Now this is going to be very different from the kind of thing I usually post, but it's something that I feel is very important and needs to be talked about. It's also something that is very personal to me and plays such a big part in my life; living with a skin disorder.
You see a lot of posts online about body confidence. How you should feel good no matter what shape or size you are, or whether you have an illness or disability, and believe me I think this is super important. Every single person out there deserves to love themselves and feel good about the way they look, but what I'm trying to say is there isn't a lot out there (that I've seen anyway) about loving your body with a skin disorder.
I've suffered with a lot of health problems and illnesses throughout my life, and I know that it can take its toll on you. You start to lose faith in your body and feel unmotivated about a lot of things, but when you have a condition that is so visible, it can also make you feel like you have to hide away.
I suffer with severe eczema over most of my body. It comes and goes, is unpredictable, and can also be extremely painful. The pain and irritation is hard to deal with in itself. I also feel like I live at the doctors, hospital and pharmacy (I've tried some experimental treatment too - unsuccessfully I might add) and there are days where no matter how well my makeup goes and no matter how exciting my plans are, I feel self conscious, unattractive and like I need to hide away.
Behind all the carefully edited Instagram pictures, the Snapchat selfies and makeup look photos are a lot of people who are hiding the real way their skin looks. Eczema, Acne, Psoriasis and Dermatitis just to name a few, so many people like me have spent days wearing long sleeved tops in 30 degree heat to hide the rashes on their arms; have been too embarrassed to wear the pretty short dress because of the skin on their legs; have been too self conscious to take part in the group photo because today is a bad acne day.
I know I'm rambling on, and for those of you still reading thank you for your dedication, I just feel like I've spent the last 25 years of my life hiding this part of me away from the eyes of strangers (and even the eyes of family and friends) and I don't want to anymore. It is a part of my identity and something that will be there for the rest of my life. I can either keep hiding, or I can embrace it and show those rashes, sores and blisters who's boss.
Over the next few weeks I'm planing to start a blog series focusing on those of you out there with skin disorders - beauty products that don't irritate, make up appropriate for sensitive skin, ways to deal with the anxiety it causes and how we can start loving our skin, no matter what. If any of you are interested, please feel free to message me on twitter (@AmyBarden) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can arrange collaborations and maybe even a twitter chat to raise awareness and spread the love :) #skinlove
Thank you all for taking the time to read this, it is something very important to me and I'd love to hear from you!
Love to you all x