Eczema Explained

If you’ve ever had a “touch of eczema”, a non-contagious dry skin condition, you will be aware how relentless symptoms can sometimes be.

Patient’s arms before remedies – January 2022

Eczema is particularly prevalent in young children and the National Eczema Society (NES) estimates that it affects 1 in 5 children in the UK.  The most common form is ‘atopic’, often running in families with an inherited predisposition.

However, there are many types of eczema and symptoms can occur at any age.  As many as 1 in 10 adults in the UK, also develop symptoms. Eruptions in adulthood can be triggered by many things including medications, allergies, emotional upset, anxiety or stress.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms can range from small itchy patches which can be red, dry, and scaly to more severe, larger areas with cracks, bleeding, weeping and crusting.

Patient’s neck before remedies – January 2022

Patches often erupt behind the knees or in elbow creases yet can occur in other parts of the body too. Skin on the scalp, face, hands, torso, neck, behind the ears, around the genitals and eyes can be affected.

These can be very painful and unsightly, leading to infections, antibiotics, antihistamines and steroids.

Even for those with milder symptoms, it can be extremely difficult to manage the ‘itch’ and subsequent scratching.  However, for those with severe eczema, especially children, life can sometimes feel like an endless cycle of dealing with symptoms.

This can often be very challenging, upsetting and time-consuming affecting the whole family supporting them.

What are the conventional treatment options? 

It is essential to visit your GP for a diagnosis and advice. Often emollients (for daily use) and topical steroid creams (for use sparingly in flare-ups) are prescribed. However many people are concerned about using steroid creams long term as they can cause atrophy, or thinning of the skin, if used too much.

In addition, special paste bandages and wet wraps may be suggested if the itch is unbearable and scratching is a big issue. 

Some people may also be prescribed antihistamines to take at night to help sleep, and in more severe cases oral steroids and various other new medications. 

What can Homeopathy do?

Patient’s arms 3 weeks after starting homeopathic remedies  –  February 2022

A scientific study of 118 eczema patients, published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2008,  concluded  Homeopathy can be just as effective as the conventional option.

Yet remedies do not have the unwanted side effects of some of the topical steroid creams and new medications and can be prescribed alongside conventional medicines if necessary, making them very user friendly.

Any discussion about reducing or stopping any medication can only be done with the GP or whoever prescribed them to you.

There is evidence of a close link between the gut and skin, often called the ‘Gut-Skin Axis’.  In many cases it is essential to look at gut health as well as skin symptoms. I often prescribe something for the gut alongside something for the patient as a whole, and  for any inherited predisposition to symptoms.

This three-pronged approach can be extremely effective.

 Patient’s neck 3 weeks after starting homeopathic remedies  –  February 2022

Recently I saw a young girl whose mother described her eczema as ‘severe’. I used the method described above and within 3 weeks her symptoms had improved considerably (see photos).

N.B. The photos taken throughout this post were taken and very kindly shared by the mother of the young girl mentioned above with her permission. 

“  I’m really so impressed, and feel very lucky you have an interest in and knowledge of eczema. Really thrilled with how much better it is.”   

Mrs E F, Whitchurch, Hampshire. (Mother of patient).

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more.