Management of Dermatitis from a Chinese Medicine Perspective

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 What is dermatitis? In medical terms, ‘derm’ refers to the skin, and ‘-itis’ simply means that something is inflamed. So dermatitis is literally ‘inflammation of the skin.’

This is a very broad term that includes many different types of skin inflammation. They all have in common a red rash, and usually also itching. There are different types of dermatitis with slightly different symptoms. Some of the most common types are:

  • Contact dermatitis – allergic contact dermatitis may be cause by contact with a number of irritants, such as poison oak, latex gloves, or certain types of metals, such as nickel. It may also be caused by contact with toxic chemicals.
  • Photo-contact dermatitis – occurs when certain chemicals on the skin are exposed to the sun.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – red, itchy, and scaly rash, usually on the scalp, but can occur on other areas, causes dandruff, or ‘cradle cap’ in babies
  • Nummular dermatitis – appears as distinct coin-shaped or oval-shaped rash, often on the lower legs, and most common in men
  • Stasis dermatitis – occurs in the lower legs when the veins are not able to return the blood back up to the heart, and the pooling of the blood, causing fluid to leak out of the capillaries, causing the irritation
  • Neurodermatitis – related to the nervous system, it’s often triggered by stress; may also be triggered by an insect bite, or skin allergy
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis – often seen in people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, this form is extremely itchy, and has a similar appearance as shingles (herpes zoster), although it is not caused by the herpes virus
  • Atopic dermatitis – this is another term used for eczema; eczema is a form of dermatitis, since it’s cardinal symptoms are inflamed, red rash, and usually brought about by an allergic reaction, often seen along with asthma and allergies

In Chinese medicine, all forms of dermatitis are viewed and treated the same. They all have in common the symptoms of itching, redness, and inflammation. The itching is a form of what is known as ‘wind’ in Chinese medicine. Wind is one of the 6 external causes of disease; the other 5 are: cold, dampness, dryness, heat, and summer heat, which is heat combined with dampness. The characteristics of wind are that it tends to move around to different locations of the body, and also causes movement within the body. Examples are a rash that is itchy in one location one moment, and another location the next. Or shaking and tremors seen in Parkinson’s disease are a form of internal wind. The redness is a sign that there is too much ‘heat’ in the skin and the body in general. A rash that is raised or swelling, or that has fluid coming out, is a sign that there is too much dampness.

Merry Clinic’s approach to treating dermatitis is to balance the immune system, and to treat the wind, heat, and dampness that are causing the rash. The EcDermaid capsules and Skin Detox formula work together to achieve balance, and therefore to get rid of these symptoms. The external treatments, such as EcDermaid face & body spray, or EcDermaid hand & foot cream, will help to control the symptoms from the outside, but the pills are the most important part of the treatment, since the cause is inside your body. You can find more information on Merry Clinic’s Dermatitis treatment on the following web page: http://www.merryclinic.com/eczema/treatment_derm.htm

 

 

 

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Teresa is a California licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco, CA

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