Episode 78: How Diet Can Affect Eczema

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Thanks for joining us for episode 78 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show.

Today we are answering the following question from a listener:

“Hello, ladies. I’d really appreciate it if you could discuss the link between food and eczema. For the last few months, I’ve had some issues with my skin mostly manifesting as exceptional dry areas that are sometimes a bit unevenly red, no actual pimples or the like. This mostly occurs around my eyes and around my chin and I suspect it may have something to do with allergies as it tends to come and go. I’ve suspected cheese and a pre-made liverwurst product which I recently started eating, but avoiding these has not made a clear difference.

How long do skin reactions to food develop and clear from exposure or avoidance? Or are eczemas usually something more overall gut health related? I previously had some mild allergies and have always been prone to dry skin especially my hands, and diet changes never have made much of a difference to this.”

It can be tricky to figure out what factors in your diet and lifestyle are contributing to a health condition. This is especially true with skin conditions like eczema. If you’re frustrated with trying to get control over eczema, don’t throw in the towel, we’re here to help!

Join us today to hear about our own experience with skin conditions as we discuss the impact food sensitivities and gut health have on eczema.  You’ll come away with an action plan giving you steps to take to discover potential contributors and experience relief from eczema.

Here’s what Laura and Kelsey will be discussing in this episode:

  • Why it is important to approach natural remedies for skin conditions with your individual situation in mind
  • Why it can be difficult to connect skin issues with food sensitivities
  • Kelsey’s experience with eczema
  • How eczema is often a skin condition related to gut health
  • The food sensitivities most common in eczema
  • How probiotics and prebiotics can be very effective when treating eczema
  • The importance of addressing gut pathogens in treating eczema
  • The effect of environmental allergies on eczema
  • Nutrients that help with skin conditions
  • Steps to take to figure out the contributors involved in your skin condition

Links Discussed:


Laura: Hey everyone. Welcome to episode 78 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. I’m Laura Schoenfeld and with me today as always is Kelsey Kinney.

Kelsey: Hey guys.

Laura: Kelsey, we were just talking a little bit before we got on the call today about skin.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: We’re actually going to be talking about skin today in our question. First we were saying, what are we going to update people on? Because we’re pretty sure everyone’s sick of hearing about wedding planning and all that noise because both Kelsey and I have been in…she’s in end stage wedding planning mode and I’m in beginning stage wedding planning mode. If anyone’s planned a wedding, or tried to stick to a budget, or tried to organize 100 people to be at a party together, you’ll know that it’s extremely time consuming and mentally exhausting, but still kind of fun in a lot of ways.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: But we were like alright, we need to update them on something else because people are going to stop listening to us if we’re constantly talking about wedding planning. I was like, well, let me talk about my face fungus.

Kelsey: Woo-hoo!

Laura: Yeah. In the spirit of vulnerability and transparency, I figured I would share a little bit about a skin issue that I had been dealing with recently, especially we’re going to be talking about skin today, and mostly because of the attempt to solve it using a natural approach that totally backfired. Almost like a combination vulnerability share and also a word of warning to anyone who is going to use like I said a more natural approach to just be careful about pay attention to what you’re doing and not just assuming because it’s natural that it’s going to work and that’s the right choice for you.

I must have talked about this in another podcast, but I can just reiterate it since I feel like it’s been a while. I tend to be prone to vitamin A deficiency and I’ve had symptoms in my life from vitamin A deficiency ranging from I wouldn’t say night blindness, but definitely difficulty seeing at night especially when driving. My skin tends to be very sensitive to vitamin A deficiency so I am prone to something called keratosis pilaris which is basically a buildup of keratin plugs, usually in your hair follicles.

Keratin is one of the main proteins that makes up your skin and it can get built up if you’re not turning over your skin cells at an appropriate rate. Vitamin A is basically essential for skin cell turn over and keratin production. So if you do get vitamin A deficient, one of the first symptoms for a lot of people is keratosis issues. Night blindness and vision issues is another big one with vitamin A deficiency.

