What Causes Eczema?

What Causes Eczema?

Eczema is irritating, painful and can cause self-confidence issues. Understanding the causes and triggers of your eczema symptoms is the starting point of the journey to restored and healthy skin, for now, and the long term.

Looking for instant eczema relief? Our Dry Itchy Skin Cream has been made specially to combat the symptoms of skin conditions, including eczema. Our steroid-free cream works from below, balancing immune responses to relieve and repair your skin in the long-run. 

What actually causes eczema?

Running low on time? Watch our Common Triggers of Eczema video to learn the causes, symptoms and treatments to eczema: 

 

1. Filaggrin:
Eczema is not an allergic reaction as generally believed, nor is it due to diet, but in fact, it is caused by a lack of filaggrin, the filament aggregating protein in the skin.

This protein determines the shape of the skin cells, which means that when it is lacking they struggle to fit neatly together like a jigsaw. Instead, there are gaps in the skin barrier which makes the skin leaky.

For some people, their body will catch up and will produce more filaggrin as they get older, while for others they have a significant lack of filaggrin for life.

2. Skin’s Microflora:
Other factors to consider is your skin’s microflora. Just like your digestive system, your skin has a natural skin microflora, which is made up of good bacteria (like probiotics) which prevent the build-up of bad bacteria.

When the balance of good bacteria on your skin is lost, your immune system reacts with red, itchy inflamed skin. Without good bacteria, your skin is vulnerable to infection, which sets you up for a vicious cycle of sleep loss, itchy discomfort, scratching, infections and further inflammation. 

3. Genetics:
Aside from lack of filaggrin, there are factors that enhance your chances of developing eczema – such as your genetic makeup. Unfortunately, you’re much more likely to develop eczema if your relatives have suffered from the disease.

 

Eczema Triggers

Now we have a better idea of what may be causing your eczema, let’s look into key internal and external triggers.

We’ve outlined some the key triggers for eczema and itchy dry skin below, along with a handy list of preventative measures to take, so you can finally be on your way to enjoying healthy itch-free skin.

1. Irritants

There are many things that can irritate your skin, triggering eczema.

Common offenders include:

• Fragrances 

• Smoke from cigarettes

• Fungal Spores

• Household products and cosmetics

Avoid triggers by:

• Establishing potential offenders – removing theses from the household.

• Stick to gentle, fragrant-free products – ensure to check those labels before buying. Eco products tend to be less abrasive on the skin and are better for the environment. Win-win!

2. Dry Skin

Dry or scaly skin is a trigger of eczema as can cause or worsen symptoms of eczema.  

When the skin is dry it’s more susceptible to a flare up because the skin’s natural defense barrier is weakened.

Avoid triggers by:

Moisturizing – use specially formulated eczema cream.

• Avoiding hot baths or showers – especially for prolonged sessions.

3. Stress 

Unfortunately, stress has been known to trigger, worsen and pro-long eczema.

Avoid triggers by:

• Relaxation – take time in your day to clear your head & de-stress

• Consider meditation – even just gentle exercise such as taking a walk can help relax

• Be patient – your skin takes time to adjust to new routines.

• Get plenty of sleep (7-8 hours each night) – this will help you to feel rejuvenated meaning you’ll be able to take on challenges with a better frame of mind.

4. Exercise and Sweating

Sweating and/or prickly heat from exercise can be irritating to your skin and cause aggravation to sores or flare-ups.

Avoid triggers by:

• Moisturizing – before and after exercise to create a protective shield.

• Staying hydrated – this ensures your skin barrier is not weakened.

• Taking breaks – make sure to take a break when needed and use cooling towels if irritation occurs, this can be incorporated into water breaks.

5. Hormones

Particularly common amongst women (especially those who are pregnant or pre-menstrual), changes in hormones can trigger irritating bouts of eczema.

Avoid triggers by:

• Speaking to your doctor – they can guide you about how to balance out your hormones.

• Treating hormonal skin – using a reliable natural eczema product that’s steroid-free

6. Climate & Environment

The atmosphere you live in can play a large part in how your skin reacts.

