Body Image: “With eczema, I felt worried that people would look at my arms and be disgusted.”

Sometimes there are parts of our bodies that can make us feel particularly insecure or anxious. We spoke to Luke, who explained how having eczema as a teenager affected his body image and caused him to lack confidence. He tells us how the experience has now left him more empathetic towards other people, and the insecurities they might be facing with skin conditions.


Growing up, I experienced various insecurities relating to my body such as; my teeth, a dark birthmark on my arm, and most predominantly, eczema. Eczema was the biggest hurdle for me to overcome in my early to mid-teenage years, due severity and exposure of the condition. The eczema covered most of my arms from shoulders down to my wrists, and covered my thighs too. It was the eczema on my arms which caused me the most issues, especially in my school environment, and meeting new people. I felt embarrassed and worried that people would look at my arms and be disgusted. I would feel anxious and self-conscious at school and I’d find myself keeping a wide berth of people at social gatherings.

"I began to feel paranoid that everyone was staring at me, talking behind my back and making fun of me."

– Luke

When I was feeling at my worst, I would make sure I had long sleeved shirts on only, or if I had no choice, I would try to use some form of jumper to cover up where I could. Fortunately, the eczema cleared up as I entered my early 20’s and now I only get very small, isolated patches around my hips. As I’ve grown up and had to experience the insecurities that come from having a skin condition, you soon realise the affect that a simple question about someone’s appearance could negatively have on them, so I tend to be more aware and empathetic to people with any skin conditions.

I believe a lot of my fears were existing in my head only, and people probably weren’t noticing my skin as much as I was. But it can be hard to realise that when you’re the only person in your close circle with a skin condition, and never see anyone else with eczema exactly like yours. Thankfully, I never experienced bullying but I did face a lot of questions such as ‘what’s that on your arm?’, ‘why is your arm like that?’ or ‘is that contagious?’ which definitely played a big part in my insecurities and negatively affected my confidence.

I think education is key with body image and more awareness needs to be raised around skin conditions, how they are normal, and what someone might experience. The more people who understand and are aware of the different skin conditions someone can have, the less questions they will have to ask, and the less risk of potentially negatively impacting someone’s confidence.

Want to know more about body image?

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