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Nightshade allergies are becoming increasingly common, but can it trigger an eczema flare up?

Discover what Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS, and founder of Skinterrupt has to say about this connection in our video below. Scroll down to read the full transcript.

Can a Nightshades Allergy Trigger Eczema? | What's Causing My Eczema? - YouTube

(begin transcript)

Today, I want to talk to you about eczema and nightshades. A lot of people worry that something in their diet is triggering their eczema. Nightshades are one of those groups where we start to question, could it be a nightshades allergy?

Let’s look into what nightshades are first and then we’ll focus on whether they could be a problem and what you can do about it.

Nightshades include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Chili peppers
  • Bell peppers
  • Eggplant
  • White potatoes
  • Gogi berries
  • Huckleberries
  • Chili powders
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Tobacco
  • Ashwaganda
  • Sorrel
  • Gooseberries
  • Belladonna
  • As well as spice blends of these nightshades

There are three reasons why nightshades might be considered a problem: Nightshades contain 3 phytochemicals.

These include:

  • Salicylates
  • Histamines
  • Glycoalkaloids (most notably Solanine)
The major phytochemical most people think about are glycoalkaloids, most notably solanine. However, I’ve done lots of research trying to connect it to eczema and I was really hard pressed to find any research at all.
Instead I have to place the burden on the other two phytochemicals found in food: salicylates and histamines.

Salicylates have to do with your liver’s ability to process salicylates, it’s not an actual gut issue.

Histamines found in food can actually increase the amount of histamines in your system or can release histamines into your system once broken down.

For those two reasons, they are more likely the main culprits as to why nightshades might be a trigger.

It could also be possible that you have a food allergy, which is important to rule out.

However, there’s one odd ball of the group – white potatoes. There’s a really interesting detail about potatoes that makes it possible to include it in your diet.

All you have to do is remove the peel which removes both salicylates and glycoalkaloids. It also reduces the solanine burden by 23 to 50 times. However, removing the peel would not reduce the histamine load, so it’s important to keep that in mind if histamines are an issue.

If you’d like to test out seeing if you’re suffering from a nightshades allergy, I would suggest eliminating them from your diet entirely for three weeks.

ILW Recommends: Have Success with Our Eczema Elimination Diet

But before you dive into that, take pictures of your skin in good lighting, so you can be a bit more objective to notice if there is a change. Also, write down and track your symptoms as well as their intensity before, during, and after your trial is done.

Then, once you go to reintroduce them, even if you saw no improvement whatsoever, I would suggest add one in at a time. That way you could determine if there is a particular reaction to just one food out of the group rather than the entire group itself.

The post Can a Nightshades Allergy Trigger Eczema? appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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By Ron Sunog, MD (see bio below)

Dr. Ron Sunog shares his thoughts on the newest LEAP study that provided groundbreaking news about baby peanut allergies and introducing baby food allergens early on in infancy. If you’re looking to introduce peanuts to your little one or feel skeptic, we definitely suggest reading on.

If you could give your infant a vaccine to prevent a food allergy, you would. How about just feeding them nutritious food instead?

As a reader of Itchy Little World you are no doubt well aware of the magnitude and burdens of having a child with food allergies. Approximately 8% of children have an allergy to one or more foods.

To put this in perspective: the average classroom has two children with food allergies and of the 4,000,000 infants born this year, we can expect 320,000 to develop an allergy to some food. The family of a child with food allergies experiences a great deal of stress and an annual financial burden of $4000 on average.

About 40% of children with food allergies have experienced anaphylaxis.

In 2015, The Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The results of this study showed that feeding a safe-to-eat peanut food to infants at high risk of developing peanut allergy reduced their risk by over 80% (safe-to-eat means in a form that infants can’t choke on, such as peanut powder, diluted peanut butter, or peanut butter puffs).

The study was so well done—The Society for Clinical Trials chose LEAP from tens of thousands of studies as Trial of the Year for 2015—and the results are so groundbreaking that experts believed it would revolutionize infant feeding.

Director of The National Institute of Health and Infectious Disease Dr. Anthony Fauci, said, “For a study to show a benefit of this magnitude in the prevention of peanut allergy is without precedent. The results have the potential to transform how we approach food allergy prevention.”

Misunderstanding Baby Food Allergens

Yet some parents remain apprehensive about feeding peanuts to their infants.

That’s because they are very accustomed to the idea that the Big Eight baby food allergens—peanut, milk, shellfish, tree nut, egg, fish, wheat, and soy, the foods that are responsible for 90% of food allergies—should not be fed to infants, since that is what pediatric providers had been telling them for many years.

Those incorrect guidelines were established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2000 when researchers, anxious and hopeful for a way to reduce the number of children with food allergies, had no better advice to offer.

When it became clear that the number of children with food allergies actually increased, the AAP established guidelines in 2008 that delaying introduction of the Big Eight baby food allergens did not help and infants could eat them.

Change does not come easy—to either physicians or parents—so the idea that these foods are safe for infants has been slow to catch on. Now we know that not only are these foods safe for infants, but early introduction can actually reduce their risk of developing food allergy.

The infants who are likely to benefit most are those with egg allergies and/or severe eczema, because they are at highest risk.

For these infants it is recommended that testing for baby peanut allergies be considered prior to giving peanuts, as they may already be allergic to peanuts. For infants with no egg allergy and mild eczema, no prior evaluation is recommended. And for low risk infants—those with no egg allergy or eczema at all— although the guidelines do not emphasize the importance of early introduction, many experts do, because around 10,000 low-risk infants develop peanut allergy every year.

Why focus on Eczema?

