Editor’s Note: With the support of health coach Raine Wong, WeDerm member Esther joined the six-month Integrated Care Plan and was able to manage her lifestyle habits effectively to transform her moderate eczema to now mild to negligible patches.
WeDerm would like to feature community stories of courageous eczema patients to demonstrate the power of lifestyle medicine to inspire more people to start and continue the recovery journey.
Around half a year ago, Esther sought help from WeDerm. Her eczema symptoms first appeared 4 years ago when she was taking her public exam. During that period, she had seen both Chinese and Western doctors, but it would recur from time to time and become more and more serious. She’s been looking for a way to stabilize her skin condition.
Esther has moderate eczema, which spread over her upper and lower limbs. Her thighs and calves were the most serious, with varying rashes and yellow-ish ooze, while the rest of the body like the arms and the neck were dry and red. She had to cover the exuded parts (areas with discharge) with gauze all the time to prevent the skin from sticking to the clothes when the wounds dried up, or the need to get up in the middle of the night to change the gauze. The additional stress and lack of sleep certainly didn’t help her get better. She started to look for the root cause of her condition.
In terms of eating habits, she eliminated beef, seafood, egg, dairy, lamb and snacks according to her findings on the internet. I recommended she give up foods with processed sugar like desserts. She is very self-disciplined in her diet, and she follows my advice to make changes in her lifestyle, such as stretching before going to bed (as she had no habit of exercising).
Gradually, the redness and itching on her neck and arms went away, with slight dryness remaining. The exudation in the thighs and calves also improved. The affected area shrank tremendously. As her skin condition continued to stabilize, I suggested she gradually introduce sensitive foods back into the diet. Rather than picking foods to avoid solely based on information found on the internet, I emphasized she should pay closer attention to the signals her body sends.
After reintroducing certain foods, she discovered that she was not allergic or having any delayed hypersensitivity to beef, eggs, dairy and lamb. I, therefore, encouraged her to gradually increase the portions to allow her body to re-adapt.
Currently, Esther’s skin condition is well under control. Despite some temporary pigmentation and occasional redness, she no longer suffers from scaly, itchy and dry skin. She is still consistent in avoiding snacks and refined sugar. But on an overall level, she has returned to a normal (non-restrictive) diet.
Next steps? Esther will keep an eye on her skin condition and be aware of her daily habits whenever any signs of eczema appear, particularly during the summer.
*All images are provided by the patient and published with her consent.
Raine has a food and nutritional background from the University of Hong Kong. As one of her interests is reading the food labels and ingredient lists, she is good at identifying whether the food choices are suitable or not. Due to her own eczema condition, food alternative is another category that she likes to investigate.