Ecz-Press Yourself using one word ~ Ellen Gerstein Director of Digital Content at Pfizer asked
My word? Insecure.
As Ellen opened up the crumbled piece of paper and read my word aloud I thought to myself, who was I kidding. I changed my word to humor. While its true, eczema is the root cause of my insecurities, I’ve turned it around to see the humor in it.
I know you’re thinking eczema is anything but funny! The truth is you just have to laugh sometimes. For example, I truly consider myself part of the amphibian family. Lord knows, my skin has been through several rounds of metamorphosis.
In any event, it was a quintessential fall day (my favorite time of year) in New York City when I attended the Ecz-Press Yourself event. Taking place at Apella Event Space and hosted by Pfizer, I couldn’t have asked for a better event! The location was impeccable.
Ok enough of my babbling, lets get into the event.
Ruth Dovdavany, the Vice President of Marketing at Pfizer Inc. spoke about her biggest inspiration for getting to the medical field, her dad. While she didn’t quite go the route of becoming a doctor, she found comfort working in the pharmaceutical industry.
Fun Fact: Ruth’s favorite memory is spending Summers in South Africa.
Ecz-Press Yourself – Share Your Story: Meet Some of the Bloggers/Attendees
Bianca Jade: Mizzfit http://mizzfit.com/home/welcome.sls
Type of Eczema: dyshidrotic
Adversity: Bianca finds that sometimes her peers are apprehensive to listen to her talk about eczema or skin conditions.
Her Story: Bianca was diagnosed with a lesser common form of eczema called dyshidrotic when she was 30. This specific eczema shows up in between her fingers, on her hands and sometimes her feet. As a huge advocated for fitness, she motivates others to feel healthier and look better. Bianca is incredibly intelligent and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. While she was diagnosed with eczema later on in life, she doesn’t let that define her as she’s built a successful career.
Fun Fact: She’s working on a skincare line!
LeA Robinson: Singer/Songwriter https://soundcloud.com/learobinson
Adversity: LeA was always aware of her eczema and wasn’t too bothered by it, until a boy from school mockingly pointed it out.
Her Story: LeA grew up in New Jersey and has battled eczema from a very young age. The strikingly beautiful singer talked about the difficulties she faces in the entertainment. In this particular industry, your image is everything. Going on photo shoots or filming during a flare-ups can be grueling. She recalls times where she has to explain her eczema to those on set. Not only is LeA insanely talented, she’s never let her eczema stop her from pursing her career.
Fun Fact: Her grandparents – Sylvia and Joseph Robinson happen to be the founders of Sugar Hill Records.
Karina Pacheco: http://www.cestlaviekarina.com/p/about-me.html
Adversity: Karina has blogged about all different types of topics including asthma, but was hesitant to include discussing eczema.
Her Story: Karina is a beautiful mother of two. Her 14 year-old son happens to suffer from eczema. As a determined mother, Karina has been hands on helping her son tackle his eczema.
Fun Fact: Karina is an avid runner! She took up running after being inspired by her father who is also a runner. She’s motivated so many people (myself included) – especially those that feel running is for a specific build/shape.
Scherrie D: An educator, writer and mother to three boys http://www.thirtymommy.com/
Lauren Conlon: Writer https://raisingthreesavvyladies.com/
Stephanie Barnhart: http://www.footballfoodandmotherhood.com/
(Apologies to the other bloggers, I didn’t have a chance to converse with)
Understanding The Basics of Mild-to-Moderate Eczema:
Dr. Stacy Haynes is a practicing Dermatologist currently in Alabama. She completed her residency at UCLA where she met her husband, who then moved them to Alabama accepting a job offer. Dr. Stacy Haynes’ youngest daughter suffered from eczema when she was young. Fortunately for her, she’s grown out of it and only gets flare-ups every so often.
Dr. Stacy educated us about different skin hues when it comes to eczema on a scale of 1-6. 1 being those with fair skin and 6 for those with darker hues. At level 1 your skin is most likely to be red, where as those with darker hues tend to get pigmentation issues. All of which is still eczema. This is important to note, because some people inaccurately feel like eczema is only red.
In addition, she talked to us about the variables of eczema. For some such as her daughter, tomatoes cause inflammation. It’s important to write down your daily activities to understand what’s causing your flare-ups.
Take Away: During Dr. Stacy’s presentation three things REALLY stood out to me.
- If your parents have sinus issues, allergies or asthma this can be linked to eczema
- Eczema is difficult on the whole family – when one suffers, everyone suffers
- There’s a new steroid free drug called Eucrisa that’s been making the waves
*A Talk with Aimee Song*
Aimee Song is a HUGE, if not thee top fashion influencer. She was gracious enough to sit down and talk with Ellen about her experience with eczema.
Her Story: Aimee hails from Los Angeles and talked about how it was difficult for her being a minority in a predominantly White town. So not only did she stand out because of her race, but also her skin condition (I can totally relate). As one of the most influential people in fashion, it’s astonishing to see how far she’s come. Its clear that her eczema has never held her back.
Adversity: Aimee mentions that a fellow fashion blogger tried to leverage Aimee’s eczema by writing about it via social media, trying to make her feel bad. The best part – all it did was build Aimee’s confidence as she “Ecz-Press(ed) herself” by being vulnerable and opening up to her followers about her skin condition.
Fun Fact: Aimee is obsessed with avocado toast.
Aimee travels 300 days a year!
Ecz-Press Yourself Breakout Groups:
We broke up into three different groups, where we spoke to industry leaders and representatives. I realize that this was my favorite part of the event because Ecz-Press(ing) how we felt was therapeutic. I wish everyone suffering from eczema was able to do this.
Closing Remarks: It’s pretty surreal, but eczema is FINALLY having its moment. The word is spreading and the message is clear. The community is on the path to finding a cure!
We of course had to end with a photo booth shoot – because every good party has one.
A Huge Thank You To: Laney Landsman, Ruth Dovdavany, Ellen Gerstein, Hollis Pass, Marisa Struett, The Pfizer Inflammation and Immunity Staff (sorry if I forgot anyone else in attendance from Pfizer – names are escaping me), Dr. Stacy Haynes, Aimee Song, and all the incredible Bloggers who attended.