Atopic Dermatitis: More than Just a Rash

Summary: Your chronic rash may actually be atopic dermatitis.
Air Date: 12/21/16
Duration: 25:28
Host: Dr. Mike Fenster
Guest Bio: Elizabeth Falkner, Chef
Elizabeth FalknerElizabeth Falkner is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, media personality and author. But what you may not know is that she has struggled with atopic dermatitis, a chronic form of eczema that can be serious, for more than 20 years in her personal life and career.

In Elizabeth’s 30s, as her career as a chef was starting to take off, she developed red flaky, super-itchy lesions on her lower legs. These symptoms eventually also appeared on her hands. The stress of running a restaurant, the constant hand-washing, and dry air and intense heat from the oven, all elements of her profession that she loves, were pretty much a recipe for disaster for her skin. Her symptoms persisted and worsened. Not knowing what was going on with her skin and seeking relied, she went to her doctor and was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis. It was not only physically painful and uncomfortable for her, but it was isolating as well.

Elizabeth joined the Understand AD campaign because she wants to empower people living with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis by sharing her story and helping people understand what a serious, life-impacting disease it can be. Atopic dermatitis has impacted so many parts of her life, and she wants to help create a community for people who may feel isolated and alone.

Atopic Dermatitis: More than Just a Rash
Atopic dermatitis is chronic eczema, and it doesn’t respond well to steroid cream treatment like a regular rash.

People with atopic dermatitis are susceptible to systemic issues, like asthma. It affects the body with chronic and continuous low-level inflammation. Exercise can help regulate that inflammation.

Triggers vary from person to person, so you may have to discover your own. Keep stress levels low. Track your eating habits over a week and see if your dermatitis flares. Try eating seasonal, local produce so you’re taking in nutrients from your local environment.

As for treatment, you may be able to calm a flare-up with yogurt and leafy greens. Topical application of Neem oil may also help. Sea buckthorn is a natural dietary supplement that has aided skin inflammation.

Finally, talk to your dermatologist if you have chronic rashes. There is help for suffering.

Listen in as Chef Elizabeth Falkner shares her story of life with atopic dermatitis.


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