Category Archives: Treatments

My personal experience with conventional and alternative treatments: bleach bath, traditional chinese medicine… etc

17 Months – Still good!

Standard

When I’m stressed and need alone time I tend to write on my blog. So my eczema is still under control. I haven’t had to use steroids at all. I do have a bit of eczema in the usual places but it is very mild and not very noticeable. I forgot to mention that when I first stopped using topical steroids I started to get eczema in places I’ve never had eczema before. I don’t remember when, but it has pretty much disappeared. To be honest I’m a little sad. I feel that I can’t really contribute to this blog anymore but I still want to support those who are going through TSW 🙂

Best of luck everyone!

How Topical Steroid Withdrawal (15 months) Helped to fix my Eczema

Standard

It worked, at least for me 🙂 It took about 1 painful year. Of course, it is by no means “cured”. My skin just doesn’t flare up and go blotchy red scaly skin. I do still get the occasional mild itch on my elbows or hands that goes away pretty quickly.

If you read my previous post you know that I’ve recently returned home to Canada from Ireland. I was skeptical whether my eczema got better because I went to live in a more humid place or because I had stopped using topical steroids for over a year by the time I was in Ireland. After spending 2 weeks back in a very dry climate in Canada, my skin got a lot drier but never once did it flare-up like it would in the past, especially in the winter where the heater drys out my skin. It’s incredible that only one year ago, I would take a morning bath to moisturize my skin and my neck would be flaming red and feeling raw. I’m really happy I stopped using topical steroids. Sometimes I worry that if I stay longer in Canada, my eczema would creep back with a vengeance. Hopefully it was the topical steroids all along.

Thinking back, my eczema was so bad during the first few months of topical steroids withdrawal that I wondered if I was making a mistake and whether it was worth it. I can now say it was for me 🙂 Instinctively, I felt that there was a good scientific possibility that steroids was making my eczema worse and so I kept up with it. I really hope that other people will give TSW a try and add to the growing number of people that has benefited from it.

14 months. Update

Standard

First, I would like to apologize for neglecting this blog. It’s amazing how motivated one is when they first start something and how it dwindles and dies over time. I remember telling myself that I won’t be that person who forgot to write on her blog when things got better but it is exactly what ended up happening. It’s been 7 months since my last post. I’m happy to say I haven’t had a single flare-up since August. I still get the occasional dry skin on my neck and elbow but nothing like the flaming red flare-ups in the past. However, I can’t say for sure that topical steroids withdrawal is responsible because I left for Ireland in mid-August. I moved from a very dry place in Canada to a very humid place and this may well be the very reason for my skin improvement. However, there is also that possibility that had I not stopped using topical steroids my eczema would have been worse in Ireland.  I will be back in Canada during Christmas. It will be interesting to see whether I get a flare-up there. Until then, Merry Christmas everyone!

Lavender Essential Oil for Eczema

Standard

lavender Does lavender essential oil help with eczema?

I remember coming across a post about using lavender essential oil to calm that troubling itch at night. Thus, when I came across this cute little stand selling essential oils, I decided to give it a good try. Every night for the past week, I’ve been putting a few drops onto my pillow case. I also, soak a few drops onto a piece of fluffy cotton and place it near where the mist comes out of the humidifier hoping somehow that it would lift the scent of lavender into the air. I’ve also applied it directly onto my neck during a flare. It gave off a very cool feeling and did reduce the urge to scratch (I’ve only tried this once so don’t take my word for it).

My conclusion is that no significant changes were observed. However, I have been able to sleep better since I’ve started using it but that could be because I’m on holiday. We just have to wait and see I suppose.

Does fish oil help with eczema?

Standard

Image

Maximizing the benefits of omega 3 supplements:
Most of us with eczema have probably heard about the benefits of omega 3 supplements. The problem is that their prone to both light and heat oxidation. One way to test if your supplements are good is to slice open a pill and taste it (I know nasty right?). If it tastes rancid or smells funny that means it is no longer good. To prevent oxidation store them in a dark bottle at a cool location. In addition, oil supplements must be taken with food to maximize absorption. The reason is because that vitamins must bind to fats in order for them to be efficiently taken up by our intestines. Lastly, the more the recommended number of capsules per day the better. Purchase bottles where there is a low concentration of fatty acids and requires multiple capsules a day, rather than a high concentration capsule.  If the concentration is too high, chances are your body won’t have enough time to absorb all of it.

Do fatty acid supplements help with eczema?
I honestly can’t say. I haven’t noticed a dramatic improvement and yet it feels like my skin would be worse off without it. My guess is that if your eczema is dietary in nature, then this will help you.

Other recommendations: borage oil

Can Humidifiers Help with Eczema?

Standard

As you know living in a dry climate or turning up the heat during winter can dry out your skin further aggravating your eczema. Since I’ve gotten the humidifier, I wake up with less flaky skin, especially in the winter. Also, for a while I’ve been waking up with crusty eyes, but it stopped with the humidifier. Personally, I think this is a luxury item and won’t have a significant improvement on your quality of life. It will only help to reduce dryness which can make your eczema worse but it won’t eliminate it completely.

