Eczema

And cutting down (or out) dairy

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27/02/2013 at 16:20

I'm considering dropping dairy products if that gets rid of my eczema.

I get itchy patches in a couple of places. It's pretty mild by most people's standards but annoying nonetheless. Regular slathering with E45 and the occasional rub with Eumovate kind of keeps it under control.

I could just do it and see if there's any effect, and there's plenty of stuff about this on the intertubes, but I thought I'd ask The Wisdom That Is The Forum first.

Anyone?

27/02/2013 at 16:23

i think there's only one way to find out if it works and that is to try it...

as you say, plenty of 'hearsay' - both positive and negative - relating to this on tinterweb.

what are you planning to 'replace' dairy with or are you just dropping it completely? some people also have problems with soya that they aren't aware of until they start drinking / using it in larger quantities.

27/02/2013 at 16:26

Indeed so, and I probably will try it out anyway, but I was hoping to hear of others' experiences.

I've just discovered that Alpro soya milk tastes okay in tea and on cereal. To my surprise, it must be said.

27/02/2013 at 16:48

i actually use Aldi's own soya milk (unsweetened) or the tesco everyday value unsweeted stuff. i prefer it to the alpro stuff and it is waaaay cheaper!

as a kid, my eczema was totally cleared up by an exclusion diet which involved excluding wheat and dairy. excluded it for about 8 years and gradually reintroduced it and i was fine. until i had kids and then my eczema came back on my hands (had it on my legs and arms as a kid but not on my hands) and has never gone away again. i think it is now to do with all the handwashing!! CBA to exclude dairy completely again now and it is only on my hands so i manage it with creams, gloves and more creams.

27/02/2013 at 16:50

I suffer with it, have done for years. Sorry there is no full proof cure but I havent tried cutting out dairy so you may be on to something there. I use steriod based cream like Betonovate but its really strong and not good for prolonged use. What Ive found that does help is olive oil. Smear that on overnight and it tends to calm it down quite a bit or sudafed, dont use aquious cream as its petroleum based and will only dry it out quicker. Doctors still prescribe this stuff, have no idea why!

27/02/2013 at 17:21

i assume you mean sudacrem rather than sudafed?! i find sudacrem is good for dampening down the flare-ups but it is also quite drying... i use it on my son's eczema on the backs of his legs. i really like oilatum cream, but you probably will object to that on the same grounds as aqueous cream, dan lodge...

seren nos    pirate
27/02/2013 at 17:22

helped with my son when he was a baby.............mind when he was 9 months old and went into hospital with asthma i told the staff that he was on a dairy free diet...the nurse asked if  a cheese sandwich was ok........

as he got older we reintroduced diary but to be honest even since a baby he has narturally not liked dairy stuff much apart from cheese

27/02/2013 at 22:07
You can always try it and see (take calcium supplements or make sure the soya milk is calcium fortified - they aren't all!) but realistically, you're a bit old for a milk allergy. Most kids grow out if it by age 1-2 (although my son is 5.5 and we're still waiting).
28/02/2013 at 01:36

Hi Muttley.  If you have the atopy gene and therefore a predisposition to eczema and asthma -  it's a very good idea to eliminate dairy from your diet.  

My first two children suffered badly with eczema so when #3 came along unexpectedly 10 years later we started him on a dairy-free diet from birth. Thus far no eczema or asthma (which the other two developed at 7).  We soon know if any illicit milk chocolate, etc has been consumed with raw patches breaking out on his face, usually behind his ears.

Out of support for #3 I decided to give up dairy at the same time and found it has not only helped my bad skin but resolved some gut issues and improved breathing! (Casein in cow's milk stimulates mucus production.)  I still have asthma but perhaps it's not as bad as it would have been?

I'm not absolutely strict about it - I find I can eat hard cheese with no adverse effect, and it is very hard to avoid dairy when you're eating out, especially if you're a vegetarian as I am.  There isn't much left on the menu!!

As Caramel M says some folks do have gut problems with soya so don't go overboard on it.  There are non-soya alternatives to milk and cheese.

I think you'll need to exclude all dairy for about 2 weeks before you notice the benefits.  Let us know how you get on.

28/02/2013 at 09:43

Thanks guys. Interesting what T Rex says about mucus. If Mother of Muttley has any cow's milk, the next day she's hacking and spluttering like an old tramp. But hard cheese doesn't have that effect. I sometimes feel that I'm getting rid of a lot of mucus when out running.

