There are numerous allergic reactions that cause a problem for the skin, these include:
Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, urticaria/hives, acne, sun allergy or any unusual skin rash.
Urticaria, also known as a nettle rash or hives is very common and affects one in five people sometime in their lives. It appears
as wheals - spots or patches of raised red or white skin. The wheals usually fade within in a few hours but can reappear again if
you have had a strong reaction to something. The rash is usually itchy and can be painful or cause a burning sensation.
Occasionally there can be swelling of the face, hands and feet, although anywhere may be affected.
Many medical professionals believe that allergy is not the cause of these symptoms in 80% of cases as after extensive tests they
are unable to identify the cause of the rash. I have seen many patients in this position and been able to identify the allergens
or issues that cause the rash and provide desensitisation to rid them of these symptoms.
Contact dermatitis is characterised by inflammation of the skin that occurs when you come into contact with a particular substance
that you are allergic to. It may appear first as tiny blisters deep under the skin surface which then become red, itchy and scaly,
the skin then blisters and becomes very dry and cracked. It mainly affects the hands but can occur anywhere on the body. It can
be very severe and not only cause terrible pain but also considerable psychological issues as it is very visible on the hands.
Dermatitis is often caused by common chemicals that you come into contact with every day and can be easily identified. It can also
be caused by some foods that are either eaten or when they come into contact with the skin.
Allergy testing will identify any chemicals or foods that cause the problem and desensitisation will allow the body to deal with
these allergens normally again.
Atopic Eczema is hereditary in nature and may appear at birth, during the first few months of life or later in childhood. Triggers
may include a change in diet, vaccinations or something as simple as a change in washing powder. Once present it may be provoked
and worsened by certain foods eaten or chemicals in contact with the skin. Some patients suffer from worsening of their skin
symptoms after contact with certain airborne allergens, such as house dust mite, pollens, or animal hairs.
Skin barrier and bacteria:
Skin is a physical barrier protecting the internal structures and organs of the body. Eczema can cause impairment of this barrier
function as the skin loses its moisture content and becomes dry and scaly. A cycle of itching and scratching will worsen the
condition as itching causes drying and flaking of the skin making it inflamed and more itchy, and leaves it open to infection. A
number of friendly bacteria live on human skin, but in individuals with Eczema, a harmful bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, may
grow, infecting the eczematous areas and causing further inflammation. This infection requires treatment with antibiotics. The
skin may also be colonized by yeast, Malassezia.
The prolonged process of coping with eczema, for both the sufferer and the individual's family, can itself be a source of stress,
and worsening of eczema has been shown to follow emotional stress. The severity of itching may be more profound in people who
suffer from depression, and increased itching and sweating in eczematous areas of skin can result from an emotional stimulus.
Self-help for allergic skin conditions:
- Start drinking more water, to ensure the skin is sufficiently hydrated
- Change to hypoallergenic laundry soaps, bath soaps and other personal care products ideally using natural or organic formulas or those designed for eczema and dermatitis
- Avoid contact with chemicals such as washing up liquid, bleach and other harsh cleaners whenever possible
- Ensure you eat a diet rich in whole foods, fruit and vegetables, omega fish oils as well as eliminating as many chemicals from your diet as possible
- Try to avoid too many sugary foods, sugar is a chemical and it can make itchy skin more unbearable
- Reducing stress can also help to lessen eczema flare ups
- Stress can also contribute to further food allergies because we do not properly digest our food when we are stressed