Treatment for itchy, eczema-like, allergic skin all over?

Asked on February 21, 2015
Created May 22, 2014 at 5:16 AM

So, the past year or so, I've had a resurgence of urticaria all over my body. It's been a major setback in my life, as when it comes up, I can do very little about it and it is impossible to ignore. A few days ago, I started taking half (5mg) of a Claritin every morning and night, much to my dismay. It seems to keep the flare-ups from getting bad past a certain point, as well as giving me more of a peace of mind, but Claritin has a history of making me sleepy, foggy, or depressive. Not too much to report about that yet, outside of a brief nightmare last night. My triggers are - alcohol (I rarely drink, but it always seems to leave me itchy the next day), AC without a portable humidifier, the air in my car, the rare times I stray from paleo, and stress. Medications (such as selegiline, etc) that raise histamine directly, in the past, made the problem worse. It is definitely histamine related, since certain medications that raise histamine always make it worse. A week ago, I started using resistant starch with psyllium husks and Amazing Greens, as well as Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra probiotics. Also - Schizandra & Siberian Ginseng extract. Far in the past, probiotics have caused problems for me, so I try to focus on fermented foods now - but I would imagine all of this new stuff I took the other week may cause a flare-up? I also regularly eat gelatin, water kefir, zinc, and magnesium.

What are some simple things I can keep an eye on, outside of always using my humidifier and avoiding alcohol? I also started on the Paleo Autoimmune Diet a few days ago. The only things I really miss are nuts and dark chocolate, but whatever. Today, I had a couple Colostrum capsules (Symbiotics Colostrum Plus) and got a bout of energy and a bit of nausea. I really want to avoid it for now, as they seem to contain lactose and casein. There are a couple brands that remove 99+% of that (Mary's Herbal Garden, or Proper Nutrition), but does anyone have enough knowledge or experience with Colostrum who can tell me if that is worth the higher price? My skin still seems to be suddenly dry all over, with random barely noticeable inflammed-yet-not-yet-red follicles all over. I would LOVE any advice at all that anyone has. I'm trying not to think about this much, to be mindful as well of how I react to symptoms (I am a recovering opioid addict, so certain things are difficult for me). Thanks again! Sorry for the long post, it's just a problem that will mean a lot to my life when it's better. For now, I will avoid the green drinks, RS, probiotics, and colostrum, and stay on the autoimmune protocol with anti-histamines.

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4 Answers

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on May 23, 2014
at 05:22 PM

Sounds to me like it's histamine intolerance. My guess would be that you've impaired your copper status via zinc supplementation, which has caused a downregulation in the activity of diamine oxidase (a copper dependent enzyme in the gut that breaks down biogenic amines like histamine).

Were I you, I would cut back on the zinc supplementation (especially if you are eating a lot of red meat anyway) and start supplementing with copper bisglycinate. I found that exceeding ~1.5mg of copper at one time caused me to feel weird, so you may need to split doses.

There's also the possibility that you're reacting to a specific food. I know when I eat citrus every day I get a rash that covers my arms. Switching to kiwis made it go away completely.


on May 23, 2014
at 03:09 AM

@Chziime The car seems to be the common theme here! Inflammation doesn't have to happen on site. Once I moved out of my contaminated apartment, I still got one more (albeit small in comparison to the others) outbreak of eczema that cleared eventually while I was living in my new space. I think it happened because the 'poison' was still in my body and needed to get out in some way, i.e. through my skin. I still find myself itching a little from time to time, and a few tiny spots appear here and there once in a while, but I chalk it up to my body still ridding itself of the bugspray that had made it sick for so long.

Also, it literally took minutes of me being in my contaminated old apartment to start feeling the effects of inflammation in my body. I could actually watch the eczema start spreading on my skin, and it would continue to spread even outside of my apartment too once it had started. So, small amounts of exposure time are definitely enough to trigger inflammation immediately, or even later as your body tries to rid itself of the infectious environment. I would say the best thing you can do at this point is utilize trial and error. Don't spend time in your car for a while, if that's possible. If you thought it was your heater but nothing changed when you got rid of it, it wasn't your heater. My bet would be that it's something in your car that's offending your body. Maybe something in the vents. Good luck!


on May 22, 2014
at 07:37 PM

Thank you for that. Yes, originally I could have sworn it was my heater, so I covered it up, but it still seems to come no matter my situation - whether I am in my newly built permanent home in a small community by the New Jersey woods, in my friend's Columbia housing apartment in Manhattan, or even walking around the city itself. A big trigger is definitely my car, though. Initially, I would find myself clawing at my scalp very often while driving, and the air certainly bothers my eyes a little. I drive often, but could often be enough to trigger inflammation in other locations? A few months ago, I was on vacation in Israel for 2 weeks... had NO itches, no anti-histamines, even though I drank a lot and ate quite differently than usual. So it's something local. Though, I like the idea of having peace of mind without taking Claritin :) I'll try just that, soon...


on May 22, 2014
at 04:45 PM

I recently suffered from awful recurring eczema on my face, chest, and shoulders that cycled fairly consistently. For months I chalked it up to food allergies and attempted to cut things out of my diet to no avail. I tried anti-candida medication, too, and avoided alcohol as my rashes were ALWAYS worse the morning after a night of drinking (for a while, I thought I had an alcohol allergy- HA!). I later discovered that the air in my apartment had been routinely contaminated by bug spray, and my rashes cleared almost as soon as I moved out. I was able to figure this out by mapping out when I got rashes, and found that I was clear/they cleared up when I had spent considerable amounts of time outside of my living space (i.e. vacation, etc).

Your complaint about air in certain places is a red flag to me, and signals to me that it probably isn't diet related, and the Claritin actually isn't doing anything for you but providing a placebo peace of mind effect (when my rashes were bad I took Allegra, and SWORE that it helped me, though in retrospect it didn't help me in the slightest and probably worsened the problem). Look for environmental triggers. Do you use an air freshener in the vents of your car? Has your house been sprayed with bugspray? Is your AC machine old/moldy? Compounding triggers like stress, SAD food, and alcohol aren't the root of the problem, but they CAN exacerbate it (this is what happened with me). Don't blame the simple triggers, dig deeper. Something in your environment is causing the inflammation.

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