I find disease fascinating, and learning about health conditions and their treatments is one of the perks of being a medical content writer for me. When illness comes knocking on my door, however, that fascination can quickly morph into anxiety and frustration.
Beginning My Journey: Finding A Cream That's Good For Eczema
A few recent experiences with dermatitis illustrate this phenomenon aptly. One of my siblings has suffered from eczema since pre-school. It affects his hands primarily; as seasons change in the fall, his hands begin to break out, swell, and bleed. The itching keeps him up at night and distracts him from his tasks. As a child, he would sometimes spend days at home because he could not focus on school.
As the weather grew colder, the eczema always worsened. His pediatricians always treated it with high doses of topical steroids. At first, he would find some relief from the itching and swelling caused by inflammation. Spring brought welcome relief.
Over a period of time, the symptoms seemed to linger after the course of treatment. We found that the redness and itching began to persist well into April, by which time his eczema flares had healed in the past.
Eczema continues to be a problem for him well into middle age. This year, as summer gave way to fall, his hands began to itch. Small, red bumps began to appear. Normally, that would mean a rapid progression to scaling, oozing, and sometimes, bleeding. This year, though, I had the benefit of knowing about Dr. Harlan’s work–and I was armed with a supply of SmartLotionⓇ.
SmartLotionⓇ: A Cream That's Good for Eczema
My brother went ahead and made an appointment with a doctor. While he waited for his scheduled visit, I suggested he try some of my SmartLotionⓇ to see if it would bring relief. Careful to follow Dr. Harlan’s protocols, he began to apply SmartLotionⓇ twice daily. For the first week, the dryness and scaling continued. By the second week, however, he began to find some relief from the horrible itching. The eczema did not continue to worsen. After a month, the eczema flare seemed well in hand–something that has never happened before.
By the time his doctor could see him, his skin had begun to heal. “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it,” he told him.
As a small child, he often cried during flares. I cried along with him on a few occasions; his hands looked so painful, and he was so miserable that it broke my heart. I’m profoundly grateful that I was able to offer help this time–all thanks to SmartLotionⓇ and the bounty of information on HarlanMD.com.
My brother is not the only member of my family to struggle with some form of dermatitis (atopic dermatitis, in his case). My youngest child occasionally has flares of perioral dermatitis. If you’re not familiar with this condition, it manifests as a series of scaly, itchy bumps clustered most commonly around the mouth and nose. It primarily affects children and is most prevalent among girls.
Finding Eczema Relief for My Daughter: Another Journey
As Dr. Harlan points out in his blog, the term “perioral dermatitis” celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Its history in medical terminology coincides with an increase in the usage of steroids for the treatment of various kinds of dermatitis in the 1960s. Doctors and patients alike were frustrated to find that the steroids not only failed to treat some conditions, but actively worsened them.
My daughter has had a few flare-ups of perioral dermatitis unrelated to steroid use. As she is nearing her “tween” years, appearance becomes more important to her–and a scaly rash on her face made her understandably self-conscious.
The first time she experienced this kind of dermatitis, I decided to apply “tincture of time” for a few days to see if it improved on its own. When it worsened, I fell back on a tube of over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. I promptly regretted it. It was like trying to douse a fire with water and discovering that it was really gasoline. I took her to the pediatrician, who prescribed ElidelⓇ.
The ElidelⓇ worked well, and we were happy with the results (my bank was less so–it is an expensive treatment). After the experience we’d had with an over-the-counter cream, I was reluctant to apply SmartLotionⓇ because of the .75% hydrocortisone it contains. After reading Dr. Harlan’s instructions for treating perioral dermatitis, I decided to give it a try.
Because Dr. Harlan’s website is so detailed and informative, we knew to expect stinging with the initial treatments. In just under a week, applications no longer stung. We applied one of Dr. Harlan’s recommended moisturizers after washing her face gently, then applied the SmartLotionⓇ. It was not an overnight success–no physician worth their salt would promise such a thing, and we were not expecting it–but the rash did not spread, and the itching was relieved.
We were accustomed to the perioral dermatitis rashes lasting for weeks–in one instance, the rash persisted for well over a month. To have visible improvements so much more quickly meant the world to a self-conscious little girl.
