The skin is the first line of defence against harmful organisms. Yet, it can be vulnerable to a variety of conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin. Eczema is the most chronic skin condition in children, while acne is most common in adolescents.
An overactive immune system response may be involved in many inflammatory skin conditions, including eczema, hives and psoriasis. Many children with eczema also have asthma or allergies – more about this below.
Childhood skin issues can be aggravated by such dietary factors as fried, greasy foods and sweets, including fruit juices. Specific food sensitivities also may be involved.
Conventional Treatments for Skin Conditions in Children
Eliminating aggravating foods is a must.
Frequent, soothing baths (but no drying soap) are beneficial, especially for the dry, scaly type of eczema. Allergen-free moisturizing lotions can be helpful.
Soft cotton clothes that let the skin breathe are preferable to synthetics.
When these approaches are not helpful enough, prescription corticosteroid ointments applied topically may be called for. In severe cases, oral steroids may be given, but this is not an advisable long term therapy as it is not a cure and can have harmful side effects in a growing child.
Acupuncture Has Been Found Helpful for Children with Skin Conditions
In Asia, it has long been noted that eczema and asthma often are found together, and that both respond to the same acupuncture treatment. The immune system is the common connection between these two medical conditions. Oriental medicine is more aware of such connections than is Western medicine.
Acupuncture is effective in this regard because it helps regulate the overactive immune system and reduces inflammation. Acupuncture also can address other inflammatory causations such as stress, hormone imbalances, food sensitivities and poor diet.
Acupuncture Study Results
In 1992 the NIH reported on 61 cases of psoriasis treated with acupuncture. Thirty had complete or almost complete relief. Only nine patients reported little if any relief.
The National Eczema Association reported on two acupuncture studies in Germany (Pfab, 2010 and Pfab, 2011). In each study a control group received sham acupuncture treatments. Both studies found that acupuncture treatments reduced itching while the sham treatments had no effect.
Acupuncture should be considered as a first line treatment for childhood skin issues, combined with an examination of possible dietary involvement. Supplements and appropriate herbals combined with acupuncture often work well together.
Acupunct Electrother Res. 1992 Jul-Sep;17(3):195-208.
Acupuncture treatment for psoriasis: a retrospective case report.
Liao SJ, Liao TA.
Treating Childhood Eczema With Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs
By Soma Glick
Pfab F, Huss-Marp J, Gatti A, et al. Influence of acupuncture on type I hypersensitivity itch and the wheal and flare response in adults with atopic eczema – a blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Allergy. 2010;65(7):903-10.
Pfab F, Athanasiadis GI, Huss-Marp J, et al. Effect of acupuncture on allergen-induced basophil activation in patients with atopic eczema: a pilot trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 17(4):309-14.