Millions of eczema sufferers go from one medication to another looking for relief they’ll never find. Why? Because many of the most commonly prescribed skin care treatments can cause such dangerous side effects they can be used only for a short time. Some of these drugs also sport black-box FDA warnings and even have wrongful death and injury suits pending. But a new study may motivate doctors to incorporate more non-toxic eczema treatment into their recommendations.
Among the most dangerous eczema medications prescribed are those containing corticosteroids such as prednisone. Some are in cream or ointment form and others are taken orally.
According to the Mayo Clinic, topical corticosteroid treatments can cause skin irritation, discoloration, thinning of the skin, infections, and stretch marks if they are used repeatedly or over a long period of time. The side effects of taking them orally are even worse—high blood pressure, muscle weakness, cataracts, osteoporosis, and decreased resistance to infection are among the complaints.
Two of the eczema treatment drugs with black box warnings—Elidel and Protopic—have been suspected in at least seventy-eight reported cases of cancer, and the FDA acknowledges these cases could be related to the drugs.
These side effects have led many eczema sufferers to seek natural, drug-free eczema treatments. A new study, to be presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), may offer doctors and patients an alternative.
Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York analyzed the results of treating fourteen eczema sufferers with traditional Chinese medicine. The treatment included an herb tea, a bath additive, creams, and acupuncture.
All but one patient realized a 50 percent improvement in the severity of their condition and quality of life in less that two-and-a-half months. Within just over three months, that percentage had increased by 60–90 percent.
The researchers hope these results will motivate more doctors to use these natural, non-toxic eczema treatments and recommend that patients consult with their doctors about the possibility.
As eczema is often caused by exposure to chemicals, thousands of doctors are now also recommending shielding lotion, another major breakthrough in eczema treatment.
“Every day our skin is exposed to numerous chemicals and irritants just in everyday life—you don’t have to be working in chemicals or with cleaning fluids to have that happen, “ said Dr. Lisa Benest, a board certified dermatologist who practices in Burbank, California. “Skin care and skin treatment is important in today’s polluted environment. A good shielding lotion provides an invisible barrier on the skin to help protect us from all these irritants, which can lead to dry skin, eczema and other skin problems.”
Dr. Peter Helton, a board certified dermatologist, practicing in Newport Beach, California, has also found shielding lotion to be extremely effective as eczema treatment. “Since using this new shielding lotion, we were able to decrease the incidence of eczema and decrease the dryness that we see in skin conditions like psoriasis, much more than we were able to do in the past.”
The prevalence of eczema, which has reached epidemic proportions, is evidence enough of the ineffectiveness of traditional drug treatments; not only are the drugs failing to reduce the incidence of eczema in the general population, they are also causing harm.
Scientific studies that prove the efficacy of natural skin care treatments such as shielding lotion and traditional Chinese medicine may make long-term eczema suffering a thing of the past. Hopefully, more doctors and patients will take advantage of these natural, safe, and effective eczema treatment alternatives.