Those are the two symptoms that I tend to experience with vitamin A deficiency. I experienced it for the first time when I was living in Australia. I think one of the big reasons that happened was because I was getting a lot of sun, I was drinking a lot of alcohol, and alcohol actually requires vitamin A to detoxify using the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase which is actually a vitamin A dependent enzyme, and eating pretty poorly because I was traveling. I was eating whatever they served us from our van basically.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: So not a lot of fresh food at all and lots of packaged low nutrient density things, certainly not a good source of preformed vitamin A. So my first experience with keratosis pilaris was that time. I got it all over my backs of my arms, on my legs, and then it even started going onto my face mostly around my cheek area. Basically these little kind of like white bumps that sometimes would get inflamed and turn red a little bit. They don’t totally look like pimples, like a normal whitehead, like a cystic acne kind of pimple. I’d say it’s more similar to an ingrown hair look than a pimple look.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: They’re very tiny and they’re usually like I said kind of in certain areas like the back of the arms and the legs, and that kind of thing. I dealt with that primarily by supplementing with cod liver oil and vitamin A, that kind of thing. It went away and it would come back a little bit here and there, but mostly went away since I was in Australia which was about six years ago. I think that was when I was getting back.

Recently I started to have a recurrence of it, which I think was a combination of again over the summer I got a lot of sun just because I was outside a lot. I wore some sunscreen, but not a lot, and certainly not if I’m just going to be out for an hour or something, so definitely had a decent amount of sun this summer. I definitely was not eating well over the summer because first of all, lots of traveling, second of all, just distraction.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Just not paying attention to what I was doing and really in a lot of ways I think I was malnourished, and just not eating enough in general, and certainly not eating the most nutrient dense foods. I would say I drank a little more this summer than usual, more like celebratory type alcohol, but not like I was drinking in Australia before I really cared about my health. But definitely more than I would have normally been drinking, having a couple drinks a night a couple nights a week kind of thing.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: That again, kind of similar situation. I didn’t get as bad a keratosis pilaris as I had gotten when I was in Australia, but it definitely started to come back over the summer and just the last couple weeks it had been getting kind of bad. I’ve been using vitamin A intermittently, but it does take some time for that to kick in so I was trying to figure out what to kind of do topically to fix it. I had seen some recommendations about using coconut oil as a cleanser and then using apple cider vinegar diluted as a toner. So I was like okay, that’s what a lot of my ancestral health friends recommend for skin care, so let me try that out. I was doing that for a couple weeks. I was using good quality coconut oil. I was even using a product that was designed for facial use.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: It had chamomile in it and it was meant to be used as a face wash. My skin just kept getting worse and worse, which is weird because I was like I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m not putting anything on it, I’m taking vitamin A, not getting a lot of sun. Especially in August in North Carolina, it’s like too hot to go outside and sit in the sun, so I was really not getting a lot of sun. It was just getting worse and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then I started trying to use natural acne treatment to see if that would help kind of clear out of some of the blocked pores, and that wasn’t helping. Then my skin kept getting worse and worse and getting kind of a combination of dry and bumpy and just really weird. I think the weirdest part is that usually I have good skin. It’s not an issue that I struggle with most of the time.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: With this KP stuff, KP stands for keratosis pilaris, I really thought that the vitamin A stuff was going to help it. I was like oh, that’s what helped last time.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It’ll probably be fine. But it just kept getting worse, and it was spreading, and kind of was getting more like a red, angry look to it. I was getting super frustrated and almost panicky about it because I was going to be in my friend’s wedding in September and I was like my skin is going crazy! Why can’t I fix this? Finally I was like I just need to figure out…this isn’t acne because the acne stuff is not helping and it’s actually getting worse. I stopped using the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar combo thing, which that definitely started to make it get better. I was like I wonder why that was happening?

