TCM Eczema Singapore

Eczema, also referred to as atopic dermatitis, is the most common skin condition in Singapore. This chronic and inflammatory skin condition is characterised by red, itchy, and irritated patches, which can be a source of discomfort and frustration for those who experience it. This skin disorder can weaken the skin’s barrier function, which is responsible for helping your skin retain moisture and safeguarding your body from external elements.

What causes eczema?

The exact cause of eczema varies from person to person, with various factors behind the formation of this skin condition. Genes, in particular, play a pivotal role as eczema often runs in the family. However, other elements (internal and external), such as skin barrier defects, immune dysfunction, and the environment, can contribute to an overactive inflammatory response in the skin, causing eczema.

In the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), eczema is believed to be caused by a combination of dampness, heat, and wind accompanied by deficiencies in the liver, kidney, and spleen, which play essential roles in maintaining skin health. Excess wind in the liver is often linked to hormonal changes and stress, resulting in flare-ups.

Meanwhile, dampness in the spleen can be caused by poor eating habits, such as consuming too much spicy, oily food or cold beverages, which weakens the spleen and stomach. Internal heat can also worsen eczema symptoms, while deficiencies in the kidney exacerbate dryness, inflammation, and itching. These imbalances accumulate and result in an outbreak of itchy rashes.

Signs and symptoms of eczema

Eczema presents a diverse array of signs and symptoms, which can vary in severity from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:

  • Bumps on the skin
  • Dry skin
  • Flaky, scaly, or crusty skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin rash
  • Swelling
  • Thick, leathery patches of skin

TCM treatments for eczema

Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a range of treatments to address eczema holistically, targeting both the underlying imbalances and the skin’s external symptoms. The main principle behind these TCM treatments for eczema is to clear heat, eliminate dampness, and relieve the itch.

1. Chinese Medicine for Eczema

Herbal medicine plays a vital role in managing and relieving eczema symptoms, with specific formulas tailored to address different imbalances. These remedies work synergistically to address the underlying cause, offering longer-lasting external results.

Depending on the severity of the condition, different medications will be prescribed. For acute-stage eczema, which is equivalent to the dampness heat syndrome in TCM, herbs that can help clear heat, eliminate dampness, and relieve itch are typically used.

However, when eczema reaches the subacute stage, it usually represents spleen deficiency and dampness syndrome. As such, herbs meant to eliminate dampness, tonify the spleen, and relieve itch are necessary.

Meanwhile, blood-tonifying and wind-dispelling herbs are used for chronic stage eczema, as this condition is usually symptomatic of blood deficiency and wind syndrome.

2. Topical medications

External applications, such as ointments or lotions, may also be prescribed to soothe and alleviate skin irritation. The TCM physician will assess the severity of your eczema before recommending the appropriate topical medication to apply to the skin.

3. Diet changes and lifestyle modifications

  • Things to avoid:

Incorporate TCM treatments for eczema, TCM physician may assess your dietary habits and lifestyle and recommend adjustments and modifications to support the body’s natural healing processes. These recommendations might include avoid elements like fish oil, licorice, turmeric, chicken meat, and more which benefits for others but not skin conditions patient (subject to conditions).

FAQs about eczema

1. Is there a permanent eczema cure for tcm?

There is no permanent cure for eczema through conventional immunosuppressants. However, eczema can still be effectively managed through TCM therapy, and symptoms can be minimised through various TCM treatment modalities, allowing individuals to lead a better quality of life. We recommend working closely with a good TCM physician to develop a personalised treatment plan for eczema that suits your specific condition and needs.

2. Is eczema contagious?

Rest assured that eczema is not contagious. You cannot spread eczema through person-to-person contact.

3. What triggers eczema flare-ups?

Eczema affects individuals differently. So what causes your symptoms to flare up may not necessarily trigger someone else with the skin condition. Nevertheless, common triggers that cause eczema flare-ups include:

  • Being exposed to something you are allergic to;
  • Dry weather (low humidity);
  • Fabrics or clothing material;
  • Smoke and pollutants
  • Specific chemical substances contained in detergents, makeup, skin care products, and soaps;
  • Stress

4. How do I manage my eczema symptoms and flare-ups?

There are various ways to manage your eczema symptoms and flare-ups. Consult a TCM physician to learn more about the types of food to cut down on or avoid to prevent a flare-up. Beyond paying your TCM physician a visit, you can manage your condition independently by keeping your skin moisturised with a gentle moisturiser to reduce skin flaking and minimising your stress levels to avoid internal triggers like poor liver function, which can contribute to eczema flare-ups.