Reading to soothe your skin

Reading to soothe your skin

Reading to soothe your skin

Can reading a book make your itchy skin feel better? The simple answer is no, and you might even roll your eyes in exasperation at the question as you balance work, family commitments and all of life’s other challenges, at the same time as your skin condition.

Or maybe you’ve read a few self-help books, which can often be useful and crammed full of guidance, but which have simply left you with an even longer to-do list. 

In advance of World Book Day, here at Eczema Clothing we’ve tried to find some books on eczema that give you a bit more: books that might strike a chord, make you smile or simply realise that you’re not alone with your itchy skin.

We’ve found three very different books on eczema, for all ages, that we recommend for our community and we hope you get as much enjoyment out of them as we did.


  1. The Itchy-saurus, by Rosie Wellesley (for the under 5s)

Poor T-Rex, who likes to stomp and tear about the place, finds his scales turning dry and crackly and soon becomes, “The dino with an itch that can’t be scratched” as the book’s subtitle explains.



This charming picture book explains how small children, aka T-Rex, feel when they itch uncontrollably, becoming grumpy and angry. But the author, NHS doctor Rosie Wellesley, comes to T-Rex’s rescue with Bill the Platypus medic, who with care and cream, starts to make T-Rex feel normal again. The book offers a funny and easy way to start a conversation with children about their skin, helps explain their feelings and reminds them they are not alone in their discomfort. The pictures, also by Dr Wellesley, who is a talented artist as well as medic, are amusing, and T-Rex’s scaly skin, which gets redder and redder, seems improbably real.

We loved this at EC HQ, even more so as T-Rex wears a fetching long-sleeved top when he starts his treatment. Scratch mitten Ts for T-Rex, anyone?!

Click here to buy a copy.


  1. The Shape of Skin, by Ruth Holroyd (poetry collection)

Ruth Holroyd is well-known in the eczema and allergy community, with her prolific social media output and her blog at She has had eczema all her life, but over the last two years her attention and writing has focused in particular on topical steroid withdrawal (TSW) after battling through the process herself.

The poems in this book reveal the anger, pain, healing and acceptance that she went through from childhood onwards, offering a beacon of recognition and understanding for readers who have been through, or who are starting, a similar journey.

In her poem, “Loss”, she bemoans what eczema has taken away from her: “The damage left, /In crease and cleft, / And me bereft. /Mourning the loss, / Of clear skin and peace within.”

Further on, she writes about the hope she has for her skin after wrestling with TSW: “But I have always been fighting. / For you, for what’s best. / And I am so happy to have found you again.” 

These are not always easy poems to read, and Ruth is transparent about the dark places her condition has taken her. But they are relatable, human and written with a strong, clear voice. One to have by your bedside for both difficult nights and for moments of gratitude.

At EC HQ, we loved it and asked Ruth if she could read a few of our favourites out and we’re delighted that she agreed.  These will be available to listen to from 2nd March via our Instagram and TikTok accounts. 

Click here to buy a copy of the book.


  1. Iron Skin, by Brendan John Lee

This is the true life story of one man’s extraordinary achievements through adversity and how he found community and strength in his journey through topical steroid withdrawal (TSW).

Brendan, in his early 30s, had been an eczema sufferer all his life, but with a successful career as a travel writer he had controlled his condition with strong steroids.

While in Malaysia he is struck by an acute flare up. He cuts short his trip and goes back to his family in New Zealand for a bleak six months in incredible pain as he weans himself off the steroids.  Getting out of bed is often painful but the doctor's orders are clear: If you want to heal, no matter how much it hurts, you need to move.  So he starts running, despite having been asthmatic and hating it with a passion in the past. Brendan is stunned by how much his body, something that he feels has failed him many ways, can achieve: the more he asks of it, the more it delivers.

He writes engagingly and you feel like you are living his painful yet inspiring journey with him.  His determination and new found strength not only sees him emerge with better skin but as a highly accomplished runner and sportsman.  He emphasises the importance of family and community, finding groups online and in person who help and support him along the way.

During one of his worst moments, he receives a gift with the inscription, "To achieve all that is possible we must attempt the impossible, to be all that we can be we must dream of being more." His journey exemplifies this spirit.

Click here to buy a copy. 

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