So I was doing some research and somehow I came across a forum where this woman said, oh I had this amazing cure for my keratosis pilaris, I just grabbed my husband’s athlete’s foot cream and put it on my face and it went away. I was like okay, I’m desperate right now. I will literally try anything. I went to the store and got some antifungal, I guess it was athlete’s foot kind of stuff, but it was just a generic antifungal cream. I was like, alright, here goes nothing. I tried it and it definitely significantly helped. I was like, okay, so what’s going on here? I started to do a little research and it turns out that with keratosis pilaris, it increases the likelihood of growing imbalanced amounts of yeast or fungus on your skin.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Which everybody’s got yeast and fungus on their skin. It’s normal. It’s a normal part of the flora, but yeast can actually feed on both keratin, so the protein in keratin, and then also oils. So if you have super oily skin, that can be something that the yeast feeds on as well.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: And then to add insult to injury, for my case the yeast can also feed on coconut oil.

Kelsey: Perfect.

Laura: Yeah, so I was connecting the dots and realizing that using coconut oil on my face actually made this keratosis pilaris issue way worse because not only was it keratosis pilaris, but then it actually started to turn into a fungal infection basically. Nothing crazy, nothing like really bad, but bad enough that it was like driving me nuts.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: And making me super self-conscious about my skin and kind of making me feel like what the heck is going on? Now it’s like a lot better. It’s not back to normal yet and again, like I said with keratosis pilaris, since it’s an issue that starts at kind of the dermis level of your skin, not the epidermis, it does take probably a good month before the skin that’s getting affected by the vitamin A gets to the top layer. I’m assuming it will take a couple months for my skin to go back to normal taking care of it the way that I should be. But I was super shocked about the fact that the coconut oil had made it that much worse.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: This is kind of the word of warning part because like I said, I’m definitely not a skin care expert, I don’t pretend to be. I just saw a couple of people say I just use coconut oil on my face, and it’s amazing, and my skin is in such good shape. I figured okay, well if they do it and it’s working for them, why don’t I try it? It definitely made things way, way worse.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I’m not saying coconut oil is bad to put on your skin and some people obviously do great with it, but don’t assume that just because it works for other people that it should work for you. And if you have a skin issue that’s seems to be getting even worse since using coconut oil, then that would be something worth not doing anymore because it could actually be causing or exacerbating your issue.

Kelsey: Yeah, just a quick two cents on my experience with coconut oil. I was hearing the same sort of stuff a couple years ago people saying that coconut oil was great for your skin. So I started doing like an oil cleansing method with coconut oil and just using coconut oil on my face. And man, I mean I have oily skin to begin with, but it’s like this weird combination of dry and oily at the same time.

Laura: Lovely.

Kelsey: Yeah, I know, it’s fantastic. But yeah, the coconut oil really didn’t work for me either. It just made my skin more oily but not feeling super moisturized either. It really just exacerbated the problems I was having. Thankfully I learned that lesson pretty quick and just stopped using it. You do start to think when you see everybody on these blogs proclaiming that coconut oil is the savior for their skin. You’re like oh, okay, I should try this.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: I’m glad that I know enough to pay attention to how my body is responding to things, but I think it can be hard for some people to do that when they see all these great success stories everywhere and they’re like well, let me just give it some more time. Sometimes more time with something that automatically is not going well doesn’t make it better.

Laura: Right, right. I think using coconut oil for a little bit of a moisturizer on my limbs and stuff, I can see that potentially helping. But yeah, using it as a face wash was a disaster and the apple cider vinegar on my face I think made my skin way more dry which might have even made it worse with the keratin buildup. But one thing I do like using apple cider vinegar for is I’ll do a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water and then I’ll do that as a hair rinse.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: That tends to really make my hair very soft and get rid some of the buildup that I experience from the kind of hair that I have. I use a lot of products to make it not frizzy and have that beach wave look. I don’t wash my hair that often, so it tends to build up. Apple cider vinegar in my hair seems to be perfectly fine and actually really helpful. But on my face, it was like, again, disastrous.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: It’s just a weird…and I guess that wasn’t that embarrassing to share. I’m sure everyone’s got their issues and it’s not like acne is less gross than a skin fungus or whatever.

