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‘Eczema affected my confidence’ – The Namibian


MANY young men rely on confidence to live through everyday life. A good skin, although frivolous, is part of the make-up of one’s self esteem and unconsciously puts pressure on young men to make sure their skin looks good all day, every day.

Michael Wilhem is one of a few people who cannot control the build-up of skin due to a condition called lichen simplex chronicus.

The 23-year-old Wilhem said he has been battling with lichen simplex chronicus, which is a condition that causes him to constantly scratch and rub parts of his body.

Wilhelm resides at Okuryangava, Katutura, with his family members who are unable to pay for his medical expenses. He added that he recently graduated with an honours degree in applied biochemistry from the Namibian University of Science and Technology, but is unemployed.

“Eczema affected my confidence to such an extent that I would avoid people that ask me what happened,” he said.

Wilhem told The Namibian that his life started changing after he was diagnosed with pityriasis versicolor in 2016.

“It all began in 2016 when my skin started suffering from a discolouration condition called pityriasis versicolor,” he said.

He added that at the time, although he was suffering from that condition, he was not so disappointed as he was aware that the condition was treatable.

“I was on treatment since 2017, and in 2019 my skin got back to normal again,” said Wilhem.

For the young Wilhem, life was worth living again until he woke up to a skin rash that initially appeared on his neck.

“At the time, I thought it was just a simple rash that would be gone once I applied some ointment on it,” he said.

According to Wilhem, he started to worry after he noticed that the condition was deteriorating. He added that his main fear is that if the condition is not treated it might escalate to something severe.

“This condition is something very new and every day I wake up with the fear that this could lead to cancer or something worse. My skin turns brownish and I wake up to a burning sensation,” he added.

Wilhem says his condition is gradually spreading to other parts of the body and he is appealing appealing to good Samaritans to help with his medical funds for better medical assistance.

According to Dr Bernhard Haufiku, lichen simplex chronicus is a type of a serious eczema that is an inflammation of the skin which is mediated by an immune system and an inflammatory response.

Haufiku added that the condition has a genetic component that interacts with environmental factors.

“Like now, when we are getting out of winter into summer, someone suffering from this condition may have an exacerbation of symptoms,” he said.

He added that the condition could be treated by a dermatologist or any other competent person.

Haufiku, however, said that eczema is not a condition you treat once and it goes away. As long as you are in an environment that has many factors and you are genetically predisposed you are likely to experience symptoms.

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