Sunday, 19 January 2020

Getting Over Wet or Weeping Eczema - Our Journey

Below is the post I've written to the Eczema Support Group of Sg as well as on my timeline in Facebook. Hope my/our experience is of some help to those of you still suffering from the same ailment. Please share if you think appropriate. 


Dear all,

I am happy to report that my girl has recovered from her wet/discoid eczema that began in July last year. It has been quite a ride, seeing her blister like someone who has rolled down a granite hill (see earlier post) or plastered with slices of raw salami (it's that bad (see initial onset condition pix below).

To those who suffer from WET ECZEMA, know that it is NOT an incurable problem as most online sources have you know (yes, even our local National Skin Center think that). NSC was a place we avoided after finding their steroids too strong (made her wounds hurt and ooze more)). Also, almost all information online is about dry skin eczema.

First, thank you everyone for their feedback. It is much much appreciated.

In brief, my girl's eczema was tackled with a combination of TCM & Western med treatments; and importantly, supplements. The only hiccup during the whole journey was using an aloe vera gel to heal her skin. It caused massive inflammation (those large dark patches you see). Thankfully it was  manageable in the end.

Long story short:
- use TCM to arrest the situation. It stopped the oozing AND itching. But surprisingly, they do not have a skin cream to complete the healing process;
- use Western meds to tackle the leftover flare-ups: no lesions but still small pimple-like dots appearing. Few though;

We took TCM for two months. But because they did not have a skin healing cream (they told us to use aloe vera). We bought one Korean brand (apparently 98% pure). Turns out more starch than gel. Didn't help, was stinky, and left her skin irritated and inflamed. Raw again, KNS.

No cream seemed suitable to heal her raw-again wounds. My girl has become terrified of anything that hurt.

Because her skin was so sensitive we decided to use tea instead. We tried chamomile, green tea and oolong TEABAGS (moist and direct application). All worked like a charm. In the end we settled on the green tea as my girl seemed to prefer that. However, although the wounds healed gently, they were not ideal. I was also worried about scarring.

So for a complete recovery I brought her to see a family skin doctor in Marsiling Rise (the father of which was well known and a family friend). The rationale was I needed skin meds to help her heal and kill off any skin eruptions that might flare (i.e. those pimple-like irritations). I was also not going to be an arrogant bas**** and look for the creams myself. There are just to many out in the market; I needed pointed, expert advice.

All the while since the start I had been researching and buying suitable supplements for my girl. I still believe her case was aggravated by her poor diet in school and also age-prompted hormonal change (she's 14). Her supplements were at first Vit C with zinc and D. Later I supplemented with B5, Calcium+D, Vit E, Vit C with D and standalone Zinc Picolinate which is said to work better with women. She is still on them, at first daily and then on alternate days to prevent supplement overloading. Her body would absorb them better.

The Western meds were prednisolone, curam (antibiotics), famotidine (itch/allergy), lorfast (itch/allergy),
Cetaphil Pro Derma moisturiser; and a light Clobetasol and Clotrimasole steroid cream to apply on those pimply spots. This C&C cream worked like a charm. The Cetaphil was slow going (to eradicate the dark patches) but worked. We were told to keep going like this for 3 months. We're past the two month mark and you can see the results yourself in the pix. Her pimply irritations have also stopped in the last two weeks. Now her skin is normal and smooth smooth. The task now is to continue to lighten those darker pigments. And oh, she also bathed with Physiogel Daily Moisture Therapy throughout her ordeal - the only thing good that came out of our visit to NSC that helped with her lacerated skin. Turns out, Physiogel is de rigeur with eczema patients and well known.

My girl would always struggle to get to bathe with her open wounds. Physiogel (and loud music) both helped her to get through her daily, painful ordeal. 

As for her diet, I was very strict since I was not sure if it was food that triggered her eczema or what. Egg white yes (to replenish those skin cells) but NOT the yolk (for some, it is an allergen). As days past and she improved I relaxed on the restrictions *esp gluten). She has begun eating chocolates again. As for probiotics, I stopped after a month as they did not seem to help. I was using both lacto GG and lacto bifidus, etc..

Afterthoughts: What would I have done differently? After the TCM worked, I should have brought her to see the Western doc immediately. This would have helped heal her skin and further weakened the eczema threat. I was cautious probably because of the bad rep of steroid use often leading to TSW or topical steroid withdrawal. The Western med doc (that family friend) we finally saw seemed to know what he was doing. And using a diluted mixed cream usually isn't a problem. This I also found out on Youtube.

