post-title Alternative Therapies for Eczema 2015-02-26 23:05:20 yes no Posted by

Alternative Therapies for Eczema

By: Dr. Grace Ryu With the cold dry air of winter your eczema has probably flared. People are always looking for an alternative to steroid creams. Steroid creams are often needed when the inflammation cannot be managed with moisturizers. There are many new formulations of moisturizers containing ceramides or waxy lipid molecules (fatty acids). Many […]

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By: Dr. Grace RyuGraceRyu-300x285

With the cold dry air of winter your eczema has probably flared. People are always looking for an alternative to steroid creams. Steroid creams are often needed when the inflammation cannot be managed with moisturizers. There are many new formulations of moisturizers containing ceramides or waxy lipid molecules (fatty acids). Many studies suggest that decreased ceramide levels in the skin are one of the major problems causing eczema. These moisturizers help restore the concentration of ceramide thus fixing the barrier function. These creams can be expensive and petroleum based products seem to have similar effectiveness with much lower cost.

There are also several more natural products that could be used such as coconut oil and sunflower seed oil. Coconut oil is a good emollient and has some antibacterial properties. It was shown to reduce staphylococcus on the skin when applied twice a day for one month. This may help decrease the inflammation and itching that is caused by Staphlococcus.

Probiotics and the effect it has on eczema are controversial. Some studies show a benefit while others show none. Also there are still many unanswered questions about dosing, timing and the appropriate type of probiotic.

Phototherapy with narrowband UVB light has long been a therapeutic treatment for eczema. This treatment significantly increases the levels of vitamin D in those patients, so researchers have done studies looking at vitamin D supplementation in eczema. Several studies have shown remarkable improvement in eczema with vitamin D supplementation. Topical vitamin D on the other hand seems to worsen eczema so it should be avoided.

Combining conventional medicine with alternative medicine maybe helpful for some patients, but conventional treatment when done routinely often controls eczema well.

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