitely was clearing up using the steroid cream but you shouldn’t use them longterm as they thin the skin. So after my operation in February I decided to stop using the cream. I wouldn’t be going out anyway and I wanted to see what would happen to my skin.

This was the result after a week:

I was devastated. At this point, I still thought that it was acne, as that is what I was told by the doctor previously. Why wasn’t it clearing up?! What was this?!?!

I was honestly crying by that second picture just above. The skin was so sore and tight that it hurt to even talk. I know that it’s really superficial and shallow but I was so depressed. I felt like everyone was staring at me, thinking that I have some horrible disease or something.

Getting A Second Opinion

So, off I waddled to the docs (remember, I’d just had my operation, hence the waddling). The Doc was extremely sympathetic but didn’t have a clue what it was. I told her that I’d been using my son’s steroid cream so she gave me some more and booked me an urgent appointment with the dermatologist.

Except you know what urgent appointments are like. And this was just when coronavirus was making its appearance so I had to wait for 3 weeks before I had my appointment, which honestly felt like a lifetime.

The Diagnosis

It was a very quick appointment with the dermatologist – once it had finally come around. I was told it was Atopic Dermatitis and that it’s very common.

It’s not known what causes Atopic Dermatitis, but there are a number of factors that play into it:

  • Allergens such as pollen, pet hair or peanuts
  • Stress
  • Dry Skin
  • Skin infections
  • Soaps and detergents, including shampoo, washing-up liquid and bubble bath
  • Food Allergies
  • Hormone changes

I was told to wean off of the steroid cream and I was given a new cream and antibiotics. The doc also recommended some expensive face wash and moisturiser (well, more expensive than what I can afford currently) designed specifically for sensitive skin called Bioderma Sensibio.

I expected my skin to clear up quickly with the cream, antibiotics and Bioderma Sensibio but unfortunately, it was a slow process. I started the treatment on the 13th of March:

I had to use the cream daily for 4 weeks, then reduce to 3 times a week for 4 weeks.

All Cured?

And here it is today. I am thrilled!

Lisa is smiling at the camera. Her skin is only slightly red from Atopic Dermatitis
My Nightmare Skin – Almost all better!

Whilst doing my research for this post I discovered that Atopic Dermatitis is chronic and symptoms typically do come back. Fanbloodytastic.

To help keep the symptoms at bay I have been told that I must keep the skin moisturised at all times. I used to always suffer from very oily skin so the idea of using super hydrating skincare is a new one for me!

My Conclusion

I know that this all seem very superficial, being so upset about my skin. But having suffered with acne when I was younger and then dealing with Atopic Dermatitis, I just felt like I could never catch a break with my skin.

One positive thing that has come out of this, however, is now I am so confident about my skin. I no longer feel like I have to wear makeup when I go out. I feel happy showing my bare face. So that’s pretty awesome.

*I just want to apologise for the atrocious pictures, I didn’t have the idea for this post when I was taking them!

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Zandra L. 15/06/2020 - 6:10 am

*hugs* I also have one. Happy to know that your skin is getting better. 💕

Lisa Jones 15/06/2020 - 4:58 pm

Thank you so much! Yes, nearly all gone now! xx

Zandra L. 16/06/2020 - 4:09 am

Glad to hear that ☺

rud1an0 14/05/2020 - 12:36 pm

I salute your bravery for sharing your journey! I’m glad things have improved so much for you! I can vouch for how damaging a condition like that can be. I went through something similar. I had severe psoriasis all over my body. My face was affected too so social interactions were difficult. I went through the steroid phase too…and all the pills with side effects.
I found however that managing my stress and my diet were key to keep symptoms at a minimum. Some foods aggravate me like acidic fruits, sugar and vegetables from the nightshade family.
Maybe doing a food journal can help you identify if your diet may be a cause…

Lisa Jones 14/05/2020 - 10:38 pm

Thank you so much. Ouch, that must have been painful to have it all over your body! I’m glad that you’ve managed to keep symptoms to a minimum.
A food journal is a great idea. I have no idea what causes flare ups so that might be able to pinpoint it?

