Topical Steroids for EczemaEczema affects steroid tablets for eczema of people in the UK. The most common type of the condition — atopic eczema — affects around one in five children and around one in 10 adults. The condition is sometimes known as 'the itch you can't scratch' because scratching just makes it worse, leading to more pain tblets even infection. Not surprisingly, people who suffer from eczema are keen to try any remedy that will ease the itch and prevent further flare-ups. Topical steroid creams, applied directly to the skin, are highly effective, but steroid tablets for eczema do have a down side.
A non-steroid approach to eczema
Eczema affects millions of people in the UK. The most common type of the condition — atopic eczema — affects around one in five children and around one in 10 adults. The condition is sometimes known as 'the itch you can't scratch' because scratching just makes it worse, leading to more pain and even infection. Not surprisingly, people who suffer from eczema are keen to try any remedy that will ease the itch and prevent further flare-ups.
Topical steroid creams, applied directly to the skin, are highly effective, but they do have a down side. They only offer a temporary solution and can cause the skin to become thinner over time, leading to spidery-looking thread veins. In the run-up to National Eczema Week September , here are some alternatives to steroids that can make a real difference to the condition. This means cutting out soaps and detergents, avoiding hot water that dries out the skin and moisturising regularly with emollients.
For cleansing, try gentle moisturising cleaners and oatmeal-based bath oils, such as Aveeno. It's also a good idea to buy a good humidifier to prevent the room drying out. Dust mites live on human skin scales.
They are mostly harmless but can aggravate eczema. Unfortunately, they are present in all houses and are impossible to eradicate. Nonetheless, a reduction in dust can lessen their presence. Where possible replace carpets with floorboards and vacuum regularly, including the bed itself. Whether dietary changes make a difference is open to debate. Some people report that cheese exacerbates their condition, but this varies from individual to individual.
Dr Lowe says alcohol is a known trigger. So, he advises only moderate drinking. He also recommends fish oil supplements.
Some studies have looked into whether probiotics can help eczema but the evidence is inconclusive. It's well known that anxiety causes eczema to flare up. This helps the body to cope with the stress and may even improve the eczema for a while. But as the levels of cortisol fall again the body rebounds and the condition can worsen,' explains Dr Lowe.
Relaxation techniques may help you reduce the likelihood of a flare-up in the first place. Dr Mark Goodfield, President of the British Association of Dermatologists, says ultraviolet light treatment can be used for severe eczema, although it needs to be carried out in a specialist hospital department under the supervision of a dermatologist.
Cooling bandages wet wraps can also help for short periods in treating children. Newer non-steroid-based creams, include Protopic ointment and Elidel cream, both help reduce the immune reaction that results in flare-ups — although they are only available on prescription. Other new treatment includes biological agents, which reduce the inflammatory cytokines — the inflammation controlling chemicals that cause eczema.
Last year, researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong published a study in the British Journal of Dermatology that showed that patients who took capsules containing five raw herbs based on a widely used ancestral Chinese concoction, had less need for conventional steroids. Despite this promising evidence, dermatologists advise against herbal medicines — claiming the ingredients are sometimes contaminated with steroids and may be linked with liver damage.
Nonetheless, Chinese herbal medicine is regularly used in the UK to treat eczema. To find a reputable practitioner visit the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine at: Conventional dermatologists say there's no scientific proof to support the use of homeopathy.
But a number of patients swear by it. Nicki Grihault, homeopath, Licentiate of the College of Homeopathy, explains: This means skin problems are treated as a constitutional problem rather than as a superficial problem. Remedies are prescribed on an individual basis, although acute episodes respond well to Graphites, Sulphur and Rhus Tox. The British Homeopathic Association: A study, from the South Bank University in London, recently compared the use of massage and aromatherapy massage in the treatment of eczema.
The results revealed that children receiving a massage from their mothers showed an improvement in their eczema regardless of whether oils were used or not suggesting it was the stress reducing aspect of the treatment that worked rather than the oils themselves. According to Dr Mike Cummings, medical director of the British Medical Acupuncture Society, there's no direct evidence that acupuncture works for eczema.
But he does say it can help reduce itchiness. Acupuncture works for pain, therefore it may have some effect on the itch if the mechanisms are related. The National Eczema Society: Website of dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe: Like Us On Facebook. Follow Us On Pinterest Netdoctor. Cancer Depression Diabetes Digestive health All conditions.
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