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Inflammatory skin conditions are chronic skin ailments that can cause dry, itchy patches. These patches are generally uncomfortable and itchy, and may cause both physical and mental discomfort. The scratching that results may cause skin infections, abnormal thickening of the skin, oozing of fluid and dry fluid crusts. Atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) is the most common inflammatory skin disease in childhood (10-15% incidence). Conventional treatment for atopic dermatitis can include Vaseline, corticosteroids, cetirizine, antibacterial drugs and phototherapy. Psoriasis vulgaris is one of the most common skin problems – 1-2% incidence in the US population.
Natural remedies have helped in the management of inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. It was estimated that 35-69% of affected people with dermatological disease used complementary/alternative medicine to treat the skin condition. Natural remedies have been researched over the years for inflammatory skin conditions showing statistically significant improvements. Honey is a traditional medicine dating back 1400 years and has been used in Middle Eastern cultures for many different health conditions including inflammatory skin conditions. It has been shown in a number of studies to reduce the release of pro-inflammatory interleukins, while also inhibiting the activation of inflammatory genes. This has borne out clinically as well. One example is a patient-blinded, partially-controlled clinical trial published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine that investigated the use of a topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil (1:1:1) for people with dermatitis and psoriasis. Twenty-one patients with dermatitis and eighteen patients with psoriasis were included in the study. In the honey mixture group, 8 out of 10 patients with atopic dermatitis showed significant improvement after two weeks.
In psoriasis, 5 out of 8 patients showed significant response to honey mixture. This study indicates that honey may be a useful consideration in the management of inflammatory skin conditions. There are many natural therapies that can be used internally and externally to reduce excessive inflammation in the skin, offering the promise of relief from these painful and challenging conditions.
By Christine Toomasi, N.D.
Tags: Inflammatory skin conditions, chronic skin ailments, honey, psoriasis, dermatitis, olive oil, beeswax