see also Eczema, Seborrhoeic Eczema
An allergic reaction to incompletely digested protein or to toxins in the blood due to the liver's inability to break down certain foods properly. First signs are patches of dry skin, which then become red, scaly, and very itchy. In severe cases, little blisters form, which weep and can become infected if scratched. Condition usually starts between age of two months and two years, but often disappears around age of seven, although child may manifest other allergic reactions such as Hay Fever and Allergic Rhinitis or Asthma.
The homeopathic view is that eczema is not a skin disease but a disease of the whole metabolic system manifesting itself via the skin. The skin erupts in an effort to rid the body of toxins in the bloodstream. A family history of Tuberculosis often indicates a predisposition to eczema and related conditions.
Conventional treatment is by antihistamines, which give some respite from itchiness and scratching, or by antibiotics, if skin becomes infected. As a rule steroid ointments should only be used if itching is so severe that it prevents the child sleeping and begins to affect his or her general health, or if the skin is severely infected. Steroid ointments certainly suppress the condition, but they do not cure it. Expert Constitutional Homeopathic Treatment is advised, although the remedies given below are also effective in the short-term, but watch out for aggravations; if redness and itchiness flare up, stop the remedy at once.
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 5 days
- Skin dry, itchy and red, especially so in bed or after bathing, child untidy and boisterous, suffers from diarrhoea in morning Sulphur 30c
- Skin blistered, especially on wrists, markedly worse in damp conditions Rhus tox. 30c
- Skin looks dirty and unwashed, eczema worse on legs Psorinum 30c
- Skin weepy, pus honey-coloured, condition worst behind ears and on palms of hands Graphites 30c
- Infected, oozing crusts, especially on scalp Mezereum 30c
- Skin bubbling, with yellow crusts, worse at night Petroleum 30c
Self-help: Make sure child wears only cotton - not wool or man-made fibres - next to skin, and use emulsifying ointment rather than soap in bath. Oatmeal baths, which can be bought in sachet form, may also be beneficial. A blue light in the child's room gives the illusion of coldness, reducing scratching at night, and cold packs give temporary relief from itching. Dietary treatment - either a general diet to improve liver function or a specific elimination and challenge diet - can be very effective and is part of constitutional treatment.
Only minor dietary changes should be made on your own initiative, however, as too restricted a diet can make metabolic problems worse. Consult your homeopath or a dietary therapist if in doubt. In the meantime, a children's strength multivitamin and mineral supplement, plus zinc and Evening Primrose oil, may be beneficial.