1. Your skin hurts from the inside out. 2. You may look fine, but you feel pretty awful. 3. This isn’t shingles or chickenpox … 4. Or poison oak or ivy, or measles, or mumps. 5. You can't get it from or give it to anyone — it's not contagious. 6. So the baby can't catch it at day care ... 7. People will tell you to “Stop scratching!” 8. Oh please … like you enjoy scratching! 9. You might want to rethink that plan to take a nice, hot bath. 10. Instead, cold showers and moisturizers are your BFFs. 11. Watch out for scratchy wool. 12. Did anyone ask if you've tried acupuncture? 13. Or other alternative treatments, natural and herbal? Hey, why not? 14. If it's safe, try whatever works. (But ask your doctor first.) 15. Now you see it, now you don't. It's like that. Here today, gone tomorrow. 16. Refer to it as your “cranky skin” because it's so easily irritated. 17. Make it feel better by treating it gently. 18. It's a chronic condition — treatable, not curable, but tolerable. 19. Like a bad penny, it’ll probably come back in a new place at a new time. 20. BUT, sometimes you can figure out the triggers and avoid them. 21. Dealing with this condition often calls for military-style planning and strategy. 22. Ladies, learn to love big, cotton or linen, loose, flowy dresses — they are trendy and comfortable, and don't touch your body! 23. Keep busy doing things that distract from your discomfort. Sing and dance, learn to paint, start a blog, or go for a walk. 24. Laughter can be the best medicine. 25. Do your eczema homework: Knowledge is power. 26. Accept this for what it is, and remember eczema doesn’t define you. 27. And you’re not alone. Join a support group. Do it now! 28. By helping others, you help yourself. Share stories, compare notes. 29. And take care of yourself, both inside and out.