Eczema can’t be cured but to understand how to manage and reduce it, you have to understand the role of Staphlococcus Aureous. (staph for short). If you can beat the staph it could mean the difference between severe eczema and mild eczema.
Staph is an amazingly clever and resilient bacteria that defies almost everything your dermatologist is allowed to throw at it. Here are some facts about staph
- Staph loves inflamed skin as it can expand its colony on it, so it emits toxins that inflame the skin more and spread the inflammation
- Staph doesn’t like topical steroids as they alter the skins immune response so that less of that lovely inflammation that it likes is produced. To counter this, staph can develop the ability to produce lots of superantigens which trigger the skins immune response to cause inflammation. It does this to a level that the steroid can not suppress. This leads to topical steroid resistance and the need to use stronger steroids.
- Most countries health service guidelines use antiseptics to reduce staph but a systematic review of many studies found that this was not proving effective at improving eczema.
- To survive as a species Staph has evolved into many different strains. Some of these strains are resistant to various antibiotics. e.g. MRSA, FRSA.
. So only some of the Atopic Dermatitis that you see is due to an allergic reaction to an environmental trigger or even a food allergy. Much of what you are looking at in a child covered in eczema is a ‘staph wildfire’. I came to realise this when I worked out how to beat the staph. (More of that later)
So what do you have in the arsenal to wage war on staph
- Many people find bleach baths improve their eczema. This is because bleach kills nearly all bacteria including staph
- Antibiotic creams. These will kill the staph but if used for only a short time the staph seems to come back. Dr Richard Aron has much success combining steroids, emollient and antibiotic for a long period. Most health service guidelines forbid this though due to a fear of increasing the population of antibiotic resistant staph like MRSA which can wreak havoc in hospitals.
- Zinc creams. I have heard many reports of success with Zinc creams. Zinc creams kill staph but some find that they can dry the skin.
. But in my war against the staph which was making my daughters life a misery, I found a new weapon. I decided to fight fire with fire. I fought bacteria with bacteria.Very quietly and without the fanfare that it deserves, some of the cosmetic companies have been bringing out moisturisers that contain bacteria. The great thing about bacteria is that they compete for room on the skin. Some bacteria will push staph out. Some bacteria like to live on healthy skin rather than inflamed skin so they makes changes to the skin to reduce inflammation.One of these bacteria is Vitreoscilla Filliformis. There are a number of creams that contain this bacteria under various marketing names . The one I tried for my daughter was La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+. The results were fantastic and although my daughter still has eczema, the patches do not spread and they go down quickly without having to use steroids.You can see the results here.Not only am I happy to have won the war against staph I have done it without using anything aggressive on my 2 year old daughters skin. Bacteria is the most natural thing in the world. It existed before we did. Healthy skin should be covered in a wide range of bacteria. Where Dermatology may have been getting it wrong is in trying to kill all bacteria just to get one.
However if you find that the bacteria creams do not work for you try some of the other methods that I have mentioned but always seek advice from a dermatologist or doctor first. I have discussed the Lipikar cream with my daughters Dermatologist and she is happy for me to use it.