Pompholyx Eczema treated using Chinese Herbs

TCM for pompholyx eczema

Below are some of the photos posted showing the process of recovery for this patient. In general, we will be able to assess within days how you respond to the treatment, after which recovery should be a slow and steady. Caveat: some people just happen to respond better than others. (Click on images to zoom in.)

What is Hand Eczema aka Pompholyx Eczema?

Hand Eczema is also called Pompholyx Eczema or Dishidrotic Eczema.

It is a commonly recurring eczema associated with excessive hand washing, use of sanitizers, and emotional stress. While hand eczema does affect those suffering from atopic dermatitis, what is most surprising is that many patients coming in have no history of eczema.

What happens is that these bumps start to appear, and then they start looking like mini-bubbles (these are called vesicles) on the palms of the hands. The webbings between the fingers are often affected too, and the lesions tend to be very itchy.

The acute eruption is followed by a dry desquamating phase, which can then be followed by new vesicular eruption. It usually starts from one hand, but the lesions seem to “spread” from one hand to another.

The hands are involves most of the time, while the feet is affected only 10% of the time. Postpartum mums are often affect because of alot of bottle washing, and a compromised immune system as their bodies gradually recover from the physical stress of pregnancy and delivery.

Dishidrotic Eczema, Hand and Fingers Itchy and Inflammed

Had bad pompholyx eczema on my hands 6 months ago. They were dry, flaky, constantly itchy and oozing. I visited Mark and he suggested administering acupuncture on me and prescribed Chinese herbs. After a couple of sessions of acupuncture and Chinese herbs, I felt that my fingers were less itchy and inflamed and I felt that my skin was on the road to recovery.
In addition to acupuncture and chinese herbs, Mark recommended an oats bath to reduce the inflammation. Over time the redness on my fingers are noticeably less red and inflamed.

– Ellise L., Singapore (Dyshidrotic Eczema)

Mother with Pompholyx Eczema

“I have been suffering from eczema since young, My condition was ok except dryness every year end before Chinese New Year. in 2010, I had my right fingers flare up , I thought it could be due to stress and constant washing as I was taking care of my son myself. it went off after I started work. In 2012 I had itchy rashes on my body during my second and third trimester of my pregnancy but it went off after I delivered my baby. My eczema returned when my gal was 7th month when I faced extreme stress at work. It started on my old spot, right fingers and spread from 2 fingers to all fingers. I faced another wave of stress when my gal had high fever persistently for 9 days and my I encountered full blown eczema spreaded from right to my left fingers , and my face too. I thought I have lived with eczema for decades but this round I couldnt take the itch anymore. The constant itch just made me want to chop my fingers off really! I decided to seek medical treatment. I am grateful that my fellow members from the eczema support group recommended me to Mark.

Mark was very patient when listening and diagnosing my condition. I had my first ever acupuncture session done by Mark and it was simply amazing that I could feel the Qi flowing through my body . I felt the energy too when he performed craniosacral treatment on me!  I diligently used the herbal wash to soak my hands twice a day and washed my face with the solution too. My face healed pretty fast after 2 weeks and my fingers recovered 80 to 90% within a month! I heeded his professional advice by avoiding allergen food and to keep my body warm as I have a cold constitution. I am still taking oral medication by Mark as I wanted to balance my constitution,. I believed that the herbs had helped warm my body and my body would then have the energy to heal my eczema.

I brought my son to him too for his contact dermatitis on his forehead. He recovered very fast too. My daughter’s eczema on her ear is more tricky , she hasnt recovered but I think the oilment provided by Mark is useful for her. I brought her to Mark for tuina and craniosacral session and it was great! she had so much poo one day after the session. I plan to bring her to see Mark every month for health maintenance. I would like to thank Mark very much for helping me through my crisis.”

– A. H. & children, S’pore (Eczema)

Successful Treatment of Pompholyx Eczema

i started seeing Doc Mark since december last year for my pompholyx eczema. thankfully, my sessions with him had been beneficial, as the acupunture helped reduce my inflammed skin. he also prescribed different herbs that are tailored to my body’s needs. now, we’re working on my hormonal acne. he really knows his stuff, & a funny guy to boot! very patient with me too as i am forever scared of the needles! definitely recommend him to others who are seeking a natural way in their healing journey.

– N.A., Singapore (Dyshidrotic Eczema, Hormonal Acne)

Pompholyx Eczema can be treated without using Topical Steroids

Pompholyx eczema is a form of skin inflammation that affects the hands, and may sometimes involve the feet. It is characterized by persistent and recurring blistering itch and desquamation of the skin.

