HOW WE TREAT ECZEMA
At Breakspear Medical, we understand how frustrating and difficult eczema can be for those struggling with the condition. Our goal is to help identify what’s triggering your reaction so as to eliminate or reduce it. While a customised approach may take more time than traditional methods of treatment, our team will work diligently towards finding an effective solution that alleviates itching and broken skin in order to improve your quality of life.
Your treatment plan may include exclusion diets, food challenges, 24-hour urine elements analysis to provide more information on nutritional status, nutritional supplements and avoidance of dyes and salicylates, which may worsen eczema.
Low-dose Immunotherapy (LDI) is an effective way to combat common allergies and sensitivities. Allergies/sensitivities to things such as dust mites, pet dander, food intolerance, fungi/yeast overgrowth or pollen can all be addressed. With a history of treating this conditions spanning four decades, LDI has established itself as a great method for those suffering from environmental related reactions.
Treatment of eczema elsewhere is usually by application of oils, ointments, creams containing emollients and/or steroids. Occasionally steroids and antihistamines are required by mouth or by injection. We also give advice to consider alternatives to using topical products containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is commonly found in skin preparations to suppress the condition and can irreversibly thin and damage the skin. One alternative is to use an emulsion made from medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT) and water. Another option to consider is the use of a combination of 50% white soft paraffin BP and 50% liquid paraffin as an emollient ointment for the symptomatic relief of dry skin conditions.
If you suffer from eczema, make an appointment for an initial consultation with a member of our Clinical Team.
Being able to identify the root causes of allergy/sensitivity and then adjusting the body’s reaction through low-dose immunotherapy makes a world of different to a patient’s quality of life. Low-dose immunotherapy works by changing the immune system so that a reaction doesn’t occur when
someone is exposed to an allergen or provocant.”
Jean Monro, Environmental Naturopath
SUPPLEMENTS FOR ECZEMA
Nutritional supplements, with the use of essential fats vitamin E digestive enzymes, have all been helpful for eczema, as well as other supplements to address allergy/sensitivity. A member of our Clinical Team can advise which supplements may be most beneficial for your type of eczema. Often supplements are used in prescribed doses, which may vary considerably from the standard recommended doses. A wide range of herbal remedies can also help as part of the first step to working towards feeling better.
Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin. It is a chronic condition in most people. The location and intensity of the it may vary significantly and include:
- dry, sensitive skin
- intense itching
- red, inflamed skin
- recurring rash
- scaly areas
- oozing and crusting
The familiar rash of eczema (red, itchy flaking of the skin, particularly of the folds of a limb) affects approximately 5% of the population.
There are different types of eczema, each with has its own characteristics and best methods for management.
Exogenous eczema: this type of eczema may be caused by external factors, producing allergic contact eczema, irritant contact eczema, infective and photo-allergic eczema.
Endogenous eczema: is a type of skin condition where the exact cause is not obvious. Those with this type of condition can experience abnormal antibody responses when exposed to environmental allergens, such as pollen and dust mite droppings. Such patients have an excessive antibody response to common substances (antigens) and may suffer other allergic conditions, such as hay fever or asthma. This type of eczema often starts in infants on cessation of breast feeding. It has been shown that the condition of many children can be improved by avoidance of foods which are commonly found to be allergy-provoking, such as cow’s milk and eggs. People who have this form often come from families with allergies.
Allergic contact eczema: this type results from allergic sensitisation by contact with a variety of substances. Direct contact with things such as nickel, chrome, or rubber can cause an area of eczema to appear at the site of contact between 24 and 96 hours later. Foods may be responsible for contact eczema, and food handlers and eczema sufferers must be aware of this possibility.
At Breakspear Medical, we feel it’s important for sufferers of eczema to find the root cause of their individual symptoms so we can begin building a plan for managing it effectively.
Book an appointment to get started on your personalised eczema treatment programme.
We have shared information about eczema in our Breakspear Medical Bulletins over the years including:
What do you offer for eczema which is different to other clinics?
Managing eczema is always a two part process of addressing both the allergic/sensitivity responses and the environment, which includes what is in contact with the skin. While a barrier or steroidal cream may help relieve the symptoms, we work to determine the cause. By taking an environmental history, we look at the relationship between the external environment and the skin, and between the internal environment, which includes the diet and gut function, and the gut flora and skin. We can address the allergies/sensitivities using low-dose immunotherapy and recommend nutritional supplementation that help.
Are there things I can change in my environment to reduce my eczema?
Yes, absolutely. If you suffer from eczema, you have to consider clothing and bedding, the entire household environment, which has dust, dust mite, whether there are pets or encounters with animals, which cleaning products you use and your diet.
What can I do to reduce my eczema?
Eczema can be frustrating, but there are things you can do to help manage it. Firstly, identify the trigger times, which may be foods, chemicals or inhaled allergens, such as pet dander or pollen. This can be done using low-dose immunotherapy. Secondly, to further reduce sensitivities, it might also be helpful to limit exposure to chemicals on your skin by making changes in skincare products and detergents used for washing clothes. Thirdly, look into mast cell stabilisers like Nalcrom ketotifen and quercetin (an antihistamine). Fourthly, we recommend a simple emulsion of medium chain triglyceride oil MCT oil and water applied sparingly or 50% white soft paraffin and 50% liquid paraffin and emollient ointment for symptomatic relief. Talking with a member of our Clinical Team will help you determine the best treatment for your eczema.
How long will it take to treat my eczema?
Sadly, there is no easy answer to this question. At Breakspear Medical, we look at each patient individually and therefore your customised treatment programmes will be different from other patients and, depending on a variety of factors, including severity, it may take a few weeks to many months to start feeling better.
Does nutritional supplementation help with eczema?
Yes. The skin is particularly vulnerable to the pain and soreness caused by eczema-induced dry, cracked skin. However, certain lipids such as alpha linolenic acid may help improve symptoms in approximately half of all patients with atopic eczema, gamma linolenic acid helps keep moisture locked into the affected area, while eicosapentaenoic can be consumed or applied topically for relief. Additionally, minerals such as calcium, potassium, selenium and silicon play an important role in alleviating uncomfortable flare ups. Vitamin deficiencies should be considered when seeking treatment solutions for severe cases of eczema. Also, looking for gastrointestinal links often reveals possible causes that could further aid sufferers.