Skin Conditions


Skin conditions

Red Skin Syndrome

This condition that can develop when one uses topical steroids to treat a skin problem.

According to the National Eczema Association, over thirty-million Americans have eczema. In fact, skin disorders are one of the most common reasons for doctor’s visits. In skin conditions like eczema, the condition is often misdiagnosed as worsening eczema. Most often, topical steroids are prescribed at the dosage the doctor believes is best for the patient eczema, often starting with the lowest appropriate dose. Doctors commonly prescribe a course of treatment, which will include topical steroids, prescribed at a certain strength, for a specific length of time. Patients are instructed to complete the entire course of the topical steroids, even if their symptoms improve. Topical steroids are used because their anti-inflammatory properties reduce the swelling and irritation to the area effected by eczema. They are also immunosuppressive, which means they stop the immune response that led to the eczema in the first place. More or stronger topical steroids may be prescribed, which creates a vicious cycle which continues to worsen the problem.

The use of topical steroids with eczema usually produce the desired results, however for some people, symptoms linger after the initial course has been completed. The doctor changes the patient to a different topical steroid, increases the strength of their current prescription, or simply prescribes an additional course of treatment. Topical steroids come in many forms. They are often prescribed as creams, but can also be in the form of lotions, oils, and gels. They may be called corticosteroids, cortisone, or glucocorticosteroids. Some topical steroids are available over-the-counter. Stronger preparations require a doctor’s prescription. By choosing to start with the lowest appropriate dose, the doctors intention was to mitigate any side effects the patient may have in the future from the topical steroid treatment. With a full course of topical steroids, users may experience skin discoloration, excess hair growth, or even develop an allergy. The rash can spread or develop on other parts of the body. Patients experience powerful sensations of itching, burning and stinging at the locations of the rash, an increased allergic response, and areas that were previously cleared by medication develop a rash again. The rash may continue after a course of steroids. This treatment failure then begins the cycle of prescribing higher dose topical steroids.

When topical steroids for eczema are taken over a long period of time, the patient increases the chances of developing symptoms of Red Skin Syndrome (RSS), also known as Topical Steroid Addiction (TSA) or Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW). This syndrome can be very frustrating to sufferers, as the very product designed to treat their eczema leads to a worsening of skin conditions. Sufferers of topical steroid withdrawal find themselves experiencing worse skin irritation and more intense symptoms than they started with. Most people who use topical steroids with eczema think it is a sanity saver, but they have no idea the level of insane itching, burning, stinging and pain topical steroid withdraw will produce.

Skin Conditions-hand

Treatment of Red Skin Syndrome focuses on preventing infection, helping the patient to minimize the intense itch, manage their pain and suppress the immune system to stop the histamine reaction. A doctor may also suggest anxiety medication and sleep aids. It can take months, but more often years to recover from Red Skin Syndrome. Red Skin Syndrome must be managed carefully. The doctor will run tests to check cortisol levels and adrenal function before the patient stops topical steroid treatment. The patient may need to wait before stopping topical steroid treatment, even if the rash is spreading.

After topical steroids are discontinued, the following symptoms of Red Skin Syndrome may develop: lymph nodes may be enlarged, the eyes may be dry and irritated, head and or body hair may begin to appear, and insomnia may creep in, causing or exacerbating fatigue. Your emotions may seem unstable, and you may develop previously undiagnosed depression or anxiety. You may constantly feel either too hot or too cold, your skin will look sunburned, and will be flaky, swelled, oozing or burning. You may experience nerve pain, or hypersensitivity to water, the feeling of fabrics against your skin, or changes in temperature. Skin atrophy may develop, and your arms or legs may become inflamed. Edema may also develop.

The use of topical steroids with eczema is a front line medical treatment. RSS is a condition that is a side effect of medical treatment, also called an iatrogenic condition. Not everyone who uses topical steroids will develop RSS. The doctors say there are no known indicators that someone will develop Red Skin Syndrome, and they do not know why some individual develop RSS and others do not. However, I see where the root of the problem is found. They are treating “symptoms”, not the problem. The problem is not with the external skin! The external skin is a mirror reflection of what is happening in the internal skin; the intestinal epithelium. This is a symptom of Candida yeast overgrowth and Leaky Gut.

