Allergies can take many forms but when manifested as an inflammation of the skin, an allergic reaction is often diagnosed as dermatitis – better known as eczema. That said, there are cases where dermatitis appears without any known cause but, in its commonest form, atopic dermatitis usually affects people with a family history of asthma and hay fever – the other common allergies. The other most prevalent forms are seborrheic dermatitis and contact dermatitis (eczema).
Applying corticosteroids and/or other drugs to kill the micro-organisms is often helpful. Difficult though it may be, it is important to avoid scratching and, as far as possible, exposure to irritants such as detergents.
In the case of contact dermatitis, the rash is a reaction to some substance that comes into contact with the skin. It may be a direct toxic effect or an allergic response. People who cannot wear cheap earrings without getting sore ears are experiencing a form of contact dermatitis. The most common causes of irritant and allergic contact dermatitis are detergents, nickel (e.g. in bracelets, watch straps, necklaces, fasteners on underwear), chemicals (e.g. in rubber gloves and condoms), certain plants (e.g. ragweed), certain cosmetics and some medication in the form of creams, lotions, or drops. The rash may be treated with corticosteroid medication and, obviously, further contact with the cause of the rash should be avoided. IF the cause is not known, it may be possible to identify the offending substance using a patch test.
Orthodox treatment is geared to suppression of the symptoms, with little time or effort spent in isolating the cause.
As with psoriasis, both nutrition and stress can play a role in precipitating eczema and other skin conditions. Often removing dairy and doing intolerance tests to avoid food triggers can have a huge effect in reducing symptoms. Sugar, saturated fats, and alcohol can also contribute to the problem. In fact, any foods which put an excessive strain on the liver should be avoided. For some patients adjusting diet is sufficient to prevent eczema, although the changes may have to be permanent if the problem is to be kept at bay. Others may need to combine nutrition with supplementation such as omega 3s to keep the inflammation at bay.