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World Allergy Week 2018

Atopic Dermatitis & Eczema: An Itch that Rashes

Roeme, Grace, Hannah & Izzy, University of Brighton

17 April 2018

Allergy Week is something very close to our hearts here at SkinNinja. Jo is allergic to sunscreen and in avoiding it growing up, she later developed skin cancer at 26. So we take the matter of allergies very seriously.

We asked our student team at the University of Brighton to take a look at World Allergy Week & it’s main focus for this year Atopic Dermatitis & Eczema: An Itch that Rashes.

 

 

 

History

World Allergy Week started off life as World Allergy Day back in 2005.  Following recommendations, World Allergy Day grew to become World Allergy Week in 2011 and hasn’t looked back since. The week’s purpose is to raise awareness of allergic diseases and related disorders and advocate for the provision of training and resources in the diagnosis, management, and prevention of these diseases and asthma, which are rising in prevalence around the world.

“More than 150 million people in Europe suffer from chronic allergies, with the prediction that by 2025, half of all Europeans will endure some sort of allergy (1)”

Investigating the link between eczema & allergies

Eczema is a common condition, some may get it worse and others may have just a mild condition. Some people have found that they have developed allergies to a myriad of environmental triggers such as  ranging from typical household products, pollen, dust mites, animals, food, the list goes on…. But is it cooincidence or is there a link between the condition and allergies?

There has been several studies regarding genetics to try and explain why this may happen. It was found that there is a skin barrier protein defect named filaggrin gene mutation that if present can increase the risk of someone having eczema (3). Put simply, when this gene is present, a doorway is opened for allergens to come walking in and so, increases the risk of a flare up.

Therefore, advice from the medical community has always been to protect the skin and create a barrier for it. So of course, skincare is absolutely central to managing the condition to be able to help lower contact with allergens.

We wanted to find out the stories behind the science. We used Allergy Week as the ideal opportunity to talk to those managing the condition and discover how their lives are impacted, what remedies they have found worked and of course, debunk some myths.

“Eczema affects a huge amount of people worldwide, with 20% of children and up to 3% of the adult population suffering with the condition (2). ”

Day 1: Eczema facts

Day 2: Interviewing Tasha Domzalski

Tasha Domzalski is 20 years old and has suffered with Eczema all her life. Her personal top tip is to try cutting out dairy. It really helped her skin clear up, along with feeling better within herself.

 

 

 Day 3: Interviewing Ellen Lawrence

Ellen Lawrence is 23 years old and has also suffered with Eczema for as long as she can remember. Her top tip is to take an antihistamine everyday just to keep any nasties from outside provoking her skin.

 

Day 4: Does certain food affect eczema?

Although certain foods do not cause eczema, some foods can cause eczema to worsen or flare up. There is various advice out there, some of it anecdotal however some eczema patients have discovered limiting or avoiding dairy, eggs, soy and nuts has helped their symptoms. There is some research that shows that infants are less likely to have eczema if their mother avoids consuming cow’s milk while pregnant (4). Food with high in sugar and trans fats also can worsen eczema symptoms such as processed food, margarine, sugary drinks, some smoothies and cakes.

Healthline provides the following advice with regards to some food which can help improve symptoms of eczema. Anti-inflammatory food can be beneficial to eczema suffers which means food containing quercetin and quercetin and food high in vitamin C and omega 3. An anti-inflammatory food plan would include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil and fatty fish. Foods containing quercetin are apples, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, spinach and kale. Some examples of food containing probiotics are sourdough bread, yogurt, miso soup and soft cheeses (5).

Day 5: Allergic reactions

An allergic reaction is when the body’s immune system overreacts to a particular or substance as if it were harmful. Most people affected by them have similar conditions such as asthma or eczema or they have a family history of allergic reactions. It is not clear why but the number of people who suffer from allergies are actually increasing every year (6).

Visit the NHS help page for more advice on allergies .

Day 6:  DIY Facemask

This homemade facemask if perfect for dry skin and even eczema suffers. It contains all natural ingredients that are healing and anti-inflammatory and it is really quick and easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg powder
  • ½ teaspoon Vitamin E oil/raw coconut oil

Method:

Mix it all together in a bowl. Apply all over your face and leave on for 20 mins before gently rinsing off with warm water and patting dry with a towel.

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