The Skinny on Eczema
Your skin is a barrier that protects you from the outside world. When you have eczema, or rashes, or conditions that create lesions or openings in the skin, now that barrier is no longer sound.
If you are familiar with the term leaky gut, then you can think of eczema as leaky skin.
When there is inflammation from an immune response such as one from mast cells, the protein structures holding skin cells together are reduced.
These structures are called tight junctions, and research supports that tight junctions are reduced in eczema and dermatitis (1).
When tight junctions are reduced or expression is altered, then you become even more susceptible to irritants or mast cell triggers. This is because anything that comes into contact with the broken skin can gain access to the body and trigger more inflammation. Your skin is being inflamed from what is going on inside it, and from triggers getting in through the damaged barrier.
Eczema can be a double-edged sword – being triggered from both the inside and the outside of your body.
What can help?
Cortisone cream is a common over-the-counter or prescription remedy for eczema that can work quickly to clear up eczema.
The trouble is, it can make things worse over time by inhibiting the recovery of the skin barrier, and altering the skin matrix (2). It makes the skin more leaky over time.
Trying to address eczema can be a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. Which came first: a loss of barrier function or a histamine or mast cell response?
Do you start by addressing barrier function or by addressing mast cells?
Figuring it out
Here’s a simple test you can do if you are brave enough. Consume a long cooked bone broth every day for a week. A bone broth that has simmered for over 12 hours.
If your eczema is related to barrier function, then the collagen in the broth can help repair the tight junctions. Bone broth is high in histamine though, so if it makes your eczema worse, then it is likely that your eczema is histamine or mast cell mediated.
One of the mavens here at HH HQ had to figure this out the hard way. She wrecked a pair of pants in the process.
There is another way
If you aren’t willing to risk an eczema flare by challenging yourself with a long cooked bone broth, then look through our Histamine Symptoms list.
The more additional symptoms you have, the greater the likelihood that histamine or other mast cell mediators are at the root of your eczema.
It's important to note that eczema can be the result of an allergic reaction. Get that checked out with your medical team first, and discuss allergy testing.
If you struggle with eczema, have you ever taken a look to see how histamine or mast cell troubles may be contributing?
For beginning strategies to reduce what may be potentially contributing here, we recommend starting with a low histamine approach in the kitchen. You don't have to figure this out - simply use our Shopping List here to know which foods are fair game for you to cook and eat, in order to reduce what may be contributing to your eczema.
If this blog has you wondering if your eczema might be a histamine or mast cell mediated event, consider joining us at our next Histamine Connection class. It's free for you to join, you just have to register! You'll get more than the Shopping List, this we guarantee.
We're running it all online, Thursday November 24th at 7pm Alberta time. (Edmonton / Denver / Santa Fe / GMT -6)
Reading this blog post after November 24th? Check our courses out here to find out when the next one is.