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One of the most prevalent topics that we have continued to write about time and time again has been about the link between allergies and eczema. If you follow our blog, you will have seen me write about the relationship between eczema and allergies related to eggs, peanuts and more. As a Nashville dermatologist, these are potential links that I have to discuss with my patients all the time.
However, there’s one element of eczema and allergies we haven’t discussed that goes beyond food - and into the skin. When we think of eczema, we often neglect to think about contact dermatitis, which is a condition that causes the skin to become red and inflamed after being in contact with an allergen or an infant. However, the potential for your skin to develop contact dermatitis if you already have eczema makes sense: if your skin barrier is not intact, it becomes difficult for your skin to protect you against potential allergens.
In a review of studies on the matter, the verdict still remained uncertain: while prior studies found that allergic contact dermatitis didn’t play a large role in patients with eczema, others found that the impaired barrier function and increased number of products applied to the skin of eczema patients resulted in an increase in allergic contact dermatitis.
The question at stake now, is this: how do we differentiate between contact dermatitis and eczema? Is allergic contact dermatitis actually playing a role in some cases of eczema? Here’s how my take on the matter has changed: at the beginning of my career, I was often asked by my Nashville eczema patients if allergies were playing a role in their condition. Previously, my answer was simple: no, because it was understood that they were two separate disease processes. Now, I say it is definitely a possibility. If we cannot get their eczema under control with good skin care, then I may recommend we do patch testing to the most common allergens.
While it will take some time for patients and other Nashville dermatologists to come on board with the idea of patch testing eczema patients, it is becoming increasingly common. This is in itself is a huge step, and I believe it is the best way to get the answers you need. If you’re looking for better products to keep your skin under control in the meantime, I would recommend using Theraplex Eczema Therapy - easy to put on throughout the day, this soothing oatmeal ointment has really helped them reduce their eczema flares! The Cerave Healing Ointment is also another fantastic option to try - apply this ointment after a shower for the best results. For cleansing, try the Cerave Hydrating Cleanser.
Want to learn more about whether allergies could be affecting your eczema? Visit us at Skin Solutions Dermatology in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Smyrna, Hendersonville or Pulaski to chat with our amazing team of dermatology specialists! Take advantage of our online booking system and book an appointment today.
Source: British Journal of Dermatology