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  • Eczema Flare up- causes, treatments?

    WARNING: This is partly a rant. :P

    I've been frustrated with my eczema on my arms, legs, and fingers. Since I was a baby, I have been allergic to eggs, chocolate, strawberries, tomatoes, shrimp if it's not fresh, dust, pollen, and animal fur. I know a lot of food intolerances suggests a gut imbalance, so I started AIP in August thinking maybe it would help, and it did for 2 months or so. My eczema improved and I was less itchy.
    Since August I have reintroduced chocolate, coffee, nuts/seeds, paprika, pepper, alcohol, and ghee. I couldn't tell if I had a reaction to egg yolks/whites, so I haven't eaten eggs frequently at all.
    Then in October it was very dry, which likely proved my eczema to flare up. Since then, the temperatures have cooled and it is not that dry, but my eczema has worsened in the past two months, and I suddenly developed uncharacteristic red, itchy spots on my legs after Thanksgiving, which has spread to my arms.

    I don't know what is causing my eczema to flare up, since I would say my stress has decreased compared to 3 months ago. I have been eating more carbs, and have "high carb" days about weekly when I feel like more carbs that day. I'm just frustrated because I frigggin miss EGGS, tomatoes, and cheese and I don't want to start over AIP and cut something out again, but I don't know what's causing my flare up.

    I really don't think carbs would cause my eczema to worsen, but could too many carbs possibly upset my gut flora and cause my eczema to flare up?
    Also, I was wondering if you could become more allergic to a food after you've eliminated it? I used to eat a lot of eggs but my eczema did not flare up like this. Is is theoretically better to build a "tolerance" to a food you're allergic to by eating it occasionally?

    Lastly, any recommendations for DIY inexpensive topical treatments/food additions? I know bone broth, fermented foods, topical coconut oil are good. I wasn't sure if adding a soil based probiotic would be helpful or more money than it's worth. I don't want to depend too much on my steroidal allergy ointments to control the itchiness.

    Thanks so much. My eczema is really disrupting my sleep because I itch during the night, and sometimes I just feel at the end of my rope about this.

  • #2
    You sound a lot like my hubby, who has been exceptionally itchy the last 2=3 months. He scratched himself into a large carbuncle on his arm that has turned cancerous and is facing surgery. A friend is offering electronic treatment to replace the steroidal cream he was prescribed, but so far, I have nothing concrete to offer as either cause or treatment. Hubby also has diabetes and animal allergies, as well as food sensitivities. Where is your blood sugar i am, or 2 hours after meals?

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    • #3
      Rant on, it's ok!
      How old are you? I am 41 and was told since infancy that it was eggs, tomatoes, dust, pollen, etc etc, that caused my eczema. My mother said my skin looked like raw hamburger as an infant, and I was frequently constipated.I am Portuguese, so we all ate bread since we were old enough to hold our own pops seco. I was formula fed. As a child I was instructed to avoid any "acidic" foods, and to use topical treatments, including steroids.
      It wasn't until I was in my mid 30's that I started eating in a Paleo way, to help fix my gall bladder (I was scheduled for surgery, but avoided it, after all). Suddenly my eczema calmed, then VANISHED! I added back dairy, and had no issues. It seemed to be wheat, but after removing all grain foods, I realize that they all cause me issues. I did have a major flare after starting whey protein, so I dropped that asap. The dry weather does suck, and as long as you are eating clean, adding good fats, and keeping the chemicals in your life low (soap, detergent), you should be getting some relief soon. Hang in there, sometimes it's the stupidest thing that we overlook, that is the culprit! My immediate fix would be a complete elimination diet, and zero cleansing/cosmetic products to identify the real cause.

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      • #4
        Oops, and in all that, I forgot to mention that it was never the eggs! Could you possibly be drinking something new?

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        • #5
          Hi Alfi,
          Sorry to hear your eczema has flared up. This is what has been working to keep my eczema and psoriasis in check, although I'm sure you are doing a lot of these already:
          - Avoiding potato, eggplant, capsicum, tomato and spicy foods
          - Cutting out dairy and eggs
          - Cutting out acidic fruits like oranges, pineapples, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, kiwifruit, passionfruit
          - Upping my intake of good fats, particularly from salmon, sardines and mackerel or by dousing my vegetables in oil
          - Cleansing and moisturising with Cetaphil, and minimising use of soap
          - Attacking my outbreaks with a ointment that farmers here use on cow's cracked udders and teats - works much better than the cream my doctor prescribes
          - Going to the beach as much as possible because the salt water and sun do wonders
          - Meditating to help minimise stress and get more sleep
          I hope your eczema heals soon.

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          • #6
            Thank you all for the responses! I am 19, and had terrible eczema as an infant/child as well. My mom told me I cried so much as a baby because I was itchy all the time.
            What's difficult is finding what the trigger is, and I really don't want to start AIP over again because it's restrictive enough. I suspect all my food allergies is also a deeper gut dysbiosis issue.
            Even though I know I am allergic, I would really like to reintroduce eggs and tomatoes in moderation eventually. Has anyone been able to do that? Is it bad to occasionally eat something you know you're allergic to?

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            • #7
              I wanted to update/restart this thread for some advice on calming an eczema flare.
              I feel like my eczema has actually worsened since I started AIP (although there are many confounding factors as well).

              It's been frustrating to find a solution, and my eczema has been flaring up terribly these past few weeks, and I'm so itchy I can't fall asleep. Topical coconut oil and olive oil have not helped.
              Does anyone have any short-term remedies to calm the itchiness?