Just as the sun can dry out your skin in the summer from dry air, burning or over-exposure; the raw cold can have equally drying effects in the winter (especially if combined with the contrast of heated indoor living). The humidity or dryness of your environment can also be a trigger.

Avoid triggers by:

• (Warm weather) Taking in Vitamin D – get this from the sun and enjoying sea water swims, however, don’t overdo it and be sure to wear a gentle, fragrant free sun cream

• Only sleeping in 100 percent cotton nightwear and sheets – this avoids sweating causing irritation. Heated blankets should also be avoided.

• Consider investing in a humidifier – for overly dry rooms or de-humidifier (for overly humid rooms) to create the ideal environment for your skin.

• Ensuring your house is well ventilated – make sure there is plenty of air-flow to keep the environment cool

• Ensure your home is free from the mold – this can cause asthma and trigger symptoms of eczema

• Taking a tepid bath – a lukewarm bath followed by cream liberally patted onto the skin provides good eczema relief. For more information about bathing, techniques click here

7. Allergens

A good reason to keep you house cleaning in check is to avoid any triggers from domestic allergy factors such as dust, pet hair and mold.

It’s also wise to be aware that pollen is a common trigger for eczema flare ups.

Avoid triggers by:

• Keeping on top of the dusting – little to no dust reduces chances of allergens flaring-up

• Immediately treating any mold – try to avoid areas with mold to not breathe in its particles

• Regularly vacuuming – this cleans up your pets shed hair and reduces chances of allergens in the environment 

Do not overclean – removal of the good bacteria by overcleaning and using anti-bacterial sprays in your home will result in a build-up of allergens and potentially bad bacteria. Use a natural cleaning spray.

8. Infections 

Skin Infections can really worsen eczema, some of the most common culprits include ringworm, athletes foot, herpes and cold sores.

Avoid triggers by:

• Getting enough rest – this helps to fight off potential infections along with a healthy diet.

• Ensuring good general personal hygiene – sweat and dirt build-up can cause infections in eczema sores

• Seeking treatment – visit your Doctor or GP quickly if any skin conditions and diseases arise.

Signs and symptoms

There are many different signs and symptoms of eczema to look out for, this can be generally be differentiated by age groups­.

Symptoms in Adults:

• Rashes tend to spread across much of the body but especially the elbows, neck and knees.

• Rashes causing dry irritated skin.

• Scale-like rashes.

Children – Puberty:

• Common areas are found in creases such as the elbows or knees, as well as neck, wrists, ankles and the crease between buttock and legs.

• Bumpy rashes dark/light in color

• In some areas, a constant itch can occur.

Babies and toddlers:

• Extreme itchiness from rashes usually found on the scalp and cheeks. Some rashes can even leak fluid.

It’s important to note that though most people suffer from Atopic Dermatitis (the most common form of eczema) there are actually many different types of eczema

The best way to identify what type you’re suffering with is to meet with your doctor. You may even be suffering from a combination. Once you know this, you can tailor your plan of action against triggers and what treatment to seek out.

 
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Relieve Your Eczema With Atopis

We have carefully formulated the Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream that helps relieve symptoms, balance your immune response, and repairs your eczema-affected areas. 

Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream works in synergy with your immune system, so you can stop reacting to allergens and those frustrating environmental triggers mentioned earlier.

Within two weeks of use, this potent, all-natural therapy reverses the cell damage, and hydrates and restores the skin so the itching stops and the healing begins. Everybody’s skin microflora is unique, therefore the time it takes for skin to restore itself and heal will differ from person to person.                                                  

Learn More About Dry Itchy Skin Cream

The 7 Types of Eczema

The 7 Types of Eczema

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding what causes eczema, and in particular atopic dermatitis, which is actually a subcategory of eczema. There are seven different types of eczema, which each have unique triggers and causes. Understanding this is critical to treating your eczema skin condition.

Looking for instant eczema relief? Our Dry Itchy Skin Cream has been made specially to combat the symptoms of skin conditions, including eczema. Our steroid-free cream works from below, balancing immune responses to relieve and repair your skin in the long-run. 