Importantly, the Western doc did give her a progressively reducing dosage of prednisolone (a med I was  skeptical at first. Most docs would give a standard regular dose over a period of time). The combined meds (antibiotics, anti-itch/allergy meds) really toned down any leftover eczema aggravation. My girl was really happy seeing her skin heal finally. As for me, I really KNNB the aloe vera cream and brand. Let me KNNB one more time to feel better. *angry face .

So, thanks much to folks in this group: your sharing and experience was a huge learning and comfort. Kudos to the TCM lady doc Liu Siuzheng (Room 4, Mon mornings) at Chung Hwa Toa Payoh for being spot on with her herbs, and to Dr Gabriel at Woodlands Clinic (Marsiling Rise) for his learned experience. Merci beaucoup once more!

- TC Lai
* Special thanks to friends Alex L and Michelle P for their sharing and particular insights.

Now sui sui smooth smooth. Still need to get rid of the dark areas though.

Inflammation again after the aloe vera. KNNB.

We tried chamomile, oolong and green tea. In the end preferred green tea, The tea bag comes folded in two.. Stretch it out long for a longer wound. Cut in half (fold and staple to seal it) for smaller wounds. Flip over to use unused side the next day. Didn't throw away much as my dog kind of like the used one. Made green tea sandwich for him.

Once moist, put a dressing backing behind the teabag so it won't soak through the bandage. Of course, remove the tags first. Tedious but easy-peasy process. Also, use dressing tape to hold teabag and backing in place so as to wrap easier (esp places affected by gravity - such as the under arm). I use masking tape (not hooks) to secure the bandages (better).

Nightly routine before bed. Apply teabags over the wounds, bandage, tape up. She soon discarded the mittens as they made her hands uncomfortable (warm)

The lousy aloe vera. Is it fake? The 98% like not indicative of anything.
I've always had faith in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). So when the National Skin Center treatment did not pan out, I quickly looked to TCM for a solution. I've always felt TCM to be natural and less harmful to the body. It is also more holistic, going to the root source of the problem. In some ways my daughter and I were fortunate. We hit upon the right TCM doc who prescribed is all the right herbs, i.e. for itch, lesions, inflammation, etc. The herbal meds worked in the first week (I boiled them myself - each time for two servings). I opted for herbs vs prepared TCM meds because I find that more pure (traditional) and targeted, The formulation on the left is the first one (see pix and date); the second one was later (after a request to help my daughter sleep better). Either way, the herbs are not much different for discoid eczema according to the TCM lady doc. I had also asked for liquorice to be removed after hearing that it might agitate the eczema. Bcoz the cause of my girl's eczema is unknown I had to research and find out what might trigger it and eliminate all possible causes. PLEASE NOTE: I append this herb list to help those who might be desperate or is not able to find a TCM clinic or herbal store nearby. KNOW THAT it is better to go see a TCM doc and be personally attended to. Even in Singapore where TCM medicare is popular and easily available, at the very same clinic (Chung Hwa HQ in Toa Payoh), we had a follow-up doc (a cocky bast***) who dismissed the above formulations out of pride, and gave us meds that made my daughter's condition worse. He gave us some stupid reason saying my daughter was poisoned. Even after we told him that the herbs our attending physician prescribed to us was working well. I think he was trying to make a name for himself as 'the capable' skin doc at the clinic. (Physicians at this clinic come in at certain days and times and our attending physician only attend cases one day and morning per week - an inconvenience for many working or schooling patients. So this idiot physician set back my daughter's healing and returned her condition back to Day 1. What an egoistical and ignorant idiot. He shud be sent back to school or suspended from this well known clinic chain. After this disappointing affair we asked or another opinion - one from a senior physician - and he concurred that the original prescription was correct. Actually if you know a bit of TCM, you could make out that the correct herbs were all there. Certain TCM herbs are well known for tackling itchiness, breakouts, inflammation, etc. It makes that above-mentioned setback harder to swallow. Any TCM doc worth his salt should know. Was that idiot physician actually illiterate to some extent??? So DO NOTE: Your race type and body make-up might prejudice you in some degree of sensitivity to herbs or herbal contradiction because of some pre-existing condition. So, if possible, GO SEE a TCM doc for an examination and opinion. In any case, best wishes and know that discoid eczema can be cured.

Initial onset condition. From a mere pink dot, it deteriorated pretty fast. Thinking back, thick bubbles forming at her elbow flexor skin was the first sign.

Near the end of November when my girl got much better, I treated her to a 9-mall shopping/driving adventure trip to JB. The last one was actually a mega thrift shop. NIce. We ate at some nice places and dined at some super good night supper spots. And caught up with my girl's fave: satay (no peanut sauce for her tho).

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