What’s wrong with my emollient?

Most of the prescription emollients handed out by your doctor are likely to be drying your skin more than locking in moisture. The vast majority of these emollients are petroleum or paraffin based. Whilst they can feel like they are softening and moisturising the skin initially, the longer term effects of these emollients show they do just the opposite. Petroleum is an occlusive agent, this means that they create an airtight barrier on the skin, blocking the skin’s ability to breathe.

Occlusive agents don’t allow the skin to absorb moisture from the atmosphere. The theory behind an occlusive is that is works by reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), it traps moisture. So if it isn’t pulling in moisture from the atmosphere it has to be drawing it from the deeper layers of the skin, which in the long term is only adding to the chronic dryness.

Being that an occlusive traps moisture and creates an airtight barrier it stands to reason that it can potentially trap any bacteria onto the skin too, making the perfect environment for fungal overgrowth.

Occlusive agents to be aware of in your skincare products are: paraffin, petroleum / petrolatum, mineral oils, silicones and dimethicone.

These lotions prescribed for eczema contain occlusives, emollients and humectants. Humectants bond with water molecules and draw water to the skin, but if there is a strong occlusive agent in your lotion then we already know that the skin has been sealed by it’s airtight action.

Phenoxyethanol, SLS and parabens are also ingredients I would be wary of. I used to work for a company that manufactured chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry, I would look at the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for these chemicals and wonder how and why we were slathering our bodies in these toxic ingredients?. We know the skin absorbs a lot of what we apply to it! Many skincare chemical ingredients are possibly carcinogenic.

A couple of examples of a chemical safety data sheet:

Phenoxyethanol safety data sheet https://msds.orica.com/pdf/shess-en-cds-010-000000030047.pdf

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate safety data sheet
https://www.fishersci.com/shop/msdsproxy?productName=S5293&productDescription=SOD

All MSDS’s are available online for every chemical ingredient in your lotions! Worrying how the majority of them carry warnings of toxicity and skin irritation, yet pharmaceutical companies are happy to dilute them down and add them to their products.

So now you’re thinking, what can I use instead?

Not all occlusives are made equal! There are many safe and natural alternatives to the chemical laden offerings! Natural butters like shea butter, cocoa butter or waxes like bees wax etc all act as occlusives without being derived from toxic sources. They are easy to source and inexpensive.

Great products for eczema and itchy / dry skin:

https://egyptianmagic.com/ feels and looks like vaseline, yet completely free of anything nasty. I actually really love this stuff!

https://www.nealsyardremedies.com/wellbeing/herbal-remedies/herbal-creams-salves-and-oils/8276.html Chickweed (Stellaria) cream is also very soothing for dry, itchy patches of eczema

https://tropicskincare.com/products/tamanu-healing-balm Tropic make a lovely all natural balm for dry skin. It’s not cheap and not something to slather all over like you would an emollient, but if you have dry patches. Its lovely!

I just think we need to be aware that what we apply to our skin may actually be more damaging in the longer term. I don’t feel toxic chemicals are ultimately going to do anything for skin that is already inflamed.

It’s worth mentioning that the vast majority of shampoos, shower gels, sun creams and general body care products are laden with these toxic ingredients, we are absorbing these through our skin, and multiple times a day. Regardless of whether we have a skin condition or not, these chemicals should be avoided (in my opinion) look at the safety data and make some changes if you feel concerned.

I have lost count of the times I have met someone with severe eczema and they’ve started looking at what they’re using and swapped for more natural products, often huge improvements are made doing this alone.

I remember one case of a 20 year old man who came to see me. His Mum said his eczema came when he was 3 days after his first bath, she used the Johnson & Johnson junk in the Bounty box, sadly the doctors told her it was not related so she continued to use these products. 20 years later I said to this man to swap out all his products for more skin friendly ones, 3 months after his skin was clear, for the first time ever!

Anyway, I could go on and on……my main aim is to raise awareness for everyone to be more aware, it’s so easy to trust a brand or labelling on a product that professes to be ‘natural’

Aveeno is a perfect example of this, but hey, they are owned by Johnson & Johnson!!
https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/closed-settlements/880593-aveeno-natural-baby-wash-class-action-settlement/

Protopic – Why are we suppressing an immune system?

