Ezcema Expo '23

I feel like I have learned loads recently. I attended the Eczema Expo 2023 seminar via Zoom and boy was it worth its weight in gold! It was also fun to bump into other eczema warriors from our very own atopic dermatitis community who had come to the events like me. I listened to various experts in the world of dermatology, nutrition, and mental health speak over two days. I was also lucky enough to make a contribution at a Q&A session. It was called "Ask the Experts" where I asked a question about lichenification (thickening of the skin) on my hands and wrists. It was like going to the doctor but if your doctor had oodles of time and was the very best in their field.

Who did I learn about from the conference?

The great thing about hearing from medical experts is not only do they give you all the facts and info about the latest treatments and various products on the market, but they also recommend other experts who can help with specific or more niche areas. I cannot remember when or what particular session I was at when someone mentioned the name, Jennifer Fugo. Jennifer actually suffered from dyshidrotic eczema (eczema of the hands) which led her to train as a nutritionist, and a skin expert in eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and more. She has a brilliant podcast called The Healthy Skin Show which I recommend people seek out if they haven't already.

What are her thoughts about diet and eczema?

Well, I normally bang on about diet being an essential way to heal but it is a whole lot more complex than I thought. Very often there are several root causes to why someone suffers from eczema. Environmental factors, stress, anxiety, gut health issues, and intolerance to histamine to name but a few. It is easy to fall into the trap of self-diagnosis and cut things out of your diet but you could actually be doing more harm than good. Jennifer Fugo maintains that while having a healthy and well-balanced diet is important, she suggests being wary of elimination diets.

Why is she wary of elimination diets?

As individuals, we have different reasons why we flare and it is about pinpointing the root cause of why we are flaring in the first instance. When you have all the necessary data, only then can you start to work out a proper plan for healing. One of the biggest things I learned about diet is that it is more about adding to your diet, rather than taking away.

What is my one exception to the rule?

One thing I have managed to do for myself, and I have stuck to, is cut out all processed foods. I know I have just spoken about adding rather than taking away but this is the one exception to the rule in my book. Ready-made/convenience foods are packed with e numbers and long-worded chemicals, fats and sugars, and preservatives. The notion that I eat and drink stuff that I am unsure of what the ingredients are well and truly over.

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