- Kristen Bell revealed in an interview for Women’s Health that her eczema has been flaring up recently.
- The Good Place actress experienced eczema as a child and then again now, at age 39, with a red, itchy rash all over her body.
- Kristen went to a doctor and started an elimination diet to see if she could identify the root cause.
After not experiencing an eczema flare-up since she was a child, Kristen Bell is dealing with the skin condition again at age 39. In her interview for Women’s Health‘s Mind Issue, the actress revealed that a red, itchy eczema rash appeared without warning and covered her whole body, leaving only her face clear.
“I’m itching from head to toe,” she tells Women’s Health. “About six months ago, I started just having severe eczema in my armpits. I was like, ‘Great, my hormones changed. Now I’ve got to deal with it again.’ I had eczema as a kid.”
Eczema that begins in childhood, like what Kristen describes, is called atopic dermatitis, according to the Mayo Clinic. This type of eczema is genetic, but there may be environmental triggers, including a food allergy or intolerance—or even seasonal allergies, says David E. Bank, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic, and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York.
Initially thinking deodorant was the cause, Kristen stopped using it for six months. Still, the rash didn’t disappear. “I’m so itchy,” she says. “I was putting on hydrocortisone every couple of days. Then about two months ago, I woke you up with everywhere but the alcove of my face a bright red, huge eczema rash. Everywhere.” Kristen says she was itching so much that she could barely sleep at night. “I took four Benadryl one night,” she says.
The actress went to the doctor to find the source of her eczema—and some relief. “I didn’t want to just go take prednisone and get it knocked out,” Kristen says. “I wanted to know what caused it. I went and had 11 blood panels done, and she was like, ‘You are really not allergic to anything.'”
Kristen did learn she has “leaky gut” during her appointment. Leaky gut occurs when the intestinal lining is compromised and may allow toxins and bacteria to enter the blood stream, according to research published in Frontiers in Immunology. It can also trigger an autoimmune disease. “I’m eating all of her supplements that are gut healing,” Kristen says. “I was like, ‘Wait, I eat really good. I don’t deserve this rash.'”
Kristen is swapping her already-healthy diet for an elimination diet to get to the bottom of the eczema flare up. “I’m favoring things that are liquid because they’ll go through me fast and I know what is in them is fine,” she says. “We’re trying to do no gluten, no grains, no lectins, no nightshades, no dairy. I already don’t eat meat.”
Kristen says the rash is improving, but it’s not gone yet. “I mean this is 100 times better than it’s been,” she tells WH. “I’m still crazy itchy, and when I get hot it gets even itchier.”
If you’re suffering from eczema or other skin symptoms, it’s a good idea to follow Kristen’s lead and consult with a doctor who can help you find a solution.
A version of this article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Women’s Health. Pick up an issue on newsstands October 15.
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