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What you get when the steroids stop working – Protopic, steroid free cream for eczema – sounds ideal doesn’t it? Except i’ve seen quite a number of people given this for severe ongoing eczema and it comes with quite a few contraindications and a scary list of potential side effects including:

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https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-20335/protopic-topical/details

The FDA tell us ‘The safety of PROTOPIC Ointment has not been established beyond one year of non-continuous use.’https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/050777s018lbl.pdf

So how do you manage chronic eczema after your year of non continuous use?
Because from what i’ve seen in patients Protopic either causes you a ton of issues on top of the eczema and also your eczema will resurface. Protopic is an immunosuppressant, it’s the only way conventional medicine has to ‘treat’ eczema. When the immune system comes out of suppression it will ramp up again and return the eczema, often with more force.

What modern medicine should be doing is asking why some people have an overactive immune system. But this is the failing of medicine. It compartmentalises people. It doesn’t look at the whole person but rather individual body systems. To affect change in anyone you have to address the root cause

The immune system, whether overactive or weak has its roots in the gut – this is where we need to treat, not suppressing the skin with topical steroids, or going one step further and compromising the entire immune system.

“An enormous fraction of the immune system’s constitutive function is aimed at controlling our relationship with the microbiota. As such the highest number of immune cells in the body are resident at sites colonized by commensals such as the skin or the GI tract. In turn, in order to protect their ecological niche, a dominant action of the healthy microbiota on the immune system is aimed at reinforcing barrier immunity and therefore their own containment. A central strategy utilized by the host to maintain its homeostatic relationship with the microbiota is to minimize contact between microorganisms and the epithelial cell surface thereby limiting tissue inflammation and microbial translocation. In the gastrointestinal tract, home to the largest density of commensals, this segregation is accomplished by the combined action of epithelial cells, mucus, IgA, antimicrobial peptides and immune cells. Collectively these structural and immunological components have been referred to as the “mucosal firewall”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056765/

Homeopathy is well aware of the power of the gut, for many years we have been using bowel nosode remedies to support the gut microbiota. We know the benefits that these remedies can yield, not only to the skin, but for allergies, atopic conditions, arthritis, joint pain, anxiety, IBS and IBDs and much more. Plus with using a bowel nosode remedy alongside organ support (adrenals, liver & kidneys) we encourage the bowel to take on some of the detoxing and take a load off of the skin.

It makes complete sense to aim treatment at the root, but instead the steroids and immunosupressants continue to be handed out with little support, no real guidance for use and all that is happening is that the doctor is deferring the problem and creating more for the future, because you cannot suppress the immune system indefinitely, that’s not a safe option for anyone and that is why Protopic comes with such side effects. It’s a dangerous bandaid.

I work online, internationally with eczema suffers, those with red skin syndrome and going through topical steroid withdrawal. Book a free no obligation appointment to talk to me about your concerns with your skin: https://tracywhitehomeopathy.setmore.com

First published to Steemit June 2019

Topical Steroid Withdrawal & Homeopathy

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Modern medicine classifies Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) and Red Skin Syndrome (RSS) as ‘rare’. It is not rare, but getting a medical diagnosis is. Some medical professionals question whether this condition even exists.

No doctor wants to accept responsibility for poorly managed eczema and the resulting fall out from the over prescribing of steroids. Whilst these steroids come with the advisory of using them short term, in my experience patients are relying on them on a daily basis over prolonged periods of time. Years in many cases. I’ve seen children in my clinic whose parents despair at the repeat prescriptions and the endless merry go round of creams.

Many of us know that these steroids are not addressing the eczema, they are just suppressing it, we know when we stop then the skin flares and we are back on that steroid cycle. Really we are trapped between flared skin or suppressing and running the gauntlet of steroid damage. This is because modern medicine really has nothing else to offer other than topical steroids, drugs like Protopic that suppress the immune system, oral steroids and antibiotics.

So how do you heal from TSW?

In my years in practice as a homeopath specialising in skin conditions, I have heard some horror stories of TSW, people bedridden for over a year, unable to work, skin pustular and infected, or burnt red raw and splitting – and this is all due to a drug that was given to help their eczema. Once they come through the withdrawal, which can takes years in some cases, they are usually back to square one again – dealing with eczema. Years of these steroids have done nothing to help the initial problem, they have just created a whole separate skin problem that never needed to have happened. Shocking really. And this is just the physical fallout of TSW, the huge mental and emotional element to this is also something that I hear on a regular basis.

