A mother of six who suffers from a rare skin condition has spoken out about the agony of eczema.
Nicole Preece, 34, is currently unable to wear most shoes because of severe blistering on her feet and hands.
She has palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP), a rare form of eczema that she was diagnosed with just minutes after the birth of her baby girl.
Large blisters and burn-like appearances on various parts of the body are caused by the condition.
Ms. Preece experienced her first eczema flare-up shortly after giving birth to her daughter six years ago.
She went into remission for the skin condition after two years of trying to deal with it before it reappeared in 2021.
Ms. Preece’s psoriasis on her hands and feet has not responded to regular treatments, and she has gone to great lengths to try to alleviate the symptoms, including taking a cancer-treatment pill that caused her hair loss.
Ms. Preece, who has over 15,000 followers on Instagram, has used the platform to normalize and raise awareness about skin conditions, among other life experiences.
Ms. Preece, from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, said she can only wear sneakers because the condition makes her shoes so uncomfortable.
“I’d love to be able to wear thongs and play at the beach with my kids without pain,” Ms. Preece said.
“I look like a burns victim. I even have to wash my hair with gloves in the shower.
“It sounds stupid, but it’s the little things that really tear me down.”
The current climate is playing its part in her flare-ups too, with both warmer and cooler weather impacting her skin.
“It’s a catch-22 because eczema gets better in warmer weather, but psoriasis gets worse,” she said.
“It’s very much down to how your body reacts.
“The first flare, I tried over 60 different diets, treatments, and natural “cures,” which made it worse so they gave me a drug designed for cancer patients.”
Ms. Preece has spent years trying products, both over-the-counter and natural, but has found some relief in a natural product as well as some unusual shower additions.
MooGoo’s eczema-targeted lotion has helped soothe her outbreaks, but she has yet to find anything that will “cure” it completely.
She stated that she contacted someone in the United States who was suffering from the same condition and was advised to use oats in her shower routine to relieve her blistering.
“He said to get oats in a sock and pop it over the spout in the shower,” she said.
“They help to soothe the skin, and eating them helps too.”
She hopes to encourage her Instagram following to be more understanding of people, even though to others “it might just look like a little rash.”
“Other people don’t see how it can slowly chip away at your mental health, which is a big thing.”