Getting under the skin of eczema. Common questions.

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If you suffer with eczema, you’ll know all too well the frustration of flare ups. From identifying your triggers to managing the symptoms, living with skin complaints such as eczema can take a toll emotionally, as well as physically.

As we kick off National Eczema Week (13 – 19 September) we’re taking a look at some of the common question people ask about the condition.

What is eczema?

Eczema is the main name given to a group of conditions that cause sore, dry, and irritated skin. There are more than ten different types of eczema, some more severe than others. It’s believed that between 15-20% of children and around 38% of adults suffer with the condition.

Often difficult to treat, severe eczema can be very uncomfortable, even painful.  The cause of the condition is still relatively unknown but there are many factors that have been linked to eczema, including diet, stress, allergies and a family history of the condition.

What are the symptoms?

People who develop eczema are known as ‘atopic’. This means that they have an overactive immune system which, in the case of eczema, can lead to a range of symptoms, including:

  • Dry, itchy, and inflamed skin
  • Inflamed skin which can blister or weep
  • Inflamed skin which can become infected
  • Dark coloured patches of skin
  • Rough areas of skin

If you notice abnormal changes to your skin, it’s important to speak with your GP. Symptoms like these may lead you to suspect that you have eczema, but there are other conditions which have similar symptoms and may need different types of treatment. 

What triggers eczema?

There are a range of irritants and environmental factors that can cause flare ups of eczema. Some of the most commons triggers include

  • Metals and fabrics
  • Soaps, and cleaners
  • Antibiotic creams
  • Stress
  • Sweat
  • Long or hot baths or showers
  • Hot or cold, dry weather,
  • High or low humidity
  • Pet hair
  • Pollen or mould
  • Dust mites
  • Second-hand smoke.

How can you manage eczema?

During an eczema flare up, it can feel as though the condition is impossible to control.

It’s possible to manage eczema by making sure you keep your skin well hydrated using a good moisturiser.  Your pharmacist can recommend a range of over-the-counter treatments to help heal the skin and break the cycle of itching, and your GP may prescribe treatments such as steroid creams for more severe cases.

Being aware of the other triggers that cause your condition to get worse can help you to avoid particular

While these creams can help alleviate the surface level symptoms, it’s worth being aware of the things in your environment and diet that aggravate the condition so you can limit your exposure to those triggers.

Is there a link between eczema and diet?

While there is compelling evidence to support the link between diet and eczema, food intolerance testing is not currently offered by GPs for those suffering with skin complaints.

Food intolerances can occur when your body’s immune system mistakes a food protein as a threat, releasing antibodies to fight it. This reaction can result in a range of inflammatory symptoms in the body, such as IBS and bloating, headaches, brain fog, joint pain, or skin complaints, like eczema or acne. 

Can particular foods cause eczema?

There’s a lot of speculation about whether certain foods can cause eczema or make it worse.

It’s commonly believed that there can be a link between eczema and dairy. But everyone is different and what triggers inflammation for one person may be fine for another. While it might be tempting to cut out certain ingredients, you can do more harm than good by removing important nutrients from your diet unnecessarily.

Will eczema ever go away completely?

Eczema is a chronic condition, but often children tend to outgrow it as they get older. However, others may continue to have flares ups that continue into adulthood.  It’s also possible to develop eczema for the first time in adulthood. Currently, there is no cure for eczema, but it is a condition that can be treated and managed.

Take control of your diet

While there are lots of environmental factors that can trigger or worsen eczema, diet can have a big impact. If you’re suffering with recurring eczema flare ups, and perhaps other conditions you can’t explain, it could be worth taking a closer look at what you’re eating.

Getting to the bottom of a food intolerance can be frustrating. Removing one food at a time for a few weeks to see how you feel, known as an ‘elimination diet’, can take a long time. As many of us typically react to several ingredients in our diets, it can be a while before you are able to see the bigger picture.

Additionally, the foods that you react to can often come as a surprise. It’s common to blame a few ‘usual suspects’, like gluten or dairy, but anything from peas to pork, could be the cause.

Get answers faster with Smartblood

At Smartblood, we make the process faster and clearer. Our comprehensive food intolerance tests helps you take control of your diet quickly and discover your own trigger foods. 

Our home-to-laboratory service gives you fast, accurate results that pinpoint exactly which foods you are reacting to. Tests are completed in our accredited laboratory by trained experts, with clear, easy to understand results sent to you via email within three days.

The test is supported by a 30-minute telephone consultation with our BANT registered Nutritional Therapist to help you understand your results and make safe, sustainable changes to your diet.

Could you have a food intolerance?

If you think that food intolerance may be responsible for your symptoms then we believe that our easy-to-complete tests could help you. Find all your food intolerances at once with a full Smartblood test.

Around 10% of our customers exhibit no IgG reactions to the 134 foods whatsoever – we provide non-reactive customers with a 100% REFUND so they can continue their investigations through other testing.

Find out today with Smartblood.

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