Because of what is known as the dual allergen theory of food allergy.

According to this theory, when infants are exposed to food proteins through their skin rather than by eating them, they become allergic. Eczematous skin has a weakened protective barrier and peanut protein can be found in the dust around cribs when peanuts are present in the house (which is the case in 90% of all households).

This is also why it’s so important to treat an infant’s eczema appropriately by a) treating the eczema aggressively to keep the skin barrier strong and b) continuing feeding any food if that food is not actually the cause of the eczema.

This can be complicated and you may need the guidance of your pediatric provider or an allergist.

Here are the most important points to remember:

  • For detailed information, see the guidelines and talk with your pediatric provider.
  • Although the evidence that early introduction of peanuts can prevent peanut allergy is only four years old, the evidence that the Big Eight foods are safe for infants was established about nine years ago.
  • Any time an infant eats a new food there is the possibility of an allergic reaction, but there is a lot of evidence that infants who eat these foods are less likely to develop allergies than older children.
  • The chance of an infant having a severe reaction is extremely low.
  • Adding the Big Eight to an infant’s diet makes it more varied and nutritious. Also studies show that this will increase the chance that they will remain a healthy eater. Many experts suggest to introduce the eight allergens early and often.

Ron Sunog, MD has been in private practice in MA for over 30 years and is the author of Eat The Eight, Preventing Food Allergy with Food and the Imperfect Art of Medicine, published by The Nasiona. He is also Medical Advisor to Puffworks, makers of Organic, non-GMO peanut butter puffs, including Puffworks baby, designed specifically for the early introduction of peanut to infants.

The post Rethinking Baby Peanut Allergies with Dr. Ron Sunog appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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Is your little one suffering from a baby face rash? Face eczema in babies is actually more common than you think.

Normally this form of eczema appears in red patches and irritated skin that feels dry and itchy.

Eczema in babies develops because the body is not producing enough fatty cells, which stops the body from maintaining water and natural oils.  This means that the skin dries out to an extreme point, which creates the itching sensation.

Typically, face eczema in babies occurs on the cheeks, forehead or around the mouth.

What is Causing My Child’s Eczema Flare-ups?

Eczema can be antagonized by anything from diet to sweating too much. Children’s skin is especially sensitive, which makes combating eczema difficult, especially when you cannot explain to them what is happening.

In pre-walking ages, eczema is often made worse by crawling or scooting motions most babies use to get around. As children grow older and develop better motor skills, they begin to scratch, getting tied into the famous “itch-scratch cycle”.

The most persistent form of child eczema is on their faces. It is most common on the cheeks, but can also occur on the scalp, nose, eyelids, eyebrows, and ears.

How to Heal Face Eczema in Babies

Work to Eliminate Environmental Triggers

Facial eczema in babies or a baby face rash can simply be a result of environmental triggers combined with sensitive skin. Both synthetic materials and chemicals have been known to trigger eczema, so be sure to check:

  •        Linens: This includes pillowcases, sheets, towels, even tablecloths and placemats.
  •        Baby Clothing: Don’t forget to check all clothes, including hats, bibs, and even mittens.
  •        Bath Time Products: Shampoo, facewash, bodywash, bubble bath, bath bombs.
  •        Household cleaners: Laundry detergent, carpet cleaners, face wipes
  •        Miscellaneous: Makeup, pet dander, dust buildup

The best way to check if a specific substance is the cause is to isolate each item and remove it from the child’s daily routine before reincorporating it. If there is an eczema flare up after the specific component is reintroduced, that can most likely be the cause.

Adjust Diet as Needed

Eczema can be linked to food allergies or sensitivities, so if there are no environmental triggers, diet may be the factor. Although it is more likely for diet to play a role in adult eczema, several child eczema cases have been related to food allergens.

In fact, Jennifer’s (founder of It’s an Itchy Little World) son’s eczema was triggered by dairy and environmental allergies.

If you’d like to learn about their story, make sure to check out the blog post: Our Family’s Battle with Eczema Part 1 and Part 2.

Remember that little ones have a tendency to get food on their face, so it is prudent to avoid any acidic foods that can irritate skin. This includes citrus fruits (like oranges and tangerines), tomatoes, and pineapples. Processed foods and sugars are also common irritants that can cause a baby face rash.

ILW Recommends: How a Diet for Eczema Changed This Toddler’s Eczema Rash

Seek Support

Some childhood eczema is genetic. With this type of eczema, environmental components and diet can antagonize the condition, but it will likely remain no matter what efforts are made. Oftentimes these children will have eczema that lasts well past the traditional childhood eczema cutoff age of around five or six.

We understand how difficult it can be watching your little one suffer through this unforgiving condition. If you need help, we always recommend reaching out to family, friends or a doctor who can help you through it.

We also suggest checking out our blog post: The Power of Trust and Acceptance: 6 Tips for Living with Eczema. In it, you’ll find an inspiring message of acceptance and trust.

What Can Help My Child with Flare-Ups?

Even when adjusting for environmental or diet-based irritants, it is important to help children manage their eczema flare-ups that are currently happening as well as prevent any future developments.

There are many natural and organic products that can replace items that contain ingredient triggers, as well as help soothe any itchiness or dryness.

Here are some of our top recommendations in treating a baby face rash:

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

The biggest, and likely easiest, way to combat eczema for children, is to moisturize where they often get eczema flare-ups. Remember that being in water for too long actually dries out the skin, so limit baths to about 15 minutes max.

