Influencer, 50, shows reality behind filter by sharing struggles with perimenopausal eczema to 36,000 followers
A glamorous 50-year-old fashion influencer, who was forced to swap glitzy events for sitting at home in tracksuits after perimenopause caused painful eye eczema, is now showing the reality behind the filter and raising awareness by sharing pictures of her condition to her thousands of followers.
Jane Dumas, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, loves all things fashion and has amassed more than 36,000 followers on Instagram by posting outfits and snippets of her glamorous lifestyle jet-setting around the world.
But in August 2022 she was stumped when she developed red eczema patches around her eye, and as it spread Jane’s confidence dropped, leading the mother-of-two to refuse to go out and even turn down Instagram deals in an effort to hide her face.
After months of research, Jane discovered that eye eczema was a common problem for women who are perimenopausal, the time before menopause, so she decided to share her story on Instagram, hoping to make other women aware of the signs.
“With Instagram I love it and I hate it,” she said.
“I’m very genuine on there but a lot of it can be quite fake. I wanted to share my (eczema) experience. It had a terrible impact on me personally but also on my job.
“The reaction has been so positive. There are more people than I thought who suffer with this reaction. It’s more common in women than I imagined.
“I posted the reel to put something out there, to be real and share something that can help other people. People like reality, they really like to see real pictures and realness.”
Suffering with eczema from a young age, Jane had always been careful about her skin, but in August 2022 she noticed red patches developing around her eyes.
“I went away a lot last year,” she said.
“I remember flying back from France in August not wearing any makeup or anything. My eyes were so itchy,” she said.
“It got really bad just before Christmas, so it was for about four or five months. The slightest thing irritated it. Even going from the cold into a heated house could flare it up really easily.”
“I had eczema when I was a child, but nothing like this. It just didn’t go away.
“The skin around my eyes became incredibly painful, very irritated, red and swollen.
“Having red swollen skin around your eyes makes you really self-conscious as it’s so immediately visible to everyone. It made me feel anxious, ugly and very down in the dumps. I became short-tempered as it’s quite a painful condition.”
As the red patches worsened, making Jane’s eyes sore and dry, her confidence plummeted and soon the fashionista was swapping her glamorous evenings out for tracksuits at home.
“I avoided going to press events,” she said.
“I definitely turned down work. For example, I didn’t promote a jewellery brand as my face had to be in the pictures.”
Perimenopause is when you have menopause symptoms before your periods have stopped.
You reach menopause when you have not had a period for 12 months.
“I love clothes and I love getting dressed up. The main thing for me was it stopped me doing that. Instead, I went for comfy clothes like tracksuits.
“I feel like makeup finishes an outfit. You don’t feel polished or finished without it.
“It became a cycle. I was wearing a lot of loungewear and feeling low and that affected me mentally.”
However after some research online she discovered that perimenopausal women often shared the same problem eye eczema.
“I was researching online and found an article on Skin Shop,” she said.
“It explained that really dry, itchy eyes is a symptom of perimenopause. I’m not in menopause, it’s just the time where women approach it.”
“But that’s the point, perimenopause has 65 symptoms – dry eyes is one of them.
“I believe my eye eczema is linked to the perimenopause, it’s more than a coincidence at my age.”
Jane was shocked at how unaware women were of perimenopausal symptoms and after some more online research she found a cream that could ease the redness around her eyes.
“I was kind of at the end of my tether,” she said.
“I wasn’t ready to start HRT, as I wasn’t in menopause and I only had one symptom.
“But when I found this article on the Skin Shop blog and it had pictures of women who looked exactly like me, I bought a few things to try.”
“I came across Hydrosil Dry Eye Gel. I used the Dry Eye Gel every night and the Dry Eye Concealer with the same ingredients in it during the day.
“Within days I noticed much less redness and irritation around my eyes and it had a cooling and soothing effect.
“Now, my eyes are great. I still get patches of eczema around my neck and mouth but not as bad as before.”
Palpitations, when your heartbeats suddenly become more noticeable
Headaches and migraines that are worse than usual
Muscle aches and joint pains
Changes in body shape and weight gain
Skin changes including dry and itchy skin
Reduced sex drive
Finally feeling like herself again, Jane was ready to get back to her fashionista lifestyle but determined to share the reality with her followers.
Jane documented her eczema journey on her Instagram stories as well as posting a video about her experience.
“It should be more real on Instagram,” she said.
“It’s good to share things, that way you find out that many people are going through the same thing. I made an Instagram reel about my experience.”
Now, despite some residual dryness, Jane has been able to ease her eczema and is hopeful her story will help other women struggling with perimenopausal symptoms.
“A lady messaged me the other day to say she had the same thing, she was about 46,” she said.
“It’s nice to know you are having a positive impact. I think we talk a lot about the menopause but not the perimenopause. We need to speak about it more, especially the different symptoms.”
Jane has some top tips to help ease eczema flare-ups.
“Alcohol flares it up 100%,” she said.
“So try not to drink. But also hydrate, I am rubbish at drinking water but it’s so important. Also try to have as many makeup-free days as possible and moisturise.
“But most importantly keep a diary. Keep track on what causes flare-ups, from makeup to perfumes.”