When Eczema is NOT Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema is a word we associate with images of a red, dry and itchy rash that so many of us experience as children, almost as though it was a rite of passage.
It is true that eczema is a very common condition that can affect up to 30% of children in Australia. However eczema is not a term used to describe one condition, but a group of conditions that can present with both similarities and key differences. In fact, the above description most accurately describes atopic dermatitis (also known as extrinsic eczema), which is form of eczema driven by allergy. Despite 80% of all eczemas fitting into this category, 20% do not. This eczema type is referred to as intrinsic eczema.
What Is Intrinsic Eczema?
Intrinsic eczema is essentially a form of eczema that is not driven by classic allergens such as dust mite, pollens, grasses and foods. In contrast to extrinsic eczema, intrinsic eczema often has a later onset, milder presentation, different triggers and a different type of immune response.
What Causes Intrinsic Eczema?
Unlike extrinsic eczema, intrinsic eczema is not associated with a family history of atopy (allergy), such as the atopic triad of eczema, hay fever and asthma. It is also not linked to the fillagrin gene which has shown to cause skin barrier dysfunction in those with extrinsic eczema.
Some studies have found associations between intrinsic eczema and bacterial colonization, such as Staphlyococcus aureus. It is therefore possible that intrinsic eczema is linked to imbalances in the microbiome.
How Do You Know If You Have Intrinsic Eczema?
In addition to meeting the above criteria, those with intrinsic eczema will test negative to allergy tests such as blood tests and skin prick testing. Some studies have also shown that Intrinsic Eczema more commonly affects extensor surfaces (such as the legs and elbows) as opposed to extrinsic which more commonly affects flexures (elbow and knee creases).
How Do You Treat Intrinsic Eczema?
The key differences between extrinsic and intrinsic eczema, highlights how important it is to receive a customised treatment approach as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ eczema treatment. Not only does intrinsic eczema have different triggers but it also affects different parts of the body and involves different immune cells. Taking a holistic, customised treatment approach which recognizes the differences between various types of eczema, will not only help you understand the nature of your condition better, but also help you find a treatment which accurately targets relevant environmental triggers such as diet, lifestyle, microbes, chemicals and more.
The Psoriasis Eczema Clinic the leading centre for Complementary and Alternative Eczema Treatment –Melbourne.
Not only do we recognize the difference between eczema types, but we also use our observational skills to customize our topical treatments according to the presentation and body site affected. Our treatments use natural ingredients which are designed to target the different triggers of eczema conditions and well as relieve the symptoms.
If you are looking for a holistic eczema treatment Melbourne – contact the clinic today on (03) 9770 5337.