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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collinson

Some non-medication treatments which I believe can help

Over the last 3+ decades I’ve been constantly experimenting with ways to ease my symptoms. Some of these have been total nonsense but when you’re suffering you’ll try almost anything. There’s so many variables involved with skin conditions that it can be really hard to tell sometimes what is actually helping. I appreciate to some of you this will be very old news. I’ll probably go into more detail in the future but for now I thought I’d rattle off a few to see if there’s anything you think is worth trying:


Compression


This one has been a life saver for me during the times when the itch has been mind bending. Just standard New Balance etc sport compression sleeves work for me. Especially at night when I’ve got no distractions, it also helps when I’m trying to focus on something for work.


Air conditioning 


Blasting the aircon on the way to work in the middle of winter so that you turn up sniffling and shivering is not ideal but it was worth it to me to calm my face down slightly. I certainly believe that the cold can take the edge off of symptoms when things are red and angry.


Diet and exercise


Bit of an obvious one but there’s very little doubt in my mind that when I’m eating well it only helps my skin. The same with getting enough exercise. It’s so easy to feel completely broken down but doing all I can that’s within my control certainly helps my mental health.


Mindfulness


For the longest time I would just try to ignore and “march on” when I was struggling. I would see it as a battle and I had to keep my head down and keep moving forward. This often caused my mental health to become worse and worse. I now try to force myself to take 5 minutes to sit with it and observe how I’m feeling from an external perspective. It feels like before I was trying to bury my head in the sand and ignore it whereas now I acknowledge how I’m feeling and what I’m dealing with head on which feels much better psychologically. 


Keeping nails short


The damage I can do from scratching when my nails aren’t cut short is shocking. Inversely when they are short it really takes a lot more conscious effort to do considerable damage. I cut my nails every week like clockwork and I’ve found this really helps.


Routine

It can often feel like the condition can dominate your life and having an extensive routine of medication and treatments can make this feel even more all consuming. It can become exhausting fitting in all the different medications etc and I’ve found the best way to reduce this impact on my life is to make it so routine/efficient that you can do it on autopilot. As an example I have a load of tablets I have to take, I take them at the same time every morning and have them all in a pillbox to make it as quick and easy as possible. I also have what I need dotted around the house exactly where I need it. Get it done and out the way as quickly and effortlessly as possible so it doesn’t become overwhelming and you don’t have to deal with any decision fatigue.


Flexible working


This is a big one but not a simple fix, it was something I was desperately working towards for 10 years. I’m in the hugely privileged position that I work from home and therefore have the luxury to not have to face the world if I don’t feel up to it. This rarely happens as it scares me getting into the cycle of not leaving the house but I know it’s there as an option if necessary, which is invaluable. This reassurance that I can hide away if I absolutely need to has had a profound effect on my mental health and I believe has paradoxically improved my skin. I know this isn’t an option for anyone but I do believe if you’re someone suffering you should consider it when choosing a career. 


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