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This photo above was a man who had an online appointment with me in April this year, 4 months into steroid withdrawal. The left hand photo was april and the right photo in may. One appointment using remedies focusing on adrenal support and a bowel remedy was transformational for him, still a work in progress but a positive start. His skin was burnt all over, splitting, itching and pustular in places. he’s very happy!

Homeopathy is working for people with TSW, the same way it is working for people with eczema. I don’t give a remedy for TSW or eczema, I base remedies on individual peoples symptoms (physical and emotional) I think we have all seen that the one pill / cream ethos of modern medicine is flawed. Even though you may have RSS, another sufferer will have differing symptoms, homeopathy knows this and knows it has to take every single detail into account. This is about YOU healing from TSW and this has to be tailored to YOU

I work by using organ support remedies alongside my prescriptions. The detoxing organs of the body can come under strain during TSW and need to be supported. I often use remedies that work on the gut as these can have a positive impact on skin healing, from both RSS and eczema itself. By using bowel focused remedies we are finding another pathway for the body to detox itself, taking some of the pressure off the skin is vital in severe cases.

How can TSW be rare when GPs (in the UK) handed out around 27 MILLION prescriptions for TS in 2015? With eczema rates on the increase then we are coming to a stage where TSW will be more prevalent. I am committed to helping eczema sufferers heal from eczema, I fear for the huge numbers of children being routinely treated with steroids and I know there is a another way, one that is safe, gentle and non toxic and NON ADDICTIVE

If you are affected by eczema or going through TSW then do contact me. I work internationally and always happy to offer a free no obligation chat.

https://tracywhitehomeopathy.setmore.comtracywhite.co.uk

First published to Steemit June 2019

The Eczema Epidemic

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Conventional medicine would have you believe that eczema is a lifelong affliction, the cause is unknown and treatment offered is nothing but suppressive creams to mask the problem.

Homeopathy takes a different viewpoint on eczema. Rather than seeing it as a stand alone condition, we see it as merely a symptom of an underlying imbalance. From the many cases of adult and infantile eczema I have seen and treated over the years I have learnt that there are a myriad of reasons why you, or your child, could be suffering with eczema, but they always have their root in the gut.

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Scary statistics

Homeopathy has a lot to offer eczema sufferers compared to conventional medicine. We, as homeopaths, don’t encourage suppression of skin, we address the eczema at its root. Conventional medicine might concede that eczema is the result of an overactive immune system, but it never asks WHY IS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM IN OVERDRIVE?
80% of our immune system originates in the gut, and if the gut is compromised there will be other indications, it is common to see asthma, food and seasonal allergies presenting alongside the eczema in many cases, and this atopic cocktail is fed by the over-driven immune system and the rising histamine levels.

New studies are showing that our gut bacteria is a factor in controlling and producing histamine, an inflammation feeding chemical. Increased histamine will create a cycle of allergic reactions and inflamed itchy skin. Certain strains of gut bacteria may actually be exacerbating histamine levels, which is why some probiotics may not be helping your gut or your skin.

So, what can we do about this?

Homeopathy has some powerful remedies called Bowel Nosodes think of these a bit like homeopathic probiotics, there are a dozen of these remedies, all slightly differing in their action, all of them have certain skin symptoms that help differentiate which one will be more beneficial. They cover so much more than skin too,gastrointestinal problems, asthma, chest issues, allergies, joint pains, mucus & sinus conditions as well as urinary tract problems can all point to the use of one of these remedies. Even anxiety and depression is covered by these, and the reason for this is simple:

Our gut bacteria influences our skin, our mood, our mental health and so much more than we give it credit (or the blame) for!

I regularly use one of these bowel nosodes when someone comes to see me for skin, IBS or allergy problems, they can often be a great start point in your journey back to health, sometimes they are all that is needed.

Conventional medicine does not have the same solution for eczema, it never looks past the surface. There is always a story behind someones eczema / psoriasis / dermatitis and like a book we need to read it in its entirety, for context. Your skin is just one symptom in this story, and homeopathy always looks at the bigger picture rather than focusing on just the skin.

