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Alternative Treatments for Eczema: Do They Work?

By HERWriter
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Eczema is an allergic skin disease that typically starts in childhood but may also appear in adulthood. The most common form is atopic dermatitis. The rash appears red, itchy with areas that can become crusted or oozing. It most frequently occurs on the face, arms or legs. It is estimated that only 1 to 3 percent of adults have eczema. Some people outgrow the condition as they age but others continue to have problems with eczema their entire lives.

Current mainstream treatments include the use of moisturizers, baths, topical and oral steroids. New non-steroid topical creams have been developed such Elidel and Protopic, which reduce the side effects of steroid use but carry the concern of a possible increased cancer risk. People frequently want to try more natural remedies but most have varying degrees of success.

Alternative treatments for eczema:

• Evening primrose oil (EPO): EPO is a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is thought to boost omega-6 fatty acids levels that the body uses to heal. A 2006 meta-study that looked at the results of 26 other studies with over 1,200 patients found that Efomal brand EPO inproved itching, crusting, swelling and redness in patients which was evident by the fourth to eighth week. They found however that this benefit was diminished in those who were also taking potent steroids.

Another study with children gave 58 young patients EPO oral supplements along with topical therapy for 16 weeks. The researchers did not find any significant difference in the two groups of children and concluded that the EPO did not contribute to eczema improvement.

•Borage oil: Like EPO, borage oil is a source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and has been proposed to assist in healing of eczema. Two studies that investigated the use of borage oil did not show significant improvement in patient’s atopic dermatitis. However, one of the studies gave adults 500 mg of borage oil daily for 24 weeks and only those with severe cases of atopic dermatitis showed a minimal improvement over the placebo group.

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Ways on how to treat eczema are numerous and varied. New techniques are being discovered all the time. Both prescription and non-prescription remedies are widely available and a bit of research on your part can surely bring you some relief from the particular form you've contracted.
What is Eczema

March 11, 2011 - 1:45am

After losing my insurance and having to move off Biologics, I had to start looking for natural treatments and to be frank nothing works as well as Etanercept did, but who can afford $1000 a month!

To date Aveeno Oatmeal products and most of the Bath and Body Works body butters work incredibly well for their cost. If you are willing to spend a bit more Ahava and a smaller webstore I found http://www.seaweedbathco.com have some products made from Dead Sea minerals or Irish seaweed that are both very soothing in their own unique ways.

October 31, 2010 - 1:19am

Your daughter is adorable. With your dedication I am sure you will leave no stone unturned to help her. Like many alternative treatments, without actual studies it is hard to know how well they would work for others. I'm glad you found something that helped her. I hope it continues.

August 19, 2010 - 8:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

I would say my daughter has 1-Atopic Eczema however she hasn’t been diagnosed with that specific one. All that we were told at the Dr.’s office was that ‘she has eczema’ and it was as simple as that. Since then I’ve been reading & investigating what Eczema is and you’re right, it’s been a depressing road. But even after all the negatives I found a positive for my baby who’s now 9 months. The eczema breakout on her cheek is now back to normal, “smooth” as the rest of her face! See it for yourself in the blog (www.eczema-natural-treatments.com) I started for those non-believers.

August 19, 2010 - 5:56pm

Thanks for your comments! Glad probiotics have helped your son. As I researched this article, I was pretty impressed that Oolong tea could be so helpful. It is empowering to have more options to try in treating chronic conditions.

August 9, 2010 - 6:45am
EmpowHER Guest

Yippeeee! I was hoping as I continued the reading on page two that there would be some mention of probiotics. We LOVE them! Our son had severe eczema since he was a baby and after trying so many treatment options, his Belly Boost has been the one and only thing to really really help him! They are just amazing and I try to share our story with others because I believe in the power of probiotics helping with this horrible condition. I am so happy to see such great posts here on this too, thank you!

August 9, 2010 - 6:28am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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