As I look out the window and watch the endless, pouring rain, I think of a dermatitis trigger that loves this type of weather, mould.
There have been quite a few truly tragic stories in the media over the past year, highlighting the devastating impact mould can have on health, particularly in relation to respiratory conditions, but did you even consider whether mould might be triggering your dermatitis flare?
In this blog post, I’ll delve into the intricate relationship between mould exposure and dermatitis and explore ways to reduce the risks.
A short mould overview.
Mould refers to a type of fungus that thrives in damp and humid environments, basically the UK. Common indoor moulds include Aspergillus, Fusarium Stachybotrys chartarum and Clasporium Herbarum. Stachybotrys chartaruium and Clasporium Herbarum are visible as black mould, but some other moulds are practically invisible to the naked eye.
Mould tends to develop in areas that are out of sight. Just this week, I had a message from a client who said “you know you were questioning me around mould, and I said that there absolutely wasn’t any in my home? Well, we’ve just changed the floor in our kitchen and guess what we found under the lino”.
Moulds, including the infamous black mould, thrive in damp environments such as kitchens, basements, and bathrooms. They can grow on various surfaces, including paper, wood, and fabrics. When mould touches the skin, or when individuals with a mould sensitivity inhale the spores, it can trigger different types of skin rashes characterized by redness, itching, swelling, and sometimes small bumps or blisters.
Dermatitis, what does it encompass?
Dermatitis is a broad term encompassing a whole host of skin conditions from Atopic Eczema to contact dermatitis and even Cutaneous Aspergillosis a skin condition directly linked to the Aspergillus mould.
The Mould/Dermatitis Connection
Research has shown a compelling connection between mould exposure and development or worsening of dermatitis symptoms.
People who live or work in damp environments with high mould concentrations have been observed to be more susceptible to skin issues. It is believed that contact, either directly or via minute mould spores landing on the skin or being breathed in, can trigger inflammation that leads to the symptoms so common in dermatitis or eczema: red patches, itching and often pain.
The most common types of dermatitis linked to mould are:
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by some mould species and which add another complex layer to the mould/dermatitis connection. These substances can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. When mycotoxins come into direct contact with the skin, they can disrupt the skin barrier function, leading to increased permeability or leaky skin and higher risk of skin irritations. Mycotoxins have been found to trigger rosacea, eczema and even acne.
As previously touched on, both mould and mycotoxin exposure can trigger an immune response, leading to both inflammation and skin reactions. Whilst dermatitis isn’t considered an autoimmune condition, the constant igniting of the immune response is tiring for the body and can lead, in turn, to increased susceptibility to infections and inflammation. An exhausting vicious cycle.
If you suspect that mould is triggering your skin, then you should go and see your GP for a diagnosis. Blood tests, finger-prick or patch testing can determine whether mould is an issue for you.
Common medical treatments include over-the-counter antihistamines and cortisone creams.
Nutrition practitioners also have access to some functional tests which may be useful.
Tips for Prevention
If you have recurrent dermatitis and are at a loss as to why it is constantly triggered, then it may be worth exploring whether mould might be a cause:
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I’m Jessica Fonteneau, the Eczema and Digestive Health Nutrition Expert. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients to help them change their diets, better manage their flares, and find relief.
My vocation is to help those with eczema and digestive issues, because I have suffered with these interlinked conditions since I was 6 months old, and I truly know what it is like to experience these debilitating conditions.
Every client I have ever worked with has their own triggers and ideal nutrition. There is no such thing as ‘one-size-fits-all’. Whether you work with me one-to-one or use my guided tools, my objective is to help you uncover what works best for you, so that you take back control and experience relief.
My guided programmes are only suitable for adults as children have very specific nutrition requirements. I do, however, work with many child clients as part of my clinic.
I also offer two free communities for adults caring for children with eczema and digestive symptoms, feel free to come and join us and get some well-deserved support.
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Interested in what I do and who I am? Go to my website: www.jessicafonteneaunutrition.com
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