Eczema – the genetic link

Eczema is not an allergic reaction as generally believed, nor is it due to diet, but in fact, it is caused by a lack of filaggrin, the filament aggregating protein in the skin.

This protein determines the shape of the skin cells, which means that when it is lacking they do not fit neatly together like a jigsaw, instead there are gaps in the skin barrier, which makes the skin leaky.

For some people, their body will catch up and will produce more filaggrin as they get older, while for others they have a significant lack of filaggrin for life.

Watch this ‘Eczema – Common Triggers & Causes’ video to get a full summary on eczema, its causes, types, and treatments:

 

The Inflammatory Response

This leaky skin barrier due to misshaped cells results in loss of water causing dry scaly skin, but also allows entry of potential allergens into the epidermis.

This is where the allergy side of eczema originates. These allergens in the epidermis then trigger an inflammatory response by the immune system as it “perceives an attack”, which in turn may lead to an allergic response of the skin.

This then results in the immune system overreacting to other triggers such as potential food allergens in the gut, and then a vicious cycle has begun. There is also a potential link to asthma as well owing to this over-sensitized immune system.

 

Flare-ups – Understanding and managing them

Due to this lack of filaggrin protein, the skin is easily sensitized and simple everyday activities such as sport (sweating), swimming, winter dryness can all irritate the skin leading to flare-ups.

Add to this the problem that your immune system can easily over-react to bacterial infections, colds, flu, food allergies, and even stress, and this can result in a flare-up. So eczema becomes a cycle of the damaged skin barrier, immune overreaction, and flare-ups.

To manage eczema it is a case of learning your triggers for your immune system, knowing that these will change over time and by managing your skin barrier to reduce the loss of moisture and entry of allergens to the epidermis.

 

The Seven Types of Eczema:

All types of eczema cause itching, dryness, and redness, but some may also cause your skin to blister, “weep”, or peel. It is important to understand which type of eczema you or your loved one may have. Learning about and understanding symptoms and possible triggers can also help how to treat and manage your own or your child’s eczema.

1. Atopic dermatitis

The most common form of eczema and usually occurs in childhood. The symptoms include dryness, scaling, itching, and redness. Atopic dermatitis is first and foremost a result of lack of filaggrin protein resulting in the ongoing cycle described above.

2. Contact dermatitis

Also caused by a lack of filaggrin where the skin has become sensitized to allergens and has an allergic reaction upon contact. Managing contact dermatitis is about avoiding irritants, protecting the skin barrier and reducing the immune sensitization.

3. Seborrheic dermatitis

Commonly known as dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of yeast and the cells on the scalp results in excessive shedding of the cells appearing as white flakes. However seborrheic dermatitis can also occur on the skin such as the face, arms, legs and body and can be mistaken for nappy rash. This type of eczema appears as red, itchy skin and can be so bad it burns.  Infections are also common. Treatment involves the use of specific creams such as antibiotics and salicylic acid to manage the yeast overgrowth and heal the skin.

4. Neuro-dermatitis

Where a person develops a skin irritation due to scratching out of habit.

5. Dyshidrotic dermatitis

Generally caused by seasonal allergies and stress, and results in severe itching, cracking and blisters of the hands and feet.  The use of oral antihistamines and cream to heal the skin is the best way to manage this form of eczema.

6. Nummular (discoid) dermatitis

This is a type of eczema that is circular and can be red and itchy but this varies. The cause remains unknown but can be triggered by an immune response to an insect bite, wound or general inflammation.

7. Stasis dermatitis

Where there has been a decline in blood flow to the legs resulting in dry itchy scaly skin. This is very common in elderly or those with vascular issues. It is critical to keep the skin moisturized to avoid cracking, blistering and the risk of infection.

 

Important – Identify your type of eczema

While the information given in this post is important, it is also important to note that the best way to be sure whether you or your loved one has eczema is to make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you on to a dermatologist.

All these different types of eczema can all look similar so you must see a doctor to determine what type of eczema you actually have.

It is critical to understand what type of eczema you have in order to be able to manage it. Treating eczema is about protecting the damaged skin barrier to stop the skin allergic responses and removing as many triggers as possible.