Kelsey: Yeah, for sure.

Laura: Yeah, if anyone’s having some face skin issues and they have been using acne products and it’s not helping, maybe the fungus thing is something you should check out. But for me the natural approach to the skincare, or I shouldn’t say natural, but like the super natural approach to skincare didn’t work for me. Right now I’m kind of experimenting with some different products. I have a friend who lent me some of her beauty counter stuff and that seems to be working pretty well. That is like a nice nontoxic but still legit skincare product. So it’s not coconut oil, but it’s not as bad as Proactive or something when it comes to just toxins and that kind of thing.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I also found this really nice witch hazel, rose water, and aloe toner by a company called Thayer’s which was $6 or something for the bottle, and it’s nice and soothing and moisturizing, that kind of thing. Kind of a couple different things I’ve been playing around with and my skin is definitely on the mend.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Which I’m so glad about because seriously I was like really just getting very, very frustrated with it.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: But yeah, it was just a really bizarre experience where everything I was trying was either not working or it felt like it was making things worse. Just something to keep in mind if you’re dealing with skin issues, which again we’re going to be talking about in our conversation today, but a lot of people will just have different reasons for having the issues that you have with your skin.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Sometimes it’s nutritional, sometimes it’s what you’re using from a product perspective. For me it was a combination of both. Yeah, just some stuff to think about if you are dealing with some skin issues. But do you have anything to add before we jump to our question, Kelsey?

Kelsey: No, I think I actually probably will throw some stuff into the question. But we can jump into the question here to get started.

Laura: Yeah, so let’s hear a word from our sponsor and then we will get into our question for the day.

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Laura: Alright. Today’s question is:

“Hello, ladies. I’d really appreciate it if you could discuss the link between food and eczema. For the last few months, I’ve had some issues with my skin mostly manifesting as exceptional dry areas that are sometimes a bit unevenly red, no actual pimples or the like. This mostly occurs around my eyes and around my chin and I suspect it may have something to do with allergies as it tends to come and go. I’ve suspected cheese and a premade liverwurst product which I recently started eating, but avoiding these has not made a clear difference.

How long do skin reactions to food develop and clear from exposure or avoidance? Or are eczemas usually something more overall gut health related? I previously had some mild allergies and have always been prone to dry skin especially my hands, and diet changes never have made much of a difference to this.”

Kelsey: Alright. This is a really good question because I think skin can be tough because not only does everybody’s skin react pretty differently to some of the same stuff like we were talking about in the intro, but it can be one of the harder things to connect with food because it does tend to take a long time to notice the difference.

I’ll give a little anecdote to start there. My sister actually had a lot of these same issues that this person is describing where she gets what seems like eczema on her face and definitely on her hands, it’s for sure eczema on the hands. And then on her face she would get on the side of her lips would be really dry or around her eyes like this person is describing as well. I worked with her as much as I could. She’s in college so you can guess how interested in majorly changing her diet she was for a long time, but eventually it got bad enough that she was willing to kind of do something for her that felt fairly drastic which was to take out gluten entirely because I just wanted her to kind of start there.

She took out gluten and it took a while, I say it took at least like a month for her to notice a difference, but it made a really, really big difference for her in what she was experiencing for dryness, for the redness, like this uneven redness, again like this person is describing as well. But it pretty much cleared up entirely. She’ll still get some little flare ups, but it’s nothing like it was before.

I assume since this person is asking this question on our podcast, that they’re probably eating gluten free or at least close. But at least for me, I eat gluten free most of the time, but I certainly don’t avoid it entirely. I think we definitely have some people that listen to our podcast that probably fit within that category too, so I feel like I should mention it that for something like gluten, or really any kind of food that you’re wondering about from a skin perspective, you would need to be really careful and not consume any of it for I’d say at least a month to really notice a significant difference.

