Are you suffering with Eczema?

eczema

What is Eczema?

  • There are more than 10 different types of eczema
  • 15-20% of children are affected
  • 38% of sufferers are adults, usually with severe or persistent cases
  • Internal and external factors have been linked to eczema, including diet, family history, stress and allergens

Eczema has the potential to have a detrimental effect on your quality of life and can be difficult to treat, yet the cause of eczema is relatively unknown. Currently, skin conditions account for 15% to 20% of a GP’s workload.

There are more than 10 different types of eczema and therefore it is always important to get a diagnosis from your GP in order to direct you towards effective treatment. 15-20% of children are afflicted with it and 38% of sufferers are adults, usually with severe and persistent cases. Those who tend to develop eczema are categorised as being ‘atopic’ which means they have an overactive immune system, causing their skin to easily become inflamed. Eczema can usually be managed with treatment and avoidance of known triggers.

Eczema Symptoms:

Typical eczema symptoms include:

  • Dry skin which becomes itchy and inflamed
  • Inflamed areas sometimes become blistered and weepy
  • Inflamed areas sometimes become infected
  • Rough areas of skin
  • Dark coloured patches of skin
  • The first signs and symptoms of eczema is usually intense itching which later forms a red rash with varying sized bumps.

It’s important to always consult your GP if you have noticed some abnormal changes to your skin. You may suspect that you have eczema, but symptoms may overlap with other skin conditions. For example, eczema on the scalp and face can be similar to seborrheic dermatitis and therefore it’s important to always get checked out by your GP before attempting to manage your symptoms. Your GP will also be able to rule out any underlying medical conditions or allergic reactions.

How to manage eczema?

For those who suffer from eczema, it can feel like your skin condition is difficult to control and manage, especially during flare-ups. Over time, you may find a pattern as to when your eczema is difficult to control and when your eczema is manageable. Your condition can be exacerbated by the environment you’re in, stress and even your diet.

One way to topically manage eczema is to make sure you keep your skin well-hydrated through moisturising. There are a range of over the counter eczema treatments and your GP may prescribe mild eczema treatments.

If you feel that there could be a link between what you’re eating and the severity of your eczema, perhaps it’s worth taking a closer look at your diet.

eczema and diet

How is eczema and food related?

Despite overwhelming and compelling evidence of an association between eczema and diet, very few sufferers are tested for food intolerance by their GPs. Over time, there has been a reported link between dairy and eczema and even sugar and eczema, but every case is different.

If there is something you are eating which is causing inflammation in the body, there is a possibility that this can impact your skin. This means if you are continuing to experience prolonged eczema symptoms which are recurring, it may be a good opportunity to look at your diet. After all, maintaining an eczema-friendly diet could be key in managing your flare-ups.

To determine what foods may be causing the reaction, a doctor will often recommend an elimination diet. This diet involves avoiding some of the most common foods known to cause eczema.

Before eliminating any foods, a person will need to slowly add each food type into their diet and monitor their eczema for 4 to 6 weeks to determine if they are sensitive to any particular food.

If a person’s symptoms get worse after adding a food to their diet, they may wish to consider avoiding it in the future. If a person’s symptoms do not improve when eliminating a food, they probably do not need to remove it from their diet.

Should I avoid certain foods?

As individuals, our reactions to foods and drinks we consume varies a great deal. An ingredient which may cause problems for one person could be completely acceptable for another. At YorkTest, we like to refer to this as our personal ‘food fingerprint’.

Some common foods that may trigger an eczema flare-up and could be removed from a diet include:

  • citrus fruits
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • gluten
  • wheat
  • spices
  • some types of nuts

Our full food intolerance programmes analyse your IgG reactions, which is testing your reactions to the proteins in foods and pinpoints your trigger foods. This can give you a starting base for an elimination diet, and with the help of up to two 30-minute consultations with one of our nutritional therapists, you’ll be able to substitute your trigger foods with nutritious alternatives.

