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do i have a case of eczema?
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do i have a case of eczema?

Over the past 4-5 years i have been getting a recurring rash on my knuckles and elbows.  It doesn't hurt, but it's itchy and annoying.  I've tried searching the web for a longtime now and haven't found anything that nails my condition.
>>Smooth-ish bumps on knuckles and elbows.
>>They are skin-coloured, but turn red/pink if i scratch them.
>>They don't dry out my skin (at least it doesn't feel dry).
>>They are itchy.
>>They are very bumpy and in full outbreak, makes it look like some one spilled hot coffee  on my knuckles and elbows.
>>They recur.  This rash, for lack of a better word, activates about three times a year, always the same  symptoms.
If anybody knows anything, I would really appreciate the help.
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681148_tn?1285160820
If you find that it itches, then you scratch, then the rash either appears or it gets worse, it is likely eczema.  If the little blisters seem like they're filled with clear watery liquid, that's definitely eczema.  There are different types of eczema, too.

I'm annoyed that conventional doctors don't bother to suggest that patients with eczema try eliminating gluten and dairy from their diet.  If you look up key words like "diet for eczema" or "foods to avoid with eczema" and "itch that rashes" you will find that the general consensus in the natural health community is that these are the big ticket items to eliminate out of one's diet in order to prevent flare ups.  Other items are necessary to avoid, too, but these are the big things that a lot of people with eczema have in common that they need to remove from the diet.  I had to learn this the hard way.

I did an elimination diet for digestive issues.  That's how I discovered that gluten and dairy are out, because that's when the itch that rashes stopped flaring up.

You need to take care that everything you have in the way of household cleaners and personal care products are fragrance free, dye free and sulfite free.  Only natural essential oils, and only if your skin can tolerate it.  And, no bubble bath.  Sappo Hill is an excellent bar soap.  Look them up and you will see that their product is made in the traditional old fashioned soap making process.  The only difference is that the fat they use is coconut oil.  Unless you are specifically allergic to coconut, this soap is hypoallergenic and it's great even for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.  I recommend the one they refer to as "Natural" until you know if you can handle the ones with natural herbs or not.  The whole line is natural, but that's the one that is fragrance free and nothing but the basic soap ingredients.

People with eczema need to be very careful what they use on their skin and they need to be careful with their diet.  And, remember, this is a life long condition, so should you discover that gluten and dairy cause the flare ups, you need to stay on a Celiac diet forever or the flare ups will return.  To properly test this, you have to be on and elimination diet.  It is best to get proper guidance from a naturopath.  You need to test gluten and dairy near the end of the food challenge period.  So, that still means that you need to understand what gluten is and which foods have it in order to use the elimination diet properly.  It takes quite a while to do, but it mostly only costs you your time and patience.  I recommend being off of gluten and dairy for at least six months before challenging either one.  That way you will have had sufficient time to ensure that another flare up doesn't occur during the elimination phase.  If you start consuming your regular foods that contain gluten after that and you get a flare up during that time, you have gluten intolerance, so you must avoid gluten in order to prevent these awful flare ups.

I met someone with both eczema and psoriasis.  This was before I knew I had gluten intolerance and that was the main culprit.  He said the psoriasis looks worse on him, but the eczema is what is much more miserable.

I'm also dairy intolerant.  It is common for both issues to go hand-in-hand.  Not for everyone, but if you read the Celiac forum you'll see that these two problems do usually go together.  The problem with dairy is that Casein often cross reacts with gluten.  The highest gluten containing grain is wheat, especially our modern hybrid strains.  So, it's the worst of the whole bunch of gluten containing grains.  And, it's everywhere in the western world's diet.

Be prepared to deal with conventional doctors who don't want to believe you have gluten intolerance.  Some are strangely too stubborn to accept that not all gluten intolerance can be tested with their tests and that not all negatives are true.  The stubborn ones will use subtle words that mean they think you're crazy.  Wait, hold the phone, when I don't eat gluten or dairy I don't get the flare ups but because their less than accurate blood test for Celiac/gluten intolerance comes back negative they think I'm following some "fad" diet.  Right, and I just want to go back to having these flare ups all the time just because they're saying I'm wrong and I'm crazy.  Just be prepared that not all in conventional medicine will accept the fact that there are more people with gluten intolerances and Celiac than they want to believe.  Yet, many with eczema do fall into the same pattern I just mentioned.  Should you run into this, ignore the nay sayers.  After all, if you can stop having flare ups just because you stop eating gluten, isn't that worth doing in spite of the non believers?

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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for taking the time to help me.  I doubt it's gluten or dairy because i've been consuming those since birth and this started happening when i was around 14.  I think i will still try the elimination diet though, it may turn up the culprit if it's a food substance.  I use Ivory soap bars for washing everything.  
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681148_tn?1285160820
Ivory still has the sulfites in it.  The commercial brands all do.  I didn't start getting the eczema flare ups until I was an adult.  I ate gluten my whole life up until that point, too.  The elimination diet should help clarify if it's a food culprit.  Not all eczema sufferers have the gluten issue, but it's still worth looking into.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there

Finding out what triggers your flare ups is the key to peace from skin irritations, whether it is internal or external.  Definately worth trying the gluten and dairy thing I would say as it is possible to develop sensitivites to things later in life even if you have always been fine with them before.

Also, try using a 100% natural moisturiser to relieve the symptoms in the meantime as most moisturisers contain perfumes and nasty chemicals that will actually make the skin worse - even the ones that the doctors recommend!  A really good one I have found is Purepotions Skin Salvation, especially good as it creates a barrier to cold air, water and general stuff in the air that irritates my skin!  You can get it from www.purepotions.biz

Good luck, hope you get to the bottom of it soon.

Dottybangles
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