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DERMATITIS: CAUSES AND TREATMENTS

The lady who sat opposite me in my consulting rooms would have been considered extremely attractive, but her skin detracted from her beauty. She told me about frequent spells of improvement, always followed by periods of deterioration. I felt utterly frustrated, although recognising that it was even worse for her, because there was absolutely no lasting improvement in her condition, despite all my efforts. This lady suffered from a long-standing condition of Contact dermatitis. She had an acute superficial inflammation of the skin, which I was sure was caused by an irritant of either animal or mineral origin. Often the cause of such a condition is to be found in the home or at work. There are also a number of plants, such as ivy, chrysanthemum and especially primula, which can bring on dermatitis. Sometimes fruits or vegetables, or chemicals, can be the cause, and certain patients can gradually become extremely sensitive to a certain plant or herb. Nowadays it is important not to overlook the possibility of hair dyes, hair lacquers, certain face creams or lipsticks initiating or aggravating a skin condition. Clothing material too, can be a causative factor and it was the latter that was the culprit with this particular lady. Eventually I discovered that she had several outfits made of a certain synthetic material. Once this factor had been eliminated, there was a definite improvement.

What was nearly as bad as the actual skin inflammation was that, because of the length of time she had suffered from this condition, her immune system had also deteriorated. Quite often I am asked if I am serious when I claim that immunity plays a part in such conditions, and I definitely am. The same applies to allergies which very often disappear when one concentrates on the rebuilding and strengthening of the immune system.

For this lady I prescribed three remedies, which eventually cured the problem. A healthy immune system is able to deal with viruses, bacteria and toxins before they have a chance to become established. The world today is full of challenges to our defence mechanism. Some of these are under our control, such as the food we eat and the stresses and strains of work, but others are not. The latter include environmental pollution by potentially toxic chemicals. In these circumstances it makes sense to protect the integrity of our immune system by safeguarding our nutrition. I am a great believer in the supplement called Imuno-Strength, made by Nature's Best, which is a special formula that incorporates herbal remedies such as Devil's Claw and Echinacea. The combination of vitamins and herbal ingredients has made this a most popular supplement, and this eventually helped to cure this lady's condition.

I also treated this lady for an unhealthy bowel movement. It is very important with all skin complaints that the bowel function is regular and that the flora in the bowel is healthy. Healthy bowel bacteria must be allowed to flourish. These are sometimes referred to as 'friendly bacteria' and quite rightly so, as they are essential to a well-functioning system.

A healthy bowel flora is important as constipation ought never to be tolerated, most especially not by people who are troubled with skin conditions. Under these circumstances the digestive and bowel function should work absolutely efficiently. With certain skin conditions an active Candida albicans is sometimes recognised, which is a yeast parasite, and then I am likely to prescribe Acidophilus or Lactobacillus. It there is chronic constipation, it is advisable to use Linoforce. This remedy has been carefully researched by Dr Vogel and I am sure that its success is due to its two main ingredients - flaxseed and senna leaves. It is equally successful for either occasional or chronic constipation, as Linoforce increases the frequency of bowel movement. It also helps to regulate intestinal activity and forms the motion as it should be, which is a soft jelly mass. Chewing half a teaspoon of these grains twice a day will effectively deal with any constipation problems.     

Finally, large doses of Echinaforce should be used. This is a natural antibiotic, but also a great healer for skin conditions. I mostly prescribe it for skin complaints, because, as a general antiseptic, it is most helpful. Dr Vogel decided to use both herb and root of the Echinacea purpurea for this remedy, which has proved to be an ideal combination. In many cases I have seen better results obtained with this remedy than with chemical antibiotics. This fresh herb preparation works as a non-specific stimulant therapy and it increases the body's own resistance, in the case of inflammations and infections, reduces susceptibility to infections, and is a great preventative for colds and flu. Taken internally, it helps many dermatological problems, often even in septic processes like carbuncles, abscesses or skin inflammation. Echinaforce is a great healer and I prescribed this also for the lady I mentioned at the beginning of the chapter. In her case I increased the recommended dose to 30 drops -three times daily. The results were more than justified.

Echinacea Cream is for external use only, but has similar properties to the remedy to which its name is so closely related. It is a herbal skin cream made from the fresh herb extract of Echinacea, plus wild pansy extract. These extracts are combined in a moisturising base to produce a cream that is absorbed quickly and readily into the skin. This allows the active ingredients in the herb extracts to begin working immediately without leaving an oily residue. It soothes, moisturises, relaxes and protects the skin and may be used on reddened, irritated skin, or for minor wounds. It is also suitable for use under make-up or wherever moisturising is desirable.

Although I did not prescribe Seven Herb Cream for this lady, I feel that this is too good an opportunity not to mention another cream in the Bioforce range. This cream contains seven different herb extracts which are combined with avocado oil, lanolin and other oils, as well as beeswax. Due to this lubricating basis, Seven Herb Cream soothes, softens and nourishes the skin while promoting healing. This cream is recommended for use on poorly nourished, dry or rough skin and nappy rash. It is also suitable for cracked or fissured, badly chapped skin or lips, flaking skin, use after shaving, and on raw areas of the nose irritated by colds, hay fever, etc.

I used the knowledge I had gained in the treatment of the lady in question on yet another patient, a lady with a condition known as Neuro dermatitis, sometimes also called Lichen simplex. This chronic superficial inflammation of the skin, which had produced thickened, dry, demarcated plaques of an irregular oval shape, had associated itself with a severe pruritus. It was a most painful and troublesome condition and the poor lady had suffered much and sought help from every direction, all to no avail. As her facial skin was badly affected, she understandably felt very embarrassed, and, although she was a well-balanced person, it had nevertheless affected her nervous system. I felt very sorry for her and tried to help her with all kinds of methods, from diet to remedies. I was able to help her somewhat, but was not successful in finding a complete cure for her problem. Neuro dermatitis is a difficult condition to clear and I have had to look to contacts elsewhere in the world to find a possible solution. When I looked into some products from Japan and saw the results of a remedy called Shiso Perilla, an extract from the shiso plant, I found an answer for this patient. Again, my philosophy that nature provides an answer for every illness was confirmed, if only we look in the right direction.

This did not seem too easy with a young man I once treated for an eruption of the skin and the mucous membranes. His condition was called Dermatitis medicamentosa. Certain drugs can cause this condition and the eruptions from which he suffered were quite bad. He was a very tense type of person and that indicated that I also had to use some homoeopathic remedies to help him in this respect. It was clear that his condition had developed mainly because of the drugs he had taken and because of certain allergies from which he suffered.

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