What to expect when implementing SolveEczema.org site strategies in terms of timing. I get this question on occasion — the answer depends on people’s circumstances and what they’re willing or able to do.
First, referring to my last post, I noticed the thumbnail of the poster does not load. But if you follow the link to the F1000 site and look at the upper right hand corner of the page, there is a link to download a PDF of the poster to enlarge and view on your computer.
I am now of the opinion that removing detergents (as defined in SolveEczema.org) is important for anyone with an allergy problem of any kind, and regardless of the dominant reason for outbreaks, I feel it is important for anyone with eczema to reduce or eliminate detergents, since eczema seems to be a threshold phenomenon. Detergents basically make it so our immune systems “see” more of whatever it is we’re allergic to in our environment. (This is medicine 101—detergents increase membrane permeability—see SolveEczema.org.)
I have come across many, many people who have said they cleared things up substantially within a week of implementation — usually after focused effort to get really close to 100% compliance with the strategies on the site. If being that proactive is not realistic, then it could take weeks or even months, depending on what you are able or wish to do. Depending on a variety of factors, it could take longer, even much longer. Typically those longer journeys happen for a short list of reasons:
A few things can get in the way of success and make results take longer (see SolveEczema.org for more information):
1) Not implementing close enough to 100% (this is very common), or the “holdout” problem in the household (and this can take many forms — sometimes people think the site strategies are just a matter of changing products and don’t really understand the exposures they still get at home). See SolveEczema.org for details. When this is the case, often when people track down that one remaining major exposure and fix it, everything gets better virtually overnight. I’ve gotten that kind of feedback a lot. Sometimes people will see so much improvement at first, they don’t think a few major exposures like their shampoo or their dirty old carpet will be a problem, for example, so they get lax and don’t get rid of things fully until they get serious about it.
2) Hard water makes washing out old residues just take a lot longer, and makes washing with soap (an important strategy for controlling the other residues) less successful. The whole process ends up taking a lot longer, people’s skin doesn’t heal up as fast, the skin is not as substantial early on, etc. Clearing things up can stretch out to weeks or months. (Though don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard many success stories from people with hard water, it’s just more difficult.)
3) Other allergens like pollen or mold in the environment to an unhealthy degree. (Changes the threshold.)
4) Infections that need treating first before things will clear up. Sometimes these are not obvious as infections at first, and are more an overrepresentation of certain microorganisms. Nevertheless, treatment is sometimes necessary first.
5) Other reasons for the eczema dominate, such as unrecognized food protein allergy or a problem with the health of the gut. (This is where a good probiotic can be very helpful.)
6) The person with eczema has very permeable skin naturally. The younger the child, the more permeable skin is naturally in general. When children are older, partial implementation might be enough to eliminate breakouts while being insufficient to get the full benefit to skin and lung membranes (asthma — see SolveEczema.org).
Things should never get worse, and no one should ever “tough it out”. Always ask your doctor for help if anything does get worse.
I wish everyone a happy, healthy, eczema-free holiday and New Year.