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Happy Circumstances

by Dr Harley Farmer

I love text messages like this: “Amazing mushrooms growing in my drive if you are passing by today Harley! They look edible to me, but you’ll know best! You are welcome to have them if they are!”  It was from Ben, a friend who had just moved to another house in our village.  They were enormous and very tasty horse mushrooms!  Why does my undisguised gluttony over wild mushrooms have relevance in a blog sharing happiness through healthy skin? To a mushroom lover the happiness &...

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Yet another bun fight.

by Dr Harley Farmer

As part of training in social etiquette we tend to tell children not to throw food at each other. To have the proverbial ‘bun fight’ is deemed unseemly. Unless of course you are the Government and you feel someone is challenging your paradigms. This week a diet-related charity had the gall, audacity, or perhaps bravery, to suggest an alternative strategy for healthy eating to that advocated by the UK government. The response was immediate and visceral; the official dietary guidance was based on...

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Perish or prevent?

by Dr Harley Farmer

Antibiotics are often used when we want them rather than need them with bacterial resistance being the inevitable outcome. This week a UK Government commissioned report emphasised how badly we need new antibiotics. The authors provided urgency by predicting how many people will die every year if we don’t have new antibiotics in 20 years. What about now? Tens of thousands of people will die in 2016 around the world from needless infections they catch in hospitals. There was...

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Dads can help end eczema

by Dr Harley Farmer

Men and women are different; as demonstrated when babies are made! During pregnancy and breast feeding the gender difference remains obvious. However when a young baby who is being breast fed develops eczema it becomes an issue for both parents. The global epidemic of eczema in children transcends societal boundaries. Where the mother does all the childcare a child’s eczema is entirely the mother’s responsibility but the fathers still feel for their child. Even where child duties are...

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Searching for balance

by Dr Harley Farmer

Why would Nature need help? Because we humans oscillate between providing help and hinderance. Given the immense power of Nature, how can any one of us do anything of measurable significance? We can’t; not as individuals. Collectively we can. We combine our hinderance which is now apparently showing as climate change. Yet, in global terms, each of us only provides a tiny amount of hinderance and to balance that we only need to provide a tiny amount of help. I like having a reasonably sized ga...

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Cool it!

by Dr Harley Farmer

Sophie was introduced to me by a mutual friend who happened to notice Sophie’s little girl had eczema on the face. Greta did not known how extensive Sienna’s eczema was as only her face was visible. Sophie quickly began the EXeczema programme which meant she stopped using the previous skincare products. It was mid-December and I opted to ask how the family would feel if the eczema was gone by Christmas? It was a calculated risk on my part based on the positive attitude Sophie and Jon (her...

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Thank you Susan

by Dr Harley Farmer

When you don’t seek reward for your efforts certain events mean more when they happen. I was up early this Saturday aiming to service all the emails in readiness for a relaxed morning in Cambridge at our favourite coffee spot followed by an afternoon in the garden. All fairly normal. Then into my Inbox came a wonderful thank you note from Susan Ellis. I remember the day many years ago when I first met Susan. My wife Anne-Marie was in Australia and I was basically wasting time in the All Saints...

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What’s in a picture?

by Dr Harley Farmer

What’s in a picture? Often a thousand words. The lacework picture below seems quite pretty and innocuous.  Yet it has earned a “god guy – bad guy” reputation. Ironically the people who hate it the most actually rely on it the most. It’s cortisol, the main stress hormone which protects us. It’s also known as “steroid” and that’s the name under which it  earns most derision and hatred. There’s even a condition called Steroid Withdrawal Syndrome which arises in a select few people wh...

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Happiness from Misery

by Dr Harley Farmer

Eczema and Happiness are unlikely word partners, wouldn’t you agree? Recall the look of abject misery on a tiny child’s face as it scratches the red itchy eczematous skin. Then focus on the eyes; misery personified. Really horrible. Then why do I persist in bringing the two words together? Because the misery of eczema can be turned into bounteous happiness within weeks. That’s a bold statement which warrants justification. Rather than hear mine, try listening to Cathy who turn...

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Happy Christmas, isn’t it?

by Dr Harley Farmer

“Happy Christmas” will be said around the world tomorrow. The faces and eyes of children will have that amazing sparkle of excitement we love to see. Will Christmas day be happy for children with eczema? Or just another day of misery? How many times on Christmas day will their parents say “Stop scratching” knowing it results in more scratching and more misery for child and parent. Christmas is a day of sharing and all that eczema misery will be shared around the world. Yet again. Now for the H...

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Too clean?

by Dr Harley Farmer

It’s amazing how those old phrases are so often proven correct, isn’t it? The “hygiene hypothesis” is one of science’s attempts to explain why a bit of dirt is a good thing. But is all dirt equal? And does timing have a lot to do with the outcome? No, all dirt is not equal and yes, timing is very important. Both are really relevant aspects of this much debated topic and there is only time to skim over the issues here. Dirt is dirt to the uninitiated. This photo shows Olivia from next door helpi...

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SLS is the bad boy.

by Dr Harley Farmer

SLS is the bad boy of the pack. It’s an ingredient in all sorts of products from toothpastes to shampoo to food. Basically it makes life cheaper and easier for product manufacturers who appear to care little for the negative effect it has on atopic people who use their products. There are plenty of alternative chemicals which do the same thing as SLS so it’s just not necessary. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is an emulsifier which keeps other chemicals in suspension in products. It’s a truly useful ing...

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