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Just Received an Eczema Diagnosis? Why you shouldn't just treat it as a skin condition...

As a kid I feel I was at the Dr's a lot, I suffered with excruciating ear ache, lots of colds and sore throats and bad eczema. Now as a Naturopath I can see that all of those were linked! My body was inflamed, angry and crying out for help, creams were never going to resolve the underlying imbalance going on. The conclusion that I have come to though is that I really wish that my eczema wasn't treated as a skin condition.

Odd statement I know but any symptoms that are visible on the skin are a sign of a deeper imbalance.

For me the approach to chronic skin condition management needs to change if we are to have a sustainable NHS in the future. It's all about management of the condition, because there is no cure, we can't ever say that word! Yet all you need to do is google eczema to be presented with 1000's of results that talk about "How I Cured My Eczema", "The Miracle Eczema Cure" etc. While there is no scientifically accepted cure there are genuinely 1000's of people out there who have found their "Cure".

The current approach to eczema is emollients and if they don't work steroids are prescribed. Yes, diet and allergy testing might be mentioned depending on your GP but often not enough emphasis is placed on how this can help.

The concern I have is the growing number of people who are now reliant on steroids, their skin has seemingly become addicted and the eczema is out of control as the steroids no longer work! So often it takes years, decades even before the real side effects are felt from medical interventions and often the first people to speak out are ridiculed or silenced because there is no "scientific evidence"! Why people don't learn from examples in the past never ceases to amaze me though, the side effects of thalidomide spring to mind, it took years for that connection to be made, how many people were affected before it was taken seriously.

Eczema is inflammation of the skin, the body has had this reaction for a reason, topical corticosteroids will reduce the inflammation but why does no one think to ask, well why is my childs body inflamed? Why do we still feel like we are more intelligent than all those years of evolution? Why do we just try and stop a reaction because we don't think it's right? Inflammation happens for a reason perhaps it's best to try and understand why the inflammation is there. Doing that will take us down a different path, which to me seems the much more logical one to take.

I encourage parents who have had a diagnosis of eczema to explore the options, don't rely on creams to make it all better. As a kid that has grown up being smothered in creams, it's not fun! I now specialise in working with parents of little kids with eczema, I don't want any kid to grow up thinking that they can't take control of their eczema. For some it's simple for others like myself with genetic predisposition it's not so simple but I know one thing, creams are not the answer.

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