It came to me not as a shock, but rather as an awakening. You see, being a stoic, I do not foster illusions of the perfection or durability of the body. The true beauty is in a beautiful spirit. I am also a 23-year-old doing a neuroscience PhD in France — a combination of conditions favorable for enjoying a very socially open lifestyle. I am also gay and dating a handsome, gentle, and intelligent guy. However much I give myself in to the vices of my lifestyle, they put some pressure on me.
I have been feeling jealous of people whose only routine for staying handsome and healthy is brushing their teeth two times a day and taking a shower with whatever gel or shampoo they find lying around. You know, the people who can do a sleepover straight from work or school without any need to pop by home and grab a few skin care products just to look decent in the morning. I am so not like this.
Much like the American psycho, I keep quite a few bottles of expensive skin care in the bathroom, but not because I am an egoistic maniac (I hope I am not), but because without those I would be able to play farmers of the early medieval Europe during the Black Death. This has been quite a pain in the ass (or scalp, more precisely), as I am the blond-hair-blue-eyes type I hear so many compliments about — yet without a flawless skin to go with the lot. I had been, it seems, scammed when picking this special offer at the counter of my birth. And who is to blame? Genetics and a lack of luck.
So here I am — young, vivacious, doing my best to withstand any hits from the outside world and to accept life’s bitter gifts like a champ. Regardless of the forceful adherence to the stoic philosophy and a rather tolerant outlook on the acute and chronic mishaps, I still fail to appreciate the value of this lesson. Or is it a test, perhaps? I figure that in the end the nature of my problem does not matter, unlike the ways to put up with it. Since there is no definitive cure — only a lifelong treatment course in attempt to subdue the flares — it is of essence to come tu terms with my condition.
The worst part is, perhaps, the fact that there is no go-to medication. That is, popular zinc pyrithione does not always help, and occasionally different shampoos with the same active ingerdient (ketoconazole, for instance) would yield incomparable results, so picking the right brand might prove challenging. And when you do, there is no guarantee that at some point the effect would not deteriorate, bringing you once again to the necessity of a tedious and expensive trial-and-error method.
In writing this, I have no definitive answer as to what can help a young person like myself feel better, being affected by seborrheic dermatitis. I feel that a lot depends on the destigmatization of the condition and underlying causes, so that people would not think that parts of my scalp are red because I do not shower. I mean, I do it a lot more often than people with healthy skin, because it is one of the most robust ways to prevent the exacerbation of a flare.
I am grateful to people who, having noticed a few flakes peeking under my hair decided to leave them unnoticed. I am grateful for my friends and my boyfriend who decided to see more to me than just a mild skin condition. In the end, it made me stronger to withstand its attacks and keep on searching for a solution.
Like I said, there is no definite answer that I can give. For no my message is simple — you are not alone, you can follow through this, you can prevail, love and be loved. Do the best you can, and face the music. Until later.