When I started blogging a few years ago, I intended to spread awareness for eczema. At the time, there was minimal discussions (outside of visiting your doctor) and extremely limited options. It was frustrating, to say the least. So my vision was to get the conversation started by adding a new perspective on what it’s like living with eczema.
By raising awareness, I knew others would relate, and possibly reach out. More importantly, I wanted researchers to know how severe this condition was, so there could be more funding in research and development. Luckily, over the past few years, there’s been a phenomenal shift. Eczema has taken center stage and has come into its own as a severe skin condition. Researchers and companies have taken notice and it’s glorious to see!
On Wednesday, September 11th, I had the honor of attending a Chronic Hand Eczema Medical Expert Panel Meeting in Manhattan. The panel consisted of representatives all around the world to weigh in new advances in the hand eczema treatment.
There was so much resourceful information that I could potentially write a novel trying to relay it all. Instead, I’ve decided to give you the Top 20 Things I Learned. So sit back, relax, and try to avoid itching at all costs.
- We are the world – The panel consisted of representatives from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, the Americas, and more.
- Not all eczema was created equal – In fact, eczema can classify under many different categories. For this study, the main focus was hand eczema only, making this study a first for targeting hand eczema.
- Men are from Mars – There’s an old saying that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” A study shows that men are more hesitant when it comes to seeking treatment for their hand eczema, as opposed to women.
- Passion is the new black – Patients aren’t the only ones passionate about eczema. Every panelist in the room was filled with passion when it came to eczema. They understand the frustration of their patient’s experience and are determined to find a solution to help ease the discomfort of eczema.
- Do not pass go – Regulations are different in every country. In the US, to get a drug approved there have to be strong findings that the drug is beneficial. Additionally, the wording is EVERYTHING when it comes to seeking funding and ultimate approval for the latest drug.
- Scrub-a-dub – Hand eczema is one of the most difficult eczemas to treat, due to patients always having to use and/or wash their hands. Water, soap, and hand sanitizer can be painful to inflamed hands. It can also result in the cream/ointment/lotion being washed off.
- All hands NOT on deck – Professionals with hand eczema involved in certain industries such as nurses, doctors, mechanics, chefs, factory workers, waiters, bartenders, etc. are at risk for using more sick days as their skin is heavily impacted from flare-ups.
- SOS (save our skin) – Students also have a difficult time focusing in school and concentrating with severe hand eczema which can result in them using their sick days on their skin, when it should be used for when they are truly sick.
- Go grease lightning – Some patients opt for home remedies, then over the counter medicines, and finally, the doctor’s office when the skin becomes unbearable and nothing else has worked. This worries doctors as they have a small window of time to discover the trigger and tackle eczema right away and get a better handle on it. Once it’s at the point where you can’t function, you risk the need for stronger medicine to suppress eczema.
- You know you make me want to shout – Hand eczema can affect the joints, making it painful to bend and do simple tasks.
- Let’s not make rash decisions – Those in the medical field DO NOT always agree with each other. Which is similar to eczema patients as we all take different approaches to treat our skin.
- C’est la vie – Once you’ve been exposed to eczema it doesn’t necessarily go away. You will always have a gene that allows it to reappear.
- Potato potahto – Researchers are curious to know if eczema patients prefer lotions and creams or ointments to treat the skin. The general consensus was that everyone is different and some like one, while others like the opposite.
- One Love – Many eczema studies don’t have proper representation when it comes to different races and ethnicities. Most of the studies are based in Caucasians of European descent.
- I am Spartacus – It was the first time I witnessed a Dermatologist state they suffer from eczema as well.
- One big mystery – Just because you identify your trigger(s) it doesn’t mean that you’ve solved your eczema problem. It’s a great start to avoiding a flare-up but your eczema has the potential to come back from a different form
- Hard Knock Life – Some patients can’t handle sacrificing their favorite products or a specific lifestyle to help heal their skin. For example, some won’t give up specific make-up or wearing perfume, while others might not give up….
- One step at a time – During the testing phase, they use severity charts, and for the results to come back positive. One of the hurdles is that the patient must score within the guidelines.
- Are we there yet – Researchers and doctors were questioning how long is too long when it came to volunteers to be apart of a clinical trial. It two weeks enough time, or what about 6 months to a year?
- We are the champions – Everyone was given a chance to speak and it was brilliantly diplomatic!
This was one experience I’ll never forget and hopefully, there will be many more to come. If you want something. Go after it.