Eczema and Diet

Despite overwhelming and compelling evidence of an association between eczema and diet, very few sufferers are tested for food intolerance by their doctors. Over time, there has been a reported link between dairy and eczema and even sugar and eczema, but every case is different. When flare-ups happen, it’s easy to consult Google and ask, ‘what foods cause eczema’ and ‘how to stop eczema’, but unfortunately eczema is not as simple as avoiding a generic list of foods.

If there is something you are eating which is causing inflammation in the body, there is a possibility that this can impact your skin. This means if you are continuing to experience prolonged eczema symptoms which are recurring, it may be a good opportunity to look at your diet. After all, maintaining an eczema-friendly diet could be key in managing your flare-ups.

Foods to avoid with eczema and foods that help eczema

Everyone is unique, so it is difficult to determine which foods, or combinations of foods, are responsible for each individual’s condition.

As individuals, our reactions to foods and drinks we consume varies a great deal. An ingredient which may cause problems for one person could be completely acceptable for another. At YorkTest, we like to refer to this as our personal ‘food fingerprint’.

For those with eczema, discovering and understanding your own personal food and drink intolerances, and the effects they have on your health and wellbeing is important to ensure you make the best possible choices to optimise your diet and quality of life. Identifying and eliminating these specific foods from your diet can be an important step forward to reduce the inflammation of your skin.

What’s the difference between allergy and intolerance?

Good question! Food allergy is in fact relatively rare, affecting 2% of the population. Symptoms of a food allergy are usually instant, the most acute being anaphylactic shock which can be fatal. An intolerance, on the other hand, is much less severe. However, it is estimated to affect up to 45% of the UK population.

Common symptoms of food intolerances include abdominal pain, bloating, wind and/or diarrhoea, or skin rashes and itching to name a few. Reactions can take up to 72 hours to appear.

Finding what foods work for and against your body could be a great first step in managing your eczema and understanding your body.

About our programmes

Here at YorkTest, we are the UK leaders in food intolerance testing and we were recently named Food Intolerance Company of the Year 2018.

Our full food intolerance programmes analyse your IgG reactions, which is testing your reactions to the proteins in foods and pinpoints your trigger foods. This can give you a starting base for an elimination diet, and with the help of up to two 30-minute consultations with one of our nutritional therapists, you’ll be able to substitute your trigger foods with nutritious alternatives.

The Results Speak for Themselves

The University of York conducted a survey* to help understand the benefits of elimination diets based on the results of a food intolerance test.

Out of the 183 who reported experiencing eczema, 83% reported an improvement having removed their ‘trigger’ foods. We define these as foods which displayed a positive IgG reaction in the blood.

Overall in the study, 76% of people who rigorously followed the recommended diet reported a benefit, 68% did so after just 3 weeks.

Here at YorkTest, we are committed to independent research. In fact, we’re the only food intolerance testing company to do so. On our research section, you can read our white papers from our Scientific Director, Dr Gill Hart, and see in depth our results from our largest survey outlined above.

Our research
Did you know we're the only food intolerance testing company to carry out independent research?
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Customer stories

We pride ourselves on our customer support and our customers like to give some recognition back to us. Our case study page hosts a range of customer stories, some of which detail their skin condition journeys.

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What our customers say

Many of our customers are thrilled by the service that we deliver and are happy to tell us. Read about what some have said about us here.

“I'm not waking up as much during the night, not as bunged up in my nose and I've got so much more energy”
“I feel like I’m in a new body! I’m so much healthier. I can’t tell you how amazingly different I have felt since!”
“I am sharper, more motivated, focused & can think so clearly. No longer get flustered or confused when things are getting stressful”
“I felt like I could actually breathe again properly. Surprised, to be fair, how much of a difference that made”

Further support:

† YorkTest define Food Intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction
YorkTest recommend that you discuss any medical concerns you have with a GP before undertaking a YorkTest programme
YorkTest define Food Intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction. Our information is intended to provide nutritional advice for dietary optimisation. YorkTest do not claim to treat or cure symptoms and recommend that you discuss any medical concerns you have with a GP before undertaking a YorkTest programme.