A woman with extreme eczema now has the ‘best skin of her life’ after making diet changes she says was the ‘cure’.
Beatrice Guaca, 22, began to have severe eczema flare-ups after she began eating a healthier diet and cutting out junk food.
While Guaca had hoped her clean diet would help to improve her skin, instead she developed facial eczema so severe that she didn’t want to leave the house.
"I stopped going out for a while to see friends. I knew my friends would be understanding, but I didn't really feel comfortable going out with my face in such an extreme condition,” Guaca, from Dublin, Ireland says.
"It wasn't just my face, it was on my back as well. Then it got worse and I started having flare ups of red patches and weeping skin sometimes as well.
"Thankfully, I knew not to pick it off as it would have scarred, but I didn't know how to get rid of it. I went online and bought lots of products and unfortunately none of them worked for me. No one in my family has this skin condition so I didn't have anyone I could turn to."
One of Guaca’s worst flare-ups happened earlier this year which saw her spend two weeks in hospital due to her cracked, ‘weeping’ skin that led to an infection.
"It just seemed to be getting worse and worse, I developed spots, crust around the eyes, and as I didn't seem to be getting any better, I thought the hospital was the best option," she explains.
"They weren't sure what I had at first. They took a biopsy but nothing came up. I think they had to take about four or five biopsies to find out what it was. Then they confirmed that there was a severe eczema flare up that actually got infected because the skin was so cracked up and damaged."
Luckily, her hospital stay led to several allergy tests to see what the cause of the flare-ups were and found that she had an allergy to nuts such as peanuts and hazelnuts.
"I had to cut them out completely," she says. "I also made the decision to cut out dairy and gluten too as I believed that was affecting my eczema."
As well as cutting out nuts, gluten and dairy, Guaca also began taking collagen which she says cleared up her skin ‘very quickly’.
"Now I drink a shot of liquid collagen at least once a day - or I'll have powdered collagen in a smoothie," she says.
"As well as changing my diet, I started exercising as well. When you sweat, the bad bacteria comes out of your body - all of the toxins and stuff. Now I go to the gym on a regular basis, and I think that's definitely had a big impact."
Guaca says that other people with severe eczema should figure out what works best for them as treatments can be different for everyone.
"Even though there might be other people out there with the same condition as you, certain treatments might not work for everyone," she explains.
"It has to be your own journey to figure out what works for you and what will help your skin and your body."
According to the National Eczema Society, around one in five children and one in 10 adults in the UK experience some form of eczema.
"Eczema is a common condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. It is a long-term condition in most people, although it can improve over time, especially in children," Dr Hana Patel, a NHS GP, says.
"Eczema can affect any part of your body, but the most common areas to be affected are: backs or fronts of the knees, outside or inside of the elbows, around the neck, hands, cheeks, and scalp."
Dr Patel adds that some patients can get severe flare-ups, and that eczema can have certain triggers.
"[Triggers can include] soaps, detergents, stress and the weather," she explains. "Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema. For some of my patients, severe eczema often has a significant impact on daily life and may be difficult to cope with physically and mentally. There is also an increased risk of skin infections, as seen in this case."
The NHS says eczema is characterised by itchy, sore, dry and cracked skin. It is not know what causes it and can be triggered by different things for different people.
It adds that the most common treatments include self-care techniques like avoiding scratching or triggers, use of emollients, and topical corticosteroids that can help to reduce swelling.
More information on skin conditions:
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Additional reporting by Caters.
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