Q.: I need advice on how to treat itchy pompholyx (or vesicular) eczema on my hands. I have a history of atopic eczema – it disappeared when I went abroad for 10 years, but 3 months after returning to South Africa I developed intensely itchy vesicles on my fingers. This was 3 years ago. I avoid having any chemicals in my house (cosmetic, cleaning or other), follow an organic chemical-free diet as far as possible, and read all labels. I have tried homeopathy (Sulphur 6C) and homotoxicology, and am currently using apple cider vinegar on the lesions, which at least relieves the itching and dries them out a bit. I wear gloves and try to avoid water. I wear no jewellery. Anything else I should think about? Anonymous
DR SANDI NYE REPLIES:
Firstly, let me express empathy for your challenging condition, from which a member of my family suffered for many years. You appear to be doing many things right, environmentally, topically and internally. However, it is possible that your body is expressing an adverse reaction to something seemingly innocuous in your diet, such as dairy or local grain, irrespective of how good your diet may be. For example, many people who have wheat allergies in South Africa find that this problem disappears or diminishes when they are abroad, because of certain differences in the grains. If you have not already tried eliminating dairy and/or wheat, it may be worth while. There are reports of this disorder being cured with Chinese medicinal herbs, such as those that relate to damp-heat clearing and fire-toxin resolving, so you could consult an expert in the traditional Chinese medicine field if you haven’t already been down that road. The naturopathic approach is always to look for the cause of a condition, rather than providing only palliative care (i.e. putting something onto the lesions to soothe them, in your case). I’d advise you to consult a doctor of integrative and/or natural medicine, who can investigate your condition fully and establish an individually tailored treatment protocol for you. I hope your condition resolves soon.