Use soap that is unscented and made with natural ingredients, there are even some designed specifically for those who suffer from eczema. who suffer from eczema like this Emily Skin Soothers Soap that contains olive oil and Chinese herbs. Not only is it soothing, but its fatty base provides much needed moisture for skin in the bath or shower. Alternatively, you can check out this Emily Skin Soothers Liquid Soap that doubles up as a gentle shampoo (as well as bath/shower face wash).

After taking a bath, it’s important to continue moisturizing skin. As we previously mentioned, water can actually dry out the skin, so using a natural, nourishing emollient can really help heal and irritated baby cheek rash.

This Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is a popular choice for babies, infants and children due to its sweet smell and nourishing texture. This cream is also completely natural and contains only six ingredients: organic olive oil, beeswax, manuka oil, manuka honey, grapeseed oil and filtered water. The best part? It can be used on every sensitive area – including the face!

If your little one is suffering from an angry, red face rash, we suggest taking a look at this Organic Aloe Vera For Eczema Skin Soothing Spray. This spray provides a cooling and soothing effect on the face due to its aloe vera and calendula properties. This Psorxma Itchy Skin Spray also includes bitter melon root and aloe vera that soothe irritation and reduces inflammation.

ILW Recommends: Caring Naturally For Your Baby’s Eczema 

Stop the Scratching

The best way to keep kids from scratching is to cover up the areas that they tend to itch, as well as their hands. Clothing such as these ScratchMeNot Mittens are the perfect tool for reducing relentless scratching and protecting your little one’s skin.

These Remedywear Baby Mittens are also a great tool for reducing irritation and possible infection. Not only do they stay put with tie closures, but they are also made with TENCEL and anti-inflammatory zinc that work to nourish and soothe irritated skin. A great choice if your little one is also suffering from hand eczema!

If you have a little Houdini on your hands who can escape hand coverings, it is especially important to keep their fingernails clipped and filed. This will prevent them from scratching open skin.

Elimination Diets

Elimination diets can seem challenging or overwhelming at first, but with planning (and a physician’s help), it can help your little one’s skin properly heal.

This process helps sort out food allergies and sensitivities that allergy testing can either misidentify or miss entirely. When used hand in hand with awareness about environmental triggers and natural products that help manage symptoms, it can help build a holistic plan for treating a child’s eczema.

You can read more about how to work through an elimination diet with your child here.

The post How to Naturally Heal Face Eczema in Babies appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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If you constantly struggle to find remedies for your eczema, asthma and allergies, a humidifier can help your dry nose as well as your dry skin. The cool, moist mist humidifies the air to keep skin and tissue hydrated.

There are so many humidifiers on the market that you might be wondering which one to purchase. In this article, we help you decipher the best features of humidifiers for eczema, asthma and allergies.

How Humidifiers Help Allergies and Asthma

Dry air actually makes allergies worse. As the dry air enters the nasal passages, it pulls moisture from the tissues and that further irritates the respiratory tract. The dry air can lead to more sinus infections because the body produces more mucus than is really necessary due to the dry air.

Using a humidifier adds moisture to the air and allows you to have the optimal moisture content in your air at home or at work.

When the nasal passages have more hydration, the body is able to move out allergens, bacteria and mold out of the nasal and respiratory tracts.

It’s tricky because while you don’t want the air dry, you also don’t want it to be too moist as this can cause mold allergies and mildew growth, which will only make allergies and asthma worse. The key is to have the perfect moisture content so that the body does not overproduce mucus.

Use of a humidifier can decrease runny noses, sore throats and coughing.

ILW Recommends: How to Control Asthma at Night

Humidifiers and Eczema

If you have eczema, you already know the condition is very difficult to treat and manage, particularly because there is no cure.

Fortunately, humidifiers for eczema can help.

Lots of people with eczema never think about using a humidifier but there are some definite benefits, particularly in winter when central heating really dries out the air. Because of this, the skin loses moisture constantly and that only worsens eczema.

Replacing the lost moisture in the air can definitely keep skin hydrated. Ideally, you want to try for a room moisture level of about 30 to 40 percent. Levels higher than that can cause mold to grow and dust mites to flourish.

Damp conditions only complicate eczema. High moisture levels also can cause the room to be too humid and uncomfortable, making it difficult to sleep.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Humidifier

Although you can use a humidifier for home or office use, here are some main factors to consider when making your purchase:

Size: Most importantly, you must buy the right size of humidifier. Are you using it for one room, or for the whole house? Perhaps you want a desktop version for your office.

Portability: Ease of mobility is also a factor. Many people opt for a portable unit to make it easy to move from room to room.

On the other hand, a whole-house humidifier is a much larger industrial type unit that can usually cover 1,500 square feet of space on average. These units have a large refillable tank that can hold several gallons of water. There are even units that can be integrated into your ducting system or into your home’s permanent water supply.

These units must be installed by an HVAC professional. They are more expensive, but you won’t need to worry about filling the tank every day or porting the unit room to room.

If you are looking for a desktop humidifier, there are many small tabletop models that are quiet and unobtrusive so as to not disturb your co-workers.

Temperature: Cool mist or warm mist – that is the question.

In a cool mist humidifier, the water is not heated, therefore the unit is just adding water vapor to the air. As such, the units are more economical to operate and they are also safer, particularly for small children, the elderly and pets.

Warm mist humidifiers use electricity to create steam; most units cool the steam before releasing it into the air. Boiling of the water also reduces bacteria. These units are generally called germ-free humidifiers.

Some cool mist or warm mist units even have built-in nanosilver or ultraviolet antimicrobial technology that zaps germs and mold spores that might be in the water. Although more expensive, they can be worth it in the long run if you have high sensitivities.

