Itchy unsightly lesions are the hallmark of eczema and the only “cure” seems to be corticosteroid-based creams… but you are searching for a better, more sustainable answer.
This is where we can help.
Eczema usually presents in childhood years and can be part of the “atopic triad” of symptoms – those include a chronic runny nose (rhinitis), eczema and asthma. 20% of children in developed countries have eczema and the number of eczema cases in the U.S.A has almost tripled in 30 years. We think of eczema as a skin disease when it is actually
almost always linked to increased intestinal permeability (“leaky gut”), sub-optimal intestinal flora and a great deal of food intolerances. This leads to an immune overreaction, manifesting as eczema.
Our modern-day society makes it difficult to maintain optimal gut health. Research has shown that the routine use of C-sections for birth, the overuse of antibiotics to treat minor illness (also in the industrially-raised meat we eat), and our diet rich in processed foods – are all contributors to poor intestinal balance. Suboptimal intestinal health often goes unnoticed, with the slow development of food intolerances, followed by the appearance of eczema.
The IgG test is often times useful in quickly identifying main food intolerances and subsequently removing them from the individual’s diet. For children, this process can have dramatic effects with skin improvements usually visible within 2-3 weeks. Using a combination of gut-healing supplements and a restricted diet for a few months will typically bring about lasting improvements.
Individuals with eczema who have extensively used steroid ointments may find it more difficult to heal their skin, as a condition known as Topical Steroid Withdrawal (or “red skin syndrome”) is now emerging both in clinical practice and in scientific literature. Stubborn eczema despite serious and prolonged dietary restrictions as per food intolerance tests often indicates a situation of rebound skin rashes and flaking due to the discontinuation of prolonged steroid use. For these individuals, treatment can be more complicated and require more time and this is where we would focus much more on herbal agents to support adrenal function. Indeed, the adrenal glands which normally produce our natural anti-inflammatory cortisol become hindered in their natural production through the use of steroid creams and that in a short a time as 2 weeks of use (This is particularly true in children whose skin is thinner and in certain body areas such as the diaper area). Once steroid agents are discontinued or gradually tapered, the idea is to naturally support the adrenals through lifestyle, diet and supplemental/herbal agents so as to avoid intense skin flare-ups. This process may take months to years but is ultimately successful in most TSW-sufferers who persevere.
More information on topical withdrawal syndrome can be found on the ITSAN website, an American support group. Away with Eczema is an invaluable support group for those with eczema or TSW here in Singapore.