Patient Blogs | Atopic Dermatitis
How Finding the Right Doctor Changed My Eczema Treatment
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Having a good relationship with your doctor is one of the most important aspects of the treatment you get. It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood how necessary it was to be an advocate for my own health. No one understood the amount of pain and discomfort I was in, and it was challenging to convey this as a child. 

Growing up, I had a pediatrician who was close to the family. We got anything we needed, and we were able to be seen right away. After my initial diagnosis of eczema, I was prescribed an over-the-counter steroid cream. This masked my condition for a while. It wasn’t until it started to spread to other areas of my body that we sought out a dermatologist. I started to see different doctors who would all prescribe me different and stronger steroid creams that would work for a short amount of time and begin to have no effect. It was a never-ending cycle. My body started to become immune, and I would end up breaking out even worse than the last time. 

At the time, with the resources that I had, I began to think this is what the rest of my life would look like: A never-ending cycle of never finding any real treatment that worked and never finding a doctor who didn’t treat me like a number. Some visits wouldn’t be more than 15 minutes. This was ongoing until I was about 22. I was in college, self-medicating, struggling with my self-esteem, and managing my flares. I felt like it consumed my entire life, from the events I missed and the clothes I wore, to how I interacted with people and how I slept. I researched for the best eczema doctor in the U.S. I was willing to spend my last dollar finding someone who could help.

Dr. Peter Lio popped up on Google, and I immediately made an appointment. I don’t think that I had any expectations if he could help me, but I was desperate. Luckily, he was in my hometown, so I didn’t have to travel far. I feel like my initial appointment lasted for at least an hour. He could sense how defeated I was and looked me directly in my eyes and said, “I’m going to do all that I can to help you.” 

I had never felt heard until this moment. My body was essentially attacking itself, in a constant state of an allergic reaction. So, I was initially prescribed an immunosuppressant. That allowed my body to heal. He informed me of a groundbreaking medicine that would change the way eczema would be treated and informed me that I was one of the first patients he would recommend. After about a year, I started on this new drug, and it completely changed my life.

My relationship with Dr. Lio has changed the way I look at doctors now. There are doctors out here that truly care about the health and well-being of their patients. Unfortunately, it took me some years to find him. He introduced me to the NEA (National Eczema Association), where I was able to meet others that had gone through similar experiences and I was able to share my story. I am still a patient of his to this day, and I’ll forever be grateful for all that he has done for me. 


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Photo Credit: SDI Productions / E+ via Getty Images

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Mercedes Matz

Mercedes Matz

Diagnosed since 1995

Model Mercedes Matz uses her platform to educate audiences on her skin condition. By taking pride in her 28-year journey with atopic dermatitis, she’s been able to inspire others to do the same. From speaking at national conferences to producing content, she’s dedicated to encouraging everyone to embrace their true beauty. You can reach her on Instagram.

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