Botanicals and Eczema

I am often asked by patients about natural therapies that are effective in treating eczema, or atopic dermatitis. There was an interesting study published by Draelos et al in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology that addressed this topic with a specific product.

Eczema is a chronic condition that is inflammatory in nature and has a prevalence of 10-20% in children; this prevalence decreases in adulthood. The disease is characterized by dry, red, itchy skin, and sometimes raised or thickened areas of skin due to chronic scratching of the areas. The cause of eczema is complex and not completely understood. We do know that eczema compromises the barrier structure of the skin which can allow bacteria, irritants, and other exposures to pass through the skin, leading to inflammation.

While there is no cure for eczema, we do have many effective treatments which often focus on avoiding triggering factors and applying topical barrier creams and emollients. More severe cases may require consultation with a physician to determine optimal treatment regimens.

The specific product reviewed in the article is called Kamedis Eczema Therapy cream and contains a combination of 6 botanicals: Rheum Palmatum, Sanguisorba Officinalis, Ailanthus Altissima, Cnidium Monnieri, Scutellaria Baicalensis, and Glycyrrhiza Glabra with diluted sulfur. These are botanical products that have established anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties. As a dermatologist, I find it fascinating and important to understand which products that are found in nature have these inherent properties to soothe and calm the skin.

In this study, the group compared two topical formulations: one that contained the 6 botanicals within a vehicle cream to deliver the botanicals and one that contained the vehicle cream alone, without the botanicals. The study established that the cream containing the 6 botanicals had a statistically significant better ability to treat eczema compared to the vehicle cream alone.

Here are my key takeaways from the article:

  1. There are natural products/ingredients that can be added to skin care products that have the ability to soothe and calm the skin
  2. Rheum Palmatum and Scutellaria baicalensis also have anti-oxidant properties
  3. The botanicals chosen for this study have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity

Draelos ZD, Traub M, Gold MD et al. Validation of Botanical Treatment Efficiency for Adults and Children Suffering from Mild to Moderate Atopic Dermatitis. J Drug Dermatol. 2019;18(6):557-61.

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