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Extreme eczema - allergy/sensitivities testing recommendations?

Daughter (adult) suffers from extreme eczema that GP is unable to treat so finally (few months) got a referral to a dermatologist but the appointment is for September (!!!) and tried to tret with steroids all the time (awful)

Can anyone recommend somewhere we could do allergies/sensitivities/intolerance tested privately and can give me some idea about the potential cost?

I am not looking for Googe search results as I can find those myself.

I am looking for personal recommendation as we are both at our wits ends - it is very severe.

Thanks a lot

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My friends baby has v bad except and she has said -
Dr Helen Cox Harley St charged them £200 consultation abd £180 allergy tests. They went private due to long waits with nhs. However she thinks Dr Cox only does children. But the receptionist also gave very good advise to them so worth a try. Http://www.children's allergy clinic.com/contact. They may be able to recommend someone. Good luck

Hi Anka,

My brother suffered with eczema from primary school until his early 30s when it suddenly cleared up practically from one day to the next with no explanation.  It is a notoriously difficult condition to treat and steroid creams and oral steroids are the standard and most effective treatment options.  There is no "cure" as such, it's about managing the condition.  There are clearly links between food intolerances and whether this aggravates the condition but in my view there are a lot of charlatans out there peddling half truths about this aspect and whilst you might feel September is a long way off, I think you're safest in the hands of NHS clinicians who won't try and peddle you "products" or "programmes" that are unnecessary or worse, which will aggravate the condition.  My brother did do private tests for intolerances through the post, but that was 20 years ago and he couldn't recall any of the details.  Would be long out of date now anyway.  They told him that he might be gluten intolerant but he completely cut out gluten from his diet and it made no difference whatsoever.  Pets allergies can be an issue too.  I know you have dogs, but your grown up daughter may live elsewhere.  But it's worth keeping a food diary, and record contact with animals too, to see if you can spot patterns.  That's possibly something a dermatologist will ask you to do, so if you have that already in hand when you go for the first appointment that might speed things along.  It certainly can't hurt.

In the meantime, bathing in emollient baths is an obvious solution that people often ignore, with a good layering of E45 cream 20 minutes later.  Cotton clothing is a must.  Man-made fibres are terrible for eczema which is aggravated by heat and dampness.  My brother says he used to make sure his nails were as short as possible so that he didn't cause himself undue damage with the scratching.  Stress is also a factor, so bear that in mind too.

I spoke with my sister-in-law who is a consultant in anaesthetics and she recommends the private Dermatology Clinic at the Royal Free Hospital where she also does private work.  Apparently, Professor Rustin is an eczema specialist.  It's not a personal recommendation as such, but medics do tend to know who is good and who is not. 

Had positive experience with this dermatologist (saw her first as NHS patient and then as private patient): 


Private clinic is in Golders Green. 

We don't have a dermatologist recommendation recommendation I'm afraid, but just to say it is worth ruling out gluten intolerance. My daughter had a terrible time with eczema too. She'd always had it but started to get so much worse and had really awful symptoms. Although tests didn't show gluten allergy it really looked like dermatitis herpetiformis to me, and taking gluten out of her diet did work, though took months to properly clear up. In the meantime a course of oral steroids helped make life a little more bearable, and we also found a very strong steroid ointment to clear up as much as possible for few days, and then keeping down inflammation with a protopic ointment really worked. Now we rarely think about it unless she accidentally eats gluten and then her skin flares up again, and we do same - steroid ointments for few days, then protopic twice a week and moisturising in between. I do empathise with you both. It was a very difficult time for us. Good luck.
My daughter had eczema from head to toe as a baby when she came off breast milk. The doctor prescribed emollient baths, topical creams etc. We decided to go for an inside out approach (considering why the skin is reacting) rather than an outside in approach (putting stuff on the skin). This also worked for my partner who had some serious skin issues in his 40s.
I would recommend cutting out all dairy products for a start and going to a good nutritionist. This is not hippy claptrap at all, the skin is the largest living organ and the body reacts to poisons, allergy and imbalance through the organs. A nutritionist will know what can set off a reaction. My partner went from extreme agony and discomfort to complete recovery over a period of months through careful nutrition. Cutting out all sugars including most fruit helped vastly for example. Then slowly reintroducing in a controlled way has been a marvel to find the right balance and what to avoid.

Some good GPs and specialists also know this - for example all endocrinologists will tell you that cabbage acts as a suppressant to thyroid production and that evening primrose oil is excellent to help the body with tissue-related pain. Both of which have been recommended to me by medical professionals in two different countries.
Get to a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis too. It could be lichen planus, urticaria or another skin issue which no amount of creams will help. And be wary and open to thinking more broadly than your average doctor - my mum was prescribed hydrocortisone treatments for years for terrible skin rashes on her upper body. It was only after she had a stroke and was permanently hospitalised that we discovered her whole home was infested with bed bugs that were eating her alive...I had suggested this about 5 years in to her suffering but she would have none of it!

Hi Anka, I had quite alot of eczema (upper body) for the past 15 years.  I had tried everything from steroids and creams and although they worked temporarily nothing solved the problem for longer than a month.

However last year, I stopped using soap (in fact any type of chemical) on my upper body and after about 4 - 6 weeks my eczema disappeared and has not returned.  Has your daughter tried that?

Sometimes it's the simple things that work :)

I don't know how old your daughter is - but my extreme excema was largely abated by acupuncture. There's a great place in Archway attached to the hospital.

Also, did you see this yesterday


i spent years looking for cures and have some knowledge of most. so feel free to DM me if you need any other steers. it's an awful thing to live with but can be treated. I'm less keen on the steroid creams myself but I know how desperate things can get...

Hi Anka

I suffer from eczema and psoriasis myself and have a few points to make that you may have already considered and sorry if they seem obvious but here goes:

1. I am sure you have tried this but from what you describe it sounds like your daughter should get an urgent referral (ie ahead of usual referral where you are behind everyone else waiting for consultant appt) to dermatologist from GP. I have got this myself before, at the Royal Free. My dermatologist was Dr MacBride at Royal Free, who is excellent.

2. If your daughter has so far only seen GP, do you definitely know it is eczema? It could be psoriasis for example and oral steroids are not recommended for psoriasis.

3. What worked for me was seeing dermatologists (NHS) and things they offered that helped included light treatment, oral steroids (for eczema), steroid and non-steroid creams (some that only dermatologists not GPs can prescribe). For one particular flare-up I had patch tests that discovered I was allergic to a textile dye (this is unusual).

4. No dermatologist has ever said anything to me about diet, gluten etc and I am not sure if such approaches are evidence-based. I have previously tried acupuncture and Chinese herbs which did not work for me. (I know this will be controversial for some people but this is what worked for me).

Sorry to hear your daughter has been having a difficult time with her eczema. If it flares up again and she needs help while she's waiting for a hospital or GP appointment, the National Eczema Society can offer lots of information, advice and support (Visit www.eczema.org or phone the helpline 0800 089 1122).
Hi Anka

I have had eczema all my life and it is particularly severe on myon my hands. I was referred here https://www.uclh.nhs.uk/OurServices/ServiceA-Z/INTMED/IMAAC/Pages/H... by my Gp and it was such a relief to find out what I was allergic to. You may be able to get a private appointment here. Good luck and please let your daughter know she's not alone.



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