Many people ask me for advice on coping with ichthyosis and visible difference. While the experiences I share on my blog may assist you, please keep in mind I am not a medical or psychological professional. Please seek medical advice or counseling before trying any new treatments I’ve written about.
The products I use for my skin can be found here and here. In brief I use a mixture of 70% white soft paraffin and 30% liquid paraffin (or 60/40 in the cool months) to moisturise, QV Gentle Wash for showers, sulphate free shampoo and conditioner, Zyrtec to stop the allergies (all daily) and panadol for pain and antibiotics when I have infections. I get an authority for my scripts – so I can get large quantities of paraffin at a capped prescription price. Talk to your Australian dermatologist about this.
If you or your child has Ichthyosis, I recommend you book in to see a dermatologist – seek a referral from your GP. There are many forms of Icthyosis and the treatments vary. You may need to see the dermatologist regularly or rarely, depending on the type you or your child has. I also recommend you talk to a counsellor or psychologist if you or child need support to manage the social aspects of Ichthyosis. Your dermatologist will be able to arrange this.
I did a speech about my appearance, which has some advice about resilience. You can view this here. I also met with Jack, a young boy with Ichthyosis, and told him and his parents that it gets better. Here is a piece I wrote on talking to people with a disability, and this blog has tips for talking to children about disability.
And here is my “it gets better” video:
Here are some online resources that you can visit for more advice and contacts. They will be useful if you have Ichthyosis or a visible difference.
Ichthyosis Awareness Month blog project
May 2013 was Ichthyosis Awareness Month. 34 people affected by the condition shared their stories on my blog. Read them here.
Ichthyosis related blogs
Confetti Skin – written by Jennifer and Rachel See, providing comprehensive information about all types of Ichthyosis. Jennifer and Rachel did an informative discussion about Ichthyosis on Reddit.
Our Young Warrior Evan – written by DeDe, documenting her young son Evan’s journey with Harlequin Ichthyosis. She’s collated a page of tips, including laundry advice, which is really useful for new parents, or myself who constantly has a broken washing machine seal.
(My broken seal is never as cute as this one. Never. My broken seal leaves me crying in the puddle it’s left on the floor.)
Blessed by Brenna – written by Courtney Westlake sharing her daughter Brenna’s story of living with Harlequin Ichthyosis.
Stephanie Turner – written by a young American woman with Harlequin Ichthyosis.
Miss Unique Chick – an Irelander’s perspective of living with Ichthyosis.
Changing Faces – UK-based charity giving support and information to people with disfigurements to the face, hands or body, and their families. This tip sheet is a great resource for people who ask what do they say to someone who looks different?.
Centre for Appearance Research – The Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) strives to make a real difference to the lives of the many hundreds of thousands of people with appearance-related concerns both in the United Kingdom and across the world.
Positive Exposure – Positive Exposure utilises photography and video to transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical and behavioral differences – from albinism to autism. Their educational and advocacy programs reach around the globe to promote a more inclusive, compassionate world where differences are celebrated.
YP Face It – YP Face IT provides support and advice for any young person who has worries or is unhappy because they have an unusual appearance (what we call a visible difference).
Body Gossip – Body Gossip is a positive body image campaign that is working to banish body shame, encouraging everyone to be the best version of themselves and rock their very own brand of gorgeous.
About Face – to promote and enhance emotional and mental well-being of individuals with facial differences and their families through social and peer support, information, educational programs and public awareness. About Faces aims to inspire people with facial differences to find confidence and courage.
This Little Miggy Stayed Home – a beautiful blog written by a mother of a little girl with a visible difference.
The Matter with Megan – a beautiful humourous blog written by Megan, who has EB.
James Partridge – the CEO and Founder of Changing Faces.
Living with a facial difference in South Africa – Vanessa Carter’s blog.
Chronic Illness Peer Support (ChIPS) – a Melbourne-based program for young people (12-26) with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
Livewire – Livewire.org.au is an online community designed just for young people living with a serious illness, chronic health condition or disability, and their families. It is a safe online space where members can connect and share experiences with others who understand what they are going through.
The Starlight Foundation – Starlight transforms the experience of hospitalisation and treatment for these children by replacing pain, fear, and boredom with fun, joy and laughter.
Mental health support
Lifeline – phone 13 11 14
Kids Helpline – phone 1800 55 1800
ABC Ramp Up – ABC’s disability portal.
No Limits – Australia’s only TV program dedicated to disability, made by people with disabilities.
DiVine – the Victorian Government’s disability opinion website.
BBC Ouch – a British website featuring disability news and gossip.
This is what disability looks like – a Facebook page featuring real representations of disabled people.
If you have any more resources you think would be valuable for this page, please contact me.