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Eczema

“Eczema” is synonymous with “dermatitis,” and there are many types: atopic, pompholyx, nummular, and stasis, among others.

Pompholyx, dyshidrotic, or vesicular eczema is notable for just that: the vesicles or small blisters that are the hallmark of this condition. Very itchy vesicles form on the sides of the fingers and palms of the hands (occasionally the feet or toes). The itchy active phase lasts 1-2 weeks before resolving into a dry, scaling phase. Often, just as things appear to be healing, an active phase begins again and the whole itchy, frustrating cycle continues.

Nummular or discoid eczema is named for its shape—disc or coin—and indeed this type of eczema is diagnosed almost entirely on appearance. We see very clearly demarcated patches of affected skin, generally presenting symmetrically on the dorsum (backs) of the hands, arms, legs, or torso. This eczema is also often very itchy; just a little patch can be surprisingly irritating.

Stasis eczema is also known as varicose eczema, gravitational eczema, or hypostatic eczema. What does that mean? It means this type of eczema is a common disorder of the lower limbs that arises as a consequence of venous tension. Valves in the veins are compromised, the veins aren’t able to hold blood properly (working, as they do, against gravity), and blood seeps out into the surrounding tissue. 

And there are others: seborrheaic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and lichen simplex, to name a few, as well as atopic eczema, which is probably the “eczema” you think of when you hear the word. This is the eczema we see more often in babies and children (though it affects adults, too), the eczema that tends to run in families along with asthma, food allergies, and other allergic diseases.

As is the case with many skin diseases, Chinese medicine has for centuries identified each of these types of eczema as distinct disease processes and treated them accordingly. However Chinese medicine takes differentiation even one step further: we treat the individual, not the disease. This means that two people with atopic eczema may be prescribed very different formulations, depending on the details of their skin as well as their digestion, menstrual cycle, and general constitution (strong and robust vs weaker and more fragile, for example).

For more information on our approach to treating eczema, click here to read our article in Essential Living Maine Magazine.

OUR RESULTS:

HAND ECZEMA
This woman had a 25yr history of hand eczema. She tried multiple interventions over the years, but a few months of Chinese herbal medicine provided her the deepest and most lasting relief:
Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, ME

Alexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, ME

ATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, ME

 

DETERIORATING ECZEMA, REBOUND EFFECT
This woman had a history of small patches of dry skin on her lower legs that would crop up in winter. At one point they worsened enough to prompt a visit to a dermatologist; she received an eczema diagnosis and managed the on-going but minor outbreaks with a topical steroid cream. One year later, after a period of extraordinary life stress and a decision to discontinue using the steroid cream entirely, her skin erupted as it never had before (an all-too-common phenomenon in dermatology, known as a “rebound effect”). She came to me somewhat desperate, with itchy, red, swollen lesions on her arms, chest, face, and lower legs. The photos below show the significant improvement in her skin after only one month of internal Chinese medicines. After four months of treatment, her skin is clear and stable.
Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, MEAlexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, MEATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Jan 2016                                                   1 month                                                 2 months

Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, MEAlexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, ME
3 months                                                 4 months

 

FULL BODY LESIONS
This patient had a long history of eczema, dating back to childood. It got very bad in her early 20s, but cleared with a round of topical steroids. Five years ago, at age 40, it returned with a vengeance and multiple interventions--including prednisone and an immune suppressant—provided little lasting relief; lesions would clear, but return right away. She came to me in December 2015 with eczema covering her entire body and skin that was hot, swollen, painful, and rapidly deteriorating. After less than four months on an individualized internal herbal formulation, her skin is almost completely clear and very stable. We will continue working together for a few months to get her skin and system as stable as possible, and fortify her against future flare-ups.

ATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, MEEczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Dec 2015                                                                               March 2016

Alexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, MEATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Dec 2015                                                                                     March 2016

Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, MEAlexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Dec 2015                                                                                       March 2016

ATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, MEEczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, MEAlexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Dec 2015, upper leg                             Dec 2015, lower leg                             March 2016, full leg

ATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, MEEczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, MEAlexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Dec 2015, upper leg                             Dec 2015, lower leg                           March 2016, full leg

 

ACUTE DERMATITIS, UNKNOWN CAUSE
ATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, MEEczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Before: Oct 6, 2014                                                                         After: Oct 29, 2014

Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, ME

Alexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, ME

ATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, ME

Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, MEAlexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Before/After 4 months of treatment

ATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, MEEczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Before/After 4 months of treatment

Alexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, MEATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Before/After 4 months of treatment

Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, MEAlexa Gilmore offers Dermatology in South Portland, MEATX Dermatology offers safe, effective Dermatology in South Portland, ME
Before x2/After 4months of treatment

 

ATX Dermatology
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Eczema - ATX Dermatology in South Portland, ME