              THx so much

              Comment


              • #8
                I can't believe no one mentioned wheat yet. Excessive intake of flour-containing products is a common cause of eczema. Cut out all wheat for 2-3 weeks to see if that is the cause. You may see numerous benefits in addition to skin.

                And just in general, anything containing refined flour should be considered a treat, not a food, and eaten only on occasional cheat days. Amazing changes happen to people who cut it out.
                Last edited by NewOldGuy; 03-22-2015, 05:52 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by NewOldGuy View Post
                  I can't believe no one mentioned wheat yet. Excessive intake of flour-containing products is a common cause of eczema. Cut out all wheat for 2-3 weeks to see if that is the cause. You may see numerous benefits in addition to skin.

                  And just in general, anything containing refined flour should be considered a treat, not a food, and eaten only on occasional cheat days. Amazing changes happen to people who cut it out.
                  I've been full paleo for ~1.5 yrs and full AIP-(autoimmune protocol) since August 2014. So no wheat, gluten, dairy, etc etc.

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                  • #10
                    I highly suspect you have a histamine intolerance. All the foods listed here are on the high histamine list and it would explain how you have a hard time to find correlations and you think you are more allergic after eliminating some food. It's because histamine intolerance works like a bucket that overflows. If you eat some high histamine food you are okay but as soon as your bucket overflows, you will have a flare up. It's really hard to pinpoint which food that did it and it's normal that it's not always the same food that seems to be the culprit.

                    You can try natural antihistamitic (quercetin) to see if it helps your eczema, if it helps, you will know that you really have a histamine intolerance.

                    Just know that it's not an end and the goal is to get rid of your intolerance by healing your gut.

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                    • #11
                      Just an N=1 here.... I get exczema on my lower arms and legs seasonally. The usual pattern is it flares up in the colder months and goes away in the warmer months. When I am having a flare up, the best thing I have found is NO SOAP and NO LOTION(s) or oils of any sort. Just rinse with water. This keeps mine gone or at a very low level of flare up.

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                      • #12
                        Alfi56: sorry to hear about your situation. I do have a minor form of psoriasis and my 5 years old daughter has eczema. So I am interested in this topic. Can you tell me what did you mean by AIP? Not sure if you know, there is a book called 'Healing Psoriasis' by Dr. Pagano. He also has Pagano Diet, talks about acidic, alkaline food etc. A lot of information and foods that you guys already talked about here.
                        Coccinellee: What is histamine, histamine foods..? Can you point me into more information, books or resources about this?

                        Thanks.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Coccinellee View Post
                          I highly suspect you have a histamine intolerance. All the foods listed here are on the high histamine list and it would explain how you have a hard time to find correlations and you think you are more allergic after eliminating some food. It's because histamine intolerance works like a bucket that overflows. If you eat some high histamine food you are okay but as soon as your bucket overflows, you will have a flare up. It's really hard to pinpoint which food that did it and it's normal that it's not always the same food that seems to be the culprit.

                          You can try natural antihistamitic (quercetin) to see if it helps your eczema, if it helps, you will know that you really have a histamine intolerance.

                          Just know that it's not an end and the goal is to get rid of your intolerance by healing your gut.
                          Yes, I have begun to suspect that it may be histamine intolerance as well, since I have increased my consumption of grass-fed beef, meats, and vegetables since AIP but it has only worsened since. Unfortunately, I don't know how I would eat paleo and low histamine. Most low histamine diets advocate grains and low protein, and also exclude typical gut-healing foods like sauerkraut and kefir.
                          I'm not familiar with quercetin-is it a cream or pill that you can get at the drugstore?

                          My friend just gave me a bottle of Babytime eczema cream today, because it really helped her eczema. All the ingredients are good except for safflower oil- is that a big deal or should I avoid seed oils even in lotions?
                          Thanks

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by arasheed View Post
                            Alfi56: sorry to hear about your situation. I do have a minor form of psoriasis and my 5 years old daughter has eczema. So I am interested in this topic. Can you tell me what did you mean by AIP? Not sure if you know, there is a book called 'Healing Psoriasis' by Dr. Pagano. He also has Pagano Diet, talks about acidic, alkaline food etc. A lot of information and foods that you guys already talked about here.
                            Coccinellee: What is histamine, histamine foods..? Can you point me into more information, books or resources about this?

                            Thanks.
                            AIP means Autoimmune Protocol. It's an elimination diet in which you take out main offenders in your diet, such as gluten, wheat, grains, dairy, nightshades, NSAIDs, legumes, seed oils, for a period of time (minimum 1 month) and then gradually reintroduce foods 1 at a time and see if you have a reaction to it. AIP is quite restrictive and a slow process, but it has helped many people with autoimmune diseases and skin disorders. A good resource is thepaleomom.com, and she has also written a book on it.

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                            • #15
                              Alfi sorry its been giving you a hard time. I forget where you are but with spring there is a host of alergens in production that seem to worsen my skin issues, as does the change in weather. I've been doing aip for about 1.5 years. In regards to reintroductions, nightshades are my main triggers, and with them I have a histamine reaction, esp peppers. I have had no luck in being able to increase my tolerance of even a tiny bit of things like paprika, potato starch, etc, so I suspect I will have a lifelong issue with them. Things that gave me a more minor, non histamine reaction, like Brussels sprouts, I have gotten to where I can tolerate a small serving with no adverse reaction.

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