Eczema is a skin condition plaguing millions of people. It's especially tough to handle in Florida, where the heat causes many people to wear long sleeves and pants to hide red, itchy skin.
But one Tampa woman has found help, and you can, too.
“Anyone [who has] experienced an open wound, pretty much imagine that all over your body," Melanie Villarosa said.
She has lived with extreme eczema for 29 years.
“I remember like in middle school, you know kids would be handing me like coupons for lotions or asking me if i was in a fire or what happened," Villarosa said.
She had nearly lost hope, but then she met Dr. Seth Forman and enrolled in an experimental drug trial.
“What’s really exciting about the drugs we are now doing under trial currently is that they are very safe. They don’t seem to suppress the immune system the way some of these other prior medications have done in the past and most importantly they seem to not have as many side effects," Dr. Forman said.
"Within two or three weeks I could already see a difference and so today I don’t even know I have eczema,” Villarosa said.
Forman is accepting patients for two free eczema trials for adults now and a trial for kids in May. Villarosa said don't give up hope. Now her lifelong battle is a memory.
“I would look at my skin and I’ll see the scarsm, and I think it’s good to see the scars just [to] remind myself what I went through," she said.
Forman hopes a safe treatment, like the one helping Villarosa, will be FDA approved and on the market by early 2017.