While the hope is that steroid medication can bring down inflammation and trigger remission, patients need to know that pompholyx eczema can be successfully treated using Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Chinese Medicine Can Treat Pompholyx Eczema

Chinese Medicine Can Treat Pompholyx Eczema

I have had moderate to severe pompholyx all throughout my twenties. After a remission of 2 years, the pompholyx returned, worse than ever (I suspect Topical Steroid Withdrawal had a part to play). It had spread all over the back of my hands. They looked disgusting and awful, and my fingers were so swollen I couldn’t open or close them. I was miserable and life came to a halt because I couldn’t do anything without excruciating pain – not even simple things like washing my hair, brushing my teeth, or eating. 
I have never been one to turn to TCM treatments, but after learning about TSW, I decided to put a stop to steroid usage once and for all, and seek an alternative treatment. At this point, i came across Mark on the internet and decided to give it a shot. 
It was the best decision I’ve had ever made.
Within 4 weeks of herbs and 4 acupuncture sessions, I regained use of my hands again. The bleeding, peeling, cracking and blistering were largely gone. The inflammation had receded and I could touch and hold things at last. I am now 6 weeks in and my hands are 80% healed. I no longer need to take herbs, and will have acupuncture just once a month. I can’t be any more grateful to Mark for returning my life to me again –  the ability to hold and touch things with my hands is priceless, and no price is too high to pay for this.
Healing is also an emotional and mental process, and Mark has been there with me every painful step of the way, helped ease my anxieties and worries, and pulled me through the first few weeks of treatment when things were at its worst.

TCM for Pompholyx Eczema in Young Mums

We treated with the intention to manage any possible rebound flare, and I gave herbs that are formulation in the tradition of my own lineage after a renowned TCM Skin Specialist from the early 20th century. I paid less attention to the her Spleen-deficient presentation during the first two weeks of treatment as we wanted to focus more on reducing inflammation, and mitigating any negative effects of ‘rebound’ steroid withdrawal.
To the right, her hands during her first consultation, still tapering off at 10mg Predni qd. Notice the slight swell in the fingers (proximal phalanges) as well as the pinkish hue in the palm. Forearms presented with grainy papules. She responded positively to the acupuncture treatment, however…
Within 4 days, as the the dose of Xepason fell to 5mg qd, the patient started experiencing the rebound effect. Xepasone is already considered a ‘better’ steroid, having anti-inflammatory action that is 4x that of hydrocortisone, while mineralocorticoid activity that is 0.6x less.
Apart from hand pompholyx, the flare had spread up to her forearms and also the sides of the neck. This is the flare stage of the disease, and can be very uncomfortable and painful. As a patient, you cannot help but want to scratch, but scratching only aggravates your skin condition.
With the use of the herbs, the patient also started feeling ‘drier,’ both on the skin and ‘in her bowels.’ This drying effect is one of the outcomes of using our herbs.
In a way, for such a situation where pompholyx presents as pus and blisters, where the TCM diagnosis detects an excess of damp, then dryness is what we want from the herbs. We do want drying, but dryness may sometimes be experienced as a side effect.
The only consolation is that, from a therapeutic perspective, a dry presentation is ‘better’ than a weepy presentation. As the patient’s condition improves, she begins to realize that. Remember that as the lesions begin drying, it is a good thing!
During this phase, the patients may want to keep their hands dry, and also not try to pick at the dry and hard bits. Over time, the skin will begin to feel more and more normal; it just needs some time as the herbs do the work, and your skin begins to manage better.
Against what felt right for her, I also suggested she consider ceasing use of physiogel lotion, and instead to consider using potassium permanganate or ACV, both of which provide some extent of astringent or antimicrobial effect.
I also suggested coming twice a week during this rebound period. This is not the usual frequency people come unless they are experiencing an acute flare. She was an excellent responder to acupuncture treatment, which reduced the intensity of erythema, exudation and itch.
Within 25 days after her last 5mg dose of Xepasone, with twice weekly acupuncture treatment together with herbs, the patient arrived at a place where, despite having some doubts about the sustainability of the treatment, she could happily bathe her two children and also resume cooking for the house.
I asked her to come back for one last acupuncture treatment 2 weeks later if she felt it would be helpful, or not to come back at all if she felt confident enough in the progress.
The patient is a good responder to acupuncture, and that actually helps me alot as a practitioner. Why? Because when a patient responds well to acupuncture’s anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulatory effects, it mitigates the intensity of any acute flare, and allows the herbs to continue its positive effects.
Herbs also worked well for her because her presentation matches a certain profile in the TCM framework. She was presenting primarily with Damp Accumulation secondary to Spleen Deficiency. In the terms of herbal treatment, as soon as the acute flare was out of the way, we slowly shifted the prescription to one that fortified her Spleen (the Spleen as understood in Chinese medicine). This type of herbal intervention at the end-stage also helps with gut recovery, and gut recovery is the cornerstone of treatment in many cultures of traditional medicine.
There are some patients who present with an intense pompholyx flare, but do not respond as well to acupuncture treatment.  There are others who have more complicated presentation e.g. someone with a very deficient Spleen (TCM Spleen), who cannot handle strong herbal anti-microbials and anti-inflammatories during the acute phase of the rebound flare.
For certain, Chinese herbs and acupuncture are worth considering if you are experiencing Pompholyx Eczema aka Hand Eczema in Singapore.