A woman who became reclusive after eczema caused by the menopause spread across her face making her “look like a vampire” now feels able to socialise again after finding a “miracle” cream cure.
Natasha Bishop, 51, an administrator from Southampton, noticed the flare-up around her neck in September 2020 which, by Christmas, spread across her face and eyes.
Embarrassed by her condition, Natasha avoided seeing people, only venturing out of the house to go to work.
But a combination of prescription cream and a natural eye gel has helped Natasha regain her confidence and start socialising again.
Natasha, who has two grown-up children, said: “The skin around my eyes was so sore, hot, swollen and itchy, I could no longer bear it.
“I was unable to sleep very well and I became embarrassed of my looks, and was not very unsociable. I’d started saying I was busy or not well so as not to appear in public.
“I felt I was starting to lose my confidence.”
Until her eczema struck when she was 49, Natasha had never struggled with her complexion.
She said: “I’ve always had quite oily skin growing up and even through adult years.
“I’d have the occasional spot breakout but nothing major and had never experienced dry skin, so when I started to notice a red patch forming on the back of my neck I was quite surprised.
“I had been told by my doctor a year prior, in October 2019, that I was going through the menopause but, at the time, I didn’t link the two.
“By December 2020, the red patches had spread around my neck and it was very sore and risen.”
She added: “Over Christmas, I was quite self-conscious and wore clothes like scarves and tops with high necklines that would keep my neck mostly covered. I was throwing any cream on it that I could find but nothing seemed to be working.”
That same month, Natasha went back to her GP to ask for help and was given a prescription steroid cream.
“It worked initially and, over the next couple of weeks, my skin started to clear up but two months later the eczema came back with a vengeance,” she said.
She added: “By March 2021, it had spread across my face.
“It was getting worse to the point where it was round my eyes and my eyes were very weepy.
“I wanted to hide myself away because I looked awful. I had red patches around my eyes and blotches coming down the sides of my mouth. I looked like a vampire.
“As much as I didn’t want to, I was having to wear my hair up because it irritated the back of my neck and made the eczema worse.”
Natasha admits the eczema turned her into a recluse.
“I became a hermit because I just didn’t want to go out and I hardly saw anyone. It was affecting me mentally and just completely knocked my confidence,” she said.
She added: “In a way, it’s good that this happened during the Covid lockdowns because I didn’t want to see anybody.
“The only times I went out was to go to work.”
In May 2021, Natasha was able to see her GP again and was given a new prescription.
“It was a barrier cream that managed to calm down the skin around my eyes over the course of about two weeks,” she said.
“During this time, I had also been searching for home remedies and came across the £9.50 Hydrosil Dry Eye Gel on the Skin Shop, which had been used by a lady who was also going through menopause who had eczema symptoms just like mine.
“It was only then that it occurred to me that it was linked to my menopause. Looking back, it seems obvious but back then no-one told me it was a possibility the two are linked.
“After my eyes had calmed down, I stopped using the prescription cream and started using the Dry Eye Gel and experienced instant relief. I wanted to try something more natural as using the steroids on my eyes really worried me.”
Since then, Natasha’s sore and swollen skin is now clear.
She said: “I definitely still have eczema but I’m able to keep it under control with the gel.
“When I do get the occasional flare-up, I’ll use my prescription cream to calm it down again.”
Natasha said her clearer skin has given her back her life.
She said: “I felt trapped before but now I feel able to socialise again.
“I’m in a customer-facing role at work and, when your skin is bad, that is the last thing you want to do.
“My confidence had really been knocked but I feel like my old self again. Even my colleagues at work have noticed the difference in me.”