Skin Health - Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition affecting up to 10-15% of Canadians.  There are actually 7 types of eczema, but the most common form is known as Atopic Dermatitis (AD).  AD often presents in childhood and generally goes away by adulthood.  However, AD is known to affect adults, sometimes quite severely in some cases.  In childhood, AD can be a part of the “Atopic Triad” – 3 conditions that often come up together in children:  eczema, allergies and asthma.

Eczema presents itself as a red, dry and scaly skin rash most commonly found in the creases of elbows and knees, although it may also be found on cheeks (in babies), torso, legs and on the fingers and hands. It can also appear as small pustules that can leak fluid or become infected if scratched.

Like many skin conditions, there can be multiple causes of eczema.  Possible causes of eczema are:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Immune concerns
  • Environmental triggers
  • Metabolic/Gut/Digestive issues

It is important to assess and address all these factors in order to get complete symptom resolution.


Conventional treatment of eczema involves the use of corticosteroid creams.  The problem with chronic use of these types of creams are the side effects, one of which is skin thinning, leading to huge problems in the future.  These creams only help temporarily and multiple courses of treatment may be required.  Unfortunately, eczema can become worse with each successive treatment of corticosteroid cream.


Naturopathic Doctors can provide an individualized approach using many different therapies, including:


Nutritional support – both selenium and omega-6s help decrease skin inflammation.
Herbal remedies – herbs such as Althea, Borago, Calendula and Comfrey have all been used extensively to resolve symptoms and promote skin healing.
Lifestyle counselling – addressing factors such as stress management, healthy diet, safe and natural topicals can help tremendously.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy – both unique systems of medicine that take into account symptom presentation to determine treatment tailored to the patient.


These treatments are more natural and can be quite effective at resolving the eczema.  More importantly, they can be safer for the skin and body, while ensuring it doesn’t become a chronic health issue.