Monitoring: Humidity level control is important regardless of what type of humidifier you use. It is very important to monitor room humidity levels, which ideally should stay within 30 to 50 percent, so consider purchasing a humidifier that has a digital monitor built into the unit. Otherwise you will need to purchase a separate temperature/humidity monitor.

Maintenance: You definitely want to consider a unit that is easy to clean with little to no maintenance required.

Regardless of what type of unit you decide on, they all need regular cleaning to keep the unit free of microbes.

You may want to look for a dishwasher-safe model where the basin can just be popped into the dishwasher whenever you need it. Some of the newer models do come with the built-in anti-microbe technology mentioned above, so the water stays cleaner longer, meaning less frequent cleaning on your part.

However, these units do still require weekly cleaning.

Some humidifiers require filters so you might think about buying extra filters at the same time you purchase your unit, and make sure you always have a good supplier for filters down the road.

One tip: Clean any humidifier that has been sitting unused for a significant length of time, and always clean and thoroughly dry the humidifier before storing it.

We hope this article has been helpful in understanding the importance of humidifiers for eczema, asthma and allergies.

If you’re not interested in buying an air purifier, but looking to purify air, try creating a little indoor garden and introduce some plants known for their ability to

humidify the air.

Check out the best plants for re-humidifying the air.

ILW Recommends: Indoor Air Quality: 4 Ways to Breathe Easier

Bio: Stevie Simpson is a health blogger living in Sydney, Australia. She’s particularly passionate about skin allergies, general skin conditions and cosmetic medicine. She drinks way too much caffeine & loves playing with her pet corgi, Bonnie!

The post Humidifiers for Eczema, Asthma and Allergies appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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By Laura Dolgy (see bio below)

Do you suffer from a greasy or flaky scalp but cannot determine whether it might be seborrheic dermatitis vs. psoriasis?

Although both conditions can look strikingly similar, there are a few symptoms that differentiate the two.

Discover the difference of seborrheic dermatitis vs. psoriasis scalp below!

What is Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic Dermatitis is almost like a hybrid dandruff. All dandruff is a result of a fungus that builds up on the scalp. Overtime, this fungus can grow and spread into what is known as seborrhoea. This seborrhoea can also grow on other oil-producing glands like the face or chest.

Unlike more normal forms of dandruff, seborrhoea can cause extreme itching, discomfort, redness and inflammation. It is usually characterized by an oily type of flake that falls off the scalp and spreads into hair.

What is Psoriasis?

On the other hand, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes itching, scaling and inflammation. White blood cells in the immune system trigger skin cells to surface and shed at 10 times their normal rate.

Unlike seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis is often characterized by lifted red or flaky silver patches.

Other psoriasis symptoms include:

  • Red rashes
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Nail abnormalities
  • White lesions

Psoriasis is also quite different than eczema. Learn how eczema and psoriasis are different from one another in our blog post: Eczema and Psoriasis: What’s the Difference?

Seborrheic Dermatitis vs. Psoriasis Scalp

As previously mentioned, psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that can be triggered by certain health issues (like rashes from rheumatoid arthritis), medications or even stress. Normally this condition tends to develop between 15 and 35 years old. Sebborheic dermatitis can develop much earlier.

Ever heard of baby cradle cap? Cradle cap is actually a form of infant seborrheic dermatitis. Although this type of dermatitis usually does not bother babies, there are variety treatments that can be used to diminish its appearance.

Unfortunately, there is no known cause for seborrheic dermatitis. Although many believe the condition might be linked to an abnormality of oil glands or hair follicles, others believe it can be caused by hormones, yeast fungus, heavy drinking, stress and much more.

Seborrheic dermatitis can also appear in the form of waxy, greasy hair that is not itchy, but like cradle cap can be seen as unsightly and embarrassing.

Natural Scalp Treatments

To learn whether you might be suffering from seborrheic dermatitis vs. psoriasis, we recommend seeing a doctor to receive a formal diagnosis. Although there are natural treatments that can treat both, these conditions are entirely different from one another and should be treated as such.

Various seborrheic dermatitis natural treatments can be used to reduce irritation and inflammation caused by oil. For example, this SD Freedom Scalp Oil for Dry Skin was specifically designed for treating dry forms of seborrheic dermatitis. The 100% sunflower oil and Chinese herbs blend provides needed moisture to skin that helps reduce dryness caused by glands.

For greasy scalps, this SD Freedom Scalp Tincture works to relieve damp scalp symptoms such as crusting, blistering or oozing with yellow and golden coloring.

Psoriasis natural treatments can be used to diminish symptoms like rough, itchy skin. This Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is a wonderful treatment to use on the ears, forehead and neck (where psoriasis might appear) due to its thick, nourishing consistency. Not only will this treatment restore much needed moisture, but its manuka oil and manuka honey contents offer both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well.

This new psoriasis remedy, PsorXma, is also a wonderful anti-itch alternative. Similarly to the cream above, it contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties due to its bitter melon root and aloe ingredients. Its spray bottle also makes easy application on the scalp, forehead, ears and more.

Healing from Within

Because psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis both cause inflammation, perhaps it might be time to control it through nutrition.

Similarly to eczema, certain food allergens can trigger psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. An elimination diet can provide much needed answers to what might be triggering your flare-ups.

This process works by removing certain foods from your diet (such as soy, gluten, dairy, nuts and more) and reintroducing them over a period of time to pinpoint triggers. Many who have suffered from eczema and psoriasis have found improvements with their symptoms after carrying out this process.

Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.

