Archive for the 'Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis' Category

Food Allergy And Skin

May 3, 2010

There are many in the medical profession who do not think food allergy is a major cause of eczema/atopic dermatitis.  That might be true for adults, but about 37% of children with eczema have at least one food allergy.  If you look at the statistics in reverse, you find that about 90% of children with food allergy have eczema.   In general, it is worthwhile to do food allergy testing on an infant or young child with severe eczema.  If a particular food is identified,  a trial elimination diet should be pursued to determine the impact of the elimination on the condition of the skin.

Another skin condition associated with food allergy is hives.  Hives can occur suddenly in an otherwise well person.  This form of hives is called acute hives.  If hives last more than 6 weeks they are called chronic hives.

A food can be identified as the cause in about 20% of cases of acute hives.  In this setting, if food is responsible, it generally occurs within minutes to 1-2 hours consumption of the food.  A detailed history will often reveal one or more suspect foods and allergy testing should be done to verify whether or not a person is allergic to any of those foods.

When a person has chronic hives lasting more than 6 weeks, a much smaller percentage have an associated food allergy.  Only about 4% of children with chronic hives have a food allergy and about 1.4% of adults with chronic hives have a food allergy.  Whether or not it is necessary to do food allergy testing in the setting of chronic hives depends on the patient’s history.

Note: The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as specific medical advice for a specific person.   If you have a medical problem, please contact your doctor.

Sunblock For Sensitive Skin

April 2, 2010

Many people with atopic dermatitis or eczema have difficulty finding sunscreen that does not irritate their skin.   For those with very sensitive skin I recommend products that contain the sunblocks zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.   Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are both sun blocks, so they do not need to interact with the skin on a chemical basis in order to do the job of protecting against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.   The main downside to these products is the fact that they usually do leave you with a slight whitish hue when applied to the skin.

Look for zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in the list of active ingredients.  If there are other active ingredients listed, then the sunscreen you are looking at is not one that contains only zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.  If you have food allergies, it is also important to take a look at the list of inactive ingredients as there might be vegetable, nut or fruit products included.   If you are picking out a sunscreen for an infant or young child you should always get one that does not include food products as introduction of food products through the skin can increase the risk of a child developing food allergies.

The following is a partial list of products that contain only zinc oxide and/or titanium as their active ingredients:

– Blue Lizard Baby

– Vanicream SPF 60 Sensitive Sunscreen

– Fallene COTZ SPF 58

– Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunblock

Please remember that if you have atopic dermatitis or eczema, it is extremely important to wash the sunscreen off and moisturize when you get out of the sun at the end of the day.  Sunscreen products tend to dry the skin and going to bed with sunscreen on your skin can lead to extreme dryness in the morning.


February 9, 2010

1. Do not bathe more than once a day. Take short, warm baths. Do not use very hot or very cold water. Pat dry after bathing. Do not rub.

2. Use unscented moisturizing soaps or cleansing lotions.

3. Recommended soaps and cleansers:

  • Aquaphor Gentle Wash Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
  • Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar
  • Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash
  • Free and Clear Liquid Cleanser
  • Vanicream Cleansing Bar

4. Apply unscented, fragrance free, moisturizing lotion, cream or ointment frequently throughout the day. Most importantly apply immediately after bathing (within three minutes of completion of bath or shower) while skin is still moist. The type or brand of moisturizer you use is not as important as using it consistently and frequently. Purchase small samples of several different moisturizers and determine which is most healing to your skin.

5. Recommended moisturizers:

  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  • CeraVe Cream or Lotion(Ceramide containing)
  • California Baby Super Sensitive Everyday Lotion
  • California Baby Calendula Cream (patch test first)
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion or Cream
  • Cetaphil Therapeutic Hand Cream
  • Curel Continuous Comfort Fragrance Free Lotion
  • Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream or Lotion
  • Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion- Fragrance Free
  • Lubriderm Sensitive Skin Therapy Moisturizing Lotion
  • Mustella moisturizing cream
  • Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Fragrance Free Body Moisturizer
  • Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Fragrance Free Body Emulsion
  • Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Fragrance Free Hand Cream
  • Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
  • Vaseline Intensive Care Derma Care
  • Vaseline Petroleum Jelly 

6. Use hypoallergenic unscented laundry detergents such as All Free Clear or Tide Free. Do not use dryer-sheets or fabric softeners.

7. Avoid wool clothing or synthetics directly on skin. Avoid wool carpets directly on skin. Wear 100% cotton clothing as much as possible. Anything that feels irritating will make your atopic dermatitis worse.