Olivia Day for Daily Mail Australia
00:32 18 May 2023, Updated 00:35 18 May 2023
- Leila Johnson struggles with dermatitis
- Her skin touched her confidence.
- The child has eczema on the face and head
A young woman has described how a debilitating skin condition has shaken her confidence and left her unable to go to the gym, work or university.
Layla Johnson, 20, says battling eczema has affected her self-esteem and cost her thousands of dollars.
Since she was just three years old, she has struggled with severe allergies and a skin condition that leaves her with severe dryness and itchy skin.
Ms Johnson said the skin condition, which affects her cheeks, lips, legs, chest and eyelids, came back ‘with a vengeance’ when she was 18 a few months ago.
Since then, the university student has opted to study online to better treat her frequent home ailments using expensive creams.
Eczema forced her to quit her retail job after a devastating fire left her with swollen eyes and painful cramps from head to toe.
As her skin recedes, she prefers to wear sports bras, and her eczema cream sticks to the fabric so she can’t wear fancy ‘office-appropriate’ clothes.
‘People stare at me, and when they make comments or suggest what I should do, I know they’re trying to help, but it’s frustrating and difficult because they don’t understand the extent of the things I’ve tried. I’ve tried everything!’ She said.
Her very thin and dry skin, which feels like sandpaper, can rip and tear when Ms. Johnson takes off her clothes, adding to her discomfort.
‘Ninety percent of the time it looks terrible and horrible,’ she says of her skin.
‘Last year, I had a really big circle of eczema on my upper thigh, and it got so infected my leg turned purple and I had to go back to hospital.’
The 20-year-old had to be hospitalized after her entire head swelled up and her lips and eyes were covered in several painful blisters.
I have been hospitalized many times and tried everything. I hate to think how much I’ve spent on creams and treatments over the years,’ she says.
‘I see a specialist every few months, but it’s so frustrating because they give me antihistamines and steroids which destroy my skin.’
‘I don’t want to think’ of the money she spent on different creams, the uni student said, adding she was allergic to most of them.
Ms Johnson says her battle with her skin has taken a toll on her weight and body image as sweat can cause skin breakouts.
A mother whose four-month-old baby’s eczema was so severe she left her pillow covered in blood when she ‘miraculously’ managed to give her baby some relief.
Millie Zwiefel’s mother, Jane, 35, said her daughter had eczema on her face and scalp that broke out in “yellow patches.”
‘Millie’s face hurt so much she couldn’t stop crying,’ said Ms Zweifel.
‘It crunches on her face and skull. Her pillow is sometimes covered in blood.’
Ms Zweifel started using products from Australian natural skincare brand MooGoo, which offers products specifically designed for eczema and dermatitis.
As soon as I apply it on her face, it calms down immediately, and the redness disappears. She says it’s amazing and it really comforts her.
‘She has such thick hair so I massaged it into her hair and scalp like conditioner and left it on for a few hours and then combed it. It comes off really easily, and then I wash her hair.’
Moogoo offers cleansers, creams, body washes and lotions specifically designed for skin conditions such as psoriasis, keratosis pilaris and rosacea.
Chief executive Melody Livingstone said Moogoo was flooded with orders from people suffering from burns due to the dry and cold winter weather.
The skin on people’s faces and bodies can dry out after long hot showers and staying under an electric blanket or in front of a heater.
Ms Livingston said Mugo Eczema Cream sold out every two minutes, while sales of facial creams and moisturisers were 80 to 90 per cent higher.
Australia has one of the highest rates of eczema in the world, and it’s getting worse – 50 years ago, only one in 10 Australian children suffered from it,’ Ms Livingstone said.
“Although eczema is becoming more common, there is still a surprising amount of understanding about how to manage it.
Because there is no proven cure for eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis, education and symptom management are critical.
‘The skin has a protective barrier, it can get very dry in the winter and if it’s broken it means it’s more susceptible to infection. So it’s important to start using a good quality moisturizer to maintain the skin’s protective function.’
Australia has one of the biggest eczema problems in the world, with around a third of the population diagnosed with the debilitating skin condition. People with eczema often experience chronic itching, rashes, weepy sores, and rough skin.
MOGOO CEO Melody Livingston tips for eczema
- Keep your fingernails short and avoid scratching the skin, and wear cotton mitts or gloves at night.
- Wear 100 percent cotton or soft fabrics—avoid rough, scratchy, and tight clothing.
- Have lukewarm baths and showers
- Use hypoallergenic products and avoid any perfume
- Pat gently, do not slide, dry the skin with a soft towel
- Use a moisturizer to ‘lock in’ moisture within three minutes of showering
- Avoid quick temperature changes and sweaty activities
- Use sensitive skin washing powders and soaps
- Reduce daily stress