Jenny in Neverland 12/05/2020 - 1:08 pm

Not superficial at all if it affects you! I’m sorry you have to deal with that – it looks like a really painful and irritating condition. Glad it’s starting to clear up now though! Thank you for sharing x

Lisa Jones 12/05/2020 - 5:43 pm

Thank you. It was super painful so I’m glad that I’ve managed to get on top of it now xx

James Tasker 12/05/2020 - 1:08 pm

When it comes to dry skin conditions, it’s the one thing I can honestly say – I know how you feel. I started with atopic eczema at 14, and I’ve recently been diagnosed with severe eczema and been put on immunosuppressants (which have helped a little bit). But there’s nothing that makes me more self conscious that when it’s on my face (mainly my eyes in my case) so I can completely relate to how upset and down it makes you feel. Your skin is looking a lot better now, keep up with the treatment plan, if I had a magic cream to make it all go away I’d bottle it and give it out for free.

Hope you’re keeping well.


Lisa Jones 12/05/2020 - 5:38 pm

Thank you so much. Ouch, must be so painful around the eyes! It really does bring you down as there is nothing that you can do to hide it on your face.
I really hope that you find a treatment that works well for you, people don’t realise how much it can affect your life. Completely agree about having a magic cream!

Green Socks 12/05/2020 - 12:35 pm

Wow I’m so glad to see how much your skin has improved. My husband has atopic eczema, dermatitis and is very very sensitive to perfumes. He’s tried everything, including oral steroids and immunosuppressants. He’s currently doing quite well, but when it’s bad he gets really down too. I wish one of the magic creams worked for him, but almost everything is perfumed. It must be a huge weight off your mind to find something that helps so much.

Lisa Jones 12/05/2020 - 5:32 pm

Thank you so much. Yep, it can definitely get you really down. Oh goodness, I have problems when I change soap power etc I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for your husband xx

Green Socks 12/05/2020 - 6:31 pm

We buy skinnies washing liquid online, that’s made a massive difference. I’ve stopped wearing perfume and don’t go near him when I’ve just washed my hair. There are lots of little things we can do, but I think he’s going to be using ointments forever.

Carole 12/05/2020 - 10:57 am

Oh gosh I do feel for you – I’ve had minor skin issues all my adult life but none of them on my face, at least not since teenage days. Just wondered – has any medical professional ever suggested any lifestyle changes rather than medications? It always seems to me that doctors treat the symptoms – I guess because we all want to be ‘fixed’ – and give us creams and pills. But these days I’m increasingly interested in approaches that treat the cause. There’s a lot of new thinking in this direction, especially among more forward-looking medics and researchers. If changing my diet or habits would remove the cause of my issues, I’d do it! – but apart from general advice like avoiding junk food and eating plenty of fruit and veg, I’ve never been given any lifestyle prescriptions.

Lisa Jones 12/05/2020 - 5:29 pm

Thank you. No, there was no recommendation for a lifestyle change. I’ve been reading up about it and it looks as though people with asthma and similar conditions are more likely to get it unfortunately. I think if there was something I could change in my diet etc I would definitely do it. Maybe it’s something I should look into once everything is back to normal xx

Maddie 12/05/2020 - 10:33 am

You are not being superficial at all for speaking about this, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about it either! I’m so glad that it has cleared up for you, and I hope it stays away. Thank you for sharing your experiences of this, remember you have nothing to hide xx

Lisa Jones 12/05/2020 - 5:25 pm

Thank you so much. I am so glad that I’ve managed to get on top of it now! xx

Lisa's Notebook 11/05/2020 - 4:01 pm

First of all, you have NOTHING to apologise for. On the contrary, it’s horrible that you’ve had to suffer with this for so long and thank you so much for sharing your story and what worked for you. Fingers crossed you don’t get another flare up any time soon, Lisa x

Lisa Jones 11/05/2020 - 6:20 pm

Thank you so much. I hope it doesn’t come back for ages too! But at least I’ll know how to deal with it next time.
I was a bit worried about sharing the pictures as I tended to hide away when it was really bad but I wanted people to see how awful it can be xx


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