Amalie is a 26-year-old woman studying to become a chiropractor.

Amalie has had eczema since early childhood, but it was not until she became 22 that she was diagnosed with severe atopic dermatitis (AD). This was after a period of eczema rapidly spreading from her face to her neck, scalp and other regions of the body. The disease has greatly impacted Amalie’s quality of life. The itching and burning sensations were constant, intense, and disrupted Amalie’s sleep and studies. She describes the itch as so torturous that she scratched day and night until she bled. Simple movements stretched and cracked her inflamed skin, and she could not sleep or concentrate due to the relentless urge to scratch. She did no physical activities as this would only worsen the itch and scratching. The eczema not only affects her physically but also mentally. When the eczema was at its worst and during times of flares, Amalie felt depressed and avoided social activities, covering herself with hats, masks, and scarves to hide her appearance. Treating herself with thick ointments did not make it any better as Amalie felt like she resembled a “living disco ball”, due to her shiny skin. 

Amalie has started a new systemic treatment, which has reduced her itch allowing her to sleep, heal her skin, and participate more fully in life but Amalie still battles monthly flare ups. Accepting living with a chronic disease has made Amalie more open with friends and family about her condition. She looks to the future with hope but remains concerned about the need to pause treatment if she decides to have children one day.

“ Atopic dermatitis (eczema) affects my life physically and mentally. It has been a long process accepting that I have a chronic disease,and accepting that the itch will always be there.”