The other presentation of topical steroid withdrawal is called papulopustular rashes, which can take such forms as steroid rosacea, in which the face becomes red and irritated within a few weeks of stopping topical steroid treatment, and periorificial dermatitis, where groups of red papules develop near the mouth, eyes, or nose. These conditions may be treated with topical antibiotics since resuming topical steroid use would not help. Antibiotics and steroids can cause Candida yeast to mutate and dive deeper into the body, creating a health challenge more serious than the initial skin issue.

The symptoms of eczema are pretty basic: a rash that’s itchy. While it may seem simple, eczema is anything but simple. Eczema isn’t just one disease or condition. It’s a term that describes the reaction caused by a particular skin rash. When the skin has an itchy rash, it causes the sufferer to scratch the rash, sometimes until it bleeds. This itch-scratch cycle can lead to inflammation, worsening of the rash, and even infection.

There are several different types of rashes that can cause the itch-scratch cycle called eczema to begin. Those include atopic dermatitis, which is linked to asthma, fungal infections, and seborrheic eczema, also known as dandruff. Many of these conditions can be treated by over-the-counter anti-itch creams, but again, this is a “symptom focused” approach. The root cause of course is Candid yeast overgrowth. While these creams can temporarily reduce the itch, they may introduce your immune system to the additional challenge of dealing with the ingredients in the creams.

Some types of eczema can be prevented by making sure to keep skin healthy and moisturized, and by avoiding irritants. For example, contact dermatitis is a form of eczema caused when your skin is exposed to a particular irritant, such as poison ivy. It makes sense that if you continue to come in contact with the irritant, your rash won’t go away. The same is true for types of eczema triggered by allergies, such as atopic dermatitis. The over the counter anti-itch creams may relieve the itch, but the eczema won’t be resolved until you’re no longer exposed to whatever is causing it. There are alternative remedies to over-the-counter and doctor prescribed medications that work with the immune system and quickly resolve the problem. Rhus Tox is a homeopathic remedy for poison ivy, but also Jewel Weed is a wild plant that when rubbed on the affected area, removes the itch and the rash. Skook Chuck is a homeopathic remedy for eczema that appears after vaccination.

A baby or toddler develops eczema after a vaccination, but the parent and doctor don't make the connection. With the best of intentions, they begin treatment with low dose topical steroids. The eczema continues and the child receives continued treatment with increasingly high doses of topical and perhaps other forms of steroids into adulthood. Having received several dozens and various forms of steroid treatments, they progress into Topical Steroid Withdraw through their 30's. But lets look deeper. To start with, as a baby they didn't receive the full compliment of beneficial bacteria from their mother during birth, so full immunity in the gut didn't occur. The vaccination was an assault on what little immunity there was and the health challenge began. Steroids cause overpopulated Candida in the gut to mutate into an invasive fungus and invade the intestinal epithelium. Other health challenges present themselves and antibiotics are prescribed. The combination of antibiotics and steroids create other symptoms, which are misdiagnosed and treated with medications, and the health of this person deteriorates even further. This is one example of how this happens.

Stasis dermatitis is found on the lower legs of people who suffer from poor circulation. Scabies is a type of eczema caused by the human itch mite. When it gets into your skin, a rash is produced. It can be hard to avoid someone who has scabies, especially in crowded public areas. Despite our best efforts, we may still come into contact with things that cause us to have an allergic reaction leading to eczema.

Eczema is a very treatable symptom that can have a quick and positive outcome when the source of the problem is understood, but the use of conventional medical treatment can prolong the problem, turning it into a disease and cause conditions that are worse than the initial challenge. It can be unnecessarily difficult to manage as a result, and treatment can take many months or years. It may be especially difficult for small children, because it’s hard for them to resist the urge to scratch, which can spread the rash. All of this causes unnecessary suffering and expense.

If you have questions, email johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com to schedule your free introductory consultation. I look forward to serving you. JVW