Greetings from Hong Kong. My name is Harrison Li. Your typical example of an eczema sufferer (though now barely visible), who has gone through the tides and storms of steroid therapy, herbal medicine, and visiting numerous doctors and dermatologists you can ever find.
It is not an easy sight to look at someone with eczema and tell them “don’t scratch.” Our reflex is to say “Thanks. I’m trying.” But as anyone with eczema would know, deep in our mind is this: “Seriously? Do you really think I want to dig into my skin? Have you ever experienced this intensity of itches that wake you up at night?” But of course, this thought eventually dissolves in our brain, with a forced smile. We know they are just being nice.
Like many people, I developed eczema since a young age, 6 to be exact, right before entering primary school. At this point, you should know that Hong Kong, where I live, is near the equator. This is the worst climate you can give to an eczematous child who scratches their skin when it’s hot, sweaty, and humid!
Let’s skip the gory and skin-weeping details. That’s not exactly a good sight. The logical solution to eczema, as to any disease, is obviously… to visit the doctor! And so I did. Came back with steroids, AKA tubes of hydrocortisone creams. For once, I immediately experienced no pruritus! (Note: medical term for “itch” - only we would know this by reading the Wikipedia page over a hundred times.) I finished my batch of creams within 2 weeks. All good. No eczema. Peaceful nights of sleep. Beautiful and child-like (I was a child indeed) skin restored.
Obviously not. Eczema almost immediately jumps back at you once you stop those magical creams. And so I’d imagine I needed another few tubes from the doctor to kill of the remaining bacteria (hint: misleading concept) because the dosage wasn’t strong enough.
As I visit new skin specialists year after year, the steroid prescribed to me would change into a different name - into a higher potency. Next thing I know, I was dependent. Putting cream on was like make-up - part of my daily routine! (Except it doesn’t too much prettier.)
Over the years since 6 years old until 2013, I had a lot of trouble sleeping well, getting a shower without contracting my arm and leg creases because water would seep into the cracked skin, or just being satisfied with health if at all. But in that summer, my life turned around. In short, I consumed a highly integrated diet of healthy food, along with healthy lifestyle changes on stress, exercise, and sleep. After three months, my eczema disappeared for the first time in life without using steroids.
Today I only have 10% of eczema. Drug-free. Call it a miracle. Or a personal experimentation that luckily worked. There are specific nutrition and evidenced-based strategies to reverse eczema in my understanding. It may not work for everyone. But when you have no other option, every option is a chance, right?. Let me share in this community all the challenges and tips to overcome them I have accumulated since 14 years ago so you can improve your eczema.
Currently undertaking the Food and Nutritional Science program at The University of Hong Kong. I enjoy spending my free time learning or doing: digital marketing, competitive public speaking, health care, business development, and anything exciting that lead to improving the world one step at a time.
In my other free time (I don’t have much, really), I share tips and advice on treating eczema for parents, teenagers, college students, mid-twenties, and everyone who could use the heads up on CureEczemaSlowly.com.
Click here to read all of Harrison's articles on AtopicDermatitis.net.