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  • Causes of Eczema?

    I've recently been dealing with a stubborn case of eczema. A girlfriend who's had this for years told me it's an autoimmune condition. Her doctors prescribe cortisone creams and Claritin/Zyrtec, plus emolients. Of course that is treating the symptoms rather than the cause, but I am trying Claritin.

    I am eyeing several possible triggers that occurred at the onset. One, I tried a Retinol cream (by Philosophy). Probably not a great idea for my sensitive skin. Two, I had a bad stomach flu that dragged on for weeks, so my immune system was weakened. Three, I had increased dairy consumption (mostly yogurt, while I had the flu).

    I've had this before, a few years ago when I went on a month-long "diet" of just a few English muffins every day with almond butter, and not much else. In retrospect I decided that the rash I developed then must have been dermatitis herpetiformis from the gluten. But now it's back and I think it's eczema. I haven't touched wheat in maybe nine months, unless there was some accidental ingestion from restaurant food, but I am pretty cautious.

    Any suggestions? Is eczema auto-immune? That to me would indicate leaky gut, no? I have cut out dairy, but it's too soon to tell if that's helping. OTC cortisone cream has not helped at all.

    I am already sleepy from the Claritin.

  • #2
    aktres, my husband gets severe excema in winter. He's a mechanic and they use really harsh soaps on their skin at the auto shops. Not too sure if anything can "cure" excema but what helped his out immensely was virgin unrefined coconut oil. I would rub it on the spots with the excema and you would see it go away. He only used this in February and hasn't had any flare ups since. Maybe try that and see what it does for you.
    Georgette

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    • #3
      Thanks, I did try that and it seemed to make it worse. But I can't recall if I was doing the cortison cream at the same time. Quite possibly. Will consider it, thank you.

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      • #4
        You're welcome. Also, I know Aveeno makes an excema cream. You may want to try that. Claritin really does make a lot of people drowsy. I take alavert for allergies and it doesn't seem to make me tired. Maybe try that. Cortisone cream, from what the dermatologist my husband saw, is not a good for excema. It really just dries the skin out more. I will warn you, the coconut oil will tingle or do a slight burn but it pretty much seemed to help. Not sure if you use soaps on your body but if you do, stick with body washes like Ivory or something with as few ingredients as possible and shower in cool water.
        Georgette

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        • #5
          Aveeno, good idea, I will check that out thanks.

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          • #6
            I used to get eczema mostly in summer as a child, but it still flares occastionally. Figured out later that if I ate too many fresh tomatoes (cooked tomatoes don't see to bother me) from my parents/grandparents gardens it would flare terribly. I found something called PsoriaLeve skin calming cream from Masada that has Dead Sea minerals and that helped a lot. Warning though it would sting like heck on open sores when first applied; however, my skin would heal really fast. Bath salts and sea water (playing in the ocean) also helped sooth and heal it. I originally found the cream at mothernature.com, but they didn't always have it in stock, so I've bought it from Amazon too. There are also other Dead Sea mineral lotions available, but I've never used them.

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            • #7
              Thanks Lynna. That occurred to me too, I thought maybe I was low in minerals possibly. I got a Dead Sea mud pack which seems to help a bit, and Dead Sea mineral bath salts which I've only used once, will make a greater effort on that. I'll look into the cream.

              So to my question - could a mineral deficiency cause eczema then?

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              • #8
                I don't know if it's a mineral deficiency or not. My impression with using the salts was that it soothed and healed rashes and cuts. I had always thought that it was the acidic nature of the fresh tomatoes that irritated my system. I also have asthma and seasonal and animal allergies (extremely allergic to guinea pigs and of a lesser nature to cats and dogs) and I've often read that asthmatics tend to also have eczema. So I've always looked on it as some kind of reaction to allergens. My asthma has gotten 100% better since my cat died 2 years ago and even more since I've gone primal.

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                • #9
                  Have you considered a strict dairy free trial? No butter, cream or any dairy at all for 30 days? I know several people who have cleared up their child's eczema by going dairy free. But they have to be crazy strict to make it work - at least at first.

                  Good luck.
                  Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                  http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                  • #10
                    I don't know whether it's eczema, but I periodically get hives or red blotches on my face and neck.

                    I thought it might be eggs or dairy--but it's not. The problem is that this happens suddenly, but not often. Recent attacks were 5 years apart.

                    I have never been able to discover a 'trigger,' and the derm said that I may never know because it is probably something in the environment that I encounter rarely.

                    The 2%hydrocortisone cream (OTC) that the derm recommended works--but it takes a while.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jammies View Post
                      Have you considered a strict dairy free trial? No butter, cream or any dairy at all for 30 days? I know several people who have cleared up their child's eczema by going dairy free. But they have to be crazy strict to make it work - at least at first.

                      Good luck.
                      Funny this thread is here - I was just googling "eczema and dairy" to see if that might help me. I'm flaring up a lot lately. I've dealt with it since I was an older kid (10 or 11?) with some days much worse than others (and dry weather days are worse) and have never been able to totally get rid of it, no matter how careful I am about potential topical irritants. I've got a strong Rx cortisone cream, but if I could figure out an underlying trigger, that would be cool. I'm tempted to give dairy-free a try (though I don't eat that much dairy, I'd miss the small amounts that I do have, so it's hard to decide to commit to it, but I guess I could say I'll do it for a few weeks and see).
                      "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

                      My primal log

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lynna View Post
                        I don't know if it's a mineral deficiency or not. My impression with using the salts was that it soothed and healed rashes and cuts. I had always thought that it was the acidic nature of the fresh tomatoes that irritated my system. I also have asthma and seasonal and animal allergies (extremely allergic to guinea pigs and of a lesser nature to cats and dogs) and I've often read that asthmatics tend to also have eczema. So I've always looked on it as some kind of reaction to allergens. My asthma has gotten 100% better since my cat died 2 years ago and even more since I've gone primal.
                        You might want to consider a whole nightshade free trial if you know that you react to tomatoes. Even small amounts of nightshades can trigger immune responses in sensitive individuals.
                        Using low lectin/nightshade free primal to control autoimmune arthritis. (And lost 50 lbs along the way )

                        http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

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                        • #13
                          Thanks jammies, I am trying dairy-free right now, just started. I do think that could be a likely culprit. If it is indeed auto-immune that makes sense.

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                          • #14
                            I had awful dishydrotic ezcema on the tops of my toes for years....the itch was so intense that I'd have to excuse myself from dinner parties, go into the bathroom, take off my shoes and scratch my toes until they bled. A few years ago I did a lot of intermittent fasting, up to 56 hrs at a time. The ezcema went away and although it has started bothering me again since I haven't been fasting, it isn't nearly so bad as it used to be. It seems like it's such a deep itch that it's almost like it starts internally.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jammies View Post
                              You might want to consider a whole nightshade free trial if you know that you react to tomatoes. Even small amounts of nightshades can trigger immune responses in sensitive individuals.
                              For me it seems to be raw tomatoes only. If I don't eat a lot of them I don't break out. I can eat cooked tomatoes and potatoes and never have a breakout.

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