For years, I watched my brother struggle not only with the symptoms of atopic dermatitis, but the frustration of trying one treatment after another to no avail. I watched him try different diets and supplements. The lack of progress when these treatments inevitably failed was demoralizing. I saw how frustrating it was for my daughter to go to school with a noticeable rash, and I experienced profound guilt when my attempts to treat it worsened it instead. Since learning about Dr. Harlan’s work, I have become passionate about the treatment of eczema and perioral dermatitis.
For that reason, I would like for everyone to know about the possibilities that exist for them with SmartLotionⓇ, and I’d also like to share some of the insights I’ve gained over the years from my brother’s and daughter’s struggles. Here are a few tips I have compiled for those who are trying to choose a treatment for their atopic dermatitis.
How to Choose a Treatment Cream for Atopic Dermatitis
Look for products developed or endorsed by dermatologists
The internet is truly a wonder, but when you’re looking for trustworthy sources of information it can be hard to navigate the options. There is no shortage of vague, unfounded, and all-out wrong information out there. One of the key reasons I tried SmartLotionⓇ to begin with is that it was developed by a dermatologist with a verifiable history of success.
Dr. Harlan has successfully treated over 20,000 atopic dermatitis sufferers over the past 30 years. His findings are peer-reviewed. I could trust SmartLotionⓇ because of his success rate. When I found his website, I was immediately impressed by the wealth of information he shares. After seeing how over-the-counter creams could prolong my brother’s suffering or worsen my daughter’s perioral dermatitis, there was no way I would trust a company that wasn’t backed by a medical professional.
Look for products that address the root causes of eczema
Atopic dermatitis occurs when our skin’s microbiome is disrupted and its barrier function impaired. If a cream doesn’t address those issues, any relief it brings will be fleeting.
SmartLotionⓇ is formulated with three different prebiotics that help to provide an environment more conducive to a balanced microbiome for the skin. Microbial organisms associated with atopic dermatitis flares, such as staph, are less likely to overrun the microbiome.
Moreover, when SmartLotionⓇ is used as directed with dermatologist-approved cleansers and moisturizers, the skin’s barrier function improves, and the skin takes in more moisture while losing less.
The .75% hydrocortisone present in SmartLotionⓇ addresses the inflammation that produces eczema’s misery-inducing symptoms. The scratching, oozing, and scaling eczema sufferers experience can be life-altering–they impact sleep, they interfere with focus (like my brother missing school due to flares), and they often lead to embarrassment and social avoidance. There is little wonder that atopic dermatitis is associated with increased risk of anxiety and depression.
At the same time, SmartLotionⓇ uses less hydrocortisone than other over-the-counter creams; this allows it to relieve inflammation without triggering a rebound effect called topical steroid withdrawal (TSW). It has none of the side effects associated with other topical steroid creams, such as thinning of the skin or increased redness.
Avoid treatments that promise to “cure” eczema.
Atopic dermatitis has no cure. Dr. Harlan says this explicitly over and over again on his website and blog. While eczema flares can be treated and skin can heal, it is never cured. Anyone who tells you otherwise cares more about your money than they do about your health.
While few companies would make these claims blatantly (because they would be inviting lawsuits), salespeople for some companies often make these claims. This is a particular problem with health and wellness-based multilevel marketing (MLM) companies that rely upon laypeople to market the product.
You should also be wary of products that are sold alongside “detox” regimens or specialized diets. No one can deny that diet plays a pivotal role in our health. However, eczema is a multifactorial condition. It isn’t simply the product of someone having an “impure” or “unclean” diet. Many of these diets and protocols are harmful, and you cannot trust anyone marketing them to produce a genuinely helpful topical treatment.
Choose products that stand by their claims
SmartLotionⓇ is backed by peer-reviewed research and a 60-day money-back guarantee. This is not something that can be said for many over-the-counter products commonly found in pharmacies or MLMs. Along with Dr. Harlan’s considerable experience and knowledge, those guarantees made me confident about using SmartLotionⓇ for my family.
As a mother and a sister, I know firsthand how painful dermatitis can be. As a medical content writer, I know firsthand how important it is to have solid, reliable information about your health. I hope my experiences can help someone else find the relief they deserve.
- Zula Elwood