The Science Behind Beauty

By Dr Juliet O.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

#DEARJULIET | Do you think natural products are better for my Eczema?

#DearJuliet: I'm 25 years old and I am been suffering with eczema since I was a child. I find that many creams and bath solutions my doctor gave aren't working for me, I still feel dry and itchy all the time. I literally have been using it off and on for years and it doesn't seem to work. I recently started using natural products such as shea butter and coconut oil and it has been working so well. I have noticed such a huge difference and I really think that natural products work better for me more than using creams prescribed by the doctor. What do you think? Is this a good idea, do you think natural products are better for me? Is it bad if I stop using my prescribed medicine altogether. Liz x

#DearLiz: I'm glad the natural products are working well for you. From what I know about eczema, as it is an inflammation of the skin it does tend to cause cracks and fissures in the skin, causing it dry it out quite badly. And that could explain why adding moisture 'through the use of natural oils/ products' has been working so well.

Usually when I hear the word eczema, the next question I would ask is, 'what type is it'? If it is an allergic type it is good to consider if the improvement is because you haven't recently been exposed to any allergens. In any case, I would not advise you to substitute your treatment plan given by your doctor.

Since it has been a few years, my advice to you is to schedule an appointment with your doctor and inform them that your eczema symptoms haven't improved with the medical treatment given. It's always good, to let your doctor know:

1) What helps your eczema? Be specific: talk about dryness, tenderness, itchiness, scarring etc
2) What irritates/ exacerbates your eczema symptoms?
3) How long you used the treatment prescribed? Was it regular or inconsistent?
4) And what you would like to improve about your eczema? Appearance, itchiness, redness/ darkening of skin etc

I think this will be particularly useful because your treatment plan can be re-evaluated, because maybe your skin needs have changed. I can't 100% say that natural oils are better but I do know that adding extra moisture to the skin (or sealing moisture in, in the case of oils), can help with combatting dry skin caused by eczema.

In medical school, often times when the patient says a treatment doesn't work, we sometimes ask 'are you using it properly, as prescribed' as this sometimes can hugely impact the treatment benefits. I think it'd be a great idea to go back and speak to your doctor about this and discuss this. If you find that the consultation didn't help your eczema outcome then it may be best to see another dermatologist!

Hope this helps!

Thanks so much for getting in touch.

J x

Eczema advice and help, for skin irritiation


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