My son has recently developed eczema, which is giving him a bit of grief at school. It started in the inside of his elbows, but I have begun to notice it appearing between his fingers and around his nostrils. I’m starting to think it could either be seasonal, or, a reaction to some sort of food. I am thinking about taking him to see a naturopath if it continues to worsen as I don’t agree with the use of hydrocortisone cream. Have you seen anything like this before – is there anything you can recommend that we do for him?
You are right, while hydrocortisone cream provides rapid relief, it is just suppressing the inflammation which might lead to deeper inflammatory states in the future. The best thing of course is to try and identify what is causing the Eczema, it could be dietary or environmental so I agree you should find a local Naturopath or Integrative Doctor who is able to assist you with appropriate and safe sensitivity testing for your son. In the meantime switch to natural detergents (soaps, washing powders / fabric softeners etc) suitable for sensitive skins and if the Eczema is dry keep hydrated with a natural moisturizer. There are some great natural moisturizers available in health shops and pharmacies or from natural health practitioners that are specifically formulated for Eczema.
Internally I would suggest a couple of supplements which may help. A new discovery with fish oils is that they contain something called ‘resolvins’ which actually ‘resolve’ inflammation by supporting the immune systems natural function, not by suppressing the inflammation. You should look for a fish oil with higher EPA to DHA ratio as EPA is mainly responsible for resolving inflammation and also combating dry skin. If you can, find a product that also contains GLA (ideally from Borage Oil) as it is specifically indicated for skin conditions such as Eczema. In case it is food related, I would also suggest a digestive enzyme formulation specifically designed to reduce foods to their smallest possible components so the body no longer recognizes them as something to react to. The product you choose should cover gluten and dairy at least. All the best with getting this ‘resolved’!
*Please note that the information provided above is only to educate, not to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please seek advice from your own healthcare provider before embarking on any treatment/health program.
By Michele Wilton
ND, Dip Med Herb
Michele is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist and works as a Technical Advisor for NaturalMeds.