The post Seborrheic Dermatitis vs. Psoriasis: How to Spot the Difference appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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In previous posts, we shared some tips on treating lower body eczema like foot eczema, but are you or a loved one suffering from behind knee eczema?

This type of lower body eczema can be rather irritating and difficult to treat due to the area behind the knee being sensitive and moist.

Learn 4 ways to naturally heal eczema behind the knee below.

What is Behind Knee Eczema?

Although eczema can appear on several areas of the body, it often develops on problems spots where skin touches skin like behind the knees. Eventually sweat can build up and cause severe chafing and irritation which in turn leads to scratching.

This irritation can be made worse day to day just by walking, running or playing. It is no wonder why so many eczema sufferers tend to get stuck in the itch-scratch cycle when experiencing behind knee eczema.

If you think you might be suffering from eczema behind the knees, here are some telling symptoms:

  • Red or dark scaly patches that can look lighter or darker depending on the color of skin
  • Cracked skin
  • Small bumps that may leak fluid and crust over
  • Red, itchy skin that resembles a sunburn or rash

If you’re suffering from severe eczema, we suggest visiting a medical practitioner. This type of eczema can easily lead to complications like a staph infection due to relentless scratching. Please keep in mind we are in no way a medical professionals.

If you are already diagnosed with eczema, we suggest testing the following recommendations:

Natural Moisturizer

Using a natural emollient can help wonders with dry, itchy skin. However, to find a cream or balm that works properly with your type of eczema, it’s important to look for those that target your individual symptoms.

Eczema is usually divided into 3 types of eczemas:

  • Red, weeping eczema
  • Itchy, red, dry eczema
  • Thick, scaly eczema

Red, Weeping Eczema

For this type of eczema, we recommend red, weeping eczema treatments that are gentle on irritated skin. A calming balm like this Emily Skin Soothers for Red Eczema Rashes will help skin calm down while treating topical bacteria, yeast, and fungus. Alternatively for oozing skin, This EczeHerbal #1 Oozing Eczema Treatment treats acute eczema that appear in small oozing bumps.

Itchy, Red, Dry Eczema

If you suffer from dry eczema, you’ll want a balm or cream that can renew skin’s moisture such as this Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream. Not only is this ointment thick and soothing, but it also contains manuka oil and manuka honey that provide anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This cream is so exceptional that the entire It’s an Itchy Little World team uses it! It’s also great for bug bites, rashes, scars and so much more.

Thick, Scaly Eczema

Scaly eczema can also be difficult to treat, especially when it occurs behind the knee. Scaly eczema that chafes can possibly cause skin to crack, causing bacteria to enter and infection to occur. Opting for a cream like this Emily Skin Soothers for Thick, Dry Eczema can provide much needed relief to broken skin while accelerating healing. This Eczeherbal #3 Dry Eczema Treatment for Adults can also decrease itching and restore moisture.

Wet and Dry Wrap Therapy

If you’ve never heard of wet or dry wrap therapy, then we definitely suggest doing some research. Each of these processes can help moderate to severe eczema by delivering much needed moisture quickly.

Wet wrap therapy consists of using a natural emollient (never use steroids) and bandages, gauze or clothing for eczema therapy.

After taking a lukewarm bath, a heavy amount of cream is applied to skin and wrapped with a damp layer and then a dry layer. This layer is worn for at least 2 hours and then cream is reapplied.

Although this process is in no way a long term solution to behind knee eczema, it can offer relief for severely itchy, dry skin. It can also decrease the itch-scratch cycle that is so common with these areas.

Dry wrap therapy on the other hand, consists of wrapping the skin with a natural emollient and dry layer. Unlike wet wrap therapy, this process can actually be used long-term as the process is much easier and less time consuming.

Although you can use bandages or old cloth for these therapies, we do suggest eczema clothing, as many are fabricated with gentle materials that can soothe and nourish irritated skin.

For example, these WrapESoothe body bands are made with TENCEL and offer relief from itchy skin for both children and adults. Remedywear, clothing for eczema also provides garments that are embedded with TENCEL and zinc. These Remedywear Eczema Sleeves are excellent at spot treating behind the knee eczema, while these Remedywear Long Pants for Kids and Remedywear Long Pants for Adults can help stop scratching eczema at night when worn as pajamas.

Natural Home Remedies

Did you know that are several home remedies that can also provide natural eczema relief, specifically for eczema behind the knee?

A wonderful suggestion is taking a lukewarm baking soda bath or apple cider vinegar bath. Baking soda helps to restore skin’s pH while reducing skin inflammation and harmful bacteria. Alternatively, apple cider vinegar is an astringent that can remove bacteria, oil and other impurities from the skin, while providing anti-inflammatory properties.

To discover more natural home remedies, we suggest checking out our blog posts: 7 Home Remedies for Eczema and 10 Natural Remedies for Eczema You Can Try At Home Today.

Healing From Within

If natural eczema treatments, wet and dry wrap therapy or natural home remedies cannot provide relief, then perhaps it’s time to start healing from within.

Many eczema sufferers discover that their eczema is in fact triggered by certain foods. This can be done through a process known as an elimination diet.

An elimination diet consists of removing certain foods from your diet (usually the top food allergens like dairy, soy, gluten, peanuts) and reintroducing them slowly back into your diet to observe a reaction.

Although the process can be daunting and difficult, food challenges are really the only way to accurately prove a food allergy exists. Allergy testing can produce false negatives and false positives that only set back treatment.

To learn how to start an elimination diet, check out our blog post: Have Success with Our Eczema Elimination Diet. Karen Fischer’s The Eczema Diet Book is also a great resource for healing from within and potentially healing your behind the knee eczema for good.

