Skin Disorders

Skin Disorders

Skin diseases cause a great deal of anxiety for both children and their par ents Homoeopaths see most problems on the skin as a result of an internal disorder. We therefore prefer to treat them with internal remedies rather than simply using external ointments to get rid of the skin eruptions, in part because we often find that, if a skin disorder is treated only with an ointment, another problem soon appears somewhere else in or on the body.

BOILS

Boils are inflamed, painful red bumps with a central core of pus, They canoccur anywhere on the body, but often appear on the neck, face and buttocks. If your child tends to suffer from recurrent boils, he has a chronic problemthat should be addressed by a professional homoeopath.

Anthracinum

for very severe boils

burning pains

dark blood oozes from the boil

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 30C every three to four hours for three to four doses.

Arsenicum album

burning pains, better for warm applications

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 30C every three hours for three to four doses

Belladonna

at the outset of an attack, before pus has formed

boils are red and hot, accompanied by throbbing pain

Belladonna is only useful for boils if it is given within the first few hours of inflammation. Once pus has even started to form, it will rarely be of any value.

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 12C or 30C every one to two hours, depending on the intensity of the symptoms, for three or four doses. If Belladonna does not resolve the inflammation, try one of the following remedies.

Hepar sulphuris

for boils that are slow to form a head

extremely painful

sensitive to touch and cold applications

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 6C every one to two hours for four to five doses. If this remedy iscorrect there will be fairly quick relief from the pain.

Silica

slow to heal after the pus has been discharged

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 12C or 30 every three to four hours for two to three days.

Sulphur

for repeated bolls

slow to heal

useful for Sulphur constitutional types

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 30C every three to four hours for three doses.

Tarentuin cubensis

for large boils accompanied by extreme burning and stinging pain

when the boils are purple

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 30€ every two to three hours, depending on the intensity of thesymptoms, for three to four doses.

EXTERNAL AND COMMON-SENSE MEASURES

1 Soak the boil(s) with a hot compress to help bring it to a head anddischarge

2 Some people have found that honey mixed with a small amount of flourand applied as a poultice can be helpful.

WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

1 If the boils recur over and over again.

2 If they are accompanied by fever and/or swollen glands.

3 If there is no improvement within two to three days.

COLD SORES

These are caused by aaral infection and take the form of tiny blister like eruptions in and around the mouth and/or lips.

The attacks can be mild and may sometimes be accompanied by a slight fever. If your child has recurrent cold sores, constitutional treatment from a professional homoeopath is the best strategy.

You may try one of the following two remedies to help for acute attacks

Natrum muriaticum

for herpes that come on after exposure to hot sun

sometimes known as fever blisters”

Rhus tox

after exposure to cold, damp weather

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 30C every three hours for four to six doses

CRADLE CAP

Many infants develop cradle cap-a crop of thick, cristy, scaly, yellow erup tions on the head and around the ears. It is nothing to be overly concerned about and usually clears up of its own accord. If you would like to treat your baby’s cradle cap, however, the following remedies may be useful Sometimes a constitutional remedy such as Calcarea carbonica may be of help;

please consult a professional homoeopath.

Mezereum

for crusty eruptions that ooze from under the crust especially when

slight pressure is applied

Sulphur

offensive smell on the head, with no other symptoms

inoffensive smell to the cradle cap, but strong-smelling stools/urine

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 12C or 30C every 12 hours for three doses.

EXTERNAL AND COMMON SENSE MEASURES

1 Coat the scalp with coconut oil or a non medicated cream overnight to moisten and help soften the scales You can gently remove some of the scales, but do not pull them off

2 Do not be tempted to use a hard brush on your baby’s scalp to get rid of thecradle cap

ECZEMA

This is a skin disorder characterized by itching and reviness. In severe cases the symptoms can be extreme and may be accompanied by cracks, bleeding. and weeping of anything from a thin watery discharge to a thick honey coloured fluid.

In some children the skin thickens where it itches most, particularly in

folds of skin as at the elbows, knees, and the groin.

Orthodox medicine has come round to the view (long held by ho moeopaths) that eczema can be caused by hereditary factors, sensitivity to certain foods, allergies, emotional states or a combination of all four We usually do not recommend home treatment, but suggest that you consult a professional homoeopath The use of a skin cream or lotion rarely deals with

the underlying cause and, although it may provide relief, this is usually only temporary.

EXTERNAL AND COMMON-SENSE MEASURES

1 Avoid dairy products.

2 Limit your child’s intake of any foods or substances he seems sensitive to.

3 Applying coconut oil or a bland non-medicated cream on areas of thick ened skin may help soften the skin.

4 Avoid wool, man-made fabrics, strong soaps and anything that may irritate the skin.

Case Study

Linda brought her six-month-old son, Oliver, for homoeopathic treatment for his eczema. His skin was very dry and he had cradle cap as well. On a general level he was a happy baby who slept well and was just beginning to eat solids. He was suffering from slight constipation, which could possibly have been attributed to the change from just milk to solid foods. Lindas pregnancy and birth had been uneventful, and Oliver had had no immuniza tions to date.

We first gave Oliver Sulphur 30. Over the next three months, however, his eczema did not improve. We decided to prescribe Graphites 200, but there was still no change. The doctor at the local health centre did not want to prescribe steroid creams for such a young child, and was sympathetic to ho moeopathic alternatives. The most obvious symptom at our third Interview was a delay in the start of teething. The homoeopathic remedy Calcarea carbonica 200 was prescribed, within one week Olivers eczema was clearing from his face, and his first teeth had come through. To date his eczema has improved significantly, to the delight of his family and doctor

Homoeopaths often see dramatic responses like this when the correct constitutional remedy is given. It is interesting to note that we did not spot the correct remedy straight away. This demonstrates that should you ever make a similar misdiagnosis, giving your child the incorrect remedy cannot do him any harm

Case Study

An 11-month-old boy was brought by his parents for skin problems, diagnosed as eczema. The symptoms we noted were as follows:

His parents had been using cortisone cream on his skin regularly, withonly temporary benefit.

