How common is eczema?
In Singapore, many adults and children suffer from eczema. In fact, 80-90% of skin diseases we encounter is eczema. Many people do not see improvement after visiting Western doctors, hence resorting to Chinese Medicine instead.
The cause of eczema varies and it is mostly attributed to our inborn physical constitution. Consumption of too much meat may also cause our spleen to be damaged and accumulate “damp heat”. Coupled with evil heat, our skin becomes inflamed.
Children (aged 1-2 years old) are susceptible to infant eczema and it usually occurs on the head; if serious, it extends to the torso and four limbs. It is also common in breastfed babies and babies with a family history of eczema.
How does TCM view eczema?
Eczema is an inflammation of the skin and it happens repeatedly, becoming chronic. Clinically, there are 3 types of eczema.
Acute eczema: Papules, obvious inflammation, fluid discharge.
This type of eczema is usually presented as scattered, roundish plaques and is extremely itchy. Please do not use hot water to wash that area, consume alcohol or spicy food as you may aggravate the condition and cause trouble sleeping. Scratching may cause infection and erosion.
Subacute eczema: This occurs when acute eczema is not treated appropriately or treated in time. It may also be at an early stage. It is less severe than acute eczema, much fewer blisters, and less erosion.
Chronic eczema: presents itself in a lichen state, easily recurs and it is usually due to inappropriate treatment or neglect of the above cases. Illness is long-term, and severity can swing between mild to serious.
People with acute eczema have “damp-heat” and it concerns the spleen. Chronic sufferers have a lot of their yin blood sapped away by this.
What is TCM eczema treatment like?
We will prescribe herbal medicine to nourish and improve your constitution internally and topical medication to be applied externally. TCM believes that the treatment of acute eczema should be focused on removing heat and promoting diuresis. For chronic eczema, the focus should be on nourishing the blood and moisturizing the skin, consuming medicine warm in nature.
Please avoid using hot water, soap, or other irritants to wash affected areas. Avoid scratching to prevent infection. You should also abstain from spicy food, seafood, mutton, and beef.