Skin just tends to take a longer time to heal. And then if you added it back in, a lot of times it tends to take a little bit of time for it to come back again as well. Because of that, it’s really hard to make the link a lot times if you’re not specifically doing some sort of experiment and taking something out absolutely entirely for at least a month to notice if it’s making any difference.

Laura: Yeah, I mean it’s kind of like what I was talking about in the intro where the skin stuff that I’ve been dealing with I’m sure is going to take at least a couple months to really see a clear difference.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: That’s not because it’s not effective, it’s just because of the way skin is where it just takes a long time for any issues that have cropped up when the skin is forming to get to the surface and then be exfoliated off.

Now with eczema, I think that’s going to be a similar situation. Eczema is definitely one of those much more gut related skin conditions in general. Certainty I think a lot of skin conditions can be gut health related, but eczema tends to be one that I find in a lot of clients it’s almost always either a food sensitivity, or a gut bacterial imbalance, or something like that. But when I’ve worked with people with eczema, a lot of the things that I’ve seen with food sensitivities have been a lot of the major food allergens tend to be the ones are the most problematic, so gluten and wheat is definitely one of the big ones.

Maybe we can assume that this person is gluten free, but maybe she’s not, or maybe she’s the level of gluten free that Kelsey and I are where it’s mostly gluten free, but occasionally have it. If you’re having it once a month or twice a month, that could be enough to keep things going. And then this person says cheese, so maybe dairy in general. I don’t know if they’re 100% avoiding dairy. They said cheese, so maybe they’re avoiding cheese but having butter, or yogurt, or something like that. One that I find super frequent with my eczema clients is eggs. I don’t know if you’ve noticed eggs being an issue.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: One of the reasons for that is because a lot of times people on a Paleo type of diet do eat a lot of eggs. There’s nothing wrong with eating a lot of eggs assuming you’re fine eating them, but if you do have eczema and you’re eating two or three eggs a day, that could definitely be something that’s exacerbating it or causing it in the first place. Usually if I have a client that’s got eczema and I pulled them off of wheat, dairy, and eggs as a minimum assuming that they’re not, like you said, kind of resistant to the idea of going off of those foods in general.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: But the problem is that they could be sensitive to both wheat and eggs and if they just go off wheat, they might not see the resolution they’re looking for if they’re still sensitive to other stuff. Those would be the ones that I typically will pull out of someone’s diet. The other allergens that could potentially be a problem are things like soy and nuts, and tree nuts, that kind of thing. Fish and shellfish, I don’t really see that. I’m not saying it’s not possible.

Kelsey: Yeah, I don’t see that very often either.

Laura: Mm hmm. But basically those major allergens that can cause anaphylactic type allergic responses in people sometimes are ones that are more commonly associated with eczema.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Then the other thing like I was saying before about a lot of my clients with eczema is that gut health definitely is involved. I find that probiotics can often be helpful and the one that I often for eczema is one that I actually… I’ve got to laugh because I think probably two or three years ago when we first started with the podcast I used this as an example of a like a cheap grocery store probiotic and you were like, actually it’s kind of a good one. I was like, oh foot in mouth. Now that I’ve done more research on it, it actually is one that I use for eczema almost all the time anytime a client has eczema. That’s Culturelle.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I don’t know if you use that one also for eczema.

Kelsey: I do, yes.

Laura: So yeah, I learned something from you, Kelsey, after I felt like a total idiot on that podcast episode. I do use that one for eczema and that’s because it’s been studied to show its efficacy in eczema, the specific strain Lactobacillus GG.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’m not saying that’s the only one that should be used at all, but it is one that does have research backing its use for eczema. That plus the wheat, egg, and dairy removal for 30 days is usually how I’m going to approach eczema at a starting point.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: What about you?

