Skin problems and IBD Q&A with Clemmie Oliver

Clemmie, who has ulcerative colitis, discusses her experience with skin problems in this Q&A. Clemmie has experienced psoriasis, eczema and rosacea.

Q: What skin condition do you have / have had? Can you describe the symptoms and where it affects you?

A: Over the years I have experienced psoriasis, eczema and rosacea! I had small patches of psoriasis on my scalp, eczema in various places but most recently on my eyelids and I've had various flare ups of rosacea over the years on the side of my nose and cheeks which can be painful. As these skin conditions are usually quite obvious as they are on my face it does affect my life when I experience flare ups of them. 

Q: What was your health like when the skin condition started? Did the skin condition coincide with an IBD flare?

A: I experienced eczema as a child a lot and then when my disease was active. I am now in surgical remission (J-Pouch) but I still experience the extra-intestinal manifestations like skin issues of IBD now and again. This usually coincides with periods of stress for me. 


“I have discovered that stress is a big trigger for me.”

Clemmie Oliver

Q: What do you feel has caused the onset of your skin condition? Is there something that you feel has triggered it?

A: I have discovered that stress is a big trigger for me.

Q: Did you seek advice and treatment from a healthcare professional? Was this your GP or your IBD doctor or nurses?

A: I usually manage any medications/treatments through my GP.

Q: What did the healthcare professional think had caused the skin condition? Was a link between IBD and the skin condition discussed with you?

A: I don't think the link was made by the GP but I know from the research that skin issues and IBD are linked.

Q: Were you prescribed medication? If so, what was it?

A: I have been prescribed steroid cream for the eczema and a special rosacea cream called ivermectin which I found very helpful. 

When symptoms are settled I use very gentle face creams and washes to help keep my skin calm. Recently I have discovered La Roche-Posay Dermallergo Soothing Eye Cream which has been really good and also Avène Tolerance Control moisturising cream for my cheeks which seems to be reducing the rosacea.

Q: Has the medication been effective in controlling the skin condition?

A: Yes, a combination of the above helps me keep them under control. I also find managing my stress and eating a healthy balanced diet also helps.

Q: Did your healthcare professional suggest other things to help with the skin condition e.g changing IBD medication, dietary supplements, reducing stress etc?

A: No

Q: How does having the skin condition make you feel emotionally? Can you describe how it has affected your mental wellbeing?

A: As these skin conditions are usually quite obvious as they are on my face it does affect my life when I experience flare ups of them. I find it frustrating when they appear and I also feel like I want to cover the redness up so people cannot see but make-up sometimes makes it worse so it's a catch 22!

Q: What would your advice be to anyone experiencing this skin condition? Do you have any tips for dealing with it?

A: Speak with your GP and IBD team about it so they can help you with treatment options. Look at how other factors might be playing into your skin condition too like diet, stress and sleep as these can all impact our skin health.

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