I Found Out My Dry, Itchy Skin Was Actually Eczema—Here's How I'm Dealing

A few weeks ago, I went into the dermatologist’s office for a skin check and got diagnosed with eczema. I was surprised. It felt like going into a coffee shop and leaving with a bag of kale. As a beauty editor, I’ve read about eczema; I’ve written about eczema; I’ve heard the word tossed around and bemoaned by various friends and co-workers for years. It just never occurred to me that I would be part of that club, even though the skin on my body has always been sensitive and prone to random bouts of itchiness. In the grand scheme of things, eczema at its mildest form is probably one of the least stigmatized and most common skin conditions. It affects 31.6 million people in the U.S. (around 10% of the entire population). But as someone who escaped childhood unscathed by many of the common maladies my peers struggled with (asthma, allergies, psoriasis, eczema), it was hard for me to grapple with the fact that I could have had this common skin condition for most of my life without even realizing it. It felt like embracing a new identity. I wasn’t just someone with sensitive skin on her body. I was someone with eczema! I proclaimed my newfound diagnosis to anyone within earshot for days. “How crazy is it that I have eczema?!” I would ask co-workers, friends, and one particularly chatty Uber driver (she got five stars). I marveled at the thought. It felt like I had been inducted into some sort of club—one that I didn’t exactly want to be initiated into but now that I was would embrace wholeheartedly. I wanted to let my eczema flag fly.