Monthly Archive for August, 2011

Big news on the research front from England, still more work to be done

Noted dermatology researcher Dr. Michael Cork in the UK will soon be publishing an article linking detergents with eczema, a continuation of his long-standing work. I am thrilled for this verification of what I have been saying all along.

          Unfortunately, if the popular press article I read tonight is correct, the study still does not differentiate between detergents and soaps. I have mentioned Dr. Cork’s work in the past; his recommendation has been to remove all surfactants, soaps and detergents.

          While removing all surfactants may work in time, I personally find it takes much longer than using true soaps and the results are not as satisfactory. Being able to “wash off the eczema” with soap as described on my site is important to allowing children to maintain a normal life and skin after exposures they can’t control, not to mention simply giving people a way to get clean that doesn’t cause the eczema. Knowing they can keep themselves and their homes clean by changing what they wash with, rather than eliminating all washing products, is a big deal to most people.

          I also have a very different take on what causes dry skin and eczema, and why people from atopic families are more affected.  That is a topic I need to write far more in detail, but I’ve come up with a short way to convey the basic idea (please forgive my giving it a title, it’s a way to hopefully make it memorable):

Lumsdaine’s Law:  For most people, under most conditions, eczema and dry skin are more the result of what is on the skin than what is stripped from the skin by washing.

          I include a link to the Daily Mail  article about Dr. Cork’s groundbreaking publication below.  Here also is my letter to the reporter who wrote the article:

Dear Mr. Utton,

I appreciated reading your well-crafted article “Soap linked to childhood eczema – study.”  The article does a beautiful job clarifying a difficult-to-explain topic (and make interesting as you have done).

I would like to take issue with your assertion that “…despite the recognised hazard of detergents, no one until now has made a connection between their increased use and the rising rate of eczema.”

Please see feature article about my web site in the magazine Allergy & Asthma Today, “Hidden Link Between Detergent and Eczema,” 2006.

As long ago as 2004, I was quoted in a newsletter of the Eczema Association of Australasia saying, “Finally, in researching this problem, I’ve discovered that our solution is consistent with what may be the solution to the overall problem of rising infantile eczema and asthma. … The only theories about it are that we are too clean, the so-called hygiene hypothesis. As for the studies that ostensibly support it, they typically demonstrate a more direct causal link with detergent use than lack of germs.” [emphasis mine]

I have for years been helping people around the world solve their children’s eczema when nothing else worked.  Tens of thousands of people over the years have visited my site and blogs.  I have even heard from doctors who used my web site for their own families.  Many doctors have told me they refer patients to the site, and at least one allergy clinic in Atlanta has permanently linked to it.. .  Interestingly, I mention Dr. Cork on my web site, because as far as I’m concerned, he has been the closest to right of any academic researcher for all these years.

Because I am an engineer and writer, and not a medical researcher, I am limited in what I can ethically (and legally) convey through any of the above publications, but I did discover the cause through empirical problem solving and personal research years ago, have a more nuanced view, and noticed early on that people with atopy were most likely to be helped by removing detergents (and wrote about it).

And although I have a somewhat different take on the why the eczema happens and why people who are genetically linked are susceptible — and I believe there is considerable support for my interpretation in existing medical literature — and I differentiate between soaps and detergents (the use of true soaps actually declined then leveled off as the use of detergents skyrocketed), I am also glad for academic verification of the basic premise of what I have been saying all along by such a respected and careful researcher as Dr. Cork.

Kind Regards,

A.J. Lumsdaine

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