For more details on my experience with a humidifier and choosing one below:

One morning I woke up, mouth parched with the skin on my neck flaking off like snowflakes, only not so pretty. With the winter coming, I decided that I had to buy a humidifier. However, my past experience with my last humidifier was horrid. I had bought one from Canadian Tire for ~$30. It was a cool mist humidifier with a reusable filter and a fan. It ended up being a huge mistake. First of all, to prevent bacteria growth I had to clean the sloppy tank on a daily basis with an antibacterial solution. To make matters worse, the longer I used it, the more I found myself waking up with a sore throat. To top of it off, I’ve had crusty white mould growing in my room. The hydrostat was largely inaccurate and because it didn’t decalcify the tap water, there was white filmy calcium deposit wherever the mists landed and inside the water tank. The filters were nasty looking even after I had cleaned them.  It was such a horrible experience that I swore I would never buy another humidifier again.

Image

When winter hit again, I got desperate once again and looked up the best humidifiers on the market. Ones that kept coming up were the Air-O-Swiss humidifiers. I was hesitant at first because they were expensive but I was desperate so I quickly bought the AOS Ultrasonic U650 warm & cold mist humidifier and never looked back. These humidifiers are superior to drugstore brands for many reasons:

1)      They come with an ionic stick that will prevent bacteria growth for one year. This means you never have to disinfect. I was skeptical at first, but I haven’t woken up to a sore throat.

2)      They come with a demineralization cartilage that removes calcium deposits

3)      You can have both cool and warm mist in one machine, although the warm mist is not steaming hot so it won’t necessarily warm up the room in the winter

4)      No fan, no noise. Ultra quiet

5)      Ultrasonic means that it breaks water droplets into finer size droplets allowing it a greater chance to be evaporated into the air rather than dropping onto the ground

6)      If you’re allergic to dust, the humidity binds to the dust causing it to fall to the ground making it easier to vacuum.

Image

The only bad thing is that tilting the machine will cause the water to spill and sometimes even onto the cord if you are not being careful. Maintenance can be expensive long-term. They suggests buying E Cal to remove calcium deposits in the tray ($~10 Cad for 3 packages) but you can use white vinegar. Also, you can purchase 3 packages of refills ($30) for the demineralization cartilages rather than a single new cartilage ($20).

This is just one humidifier that I tried. I’m sure that any other humidifier out there can do the same job. Just make sure to choose one that decalcifies the water if you don’t want to use distilled water, and one that has some way of killing off germs in the tank. Good luck!

Reduce Eczema with Diluted Bleach Bath

Standard

The bad news is that there is no cure for eczema, possibly never will be. The good news is that there is a way to reduce your dependence on topical steroids. The treatment is called the diluted bleach bath.

The bleach bath was introduced to me by my family doctor. This treatment is by no means a cure but in about a month of treatment I noticed that I was using less topical steroids and that my flare-ups were less severe and frequent. This is really important because topical steroids have been shown in a few studies to decrease collagen synthesis, in humans. Collagen is responsible for keeping our maintaining skin elasticity to minimize wrinkles. One can only imagine the consequences of long-term usage.

How does the bleach bath work? The human skin is normally occupied by a flora of bacteria. However, skin taken from eczema patient’s show higher levels of bacteria (Staph) compared to individuals without eczema. The bacteria are believed to release toxins onto the skin which can further aggravate your eczema. Taking a bleach bath, which is basically chlorine, frequently will help to reduce bacterial levels in the skin.

Instructions:

1)      Measure 1/2 a cup of ~ 6% bleach. This is for a bath tub that is almost 4/5 full. Also check the concentration of your bleach. It should be a percent value. You will need to adjust the volume of bleach you add based on this value.

2)      If you are buying bleach make sure nothing additional is added to it. I made the mistake of almost purchasing Javex bleach with fibregard for clothes rather than normal bleach

3)      If you touch the bleach, wash your hands right away or else your hand will burn for hours.

4)      Never dump your bleach into the tub because it could splash back and hit your eye

5)      Don’t inhale the fumes, but of course you know this

6)      Soak in the bath for 10 to 20 minutes. Occasionally dip your face into the tub, eyes closed, if facial eczema is an issue.

7)      Remember to rinse off the bleach with clean water when your done. If you leave the bleach on it will dry out your skin and irritate it. I had an itch attack because I had forgotten once

8)   In some places on the internet, it says that you should not take a bleach bath for more than twice a week. My doctor recommended every second day, which I have been following and it seems to be working

How long does it take? Personally, it took about 2 weeks before I noticed that I was using less and less topical steroids. I also began to notice that my skin was better on days where I had taken a bleach bath in the morning. It has been 2 months since I have been taking a bleach bath and I’ve only had a severe flare-up twice. This is one of the most effective treatments for reducing redness next to topical steroids.

The reason I’m writing about this is because I felt that there was plenty of people on the internet saying that they have tried it on their kids but you don’t hear much about adults trying it. In addition, the study showing that the bleach bath was effective only used children in their sample.

Lastly, I encourage you try it because my family doctor said that it has worked really well for many of his patients. Please let me know how the bleach bath worked for you!