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23 March 2017Last updated
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Features | Health

Well-being Q&A: Atopic dermatitis

Dr V.L. Shyam, MD (Ay), M Phil, a certified Ayurvedic consultant, answers queries exclusively for readers of Friday

Dr VL Shyam
11 May 2012 | 12:00 am

I am an 18-year-old girl and I have been suffering from atopic dermatitis since I was three. Allopathic treatments provide only temporary relief. What could be the reason for this condition? Does Ayurveda have a permanent solution for it?
S.R. Abu Dhabi

Dermatitis and eczema are general terms that describe an inflammation of the skin. There are different types of dermatitis including seborrhoeic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, neuro-dermatitis and contact dermatitis.

The atopic eczema or allergic dermatitis seems to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors such as pollutants and food additives. The most common allergy-causing foods are eggs, peanuts, milk, fish, soy products and wheat.

One theory suggests that our overly sterile, modern lifestyle, with its lack of exposure to immune-stimulating parasites, infections, and bacteria creates an imbalance in the immune system that increases our risk to atopic disorders. According to Ayurveda, there are two factors that are responsible for the etiology of any disease:

  • Disturbance in physiology expressed as a vata/pitha/kapha imbalance.
  • Quality/weakness of anatomical structure.

Ayurveda explains atopic eczema as an imbalance of kapha (the vital force that governs the immune functions) and vata (which contributes to dryness in eczema).

An imbalance of kapha located in the skin produces atopic dermatitis. In Ayurveda, treatment of atopic eczema includes balancing kapha and vata and improving the quality and purity of the skin.

You should identify and avoid triggers that worsen the inflammation. Rapid changes of temperature and sweating can worsen the condition. Avoid direct contact with wool products, such as rugs, bedding and clothes, as well as harsh soaps and detergents.

Apply Nalpamaradi keram* before your bath or shower. Use Sidharthaka snana choornam* mixed with water instead of soap.

Meet an Ayurveda doctor in person as internal medication may be required.

*Available at shops selling herbal products

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Dr VL Shyam

By Dr VL Shyam