Skin conditions are common and are often the first sign that a baby may be a little below par. We may see “milk spots”, which usually go away quickly in the early days and weeks, or there may be nappy rash to a greater or lesser degree. Some babies will develop rashes and “eczema” early on and it may exacerbate to the point of a hospital visit, wet wraps, steroid creams and long term discomfort.
But what really is a chronic eruption on the skin all about? Why do some things come suddenly and then refuse to go no matter what the treatment? Why does “healing the gut” not always bring the results we’d been promised, and expensive probiotics specifically for eczema prove to be in vain?
We live in times when everything has to be scientifically proven and treated accordingly. We are broken down into our component parts with a specialist for each of these parts and a protocol for each condition, limited by the drugs available. What happens if you or your child fails to respond and why do people fail to respond?
Perhaps the bigger question is why do some people get things like eczema, allergic rashes and dermatitis (often different names for the same presentation) and others don’t?
Having been in practice since 1998 I’ve seen my fair share of eczema, one of the most common skin conditions to present in clinic. Some cases are mild and some have been really horrendous. There are a number of levels I consider when assessing a case, but what I always come back to is that as a homeopath I am treating the person and not the diagnosis. So whether it’s allergic eczema, atopic dermatitis or some other fancy name, I want to find the remedy (or remedies) that balance up the system and bring order to the whole person. And this means that five different people presenting with eczema would be likely to receive five different remedies.
What about the family history?
Exploring the family medical history is often illuminating. This is where we find what the child may be susceptible to through their life – those inherited tendencies – and this may not always be eczema, but a related condition such as asthma, hayfever, allergies, for example. While this might sound scary if you have a lot of cancer or things like coeliac or MS, it doesn’t mean they are going to “get” this condition. To me, it means that we have to pick the right remedies and you have to keep an eye on lifestyle and stress over time, because these are the triggers for deeper and more chronic conditions.
We can treat an individual’s susceptibility with homeopathic remedies that address this inherited layer of illness. This is important because this layer is the soil for your child’s health. I don’t say we can make it all magically vanish but by tuning up the system with a remedy or two, we can settle down this general sensitivity.
What other things impact the skin?
Other things that we know have an impact on the skin are foods and the environment. But really these are all part of the same. They are a symptom of the overall condition, they are not actually the cause. The cause is usually some kind of trigger – the circumstances of the conception, stress during the pregnancy in the mother, traumatic birth, vaccination, and general life stress in older people – that causes the inner dis-ease to be manifested out on the skin. And if we think about it, this is the body’s way of telling us there is a problem we need to address.
Some cases present due to high copper from our hormone-filled world (The Copper Child) or heavy metals from vaccination and other sources (dads who are plumbers or work in mines, for example) or just from nutritional imbalances, and a hair analysis is my long used tool to check this out. However, these are just tools for those cases which are harder to resolve than others because I always come from the perspective of the whole person.
I often say to people that having something on the skin, while unappealing to look at and often uncomfortable, is much better than having asthma, for example. This is disease in a deeper organ and therefore a deeper problem and sometimes results from driving the skin condition inwards (suppressing it) by using cortisone creams and other anti-inflammatory drugs. I am not saying here that you should never use creams and medications, because sometimes they are necessary for quality of life, but more that applying cortisone cream to every little dry patch will over time make the skin go “oh well if I can’t show the problem out there, I’ll show it in here”!
One mum I spoke to recently said that the concensus in her facebook group was that you just had to put up with your child’s eczema and manage it because there’s nothing you can do if the probiotics and dietary elimination don’t work. I would certainly disagree with this having treated many cases over my time. Eczema is a sign that the child is sensitive to the world and that their whole system needs tweaking, not just the skin and gut. We can do a lot with diet and sometimes changing the diet can be the key, but if this along with other natural products and therapies doesn’t help, the problem runs deeper and it needs a different perspective to bring about change.
Symptoms are a message. They are telling you something about how your child’s or your own body is interacting with the world and should not be underestimated as to their importance. Sticking a bandaid or a bag over the problem with creams and other medications doesn’t make it go away.
Sometimes it’s more economical to have a consultation to look at the whole person, then to keep buying and trying everything that is recommended in forums! And in the process, not only can the skin problem be addressed, homeopathy can look at the whole health profile, right down to what is in the family medical history and bring about change on all of these levels.
Short term help
For very mild skin conditions or just to soothe dry, angry skin in the short term there are a couple of our over the counter products you could try which have been around in our dispensary for years:
TS Skin – is a traditional tissue salt combination which may be useful for minor skin ailments, mild eczema, acne, scaly skin and similar. Tissue salts work by balancing nutrition and are gentle enough to use in the longer term.
Hypercal cream This is a traditional homeopathic formula of hypericum and calendula in potency. It is a lovely, gentle and soothing cream in a naturopathic base which can help calm itchy rashes.
Red cream This cream contains a homeopathic formula of remedies traditionally used for red and angry skin. It also contains a remedy to support the gut and again is prepared in a naturopathic base.
Just as a final comment, if you google homeopathy for eczema or other skin problems the remedy you are most likely to find recommended is Sulphur. Sulphur is one of those homeopathic remedies that will fit a lot of people and their problems in some small way. It’s also one of those remedies that can cause more of a flare up if not used wisely. My recommendation if you choose to buy and try Sulphur without professional supervision, is to give in a low potency such as a 6c or 30c and give once a day for no more than one week. Higher potencies will quite likely cause an aggravation and giving remedies for weeks on end, much like using cortisone, can drive the problem inwards and may even produce other unwanted symptoms. This suppression can cause the body to look for another vent for the symptoms if it can’t show you the problem outwardly on the skin.
Melanie Creedy originally trained in the UK in the early 1990s and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association.
She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and is editor of the AHA National Newsletter.
Melanie has used homeopathy for 30 years and has been in practice since 1998. For many years she ran The Children’s Ear Clinic in Western Australia, but since her tree change to Tasmania, has a special interest in women’s and children’s health generally and helping individuals manage their journey on the spiritual path with homeopathy and her range of essences. Melanie has developed her own methods of dealing with complex cases over the years and offers distance consultations via phone and skype to allow people Australia-wide to access her services.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.