When you address a condition at the deepest level possible this will have a ripple effect on every system of the body.

if you’d like a no obligation chat about how homeopathy can help eczema then do contact me https://tracywhitehomeopathy.setmore.com

Eczema – Why the drugs don’t work

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I am becoming more and more alarmed at the amount of infants and children coming to see me who have been on steroids constantly over prolonged periods of time. Some of them several years. Mums on a cycle of repeat prescriptions dished out by a GP, without question.

When we look at the NICE guidelines for corticosteroid use https://bnf.nice.org.uk/treatment-summary/topical-corticosteroids.html
we see that it is advised that even mild (0.1-2.5 %) topical steroids are only used for a duration of 1-2 weeks on infants & children, this is because children are more susceptible to side effects. In rare cases adrenal suppression and Cushing’s syndrome can occur. I have seen children on very potent strength steroids, like Betnovate, applied daily.

In the UK in 2015 almost 27 MILLION prescriptions were written out for topical skin treatments, costing £169 MILLION! Figures suggest 15 MILLION people in the UK are affected by eczema, to varying severity. This is a massive amount of money for a treatment that doesn’t actually address the eczema, it palliates the skin symptoms, but the root cause is not addressed and the skin then becomes reliant on steroids to suppress the eczema. I have had parents tell me they are religiously applying a steroid and the eczema just appears on another part of the body – which hasn’t been affected before. These poor parents are literally chasing eczema around their children’s bodies.

It seems a joke to me that Homeopathy is becoming less available on the NHS, it is so effective at treating eczema, it doesn’t suppress, has no side effects and won’t thin or damage a childs delicate skin (and I have seen my fair share of adults now suffering with long term steroid skin damage because of steroid overuse). £169 MILLION is being spent on a cream that does not cure the condition

The irony is that homeopathy is affordable, gentle and non addictive – so it has no appeal to a pharmaceutical company. But I continue to wage my war on steroids. I know there is a better way than these topical creams. I know that homeopathy heals in a way that is more than skin deep, it may not always be an overnight fix, but its goal is to heal at a far deeper level than a cream could ever reach.

Conventional medicine says eczema is not curable, and this is true within the capabilities of conventional drugs. Homeopathy says otherwise, and I see this in action every day

Skin heals when the root cause is addressed

First published to Steemit April 2019

Eczema – Living a life free of steroids.

Joe’s mum booked an online appointment with me in June last year. He was only 2 years old and came for his eczema, which was extremely severe. It had begun at 9 weeks old. Joe was a very allergic child with a constant streaming nose and a history of ear infections. To date he had over 12 courses of antibiotics for either his skin, ears or chest infections. He had been hospitalised on several occasions for his eczema, which would leave him itchy, red raw and screaming in agony. When his skin flared there was barely an inch that wasn’t open, sore or weeping.

Steroid creams were applied around the clock, and piriton for his wheeze and allergies (hay fever) Mum said she felt sad that they couldn’t enjoy the simple things like going to swimming pools, messy play or holidays, as everything flared Joe’s skin.

There was a bit of an aggressive side to Joe. He would be very slap happy with his peers and would often bite his Mum when he became frustrated. He had a constant runny nose and a bit of a wheeze on his chest. High fevers and swollen glands were a regular occurrence.

I started Joe off on Tub 200c, hoping to see some relief to his eczema suffering, I figured his behaviour was an outward expression of the pain and irritation he was feeling from his skin.

July 2018: six weeks later and Joe is a different child. I cannot believe the transformation. The skin is incredible! The nose has dried up and the aggression is barely there are no biting. The only eczema remaining is a couple of patches in the folds of his elbows, which is where it initially began (this is a good sign for a homeopath as it tells us that the body is healing and symptoms are resolving in the reverse order they appeared) Mum has not used any steroids or piriton for 6 weeks and has torn up her repeat prescriptions!
Shortly after the Tub 200c Joe developed a hacking cough that lasted 3-4 days, he was sick a few times from the cough and then it cleared. His sleep improved and his skin started to dry out and heal up. I repeated the Tub 200c as there is still some residual eczema and a slight trace of aggression is still there.

