A Naturopathic Approach to one of the world’s most common skin conditions.
By Dr. Hilary Costello
Holistic dermatology is an area of specialty within my medical practice and I see many patients, young and old, with various skin conditions. I spend a lot of my clinical time working with individuals to solve skin issues. Addressing the cause and triggers are the best long term approaches to healing.
A common skin ailment that exists in populations across the world is atopic dermatitis, otherwise known as eczema. Most of us have family members or friends that have experienced eczema at some point in their lives. Atopic dermatitis is part of a triad of illnesses that often runs in family lines. Asthma, hay fever, and atopic dermatitis make the triad of atopy and family members may be affected by one or all three. If an individual has a relative with one of the three, it increases the likelihood of developing one of the triad over his or her lifetime. As with any chronic or acute inflammatory illness, diet and life style choices can dramatically improve the symptom picture.
Eczema can develop in the newborn or can spontaneously emerge later in life. We often see children with eczema that is caused from food sensitivities or premature introduction of certain foods that the child is unable to metabolize without creating inflammation.
Cautious and conscience food introduction is a great way to prevent eczema in a baby or toddler. In older children or adults, eczema is often related to food sensitivities, liver health, environmental toxicity, allergies, or stress. Unfortunately, it is often a combination of many things.
From an allopathic or conventional medical model, hydrocortisone or steroid cream is often the treatment of choice. However, this does not address the underlying cause of the inflammatory response. Naturopathic medicine truly shines in the case of identifying the cause of illness and finding ways to directly improve metabolism and digestion by decreasing inflammation.
In the process of becoming more healthy overall, many of the acute health issues, such as eczema in this case, slowly disappear. It is the philosophical principles of naturopathic medicine that guide the healing process. Identifying and treating the cause, not the symptom, allowing the healing power of nature to act, and treating the whole person are some of the guiding principles that create the quality healing that will allow an individual to live symptom free.
Naturopathic medicine has many treatment options for atopic dermatitis and other chronic skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis. A thorough health history including a review of the organs systems of the body will help to identify the cause of the skin inflammation and guide the treatment plan. Botanical medicine, homeopathy, Chinese herbal formulation, nutritional therapy, vitamin and mineral supplementation, along with specific lifestyle recommendations are the components that define a holistic medicine plan.
For more information, contact Dr. Costello at CTM.