The post 4 Ways to Heal Behind Knee Eczema appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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In honor of Food Allergy Action Month, we’re excited to answer your most common baby dairy allergy questions in our interview with Ready, Set, Food! Chief Allergist Katie Marks-Cogan M.D (see bio below).

What are the symptoms of an igE-mediated dairy allergy? Are they the same for babies?

Symptoms can include hives, swelling of lips/tongue, stomach upset, breathing problems in addition to others.

Symptoms can occur within seconds to minutes, and almost always occur within 2 hours. In babies, hives and vomiting are the most common symptoms of a severe food allergic reaction.

Babies can also develop a delayed milk allergy, which is different than an IgE-mediated/immediate-type milk allergy. Delayed baby milk allergy symptoms include mucus and blood in the stool and colicky abdominal pain and can occur many hours after milk ingestion.

What’s the difference between a baby dairy allergy and a baby dairy intolerance?

Food intolerances are adverse health effects caused by foods that do not involve the immune system. The term food intolerance is often used interchangeably with the term food sensitivity. In addition to a dairy intolerance or milk allergy symptoms in babies, non-immunologic reactions to food (food intolerances) can include:

    • Metabolic (lactose intolerance)
      • Inability to digest lactose, a prominent sugar found in milk, which leads to gas, bloating, diarrhea
    • Pharmacologic (caffeine)
      • Jitteriness, etc
    • Toxic (scombroid poisoning)
      • Ingestion of fish with high histamine levels due to improper handling
    • Undefined mechanisms
      • Gluten intolerance
What are the most common food allergens for babies?

Although more than 170 foods have been identified as triggers of food allergy, the FDA classifies 8 foods/food groups as the major food allergens in the US: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, and soy. In babies, milk, egg and peanut are the most common food allergens.

What can parents do to reduce their baby’s risk of developing a dairy or other food allergies?

There is currently no cure for food allergies, which makes prevention the first and best line of defense against food allergies for families. The current recommendations for food allergy prevention include:

  1. Start Introducing Allergens Early: Starting at 4-6 months of age is likely more effective at reducing a baby’s risk of developing food allergies, but positive results have been seen in the studies for babies who started as late as 11 months of age. Studies suggest that delaying peanut introduction may put your child at a greater risk for developing a peanut allergy. For infants with severe eczema, it is recommended to consult with your pediatrician before starting early allergen introduction.
  2. Once is not Enough — The Importance of Sustaining Exposure: Sustained introduction is just as important as early introduction. In recent landmark studies that resulted in 67-80% reduction in certain food allergies, participants sustained exposure multiple times a week for 3 to 6 months or more. A baby’s immune system needs time and repeated oral exposure to develop a positive response to foods.

But early and sustained allergen introduction can be challenging. It’s common for parents to struggle with sustaining exposure because feeding infants certain foods multiple times a week can be challenging. In fact, in one of the landmark studies, only 50% compliance was achieved among participants, indicating that early and sustained introduction is difficult at such a young age.

With the rate of food allergies rising, it’s exciting that parents have the opportunity to reverse this trend through the proven benefits of early and sustained allergen introduction. However, many parents struggle with following the new guidelines on prevention. Parenting is difficult enough, so when we discovered that there wasn’t a product on the market that made this process easy for parents, I helped a team of leading experts, physicians, and parents, create one. After over 12 months of research and development, we’re proud to offer a gentle, guided system that helps reduce the risk of developing peanut, egg, and milk allergies by up to 80% for families like yours. To learn more about how Ready, Set, Food! makes early and sustained allergen introduction easy, visit our website here.  

Bio: Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D., is board certified in Allergy/Immunology and Internal Medicine, and treats both pediatric and adult patients. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she received her M.D. with honors from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern and fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHOP).  After finishing training, she moved to Southern California and currently works in private practice. She is a member of the scientific advisory board for Ready, Set, Food! She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, 3 year old son, and 1 year old daughter where she enjoys hiking, building LEGO castles with her kids, and cooking with her family.

The post Baby Dairy Allergy Q&A with Board Certified Allergist Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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Let’s be honest – who doesn’t love a little bit of alcohol here and there? Sometimes it can be difficult resisting a drink, but did you know that alcohol consumption can actually affect skin too?

If you’ve never thought about the combination of eczema and alcohol, then we suggest you read on. Discover how alcohol can trigger eczema, as well as a few recommendations on how to enjoy a drink or two without flare ups.

Eczema From Alcohol?

Alcohol is made from a variety of different ingredients, but usually fermentation is the result of broken down yeast or sugar from fruit. Additional ingredients and preservatives like barley, hops or wheat can be added to certain beers to intensify flavors. These additional ingredients and preservatives are usually what trigger reactions, as many people can be allergic – especially to gluten, high amounts of sugar or milk.

Determining which foods trigger your eczema can offer some key solutions on what alcoholic drinks to avoid. Sometimes switching to gluten-free alcoholic beverages such as cider or certain wines can help, but intake should be limited.

To determine what foods might be triggering your eczema, we suggest reading our blog post: What Foods Could Trigger Your Eczema? We also recommend learning about elimination diets. An elimination diet can help you determine allergens by removing certain foods from your diet and reintroducing them slowly to learn which foods might be causing flare ups.

Eczema and Alcohol: Do They Mix?

If you like to enjoy a glass or two of alcohol and they do not trigger your eczema, intake should still be kept to a minimum.

Alcohol actually dries out the skin and dilates blood vessels which in turn can cause eczema to become more red, itchier and altogether more uncomfortable. On the other hand – drinking excessively can also cause serious health issues such as liver inflammation.

