I have had eczema for 10 years, but have really struggled with it for the past 6 years. I have used creams and lotions as prescribed by my dermatologist.
I got to fed up with it last year and saw an allergist. I didn't show as having any allergies. The allergist suggested I could see a dietian.

I saw a dietitian in May 2011, I started a 6 week elimination diet. Basically cutting out lots of foods and get foods out of my system. This continued for a while, because I kept eating things I shouldn't. So had to get back to the start once again. I then started introducing foods,(food challenges) week by week. I was on this regime for months. It was hard to stick to and when I had to go out to dinner with friends or was tempted to eat something at home. The eczema was good for a while and then when I ate foods high in salicylates I would react.

My alopecia was first discovered in October 2011, I believed that my alopecia started because I was lacking in vitamins and minerals. Though the dietitian, dermatologist and even a tricholigist I had seen didn't believe these restrictive diets were the cause of the AA.

I never got to complete all the food challenges as I felt I could not do this just when all my hair was falling out. I did fail the dairy challenge, which means I have an intolerane to dairy protein. I can have dairy but not daily, every so often. Also foods with high salicylates can build up and my skin reacts. There were still food challenges to complete.

It's interesting that I keep reading that people with AA have eczema.

I am seeing a naturopath at the moment for AA and trying to get my body right again. I did a live blood analysis recently which showed my immune system is low.

This past 2 weeks my eczema has flared up badly, it's Spring here and that hasn't helped either.

I have just purchased a book called "The ezcema diet" by Karen Fischer. I am going to have a read of this and see what it is all about.

Just wanted to share my story with eczema and AA.

Cheers Blue Tulip

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Eczema is sometimes called dermatitis which means inflammation of the skin. There are different types of eczema. The most common type is atopic eczema. In this type of eczema there is a typical pattern of skin inflammation which causes the symptoms.

The word atopic describes people with certain allergic tendencies. However, atopic eczema is not just a simple allergic condition. People with atopic eczema have an increased chance of developing other atopic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.

How Does Eczema Affect Your Life?

Eczema can be a very stressful and frustrating condition, and can make living your daily life challenging and uncomfortable. The intense, frequent itch can cause loss of sleep and days off from work, and many children have to miss school days. You may find yourself making significant lifestyle changes and even avoiding fun activities, like going to the pool or playing a sport, because of your eczema. You may wear certain clothes to cover up the way it looks. Of course, if you’re a parent, you may worry if you’re doing everything you can to help your child.

What are the types of eczema?

When people refer to eczema, they usually mean atopic dermatitis. This is the common and chronic type of eczema. Other types include:

  •  Contact dermatitis is caused by contact with irritants. Burning, itching, and redness occur. The inflammation goes away when the irritant is removed.
  • Dyshidrotic dermatitis affects fingers, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. It causes itchy, scaly patches of skin that flake or become red, cracked, and painful. The condition is more common in women.
  • Nummular dermatitis causes dry, round patches of skin in the winter months. It usually affects the legs. It is more common in men.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis causes itchy, red, scaly rashes, particularly on the scalp, on the eyebrows, on the eyelids, on the sides of the nose, and behind the ears.



What causes eczema?

The cause of eczema is not fully understood. But it is thought to be triggered by an overactive immune system that responds aggressively to the presence of irritants.

An eczema flare-up is when one or more eczema symptoms appear on the skin. Common triggers of eczema flare-ups include:

  •     chemicals found in cleaners and detergents that dry out the skin
  •     rough scratchy material like wool
  •     synthetic fabrics
  •     raised body temperature
  •     sweating
  •     temperature changes
  •     sudden drop in humidity
  •     stress
  •     food allergies
  •     animal dander
  •     upper respiratory infections


Signs and symptoms

The classic symptoms of eczema are:  

Itching.  This is the worst aspect because it can be upsetting for the child.  It also makes the child scratch causing further rawness of the skin and possible infections to develop.
Redness caused by extra blood flowing through the blood vessels in the skin in the affected area.
A grainy appearance to the skin, caused by tiny fluid filled blisters just under the skin called “vesicles.”
Weeping when the blisters burst, either by themselves or because of scratching, and the fluid oozes on to the surface of the skin.
Crusts or scabs that form when the fluid dries.
Children with eczema often have dry, scaly skin.  This may be the result of the disease or it may also be the natural skin type of the family.  Dry skin can be a predisposing factor to developing eczema.
Pale patches of skin may appear because eczema can disturb the production of pigment which controls skin colour. The effect does fade and disappear.
Lichenification - a leathery, thicker skin area in response to scratching.

Eczema Treatments?

Good skin care is key. If your eczema is mild, that might be all you need, along with some changes in your daily habits.

If you have severe eczema, you may need to take medicine for it, too.

Soap and moisturizer. Use a mild soap or soap substitute that won't dry your skin. You’ll also want a good moisturizer in cream, lotion, or ointment form. Smooth it on right after a shower or bath, as well as one other time each day.

Short, warm showers. Don’t take very hot or very long showers or baths. They can dry out your skin.

Stress management. Get regular exercise, and set aside time to relax. Need a few ideas? You could get together with friends, laugh, listen to music, meditate or pray, or enjoy a hobby.

Get a humidifier. Dry air can be stressful for your skin.

Medicines

If your doctor decides you need meds to treat your eczema, those may include:

Hydrocortisone. Over-the-counter cream or ointment versions of it may help mild eczema. If yours is severe, you may need a prescription dose.

Antihistamines. Ones you take by mouth are available over-the-counter and may help relieve symptoms. Some of these make you drowsy, but others don’t.

Corticosteroids. Your doctor may prescribe these if other treatments don’t work. Always follow your doctor's directions when taking steroids by mouth.


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