September 2018: On the third appointment the skin of the elbows has healed further, nothing is visible to the eye and the only sign of the eczema is a slight sandpapery feel to the arm creases.
Behaviour wise Joe is a lot more content and there has been no aggression towards anyone. The chest is better and generally Joe is a different child from the one i met 3 months ago. Last time I heard all was going well and the skin is still clear. Possibly some more hay fever work to do in the spring if it becomes an issue, but for now he’s eczema free and off the steroids, which is my goal for any child (or adult) in Joe’s situation.

Response in this case was very fast, children have a very good capacity to heal when given the right remedy. A well matched constitutional remedy will have a broad action on the body. Not just on the physical complaints, but also mental & emotional factors too. So for Joe the skin was just one element to his case, the weak chest, repeated ear infections and the aggression were all calmed by the same remedy, a remedy that suited him as an individual. We call this the constitutional approach, and in practice I see it is as a very powerful tool in the healing of many illnesses and afflictions.

Book a FREE consultation to talk about your eczema concerns:

 https://tracywhitehomeopathy.setmore.com

First published to Steemit 04/01/2019

Steroids & Eczema – A Flawed Treatment

 

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Over the years in practice I have met many children with eczema, sometimes this isn’t why they have be brought to see me, often it’s mild and ‘managed’ with steroid creams and sometimes its severe and ongoing and the parents and child have ultimately been forced to live with it.

I notice that these children often have other issues running alongside their eczema, I see a lot of bowel issues presenting at the same time as eczema, behavioural problems and hyperactivity and/or aggression, allergies and intolerances to food and external allergens like hay fever.

The modern medicine approach to eczema is steroid cream, whilst this may give temporary relief to the problem it rarely fixes it. Steroids are unsafe to use over prolonged periods of time so the child lives in a state of suppression under the action of these creams. When they are stopped the skin reverts back to its job of being the largest organ of detoxification, and it sets about trying to push out via the skin whatever it is struggling with.

It’s a cycle of express – suppress – express, and it can be relentless and extremely distressing for both parent and child.

Homeopathys contribution to eczema issues is a clever and simple one. It doesn’t attempt to suppress the body at all, it respects the body and allows it to do whatever it needs to do, whilst using remedies to support this process and ease the burden on the skin and other detoxification organs.

As a homeopath I am interested in all aspects of a child, not just the skin symptoms, but also other physical complaints as well as mental and emotional expressions and behaviours. I want to know as much as I can about the uniqueness of your child, for this is the foundation of homeopathy. The individual, remedies given to match your child on many levels, the more I know about a child the more likely I am to be able to help them. What are their weak areas? What is their medical history? When did the eczema begin?

What I notice about children is that they are often an open book. Ask the right questions to the parent, or child, and the information I need to give a remedy is usually found. I don’t think as parents we are used to thinking in this way. A GP never asks how it began, they are mostly uninterested in our theories of triggers and often give conflicting views on allergies and eczema. It can seem like a minefield trying to navigate our way out of eczema. Sadly by the time I get to see a child the eczema has been in place a long time, and been controlled by steroids for some time, whilst this is not the end of the world, it can make the treatment of it more prolonged. When I am lucky enough to meet a baby with new eczema that is free of suppressive medication then the response is normally a lot quicker.

Whilst there are many triggers for eczema, sometimes we just don’t know why a particular child has trouble shifting it. Often emotional factors can set it off, or aggravate it. I lose count of the amount of times a parent will say that the problem flares when the child is stressed, or a parents relationship breaks down, or some sort of life event happens.
Others say it appeared after several courses of antibiotics for a chest or ear infection, the possibilities are endless.

Eczema is just a symptom of something deeper, as is hyperactivity, repeat ear and chest infections are just symptoms too, homeopathy looks to find the cause, because when you address something at the heart then all the peripheral symptoms should slowly improve, and this is my experience in practice. Behaviour calms, eczema dries up and fades, chests and ears begin to become more hardy.

Homeopathy aims to re-balance the body, it is a catalyst to set the body into motion, and when we are healthy and well we can fight infection better, our immune system is optimised and doesn’t need antibiotics to help it overcome. This in turn keeps the gut biome strong and this is our biggest defence.
An holistic approach takes the whole being into account, it doesn’t separate symptoms and focus on those alone, because this is a flawed model of healthcare

One pill (or cream) does not fit all.

If you are struggling with eczema issues with your child, please do get in contact to see what we can do to help. I offer free reviews to chat about your hopes and concerns.

Online appointments available.