Eczema Management

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Dr. Eric Rydland M.D.

Eczema or atopic dermatitis is probably the most frequent chronic skin disorder of childhood. Eczema mostly consists of dry red or white particles which are elevated and itchy. (Although there are many other forms of this disease, further description is beyond the scope of this article.) There are several different theories as to why this disorder occurs. I will discuss three of these and possible management below. I believe that the best way to manage eczema (as with most other illnesses) is to elucidate the underlying cause and treat this instead of treating the symptoms wherever possible.

The possible role of food allergies or sensitivities

The first theory of eczema is that food allergies or sensitivities cause the illness. It is well known that eczema will tend to run in families that have skin disorders and/or allergic symptoms, and that within the same individual there frequently are other symptoms of allergies (such as asthma, sinusitis, hay fever, frequent or prolonged runny nose, frequent bronchitis or ear infections, etc.).

There are two different ways of diagnosing food sensitivities. The first is to place your child (and the mother if the child is breastfeeding) on an elimination diet. “Tracking Down Hidden Food Allergies”, by William Crook, M.D., is a step by step approach on how to properly execute an elimination diet.

Another method is to do “IgG food sensitivity testing”–not the usual IgE Rast testing (which is done by most allergists and will only detect immediate allergic reactions such as hives), and eliminate all foods listed as sensitive. The most common are dairy, citrus, tomatoes, egg, wheat, sugar, soy, corn, coffee, tea, chocolate, seafood, strawberries, alcohol, legumes, nuts and pickles.

Sensitive skin could lead to eczema

The second theory is that eczema is due to sensitive skin. One may certainly see that changes in brands of soap, certain chemical exposure, and excessive water exposure will adversely affect many skin types. Avoidance of water (i.e. decreased frequency and time of bathing) as much as possible, use of a mild soap (most commonly recommended are Dove, Tone, Caress, and Neutrogena, but one may also buy a clean soap made from natural product at a health food store or on this site), and avoiding any known sensitive chemicals frequently will help this situation.

Eczema: Due to discharge of toxic chemicals?

A third theory is that eczema is due to discharge of toxic chemicals in the body. The skin is known to be both an absorptive (absorbing chemicals, etc. which come in contact) and excreting (eliminating body toxins) organ. In fact, the skin is the largest organ in the body. Anything that can be done to decrease chemicals, allergens and toxins in the environment would be helpful to decrease difficulty with eczema.

If you were to read the labels of all food products, you would find that most of what we eat is laced with chemicals. Decreasing these chemicals in the diet would help greatly. (Digestive support is beyond the scope of this article, however, please refer to the article “Dr. Rydland’s Diet For Basic Health and Restoration” for guidelines.)

In addition, one should consider all the household chemicals to which the child is exposed, including such things as laundry detergents, household cleaning products, insecticides, carpet shampoos, etc. and try to make these as natural as possible. I usually recommend Shaklee products or most product lines found at a health food store.

Chamomile and licorice extracts or capsules taken internally (or chamomile tea externally) are helpful. (Note: licorice should not be taken with high blood pressure.) Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) orally is also frequently helpful.

Therapeutic measures include emollients such as Eucerin cream or solid Crisco vegetable shortening and/or various cortisone or steroid creams applied to the skin as needed. Occasionally for itching Benadryl orally is also useful.

If these measure are not helping, one should seek the advice of a physician. For more information about home environment control contact:

American Academy of Environmental Medicine

P.O. Box 16106

Denver, CO 80216

Human Ecology Action League

P.O. Box 49126

Atlanta, GA 30359-1126

Dr. Eric N. Rydland, graduated from the University of Miami undergraduate and School of Medicine in 1974 and 1978 respectively and completed his pediatric training at the University of Miami Affiliated Hospitals in 1981. He is pediatric board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. During his nearly 30 years of clinical experience Dr. Rydland has researched and studied the holistic field and alternative treatments. Integrating these holistic treatments with traditional medical care based upon the wisdom only God can give, has given thousands of patients optimal health benefits. This has been achieved through work with many published authors in the alternative field, his experience, and devine wisdom. In addition to the kidsWellness products our site features other products he uses in his clinical practice. Dr. Rydland is a frequent guest on radio and television, speaker at medical seminars and public conferences, and a published author. He is the Founder and Developer of kidsWellnessTM Incorporated (October 1999)


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