what causes eczema?

by 258 · December 24, 2012 at 01:44 AM

i have eczema on 3 fingers on one hand. i used to have it on my legs and arms until i gave up gluten. that was over a year ago, but it still comes and goes on a regular basis, especially if my hand stays wet for long. any ideas?

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10 Replies

10004 · March 17, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Eczema is most likely a dietary problem. I know everyone's eczema is different. Your eczema could be triggered by a food allergy or it may be caused by a vitamin, omega 3 fatty acid deficiency or a combination of the above factors. There may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and certain types of eczema. Some people have had success with vitamin D supplementation in treating their eczema symptoms. The lack of omega 3 fatty acids in your diet might also be a factor in your eczema.

See these links for more info: http://www.news-medical.net/news/2008/10/06/41864.aspx




Also improving your gut flora may also help with your eczema. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16601353

80 · March 17, 2012 at 11:39 PM

I used to have eczema on my toes for 10+ years starting when I was 10 or so. Than one day my dad made me take vitamin A supplements daily and it all disappeared in two weeks for ever. Nowadays I just eat liver a few times a week to make sure I have enough vitamin A :). I think Vitamin A from animal sources and not just plants is very important.

193 · March 18, 2012 at 12:05 AM

I had eczema for many years on my finger-tips (most annoying for someone that types all day). Within about four months of switching to paleo it basically went away.

It does, however, come back now and then - mostly when I let my diet slip a bit. Two times in particular I kept reasonably good track of the bad stuff I was eating - one time it was beer and the other time corn.

For me it's takes a slight but repeated exposure to bring it back - for example, over the course of a week. So, it's usually only a holiday/vacation issue for me as that's when I tend to let things slide a bit.

The one other odd experience I had was long before switching to paleo - I went on a seven day diving trip to Belize. Within two days of getting there it went away completely. There was definitely lots of bread/beer/corn involved then - I figure it's departure was probably due to lack of stress and frequent exposure to warm salt water (we were diving 4-5 hours a day).

Mine also flares up if I use my hands a lot - working on the truck, outdoors labor, etc can be really bad on it. Wear gloves!

10 · December 23, 2012 at 07:12 AM

I've had eczema for about 25 years. It has broken out on my elbows, knuckles, and on the palm of one hand. About a year ago I had gall bladder problems and wasn't able to eat for about a week. During that time my eczema totally cleared up! But as soon as I was able to eat again the eczema returned.

One of my doctors referred me to an allergist/dermatologist who did extensive allergy patch testing. He determined that I am allergic to nickel and palladium. And he pointed out that nickel is in food. He gave me a low nickel diet to follow for a month to see if that had any effect on the eczema, and sure enough the eczema went away.

The low nickel diet limits your intake of high nickel foods which are whole grains, beans, leafy greens, etc. Since nickel is in soil, the amount of nickel in food depends on where the plant was grown and what part of the plant you are consuming. Nickel is also in just about anything that is made of metal, so touching nickel, or consuming food from cans or metal containers can also cause problems.

I had been doing a Weight Watchers program so was really eating lots of whole grains and leafy greens. Since trying to go low nickel, I've had trouble keeping the weight off since I had to abandon the Weight Watchers program. I've also had trouble sticking to the low nickel diet so the eczema comes and goes. I have been looking at the Paleo diet since it seems to work with the low nickel requirement especially since the leafy greens and other veggies don't make my eczema break out like whole grains and legumes do.

Anyway, thought I'd share that info in case it helps anyone suffering from eczema.

170 · March 18, 2012 at 08:02 AM

I used to always have a patch of eczema on my scalp. Once I went casein-free (I'm also gluten-free), it went away. It comes back when I slip for a couple of days in a row. I know paleo usually involves a lot of casein (through butter), so that could be causing it still. Try going casein-free for 2 weeks and see if it gets better. It's almost certainly a food allergy...you just need to figure out which one. Hope you can resolve it soon!

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10361 · March 17, 2012 at 10:43 PM

That's funny, I have eczema on 3 fingers on my right hand too (thumb, middle finger, ring finger)! I develped mine this past summer.
My doctor said it could be caused by anything; from something as obvious as food to an unnoticeable hard-to-detect chemical in a product you use. And also, since my brother has asthma, she thinks it's like a familial thing (it's known that asthama, hay fever and eczema occur together within families). Since going Paleo, my eczema has gotten slightly better (although my doctor did prescribe hydrocortisone and mupirocin) but I'm determined that it's an allergic reaction to something. So I have an appointment with a dermatologist on the 29th of this month so I can hopefully pinpoint what it is and improve this nasty skin condition. I wake up almost every night scratching my hand and wanting to chop it off. Ugh.
As far as what Rich said, I take a multivitamin, I eat seafood 3-4 times a week, and I take 2000-8000 IU of vitamin D plus get plenty of sunshine most days and my eczema still flares up regularly, so I can eliminate those as possible causes.

10 · December 24, 2012 at 01:44 AM

An allergy from food or something you're being exposed to. For example, whenever I wash dishes, the dish soap causes eczema on my hands.

1826 · December 23, 2012 at 11:29 PM

I've had eczema for several decades. Here's my observation about the possible causes. I once had it all over my torso after eating a low fat diet for several years(in the late 80s and early 90s). After quitting low fat, I rarely get any breakouts anywhere other than on my fingers. The eczema on my fingers usually gets really bad during the winter when it is cold and dry and if my dishwashing gloves get a hole in it. also, using liquid soap makes it worse. I try to stick to bar soap as much as possible.

For the last few years,I've been treating my raw fingers with Triamcinolone ointment at night and it helps somewhat. Recently, I read Feed YourFace by Jessica Wu (dermatologist) and she says people with eczema shouldn't. eat gluten or eggs, but should eat foods high in or supplement with Omega3 and hemp oils. I have not eaten gluten for six months but just stopped eating eggs after reading that. I've been taking 1tbsp each of flax and hemp oils everyday for about a week now and my fingers have stopped cracking. A couple of fingers are still raw, but at least no more deep cracks. Hope that helps.

598 · December 23, 2012 at 08:12 AM

I wish I knew. I got the most stubborn eczema on a few fingers on my right hand a while ago eating my normal diet of grassfed beef/yogurt/butter, pastured eggs, and organic veggies. Now I'm home visiting my mom for the holidays, and I've been eating pretty terribly, but the eczema went away almost immediately. Weird, huh?

0 · March 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Its a parasite problem. If you stay on strict Paleo it goes away.

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