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When you need support with your overall skin health, you know to turn to specialists in the field, including dermatologists.  Another person to add to your list people to address could be an allergist.  More specifically, allergy testing could be one of the best options that you could consider for helping manage and help with your eczema.  Not convinced?  Here’s what you should know.

The connection between allergy testing and eczema

The main thing to understand in order to see how one can help with the other is that allergies and eczema are thought to be connected.  While having eczema does not guarantee that you will have a food allergy or vice versa, there is a connection that is still being studied.  Specialists think that eczema could even be part of the cause of allergies.  This is suspected by the fact that sometimes sensitization to an allergen happens after the allergen is applied directly to the skin.  Studies have shown that this kind of exposure, one after the other, can create an allergy to associated foods [1].  In this case, pollen from a tree on the skin could create a sensitivity to the kind of food or associated foods that it bears.  

Research suggests that since there is a defect in the skin’s natural barrier, the sensitivity comes from the exposure on the skin and it connects to the bloodstream through an ineffective barrier.  The flare-up of eczema that follows from the pollen will trigger a similar immune system response inside the body when more contact occurs in the future.

Risk factors of eczema

In recent years, there has been a significant amount of research into the prominence of eczema, especially in kids.  Scientists have isolated a few risk factors for children and adults, both, which could be helpful to proper treatment later in life.  These could include:

  • Air pollution: Scientists have been able to connect a flare-up of eczema in those who are living in areas with a lot of traffic-created pollution.  Even those children who live in small towns with pollution are thought to be as at-risk as the larger cities with more amounts of traffic-related pollution [2].  This is especially so during the formative years in childhood.
  • Smoking homes: Other studies show that both children and adults can have a stronger likelihood of dealing with eczema life-long if they live in a smoking home or are smokers, respectively [3].
  • Skin sensitivity: Lastly, if your skin is sensitive to begin with, you have a stronger chance of developing eczema.  This is similar to the idea that your skin is already sensitive to pollens or allergens and, as such, doesn’t take much to flare up. 

The benefits of allergy testing with eczema

There are quite a few benefits to consider allergy testing when it comes to dealing with eczema.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Improvement of flare-ups: This one seems obvious, but it should be stated.  Studies show that proper avoidance of allergens could help reduce flare-ups and improve the overall quality of life for those who are dealing with frequent, painful eczema discomfort [4].
  • Eased sensitivity to flare-ups: As well, with proper diagnosis and treatment over a long period of time (through avoidance of the allergens), the flare-ups themselves may be less likely to occur and less interruptive to daily life.  The research suggests that this could be a wonderful way to help those find more comfort [4].
  • More data to help with future studies: Lastly, proper monitoring and recording of the connection between allergy testing and eczema give specialists more data to work from so that they can properly understand the connection and use it to further research in the future  [5].

The tentative conclusion is that taking an allergy test and avoiding those allergens, could help reduce flare-ups of eczema since it is technically an inflammatory response from your immune system.  It’s important to remember that one is not a cure for one or the other.  It just helps reduce flare-ups in eczema, not to mention a proper diagnosis and avoidance of any potential food allergies you may not have known you had!

It’s impressive to think that you could do so much for yourself as well as the world around you by simply getting a proper test done for allergies, but the research supports it.  Regardless of what your main motivation is, you should seriously consider getting to the bottom of your concerns with eczema by taking a closer look t the allergy testing process.  Convenient to do right at home, with customer service representatives available to help you 24/5 a week, you’ll be able to get the results you need to make your day to day, skin- and health-related life as good as can be. 

References:

[1] Heratizadeh, A., Wichmann, K. and Werfel, T., 2011. Food allergy and atopic dermatitis: how are they connected?. Current allergy and asthma reports, 11(4), pp.284-291. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11882-011-0202-y 

[4] Thomson, K.F., Wilkinson, S.M., Sommer, S. and Pollock, B., 2002. Eczema: quality of life by body site and the effect of patch testing. British Journal of Dermatology, 146(4), pp.627-630. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2133.2002.04692.x 

[3] Anon, J.B., 1993. Introduction to in vivo allergy testing. Otolaryngology–head and neck surgery: official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 109(3 Pt 2), pp.593-600. Available at: https://europepmc.org/article/med/8414587 

[2] Krämer, U., Sugiri, D., Ranft, U., Krutmann, J., von Berg, A., Berdel, D., Behrendt, H., Kuhlbusch, T., Hochadel, M., Wichmann, H.E. and Heinrich, J., 2009. Eczema, respiratory allergies, and traffic-related air pollution in birth cohorts from small-town areas. Journal of dermatological science, 56(2), pp.99-105. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0923181109002321 

[3] Molin, S., Ruzicka, T. and Herzinger, T., 2015. Smoking is associated with combined allergic and irritant hand eczema, contact allergies and hyperhidrosis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 29(12), pp.2483-2486. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jdv.12846