My eczema and other skin problems of 15 years disappeared completely from regular kefir and yogurt, which I did because of this blog.
I asked for details.
Who are you?
I live in Mesa Arizona, 49 years old, software developer.
When did it start?
I had lots of allergy problems as a child; had to have soy milk as a baby, had allergy shots for 5 years until I was 22 or so, I was allergic to trees and grass. The allergies pretty much went away after I came to Arizona and now have had no problems at all with it for many years.
I am pretty sure my eczema started in Maryland before I moved to AZ, that would put it before 1992. It started on the outside of my right shin. I can’t recall and never had any notion of any change that brought it on. It continued up until I started the kefir, though it would go dormant from time to time, often after which it would reappear elsewhere. It progressed from my shin to the back of my right knee, my right inner thigh, then my back, then my hands. It was always most prominent on my right side; I am right-handed.
Before fermented foods, what did you do to get rid of it?
I tried vitamin E both orally and topically very early. It did seem to soothe it but I hated the smell and mess. Otherwise I used cortisone when it was really bad, but tried to minimize that. Mostly I just put up with it.
What were the fermented foods?
I liked Nancy’s Peach best for kefir; it was the most sour, and the other flavors of that brand had berry seeds that I didn’t like. Otherwise I got Lifeway Pomegranate [kefir], second most sour. Yogurt was mostly Strauss Farms or Brown Cow, though occasionally I’ll get Fage if the others aren’t there. I would have probably 3 containers of kefir and one or two of yogurt a week. For the yogurt I would get unflavored and add some bananas or maybe a little honey.
After you started eating kefir and yogurt, how long until you noticed improvement?
Less than a week. I went on and off many times, both intentionally and inadvertently, and the pattern was repeated every time. Now I can go off of either one without it returning; I don’t think I have seen any eczema in more than a year even though I might go a week or two without it. I have slowed down in the kefir because most of them have sugars and stuff, I mostly go for the plain yogurt these days.
Did you expect the improvement?
Not at all. I was trying to recover from a bad stomach bug that left me with digestive distress. I only tried the kefir because I read it had more cultures than yogurt. It solved the digestive problems but I only noticed the effect on eczema when I stopped it and the eczema returned. I hadn’t noticed it had stopped since it sometimes went dormant for a few weeks at a time.
What were the other skin problems?
I had splitting of my fingertips, really painful and right on the tip making it hard to use. I assumed this was just the eczema presenting itself here, but it might have been something else. I also had generally dry itchy skin no matter how much lotion I used, which is not a problem now.