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Controversy, eczema and inflammation.

Posted 24/08/2016 - By Harley Farmer

Where’s the controversy in associating eczema with inflammation? That’s what eczema is, isn’t it? Absolutely correct; if that’s as far as you want to take your thinking. Using drugs to reduce the inflammation would certainly be treating what you can see.

Consider someone who kicks a brick wall and develops a bruise on their toe. Do you limit your thinking to the bruise and use drugs in an attempt to hide the blueness of the bruise? You could, if that’s as far as you want to take your thinking. You would certainly be treating what you can see.

Treating the bruise avoids some obvious questions, just as treating the inflammation in eczema prevents you from finding the really useful questions.

Why is the inflammation there? To protect the patient; that’s what inflammation does. The controversy comes when I ask whether the inflammation is protecting the person from the products used on the eczema?

I’ve seen people gasp in horror when they realise the significance of that question.

There’s more to it than the products as such. When you apply those products just away from an eczema patch the skin does not react with inflammation. When you apply those products on an eczema patch the skin continues to react with inflammation. Why the difference?

Eczema skin has cracks in the surface and products can go down those cracks and be detected by the immune system. The only option available to the immune system is inflammation. When those products are applied to eczematous skin the inflammation will continue.

When the same products are applied to healthy skin without cracks the products will not enter the skin, will not be detected by the immune system and there will not be any inflammation at that spot.

Now for the controversy.

What if the products used to manage eczema actually maintain eczema?

That would be a very irresponsible question unless I can back it up with evidence-based research from the medical literature. The evidence has been there since 1992. [Ghadially R, Halkier-Sorensen L, Elias PM. Effects of petrolatum on stratum corneum structure and function. J Am Acad Dermatol (1992) 26: 387-396. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1564142]

  • It is logical.
  • It can not be denied.
  • It can be ignored.

If this is the first time you have learned of this fact you may want to ask why those who advise you on eczema have chosen to ignore a proven fact. If they have focused their efforts on reducing the inflammation when they could have removed the cause of the inflammation, might you want to ask why?

Or you could simply end the eczema in a matter of weeks and live life without the misery. I hope you do.

If you want the facts, including the references to those facts, please email me on drh@dr-harley.com A review of the medical literature on eczema can be found if you follow this link.