Alcohol is also known for dehydrating, so it’s important to limit intake in order to keep skin well hydrated.

How to Drink Alcohol with Eczema

If you choose to drink, then make sure you’re opting for quality alcohols (even organic or gluten-free) that avoid harmful toxins and preservatives. Investing in premium spirits or wines can actually be more beneficial for your skin.

A few other ideas:

  • Don’t overdo it
  • Stay away from alcohols that contain gluten, milk or high amounts of sugar (beer, pina coladas, baileys, etc).
  • Maintain healthy eating
  • Increase your vitamin C intake, as alcohol blocks the body’s natural absorption. Vitamin C is required for a healthy immune system.

If you are suffering from severe eczema, our suggestion is to stay off alcohol until your gut or immune system is in better shape. By eliminating alcohol, the body will have the necessary time and state to repair itself.

Time might be better spent adopting a new diet or elimination diet to improve your immune system and heal your gut.

If you’re looking to adopt a new eczema safe diet, we suggest checking out the following blog posts:

The Autoimmune Paleo Diet: How it Can Heal Your Eczema

How Eating A Plant Based Diet For Eczema Encourages Healing

The Eczema Diet and Your Salicylate Sensitivity

Lastly, if you’re on any medication, make sure to check with a doctor or with a pharmacist.

The post Eczema and Alcohol: Should You Avoid It? appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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While steroids are prescribed to treat skin conditions such as eczematous rash and eczematous skin, prolonged use of these medications can diminish their effectiveness overtime.

Topical Steroid Withdrawal (also known as TSW Eczema) consist of a variety of symptoms that occur after discontinuing or reducing the application of topical steroids.

Rochelle, who has dealt with eczematous skin throughout most of her life, shares her story with TSW, and finding a TSW eczema treatment.

Rochelle’s Story

It all began around the age 6 with a subtle case of eczematous skin in the inner crease of my elbow, the typical minor eczema young kids get. My mother applied a prescribed corticosteroid cream on it sparingly. It went away and thankfully never returned.

In my teens, I developed a case of lip eczema, I think as an allergic reaction to a lip product, and I used a prescribed steroid cream sparingly maybe for a couple of months until it went away. It wasn’t until an allergic reaction that sprang up around age 20, from using a skincare product with hyaluronic acid and an eyeshadow, that prescription steroid creams started to take a toll on my body.

ILW Recommends: Is it Just Eczema or Topical Steroid-Induced Eczema?

First I was prescribed desonide, which had a short-lived effect, so doctors upped the ante with a stronger steroid, triamcinolone acetonide. I started using a little of it on my lips, in case they had a reaction with any makeup or lip product, a preventative measure I suppose, and for the moisture—that petroleum jelly base made my lips feel like heaven!

After about a year of using it a few times a month, I developed a patch of eczematous rash on my neck and thought, “Well that’s weird”, as I didn’t use any product in that area that could’ve caused a contact dermatitis-type eczema.

Soon after, hell ensued on my body. I began having chronic yeast infections, became allergic to dogs when I never was allergic to them before, and the eczematous rash started spreading insidiously all over my body. My dermatologist performed many tests, including a food allergy test, and no allergies came up—all my test results came back normal. He concluded that I had “incurable eczema”. I was doomed…” incurable eczema?”, I thought.

I sought a second opinion from one of San Diego’s leading dermatologists, and she chalked it up to the same conclusion. I was absolutely bewildered and disheartened. I thought, how could this happen to me? I’ve been a healthy person all my life. When I went back for a check-up with the former dermatologist, he suggested I go on cyclosporine, a renal transplant anti-rejection medicine that required quarterly monitoring. I had enough.

The rashes had spread and it became increasingly hard to function. At this point I had graduated to fluocinonide. I had so many red, itchy blotches of eczema everywhere, and people were constantly asking me at work what happened to my skin.

I quit my job, quit school, became severely depressed, and began having suicidal ideation. I had already been scouring the internet for an answer for about two years when one night, I dropped to my knees, lamented to God, and about ten minutes later, I went online and the words “Red Skin Syndrome” appeared in my mind. I thought I would try those words in the search bar and lo and behold, the cofounder of ITSAN’s web page popped up. Her story was very similar to mine. I read the linked studies by Dr. Marvin Rapaport, and my journey to healing soon began.

I started TSW eczema treatment May 2011 and healed 100% in December 2012. It took me 19 months to heal. I’ve been healed for a total of 6 years now. I’d had no Red Skin Syndrome/TSW eczema flares since then, but I have had bouts of facial eczema (the contact dermatitis) since then from a contact allergy.

If it wasn’t for ITSAN, I don’t know if I would be here today. I am forever thankful for their tremendous amount of support, resource, and advocacy.