Kelsey: Yeah, I definitely would look at gut health for sure. Whether that’s adding in prebiotics or probiotics if we weren’t doing any testing or anything else, that’s a really good starting place. I think ruling out things like SIBO or any sort of pathogens, anything that could be hanging out in the gut that we don’t want there I think is probably a good idea.

I have eczema and it’s a ton better than it used to be, but actually right now I’m on an antimicrobial protocol because I actually didn’t do any testing, but my husband has SIBO so we’re using antimicrobials in him.  I had actually noticed some of the dizziness symptoms that I have that are related to my Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia got better when I was on antimicrobials in the past. So I was like, okay, whatever, I’m just going to do this protocol with him and see if that thing gets better.

I’ve actually been noticing that, and I’m guessing this is more from a die off thing now, is that my eczema got worse for a time. I’m still sort of in the throes of that flare and like I said, I imagine that’s sort of like a die off thing when you’re killing bacteria in your gut, that can cause some issues related to the inflammatory particles that they give off during that process. Usually I think people overblow the idea die off. I think people tend to put up with a lot of terrible symptoms in the name of die off that they don’t need to.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: Really it’s like it because they’re not doing something right or they’re not on the right sort of antimicrobials for them. But in this case it was just a fairly minor flare up that I noticed with my eczema. But that was the only thing that I had changed, and to me that sort of made sense. I wasn’t dying otherwise for any reason. It was just like okay, I can see why having some more inflammatory stuff going through my bloodstream would cause my eczema to get worse during this time.

I definitely think that at least looking at gut health, doing some testing, or at least putting in some probiotics and prebiotics to make sure that your bacterial balance is okay is a really good idea. Probiotics in particular tend to be very, very helpful for eczema because they don’t really affect the gut microbiome for a long period of time. They sort of just pass through the gut microbiome, but they have more of an effect on the immune system and that’s really what is involved with eczema. That’s why they tend to be really great. Then the prebiotics are actually helping your microbiome to be in a better balance.

The other thing I think about too here, which I’m actually glad this person brought this up is like environmental allergies. I notice and I am sure a lot of other people that suffer from eczema notice that when you go to an area where like the pollen from the trees, you’re allergic to that, or that time of year usually eczema will get worse. That’s something that of course you can’t do a whole lot about, so you may have some degree of eczema during those times of year if you’re in a place where the pollen around you is the kind that you’re allergic to.

Especially because she’s mentioning it’s like around the eyes and the chin, more often than not I’d say hands and face is where people tend to get the most difference when it comes to like environmental allergies in terms of their eczema flare ups. That is not a scientifically backed comment, it’s just something I’ve noticed and heard from other clients with eczema as well. That makes me think that along with the fact that she says…I assume this a woman, it may not be…with the fact that this person says that these allergies come and go and their eczema symptoms also tend to go along with that seasonal change in allergies.

Paying attention to histamine type stuff, not necessarily taking out histamine containing foods in the diet because I don’t really think you need to go that far to have a difference, but maybe taking stuff like quercetin that helps to stabilize mast cells and maybe take some Vitamin C which helps to lower histamine levels in the body during these times of year where you’re having a lot of environmental allergies might really help to keep the eczema at bay during that time.

Laura: Mm hmm. I also really like vitamin A and zinc for anyone having skin issues even if it’s eczema, or acne, or the issue I have with keratosis pilaris partially because of the effect on just skin turnover. If you have a pretty good skin turnover rate, you’re going to seeing benefits from the changes a little faster than if you have a slow turnover rate. But then also the impact of vitamin A and zinc on the immune system not only to strengthen a weak immune system, so if it’s like infectious or if there’s a gut issue going on, supporting your immune system can help. But it also modulates the immune system so that if you have an overactive immune system it can help calm it down.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: For allergies and autoimmunity and that kind of thing, a lot of times the immune system is overactive, so being vitamin A deficient or zinc deficient, which vitamin A and zinc interact, those two are both really important for having a healthy appropriate immune response. I think anyone who’s dealing with skin issues definitely want to make sure that they’re getting a good amount preformed vitamin A either in their diet or via supplementation. Then Zinc is pretty safe to supplement in small doses, maybe like 10-15mg a day in a supplement and then eating high zinc foods like red meat, and poultry, and shellfish, that kind of thing.

