Eczema or Dermatitis

Whenever I shake hands, I occasionally have to explain, reading horror in newly-met people’s eyes, that my hands are not just dry, but rather that I have what’s called “dermatitis” or “eczema”. It’s not contagious but it’s quite a nuisance, and since people may have questions about it, here’s what I was able to learn about it. I hope that this helps others who may have the same problem.

There are a few kinds of dermatitis. Mine is not itchy, but it causes patches of skin to harden, darken and appear dryer.

I have to tell you, I’m not particularly excited writing about my problems, but it’s quite common, there is a stigma associated with it and it took me a while to figure out what this is, so it’s worth going over it on the off chance that it might help someone. I’ve also been encouraged to discuss by the incumbent I ran against in the municipal election, who discussed his mental health issues in a Toronto Life article (tl-jc).

At its core, this is an allergic reaction. That means that my immune system gets confused about those patches of skin not being me and attacks them, causing inflammation to occur.

In my early childhood, I suffered from asthmatic bronchitis and this appears to be an aggravating factor. I started getting something like that on my fingers in my teenage years, shortly after my father remarried and my diet had changed. At first, I assumed that I had not been washing my hands sufficiently, and over-washing my hands turned out to be a bad idea, as my condition worsened.

Here’s “KetoMD” or Dr Ken D Berry recommending an elimination / keto diet and coconut / castor oil as well as focusing on grains, diary (except butter/ghee) and even egg whites; Dr. Mark Davis of Mayo Clinic wants you to go to his clinic.

The previous videos discuss dermatitis in general; atopic dermatitis seems to be diagnosed mostly in children (17% of school children in USA have it), hence we have the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and National Jewish Health providing more info.

In my research, I’ve discovered that this affliction is likely connected to my childhood asthma via the hygiene hypothesis. Where I was born, asthma and allergies were not as prevalent as where I live now (less than 1%). Rates of asthma and allergies have been increasing everywhere but unequally, and a significant difference still remains between the developed and developing world. So I’m guessing it was more unusual back then to have this than it is now. There may also be a connection between allergies and the gut flora, although the research in this area is not rock solid.

Since cremes and ointments did not work for me (nor have I been judiciously using them) I turned my focus to my diet.

Sources / More info: wikipedia-dermatitis, wikipedia-atopic, wiki-atopy, wiki-saureus, wiki-hh, tl-jc


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