TSW Eczema Treatment and Recovery
  • So my recovery was 19 months total from the time I withdrew my steroids, and there wasn’t much then or now to help really speed up the healing time besides coping mechanisms.
  • My doctor prescribed me a medication called Atarax, that was an antihistamine and low anti-anxiety. I would say it helped me a little, not significantly, but the effect wasn’t neglible either. I used that 5-10 times during the 19 months of withdrawal.
  • I used a one ingredient moisturizer, organic extra virgin coconut oil (sometimes Vaseline),  half the time (especially in the beginning) as I was hypersensitive to lotions and ointments like Aquaphor. Most patients can only handle Vaseline or some kind of oil as everything else makes them react due to the hypersensitivity caused by the withdrawal.
  • The third thing I did that helped me cope with it were very warm colloidal oatmeal baths. This was my savior remedy! I used the Aveeno brand and I got so much relief while in those baths. I took 1-2 baths almost everyday during the withdrawal period. It really felt heavenly to be soaking in those baths.
  • I dry brushed weekly when my skin was past the raw stage in the beginning to help circulate and drain my lymphatic system.
  • I ate a really green diet toward the end and drank lots of water that I believe helped speed it up, but that was just my own experience.
  • Lastly, my doctor recommended light therapy toward the last few months of the withdrawal to speed up the healing and it worked for me. This is a really tricky treatment because if you get UV light too early when your skin is not ready, it can actually induce a flare or exacerbate an existing one. He was able to tell by looking at my progress whether I was ready or not. He had a phototherapy booth in his office I used a few times but I felt I made the most progress with the sun from 2-4pm around 15 minutes and then I would build up  the time as I gradually got better.

If you’re suffering from Topical Steroid Withdrawal/Red Skin Syndrome, please seek medical attention immediately. Also – if you are suffering from depression or anxiety from this condition, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Seeking help from both a medical doctor, as well as a therapist or psychologist is important, as the journey can be difficult.

The post Rochelle’s Story: From Eczematous Skin to TSW Eczema appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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Sensitive skin skincare has become more popular over the years. In fact, a quick search on the web shows thousands of creams, balms, and soaps that target specific skin conditions. However, have you ever thought about clothing for sensitive skin?

Like skincare, clothing can be an extremely beneficial factor in healing skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, rosacea and much more. This is for 2 main reasons:

1) Opting for clothing that uses more natural, non-synthetic fibers can actually improve skin conditions. Much clothing today is manufactured with synthetic materials like polyester and latex, as well as dye chemicals like formaldehyde. These types of clothing can actually further irritate skin and trigger skin conditions like eczema due to an allergic reaction. In fact – textile dermatitis, latex hypersensitivity and polyester allergies are real! Check out our Guide to Textile Dermatitis to learn more about these types of reactions.

2) Many forms of clothing can offer relief to sensitive skin through nourishing fibers such as 100% organic cotton, bamboo cotton, as well as TENCEL. Not only do these fibers feel like a second skin, but they’re usually soft, cooling and moisture wicking. This soft clothing for sensitive skin by Remedywear can also double up as layers for wet wrap and dry wrapping eczema therapy.

ILW Recommends Eczema Clothing for Babies and Children: Our Recommendations

Clothing for Sensitive Skin: Materials 100% Organic Cotton

If your skin reacts to almost anything, then 100% organic cotton clothing is usually the best option. Organic cotton is grown without the use of both toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. In fact, unlike synthetic materials it is one of the most well known materials that do not irritate skin.

However, it’s important to know whether soft clothing for sensitive skin is actually organic and free of harmful chemicals by looking at certifications like the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX® – an independent lab testing fabrics for chemicals or the Global Organic Textile Standard.

To learn more about organic, GMO-free cotton, make sure to check out our post: Why You Should Choose Organic Cotton Clothing for Kids With Eczema & Sensitive Skin. In it, we discuss why 100% organic cotton clothing makes a great choice for healing sensitive skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and much more.

Also make sure to check out The Eczema Company’s selection of 100% cotton clothing for eczema sufferers. Some excellent options are ScratchMeNot Flip Mittens for Children in Cotton, Scratch Mittens Pajama Top for Kids and Adults, as well as these Cottonique underwear, bras and socks.


Another well-known natural fiber that is bamboo. Look for OEKO certified bamboo clothing to ensure they do not use toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to manufacturer the bamboo fibers. Clothing for sensitive skin that is made from this fiber is usually extremely cooling, as bamboo makes for a very lightweight material.

Some of our favorite bamboo clothing for sensitive skin includes Bamboo Eczema Gloves for AdultsBamboo Eczema Gloves for Kids, Bamboo Bubby Sleep Sack and ScratchMeNot Original Flip Mittens for Children Original style,

TENCEL ( with Zinc!)

Although 100% organic cotton and bamboo are some of the most popular materials for sensitive skin, TENCEL is becoming more popular among those with sensitive skin conditions.

TENCEL is a natural fiber that is made of renewable birch pulp. It has absolutely no impurities and is both eco-friendly and contains harsh chemcials from planting all the way to thread and fabric creation. The addition of zinc helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria – which is perfect for those who might be suffering from skin infections. Zinc oxide is a compound that can be found in various skincare products as it is known for it’s ability to reduce inflammation. In fact, zinc oxide powder is the active ingredient in calamine lotion and most diaper rash creams – good bye red, irritated skin! Not only does zinc stop bacterial growth and blocks odor, but it’s also been proven to soothe skin.

Remedywear, clothes for eczema are made from TENCEL and zinc. You can read more about zinc oxide for eczema clothes. Dermatologists in a recent study [1] found that a group of patients with atopic dermatitis noted rapid improvement of eczema severity, less redness and itching and improved sleep quality after using the same fabric blend of TENCEL and zinc as found in Remedywear.

These garments are perfect for all types of sensitive skin including:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Acne
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis
  • Diaper Rash

Not only is Remedywear clothing soothing, but it is 100% allergy friendly, as well as moisture wicking and it offers sun protection with 35-50+ UV protection. That’s some powerful fabric!

Some of our favorite Remedywear garments include:

Discover the full line of Remedywear clothing for eczema sensitive skin. For more information on Remedywear, make sure to check out our blog post: Using Clothing for Eczema Therapy: Introducing Remedywear!

The post How to Choose Clothing for Sensitive Skin appeared first on itchylittleworld.com.

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