Earlier this month, new study results were announced by Children’s and the University of Washington (UW). This study reinforces what we in the complementary and homeopathic medical fields have known for years – that there is a connection between autoimmune diseases – malfunctions of the Immune System – and skin allergies like atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema.“Autoimmune diseases” refer to chronic illnesses of some of the body’s ten most important systems: Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, and Nervous Systems, for example. It also includes the severe diseases that come from lowered immune systems like HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Lupus, and an Immune System depressed by chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
The immune cells (B and T cells) become disoriented, and instead of the Immune System providing protection and healing for its host, the person’s immune capabilities attack their own body.
How does this affect the skin?
The skin – or epidermis – is a major organ of the body; in fact, it is the largest one! When things go wrong on the inside, they will likely manifest themselves outside as skin allergies, and vice versa.
Both an immune disease and, unfortunately, the treatment for the disease can attack healthy skin cells and cause many disturbances. Atopic dermatitis is just one of the skin allergies that can result.
Atopic dermatitis and other chronic skin allergies which can be considered “allergic diseases” may run in families, and be related to hay fever and asthma. Its symptoms are:
- extremely itchy, red and inflamed skin
- rashes on the cheeks, arms and legs
- swelling and “weeping” skin
- cracks behind the ears
- scaling and crusting
Atopic dermatitis is not contagious from person to person, but scratching the itch will further irritate and can enlarge the site.
Topical Treatment helps Symptoms, but hurts in the Long Run. Using the usual over-the-counter or prescription hydrocortisone creams on a long term basis for skin allergies is detrimental. These creams are “corticosteroids”, in the steroid family, and can have side effects on many parts of the body by distorting the Immune System even further:
- raised blood pressure
- muscle weakness
- stomach ulcers