Eradicating Eczema

  • 20 Jan 2012
  • Reading time 26 mins
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Eczema is an inflammatory disease, which is the body’s way of saying something isn’t right. Natural remedies can make a difference.

The downside of cortisone creams

The body’s own natural anti-inflammatory, released at times of emergency, is the adrenal hormone cortisol. It is fat-based, originally derived from cholesterol, and is known as a steroid hormone. Cortisone-based cream that mimics cortisol, usually betnovate, is applied for eczema when the skin flares up. The creams may also contain anti-bacterial drugs.

Many eczema sufferers use this anti-inflammatory cream every day, as well as a moisturiser or emollient made out of petrolatum and hydrogenated vegetables oils to stop the skin from drying out and cracking.

Some hydrocortisone-based creams, such as Cortaid and Cortizone, can be bought over the counter. Higher-dose products that are generally available on prescription include triamcinolone (Aristocort, Kenalog), fluocinonide (Lidex), betamethasone (Valisone, Diprosone, Diprolene), mometasone (Elocon), and clobetasol (Temovate). In essence, they all work in the same way, by reducing inflammation.

They don’t have quite the same degree of danger as ingested cortisone, which gradually suppresses the body’s ability to makes its own, but they do have long-term side effects. Long-term use of cortisone creams isn’t desirable because they gradually damage the skin, making it thinner and more prone to drying and cracking. In fact, the changes in the collagen are identical to those seen in ageing. As a result the skin becomes more vulnerable to any infections and heals poorly. It’s a vicious cycle; the more you use the creams to help with the problems, the worse they become. Some of the preparations contain fluorine.

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Although possibly more effective, the fluorinated preparations such as Lidex are even more likely to cause skin thinning (particularly on the face, ......

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