The red eruptions were very bad around his nipples, and were discharging a clear to reddish fluid. The dry patches on other parts of his body were veryitchy

He had had four colds since his birth and had been treated with antibiotics three times.

His nose was stuffed up and his chest would be very congested at times

His hands and feet were cold, he was also feverish.

He would get ‘yeast rashes quite frequently

He was generally an easy child, not crying a lot.

He was very hyperactive, alert, getting into everything liked to explore.

He was all over the place in the clinic while his case was being taken

He had started walking at nine months old.

Sleep was a problem: after a broken night, though tired he would still tryto get up out of his cot

Would move his hands and feet while asleep Slept in the knee to chest position.

Taking all these symptoms into consideration, we gave him Medorrhinum. There was an immediate but consistent improvement of his skin com plaints over the next six months, as well as a noticeable reduction in the number and frequency of his colds and chestinessWith chronic skin complaints the whole child has to be taken intoaccount

HIVES (NETTLE RASH)

This skin disorder is characterized by raised areas of hot red skin, often inblotches, accompanied by severe itching and swelling Hives can be causedby allergies, shellfish, spices, sweets, drugs or insect bites. Recurrent hivesusually need constitutional treatment

Apis mellifica

itchy red blotches worse for heat, warm applications, and possibly atnight

worse after exercise, perspiration or when overheatedafter insect bites or bee stings

better for cool applications

swollen skin, can feel as if it will burst

Arsenicum album

hot, red eruptions better for warm applications

Rhus toxicodendron

itching that can be soothed by the application of very hot water

Urtica urens (Stinging nettle)

this remedy comes from the stinging nettle

nettle rash appearance

raised, red, burning blotches

worse at night, for warmth, when overheated

after eating shellfish

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 120 or 30C every three hours for three doses. As with all homoeopathic treatment, stop once your child shows signs of improvement

EXTERNAL AND COMMON-SENSE MEASURES

1 Apply cool applications

WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

1 If the respiratory tract gets affected and breathing becomes difficult

2 If there is a history of severe reactions to

IMPETIGO

This is an infectious skin disorder that is common in children. It is extremely contagious. Playgroups and schools will exclude a child with im petigo until it has completely cleared up.

The eruptions can accur anywhere on the body, but usually form on theface and legs. They are usually seen around the lips, and can resemble coldsores

Impetigo starts off as elevated spots containing yellow pus. The spots then break open and form crusts. Scratching can spread the infection to other parts of the body,

Homoeopathy can usually treat impetigo quite successfully Antibioticsare rarely necessary

If the following remedies do not work there are others that probably will and which might relate more to the constitutional symptoms of your child. Consult a professional homoeopath

Antimonium crudum

typical picture of impetigo-thick, yellow-crusted eruptions

cheeks and chin which weep and ooze

may be a thick white coating on the tongue

child is miserable and difficult to get along with

Arsenicum album:

burning, itching eruptions better for warmth or warm applications

restlessnesson thesimilar causes.

eruptions are thick, oozing a honey-like discharge, accompanied byscabs

child may be chubby (this is a constitutional symptom)

Mezereum

glue-like discharge oozing from thick crusts, especially when thecrusts are pressed

redness around the eruptions

Rhus toxicodendron

extremely itchy, especially at night

child is restless, cannot keep still

eruptions may feel better for hot applications

Viola tricolor

thick scabs with a thick yellow pus

itching with burning, worse at night

Potency and Repetition

One dose of the indicated remedy in 6C or 12C every three to four hours for up to six doses. If the remedy is correct your child should feel better generally within 24 hours, even if the skin does not yet look better EXTERNAL AND COMMON SENSE MEASURES

1 Avoid contact with other children.

2 Wash the crusts with warm sterilized water and Calendula lotion (approx imately 10 drops of Calendula to half a cup of water). Do this several times a day.

3 If the eruptions are infected, wash with an Echinacea mother tincturesolution (10 drops in an egg-cup sized container full of cooled boiled water).

Do this approximately every four hours.

WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

1 If the above remedies do not help and your child is in great distress,

2 If there are signs of severe infection.

MILK CRUSTS (BABY ACNE)

Small white pustules on the cheeks and forehead. They start on the face and spread to the rest of the body. The spots can go yellow, burst and form crusts. This is a self-limiting condition which usually clears up in about three or four months. Occasionally orthodox medicine recommends antibi otics, but we have found that homoeopathic remedies are usually sufficient. If one of the following remedies does not provide relief, a constitutional remedy may be necessary. Seek a professional homoeopath for help.

Aconite

at the outset, bright red inflammation accompanied by anxiety and restlessness

Rhus toxicodendron

very itchy, accompanied by restlessness.

Sulphur

offensive odour to all bodily discharges (urine/stools/breath/sweat)

itching worse when the child is warm in bed at night

Viola tricolor

scabs with a sticky yellow pus

itching worse at night

symptoms that are helped by Sulphur and Viola tricolor are worse at night. If the symptoms are strictly local and there is no offensive smell from anypart of the body, try Viola first.

Potency and Repetition

One dose of 12C every four hours for four to six doses.

EXTERNAL AND COMMON-SENSE MEASURES

1 Wash the eruptions several times a day with a lotion made up of 10 drops of Calendula mother tincture to half a cup of sterilized water.

WHEN TO SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP

1 If symptoms do not improve within a few days.