 
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Manage Eczema For You & Your Family With Atopis

We have carefully formulated the Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream that helps relieve symptoms, balance your immune response, and repairs your eczema-affected areas. 

Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream works in synergy with your immune system, so you can stop reacting to allergens and those frustrating environmental triggers mentioned earlier.

Within two weeks of use, this potent, all-natural therapy reverses the cell damage, and hydrates and restores the skin so the itching stops and the healing begins. Everybody’s skin microflora is unique, therefore the time it takes for skin to restore itself and heal will differ from person to person.                                                  

Above all, remember eczema is a genetic condition and it is not due to your diet. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Our immune systems are unique to us and it is a case of finding what works for you, your children, or your babies.

 

Learn More About Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream

Are The Foods You Eat Causing Your Eczema?

Are The Foods You Eat Causing Your Eczema?

10% of the world’s population is affected by Eczema at some stage of their life – but just how much of this suffering is caused by diet?

The simple answer is… it’s not that simple!

Atopis’ CEO and Chief Scientist, Dr. Iona Weir is a world expert in the relationship between skin and gut health, and today we’re going to help clear up some common misconceptions on this issue. If you want to learn more about gut health and how it affects your skin, check out our Gut Health Blog.

Looking for instant eczema relief? Our Dry Itchy Skin Cream has been made specially to combat the symptoms of skin conditions, including eczema. Our steroid-free cream works from below, balancing immune responses to relieve and repair your skin in the long-run. 

What causes Eczema? Eczema Symptoms

To understand whether or not your diet affects your Eczema, we first have to understand what REALLY causes your condition.

Every case of Eczema has an underlying genetic cause – if you haven’t inherited the genes giving you a propensity to Eczema, then you won’t get it!

This genetic basis of Eczema is solely responsible for negatively affecting your immune system and causing the symptoms which we all know as Eczema. 

These symptoms manifest as a skin barrier dysfunction, caused by a defect in the protein called filaggrin. The lack of filaggrin misshapes the skin cells, causing the skin to become leaky and lose moisture.

Leaky skin also means allergens and irritants get beneath your skin’s surface, which causes your immune system to become sensitized and overreact to many environmental factors and foods – this is where the confusion arises!

 

The mysterious role of food in your Eczema condition Glass of Milk

It is often mistaken that food and environmental factors are the cause of Eczema – but in reality, they are just a symptom of it. 

Environmental factors such as pollen, wool, or dust can and do make Eczema worse, whilst food allergens can exacerbate your symptoms. 

Many people avoid eating dairy due to preconceptions that it is a cause for their Eczema because every time they eat it their symptoms get worse – But eating dairy is not the reason you have Eczema!

Find out how it all works below. 

 

The vicious Eczema feedback loopEczema Feedback Loop effects

Once your skin’s immune system becomes hypersensitive due to damage from Eczema – a vicious feedback loop with your gut begins. 

Your gut begins to overreact to foods such as dairy because your skin’s’ immune system has become highly activated. This feedback loops back to the skin; which then further overreacts when you eat these foods.

This internal gut reaction creates the illusion that food is causing your Eczema when in reality your reaction to specific foods are just a symptom of your Eczema.

 

How to end the nasty Eczema/food feedback loop

A healthy gut microflora modulates or calms down your immune system, making you resistant to the negative effects of eating a particular food. This means you can maintain a regular diet without the concern of exacerbating your Eczema condition. Child with Eczema eating dairy

This is also true for your skin: a healthy skin microflora can calm your skin’s immune system and diminish your reaction towards environmental and food allergens.

If you can manage your immune system, you can manage your Eczema.

Basically, you need to calm your gut and skins’ immune system so that your body stops reacting to the things which cause your Eczema to flare up.

 
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How Atopis Helps You Win The Battle Against Eczema

We have carefully formulated the Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream that helps relieve symptoms, balance your immune response, and repairs your eczema-affected areas. 

Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Cream works in synergy with your immune system, so you can stop reacting to allergens and those frustrating environmental triggers mentioned earlier.

