37-year-old Melanie Lynch was first prescribed topical steroid creams when she was just a toddler. Already then, she’d exhibited symptoms of eczema, a skin condition that causes a person’s skin to swell unnaturally.
For Lynch, her eczema made her skin red, flaky, and extraordinarily dry.
Her doctor initially gave her the cream to use on the backs of her knees and elbows, where the eczema was the worst. But the cream never helped alleviate Lynch’s symptoms.
Over the next 30 years of her life, Lynch’s eczema only continued to get worse. Her doctor increased her dosage until she was using a 100g tube of steroid cream on her entire body each week – on top of taking oral steroids.
But still, nothing was effective in combatting Lynch’s skin problem.
In 2013, when Lynch was 34, she decided to just quit using steroids. Her skin wasn’t responding at all to the treatment, so she saw no reason to continue using them.
Lynch had no idea how poorly her skin would respond to this decision.
The eczema was already prominent on Lynch’s body, but her decision to forgo medication completely caused her condition to go out of control.
Her face swelled, her hair fell out, and she was always bright red.
“It was just horrendous, I looked like a monster, my hair and eyebrows fell out, my skin was oozing and fell off everywhere. I had to sweep around me like it was dust, I would change my bedsheets and pyjamas multiple times a day,” she described. “Everything was swollen even my eyes. My skin was bright red, wet from oozing and was gross.”
There were many days when Lynch would retreat to the space of her home, refusing to show herself to anyone outside because the condition was so bad.
Even under these conditions, Lynch persisted. She refused to cave and return to her medication.
And now, three years later, Lynch’s determination has paid off. Her skin is now stronger, looks much healthier, and she has regained her confidence to go outside whenever she wants.
“In the beginning, I only thought it would take a year for me to overcome this, I never imagined three years later I'd still be battling it,” she explained. “Thankfully this year has been a lot better, my skin is so much better than it was, I'm finally able to start living a normal life again.”