My eczema is a nuisance rather than a life-changer but others in the family have it much worse so maybe it is in the genes or diet, maybe not.

One way to find out in my case. I'll give the soya a whirl and see how it goes.

Edited: 28/02/2013 at 09:57
28/02/2013 at 10:12

No Ive used oilatum as well and found it fairly good. I read an article about aqueous cream and its adverse effects, it works while its applied but will dry out the skin much faster than it naturally would. Evreyone is different though and what works for one probably wont work for the other, its such a pain in the ass to manage it. I have a docs appointment today as mines gone really bad on my hand and split last night at training. Thats what happens when I dont use Betnovate for a month, it all comes back. I may try the dairy free diet, its probably the only thing I havent!

28/02/2013 at 10:21

Muttley - try Oatly as your milk alternative. Soya milk is okay in some stuff, horrible in mash but Oatly is tasty all the time! I had to go dairy free for a while but whilst that has passed for me now I still can't let go of my Oatly! And it makes fantastic porridge (half and half with water).

Almond milk is worth trying, maybe safer bet than soya but it is a bit odd - okay in porridge, fine in muesli but I haven't tried it in anything else.

Edited: 28/02/2013 at 10:25
28/02/2013 at 10:26

Cheers Peter, I'll look into that. There's also an almond milk I've seen advertised, and of course goat's or sheep's milk too so plenty of material to experiment with.

Edit: partial x-post re almond milk

Edited: 28/02/2013 at 10:27
28/02/2013 at 10:30

I have the almond breeze unsweetened - I have gut bacterial issues and it is the only recommended milk alternative - it's just a bit odd but not unpleasent.

I think goat's milk is recommended for irritable bowel suffers but ideally if you are really going dairy free then non-animal would be best. Is it a lactose issue? If so then you can get lactose free milk or you can buy lactase tablets (which I used to do) and you can have all you want!

Edited: 28/02/2013 at 10:34
28/02/2013 at 10:52

Dairy free may also be more difficult than you may realise - dairy can be in so much stuff including crisps!! Obviously chocolate is tricky as most now don't guarantee dairy free but Montezuemas is usual good for that - bread can also be tricky. Lactose is a sugar so it can be used as a sweetener in many things including tablet coatings.

28/02/2013 at 10:57

Both myself and 2 sons have had eczema. Mine just went in my teens, my eldest cut out products containing sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate and his has now cleared and with my youngest we were sent to see a specialist who gave him wet wraps to wear at night. His was the worst eczema of the 3 of us and now he too is now clear of it. We did try dairy and also wheat free diets for a while but it didn't make any difference.

Might be worth trying a different shampoo and soap too Muttley. Eldest uses Body Shop Rainforest shampoo and Dove moisturising creme bars.

Good luck, hope you manage to clear it. I know how horrid it can be.

28/02/2013 at 11:18

It's certainly possible that milk is making your eczema worse, I don't think it's very likely though. From what I've read (e.g. this) eczema caused by food allergies tends to occur in children and it tends to be pretty severe, neither of these is the case with you.

Having said that, if you can easily eliminate dairy from your diet, it's probably worth giving it a go. Keep a diary and record everything you eat and drink, and any changes in your symptoms.

I use Eumocream on my eczema, and E45 wash in the shower. Mine is pretty mild, just patches of dry skin really.

28/02/2013 at 12:04

Friend of my father's 'cured' his lifelong very severe hayfever at the age of 40+ by cutting out all dairy products. Took around 3 months to have an effect but then it was - miraculous was the word he used!

Remember allergies are different from intolerances. Dairy could be causing you problems without producing any allergic response. Worth trying I'd say...

28/02/2013 at 18:38

I think there's a differnce between aqueous cream and emollients such as epaderm, hydromol ointment and diprobase ointments (the last two come in creams too I think) which is what I think GPs are (should be) recommending.  They are aqueous like in that they are greasy but are ok to use not like pure aqueous cream. 

I think.

Betnovate for me, the stronger the better .  Dermatologist has no problem with me having it, GP treats me like a drug dealer.  Dermatologist gets cross with GP, I get stuck in the middle.

28/02/2013 at 20:38

oh Princess Leah - I sympathise with that. Dermatologist prescribed dermovate for my hands. GP refused to prescribe. Back to dermatologist who gave me prescription. Back to GP for repeat - refused again! I use a small tube of dermovate a year; maybe even less often that that. Really - what IS the problem!! if it was a tube a week, I'd understand!

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