'I thought that eczema
could never be healed.'
I had had eczema since I was a child. My mum used to bring me to many reputable doctors. Every doctor I consulted invariably gave me prescriptions for steroid creams. They did quickly relieve my conditions, but only for a short while. The prescribed medicine never cleared up my skin in the long run.
Since I constantly scratched my skin when I was sleeping, my arms became tattered, scaly, inflamed and sometimes even leaked fluid. In order to cover my skin conditions, I only wore long sleeves, even during boiling days in Hong Kong. Some of my friends would ask me why, but I just made up excuses. I avoided talking about it because I was not confident about myself.
Growing up with eczema, I started to feel numb with it during my secondary school years. When there were flare-ups on my skin, I covered them up with clothing. When it itched, I scratched. When it became unbearably itchy, I put on steroid creams. That was basically my routine. I never questioned that vicious cycle. I thought that eczema could never be healed, and I guessed that was the only way I could live with it.
Until two years ago, there were flare-ups literally all over my face. I could no longer conceal my conditions with long-sleeve shirts. I was devastated because it was too embarrassing to go out. I felt everyone was staring at my skin. Since then I only went out if it was necessary. I refused to meet any of my friends.
It was the time when I finally had the urge to look for alternatives. I came across some bloggers and Youtubers who cured their eczema in natural ways. I decided to adopt a healthy lifestyle since then. I guessed what triggered my eczema were probably Hong Kong’s humid weather, my bad eating habits and stress. Among the three factors, I only had full control of my eating habit. I therefore started eating clean – no additives, no sugar, no junk food, no gluten, no dairy – just plain, natural food. Apart from that, I incorporated other healthy habits like sleeping early, avoiding negative thoughts, doing regular exercise etc.
Lamentably, my eczema didn’t get any better a month after adopting a healthier lifestyle. Every day I looked into the mirror, my skin condition was more or less the same. I was really discouraged. My mum would ask if I wanted to visit the doctor… It was tempting because I started to doubt if a healthy lifestyle would help at all. Yet I really didn’t want to put my previous efforts in vain. I told my mum, 'If the condition doesn’t get better after six months, I will seek the doctors.'
I guess it was one of the happiest moments in my life when the rashes started to go away. I finally conquered my stubborn rashes after four months of change in lifestyle. Since then, my eczema hasn’t flared up.
Interestingly, among all the doctors I consulted, not a single one suggested any natural treatment for eczema. If I had known about a natural treatment earlier, I would have saved years of high-dose steroid use that worsened my conditions, let alone doing any good to my skin.
Now when I look back, I would say my worsened skin condition was a blessing to me – I finally questioned why the ounces of steroid cream and the countless doctor visits never really helped.
‘You are what you eat’ sounds cliché, but it’s absolutely true. I believe our body is like a machine, we can maximize its capability if we provide the right fuel (healthy habits).
If I can cure my eczema, you can too!
Team member, WeDerm
PROF. HENRY TONG, PhD
Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, LKS Faculty of Medicine
Expertise : Pharmaceutical Science: preformulation studies; pharmacy practice: drug information services; industry-