Kelsey: Yeah, definitely. I think those nutrients make a really big difference. I’d probably say in order of things to do to rule out, there’s no real harm in adding vitamin A, zinc, probiotics, prebiotics, maybe some histamine or mast cell stabilizing stuff like quercetin and vitamin C. No real harm in adding any of those things I would say just right off the bat. Then from there, I’d maybe give that a few weeks to see if that makes any change in everything that’s going on.

If it makes a change but not enough of a change that you’re looking for, then the next thing I would do is start to take out some of the things in your diet that may be causing problems. Like Laura said, if it’s gluten and dairy that are causing problems, just taking out gluten isn’t going to fully help the situation. You may not even notice much of a difference being made. I’d probably just go for an elimination diet of sorts where you’re taking out all those major allergens we talked about for a month or so and be very, very strict about it. If you’re eating out, really making sure, talking with the waiter or the chef to make sure that you’re not getting any contamination of those kinds of foods, and doing that for a month and seeing if things get better. And then if they do, you can start to add things in one at time from there to see if there’s one in particular or a couple in particular that are causing some problems for you.

If you have gut issues that go along with this, so symptoms of SIBO or some sort of pathogen like bloating or changes in your stool that aren’t normal, I would probably in that case switch around the order a little bit and add those initial supplements right off the bat but also do testing for some of that stuff, like SIBO or doing a stool test at that same time to see if anything is going on. If there is, then dealing with that is a good idea just right off the bat to see how much of a role that’s playing in your eczema, but realizing that things can get a little bit worse before they get better also.

Then from there, when you feel like you’ve fully gotten rid of any gut issues and maybe your skin has calmed down a little bit, but maybe have a little bit of left over stuff, just giving it sometime can be an option. Like we were talking about, skin just really takes a while to recover from anything. Giving it a couple months making sure you’re eating a really healthy diet and giving your skin everything that it needs to fully heal. But then from there, if you feel like there’s still some actual issues going on with eczema, you could then try taking out some of the foods that we talked about too.

It’s sort of depends on the symptoms that you have and what you think might be more at the root cause of the eczema, that’s going to help you to determine in what order to do this stuff. There’s no reason you can’t do it all at once, but if you really wanted to know what is helping the most, it can be a little bit helpful to do things one at a time.

Laura: Cool. Well I feel like we have some good recommendations for this person. Eczema is kind of an interesting issue that I think either can take a multi-pronged approach or maybe just has one element that really needs to be focused on. But sometimes it can take some time to discover which one that is. Don’t give up. We definitely have seen some great improvement in our clients’ health.

Even like Kelsey was just explaining in her own eczema situation, sometimes there’s just not a lot you can do about an eczema flare when it’s happening especially if you’re on something like an antimicrobial protocol, that sort of thing. Don’t panic as if oh now I have to do an autoimmune Paleo diet or something. Just realize that okay, sometimes things like this just come up and you can kind of take some of the recommendations that you make and re-implement them but realize that even if you have a very significant improvement, there may be some times where you either just have a little bit lingering, or you’ll have a flare for whatever reason whether that be some kind of treatment or maybe there’s some worse pollen situation that particular season. It can be a little bit unpredictable. But these recommendations have been things that have helped our clients.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Anyway, hopefully that’s helpful. We’re happy to have you guys as always. The week that this podcast is coming out we just started our first week of “Paleo Rehab” so keep up with us to see how that’s going. Hopefully some of you are in the program with us. Anyway, it was great to have you here and we will look forward to talking to you next time.

Kelsey: Alright. Take care, Laura.

Laura: You too, Kelsey.

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I'm a women's health expert and a registered dietitian (RD) with a passion for helping goal-oriented people fuel their purpose.

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