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Interview

In Conversation with @itch_n_bitch

Did you know that 1 in 10 adults in the UK suffer from eczema? This super common skin condition causes skin to become itchy, flaky, cracked and sore- and it can be aggrevated by things like cold weather, cosmetics and certain materials. This is known all too well by Katie Mackie and Daisy Malin, two eczema sufferers who started their online platform and podcast, @itch_and_bitch to talk all things dry skin conditions.

Their platform is all about normalising eczema- they believe that it's nothing to be ashamed of and should be talked about openly and honestly, which is something nuddy agrees with 100%. Eczema positivity is a whole movement online and these ladies are leading the way. We were lucky enough to chat to Katie and Daisy about their platform and what it's like being at the forefront of an #unfiltered approach to eczema- let's get to the nitty gritty.

Hey guys! Can you tell me a little bit about your platform and what you do?

We are a podcast (see https://anchor.fm/itch-n-bitch )& Instagram community helping support those with eczema, psoriasis and TSW (topical steroid withdrawal) as well as other skin conditions. We believe the best advice is from people who understand what you are going through. We dive into the unspoken ways in which our skin conditions have affected not only our day-to-day but our life choices as a whole.

What inspired you to start your podcast?

DAISY: Myself and Katie have both always suffered from eczema and knew the mental toll it had taken on our, personal, work-life and mental health, we had briefly spoken online about how we wanted to do more and quickly the podcast was born! We hoped our knowledge can help and inspire others while I also learn myself.

KATIE: My Eczema has always been the one part of me I hid and felt embarrassed of. I know a lot of other people feel the same way and sometimes we look at ourselves and think we are disgusting. THIS IS NOT OKAY and is something I wanted to change, by creating a positive and supportive online space where we could show ourselves and others that our skin is beautiful, flare or no flare. 

Our combined experiences created itch & bitch, basics we founded the podcast based on the shared experiences of our skin. “𝗘𝗰𝘇𝗲𝗺𝗮 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗦𝗸𝗶𝗻 𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘼𝘿𝙑𝙄𝘾𝙀 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨! “ and as our insta bio says “𝙒𝙚'𝙫𝙚 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙨𝙠𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝙬𝙖𝙮... 𝘚𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯'𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰💬

We hope this Podcast can grow into a place where can all share and connect through mutual understanding of our skin. All skin types and conditions are welcome on itch & bitch, we didn't choose our skin conditions so why be picky with who we share.

Can you tell us a little bit about your personal experiences with eczema (if you don’t mind)?

DAISY: I personally have suffered from eczema for as long as I can remember, my earliest memories include being covered in creams and wrapped in cling film or bandages most evenings!

As I got older eczema came and went but sadly was always a prominent part of my life, at the start of this year I began noticing a change in my skin and the topical creams I had relied on no longer worked, for the last 8 months I have been going through topical steroid withdrawal, it has been a hard journey but rewarding and enlightening to know my body can be so strong!

KATIE: I’ve had eczema since birth yet it has always been the one part of me I hid and felt embarrassed of. I believe part of this feeling was because my eczema always made me feel different, like the odd one out, I truly believe this mindset of my skin would have been way more positive if I had known someone when I was growing up who also had eczema or even an influencer like we have today. Eczema has taken away my confidence at times, been the reason I don't wear certain things / don't attend an event/it's been the reason I've had a dire mental health day/ taken extenuating circumstances at uni. It's even been the reason I couldn't physically straighten/move without my skin ripping open and bleeding. 
I am sharing soo openly now on @Mackies_Moments and @Itch_n_bitch because I want to be what I so desperately needed to see when I was younger- a positive skin influence. 

I wrote an article for the @Thoughtcatalog called “How To Remember You’re Not Alone When Your Eczema Is Getting The Best Of You” that further encapsulates my experiences of eczema (see here https://thoughtcatalog.com/katie-mackie/2021/08/how-to-remember-youre-not-alone-when-your-eczema-is-getting-the-best-of-you/ )

What are the most common misconceptions about eczema?

DAISY: I think there are often ideas eczema is contagious or it is a thing you get from not washing or being to dirty, this is most definitely not the truth! 

KATIE: What people without eczema fail to understand is that eczema is way more than just a rash,

it affects everything. Eczema can hospitalize you. There’s way more going on that you can see on the surface. ALSO, weirdly people treat eczema-like its not normal when legit 1 in 5 children suffer eczema and 1 in 10 adults in the UK making it a very common skin condition. 

What has your eczema journey taught you about yourself?

DAISY: My skin journey has taught me, self-love. Resilience, patience & gratitude,

I appreciate every good skin day and I know I am waiting for my true self to shine through!

KATIE:  I am not defined by my skin. Eczema has taught me it's okay to ask for help. Asking for help and being open about your skin is a vital step towards healing physically and mentally. I have anxiety and loss of control majorly triggers it, so eczema has taught me how I can take back my control. I can't always control my Eczema but I can control how I react to it. That is my power. My fave one-liner I’ve ever written - You can’t hate your skin into healing but you can reach out for help when you’re having that sinking feeling. 

Do you have any advice for anyone who is suffering with eczema or similar skin conditions?

DAISY: Where your skin condition with pride. Your internal beauty will always shine through 

KATIE: When adults or people who are old enough to know better make comments about your Eczema that is definitely a reflection of them and not you... When people make negative comments you need to remember that's their problem and not yours... they are simply projecting their own insecurities/ignorance. 

What are your top ingredients to avoid when it comes to flare-ups?

DAISY: SLS is a good one to avoid and anything heavily perfumed!!

KATIE: SLS’S, Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) Methylisothiazolinone (MI) & high ethanol/ alcohol basically sanitisers kill me haha

What are the top products that have helped your skin? 

DAISY: Skin salvation is amazing (Balmonds). Cetraben products have always agreed greatly with my skin! It’s important to say everyone is different and what works for me may not for you. I also love westlab sea salt baths!!

KATIE: very similar to Daisy- 

  • Balmonds- Skin Salvation, Rosehip scar oil & Omega-rich cleansing oil

  • Aveeno- shampoo & conditioner, the whole of their new calm + restore range! And their daily moisturiser

  • Cetraben- cream- amazing for full body as well as for my hands!

  • Dermalex- Eczema cream- worked wonders on my hands!

Thank you SO much for chatting to us guys! You can check out Katie and Daisy's platforms at the following:

INSTAGRAM: @itch_and_bitch / @mackies_moments / @daisymalin_skin

PODCAST: Itch and Bitch

BLOG: https://itch-n-bitch.blog/

Suffer from eczema yourself? Make sure to check out our SLS free, shea butter soap bars, which have had amaaaazing results on dry skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis- SHOP HERE.