Patient Blogs | Atopic Dermatitis
“Yes, I’ve Tried Coconut Oil!” How I Deal With Well-Meaning Suggestions For Eczema
photo of woman using moisturizer

I don’t know about you, but there is something annoying about advice that you didn’t ask for. All my life, unqualified people seemed to know how to treat my skin condition better than me. It was as if all the doctors’ visits, treatments, and money spent were not sufficient. I used to get so offended that I would try to conceal my skin condition as much as possible just so that it would not be a topic of conversation. 

I remember one time I went into a gas station and asked the attendant to put money on my pump. As I handed her cash, she asked if I had been burned on my hands. Embarrassed, I replied, “no, I have eczema.”

She proceeded to ask me if I had ever tried using lotion such as Aveeno. This wasn’t the first time someone had suggested me something so obvious. I can’t count how many times people have suggested using coconut oil or olive oil. I think what bothered me most was that I had tried everything under the sun, and nothing seemed to work. I was offended because I thought maybe they thought I was too stupid to think of something so obvious. 

I would get so upset and cry about it to my mom, and she would always tell me that it was a “teachable moment” and that I could help educate people on my skin condition. In my head, I didn’t think it was my responsibility to be the spokesperson for eczema. I was so ashamed because I didn’t feel good enough. I always thought that I would be judged because I looked different or wasn’t pretty enough. I was young and didn’t understand how much influence I could have on people who were just like me. 

This is not to say that I’m not a work in progress, because I am. Sometimes I still find myself getting annoyed with people who make suggestions to me. I think that my annoyance stems from someone who has never lived with my condition, or them having someone with a less severe version of my ailment giving me advice on what I should do. I think with anything in life, someone with close experience has more of a voice to give any legitimate suggestions. 

I try to understand that not everyone is coming from a place of judgment, but rather a place of curiosity and concern. While they may think that they are being helpful, they don’t understand the day-to-day trials and tribulations that you experience with your condition

The best practice that I could preach is to kindly listen, smile, and say thanks. Depending on the day, I’ll even tell them that I may or may not have tried their suggestions. I do know that sometimes people mean well, and I can control what advice I follow and ignore. 

I have a community of eczema and psoriasis warriors that know exactly what it’s like to deal with this condition, and I feel so supported. I have one friend who even made shirts with the saying, “Yes, I’ve tried coconut oil” on it! 


Looking for more eczema info? Join our Eczema Resources Group on Facebook.




Photo Credit: Grace Cary / Moment 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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