Within two weeks of use, this potent, all-natural therapy reverses the cell damage, and hydrates and restores the skin so the itching stops and the healing begins. Everybody’s skin microflora is unique, therefore the time it takes for skin to restore itself and heal will differ from person to person.                                                  

Learn More About Dry Itchy Skin Cream

Atopis eczema cream gets FDA OTC Status in USA

Atopis eczema cream gets FDA OTC Status in USA

Leading USA MD Magazine has picked up on the Atopis Press Release on the success in achieving US FDA OTC (Over-The-Counter) status for Atopis cream – Click the press release link to see the MD story:

A press release     regarding the approval was made available.

Our press release reads:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2017

A cream made from natural New Zealand ingredients clinically proven to treat eczema is set to help millions of American sufferers, after achieving OTC (over the counter) status for the US market.

Atopis’ Eczema Therapy Cream has been seven years in the making and will soon be sold online to American customers after meeting OTC regulatory requirements set by the US Food and Drug Administration.

This US OTC Status is believed to be a first for a New Zealand-made pharmaceutical product, and opens up a multi-billion dollar market.

Clinical trials in the US and New Zealand showed the cream – so natural you can eat it – successfully treats eczema without containing any parabens, solvents or steroids.

The cream is the culmination of knowledge amassed from more than 30 years of research and pharmaceutical development by Auckland scientist Dr Iona Weir, CEO of Bionona.

“It’s taken a long time to get here, but it is just so rewarding to know I have created a natural

product that is scientifically proven to help people, and now we are going into America – it can

help even more. The OTC Status is a coup for our company as well as for New Zealand”.

She’s used mainly native ingredients from her surroundings in the Waitakere forests for the eczema cream and a patented method, similar to fermentation, to extract nutrients from ingredients including bee pollen, coconut, honeydew and bacteria grown in New Zealand forests.

“I wanted to create something completely natural, but that could still get proven results from robust clinical tests on humans. We’ve gone through the world’s most rigorous clinical testing to prove that this is a natural product which actually works.”

Dr Weir has worked to harness the natural cell repairing processes of plants to treat topical skin conditions.

“By opening up to one of the biggest markets in the world, a New Zealand-made product can now help people treat their eczema with a clinically-proven, natural product. Eczema treatment is a multi-billion dollar market in the US and we have a world-leading product.”

Not only did the company have to meet the FDA’s strict criteria for the Over The Counter criteria, but it also had to prove its accredited status to Amazon, which it will sell through.

Eczema Therapy Cream will replace the Dry Itchy Skin Cream in the brand’s line of three products.

The new cream has a slightly different recipe to the older version which has been sold on the Atopis website along with the brand’s Acne Prone Skin Care and Anti-Aging Cream.

The new Eczema Therapy Cream will be available online in early February.

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ENDS

 

 

Seasonal skin conditions

Seasonal skin conditions


Since developing and then launching Atopis onto the market earlier this year, Dr Iona Weir has been contacted by a number of customers about seasonal skin conditions and allergies, seeking relief for when their home climate causes their eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and other skin conditions to be at its worst.    

Seasonal Changes Affecting Your Skin

Along with the temperature, environment and required clothing changes, the transition of the seasons themselves can play havoc with people’s skin – particularly those born with sensitivities.

So first let’s talk about the obvious signs. Dryness and humidity fluctuations will affect everyone’s skin regardless of time of year and predominant skin type.

As a basis you have to protect your skin’s unique microflora – the balance of good and bad bacteria that protects your skin and assists the immune system in warding off skin irritation and infection. The best way to do this is to make sure you don’t over-cleanse and this also means only gently exfoliating. This goes for both your face and your body.

Then, whatever skin type you have, a good quality moisturiser is the key to skin health.  For everyone, I can’t stress enough how much quality doesn’t necessarily mean high price.  Rather than cost, the most important thing to look for is a high level of active ingredient as a percentage of the overall product it is mixed in. You want to pay for the ingredients that work, not a lot of ‘filler’ like glycerine.

 

For some, this is not enough to keep your skin irritation or blemish free. In winter, over-heated rooms, harsh fabrics and bracing cold conditions can lead to the misery of over-dry skin, eczema and dermatitis. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, summer is bringing allergies from plants and animals, heat and humidity causing boils and itching, and sport-related sweat rashes. All the while, discomfort is causing sleepless nights and scratchy days.

For both seasons, wearing breathable fabrics such as cotton is a must. Clothes – no matter how many or how few you are wearing as dictated by the season – need to be washed using mild and gentle laundry soap. These are now widely available in stores and the internet is full of recipes to even make your own.

 

 

The Little-Known Key To Skin Health: Probiotics And Prebiotics

Probiotics and prebiotics are not just for stomach health, but are increasingly found to be essential for overall wellbeing, and this means for your skin (the body’s largest organ) too. We’ve actually done a whole post on Probiotics and Prebiotics – feel free to have a read of this too. As well as taking supplements, Atopis’ Dry Itchy Skin Relief Cream and Acne Prone Skin Cream provide a boost of good bacteria straight to your skin for sustainable relief.

Both preparations not only relieve the itching, inflammation and target the infection, but active probiotics and prebiotics help the immune system heal the damage and make the skin healthier by assisting in the restoration of its microflora.

Atopis is also so safe it can be used in conjunction with steroids and antihistamines for severe sufferers, and you and your medical professional can be assured that the creams use all natural ingredients and contain no parabens, solvents, or artificial fragrance.

One of the pleasures of life is enjoying the changing seasons and the different activities and experiences they bring.

Whatever the weather, having healthy, beautiful and irritant-free skin is possible.

 
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Traditional eczema treatments – more harm than good?

Traditional eczema treatments – more harm than good?

 

As parents, we often use traditional eczema treatments learned from our own families when treating our children.

With that in mind, Atopis creator Dr Iona Weir asks: could use of these remedies actually worsen your child’s skin in the long term?

As parents we seem to be hardwired to reach for what we believe to be a longtime staple of the first aid kit or the bathroom cupboard, especially in the middle of the night when stress levels are high and our child is miserable and crying.

We might even go into the kitchen and whip up a treatment that has been used in the family for generations, or fossick around the drawers for at least what’s left in an elderly tube of steroid cream.

This might provide temporary relief, but there are real dangers for a young child’s skin from the use of steroid and even traditional skin treatments and remedies – even those used for generations.

I recently asked my customers what they’ve used on skin complaints like eczema and psoriasis in the past. I got back what a scientist like me would consider a veritable ‘witches brew’ of potentially harmful substances – particularly in the long term. These included: urea creams, baking soda, antibiotics, tar products such as pinetarsol and other ‘general use’ petroleum-based preparations.

In an earlier blog, I also talked about a GP colleague who suffers from what his children call ‘monkey hands’. Wrinkled and unsightly, his hands were smothered with steroids as a child by his well-meaning mother. Unfortunately, this has led to irreparable damage. Not only do steroids cause skin thinning, but in children under three years there is increased risk of cancers such as leukemia and stunted growth.

The short-term relief from these treatments will not restore your skin’s microflora, which plays a vital role in supporting your immunity system, nor lead to healing of the skin. Instead, it will dry it out and remove any good bacteria – damaging the skin’s pH level and epidermal barrier. This will worsen the eczema and make you even more sensitive to allergens. When you are in a wretched itch-scratch-apply cycle from using some remedies, this can also lead to scarring and infection, which is likely to require skin-thinning steroids.

Due to these risks and having worked on pharmaceutical eczema products and seen the outcomes, I decided to develop a suitable product (Atopis) that could be used to reduce eczema flare ups and therefore limit the use of steroids, except in the most extreme cases. After many years of research and clinical trials, I was thrilled to release to market an all-natural eczema cream.

The vicious itch-scratch-apply cycle needs to be broken for the good of your child’s skin and wellbeing. With Atopis, you’re using a clinically proven treatment and nature’s own healing and immunity properties to provide not just relief but restoration to your skin’s unique microflora.

For those unfortunate parents on night duty, the Atopis cream’s natural effectiveness lasts two years in the tube so it’s perfect for the bathroom cabinet or even if it’s lost at the back of the kitchen drawer!
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To find out more about the Atopis Dry Itchy Skin Relief Cream, click here.