Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yeast Skin Infection and Eczema

Sam's initial 'healing' took place in August.  Then in mid October, we started seeing slightly raised, red areas growing and spreading around his knees and ankles. For awhile I thought it was his eczema getting out of control, and that I must be doing something wrong. However, no amount of soap washing was putting a dent in this rash. Then I remembered back to the initial detergent removal process, and how it took a  good 10 weeks to see clear skin, and how during that time we also had been doing Apple Cider Vinegar baths at AJ's recommendation since she and I had both suspected possible fungal infection.  (Eczema caused by infection or food allergy will not clear up via soap washing, and these must be treated in other ways before the remaining detergent-reactive eczema can be eliminated.)    

The most recent October yeast rash:

It occurred to me, this was probably yeast infection as we'd suspected before. So I started up again with daily ACV baths-  1 cup ACV to 1/2  or 3/4 full tub, soak for a full 20 minutes every night.  We would precede and follow each bath with a soap rinse as well.   This time around, after one week we saw remarkable progress:

 Such a difference!!

And below, more photos of yeast infected eczema, for comparison.  This first photo was taken in March of 2012. I had not found solveeczema.org, and I was noticing at this time Sam's eczema beginning to look and behave a bit differently. Rather than a scant, lacy rash with shifting, changing spots that I'd observed previously with his eczema,  I was now seeing these large, clearly defined red spots with distinct edges, that did not ever budge but seemed to grow outward and rapidly multiply. (By multiply I mean it started with one or two large, raised red areas, then those grew and other seemed to pop up and follow the same spreading pattern,with more and more skin surface covered each week.)

So above was March, below is May, just two months later, notice how the yeast has now entirely engulfed the backs of his knees and has "crawled" and spread to the upper thigh as well.

And here is the front of his legs, entirely covered in yeast, during the same time period early May 2012 (just before we'd discovered solveeczema.org.)  This yeasty rash started several months earlier with visible satellite spots with lots of clear skin in between, but as it grew you can see that after a period of time there was almost no clear skin in between patches and it almost looks like one big red rash.

Sam's yeast infection (which I did not know was yeast or fungal  at the time) covered all of his arms and legs at its worst, and there was also a band of it around his middle. It took us 6 to 8 weeks worth of regular baths to start seeing improvement.  With fungal related eczema you have to be consistent, persistent, and I'd recommend continuing the baths or other treatments until well after you think you've eliminated the entire infection. We stopped too soon, when there was still a remnant of redness and I'm pretty sure that's why we saw it come back with a vengeance in October. 

For anyone trying the SEO (solveeczema.org) methods, who is not seeing results within a couple of weeks of diligent effort, I'd recommend some level of control treatment for potential infection. From all the families I've seen in the Solve Eczema User's Forum, and friends with children who have eczema, infection seems to be more common than any of us had presumed before. And, as we'e collectively discovered, you almost just have to experiment because this is something a a doctor or dermatologist can not very easily diagnose either.

 Some things you can do to treat for yeast while working on detergent removal:

-ACV baths: we did the daily baths where possible but if you can only manage 4 or 5 days that will still do a great amount of good. 

-Daily, regular probiotics (yes they really work! I've noticed a huge difference this time around treating yeast with the addition of probiotics added daily to Sam's yogurt) We use this probiotic brand but there are many good ones, I actually do not recommend ordering online, you should buy at a local health food store from a refrigerated section and refrigerate as soon as you get home to keep the probiotics live.

- It's also recently been suggested to me by a member of the forum that yeast may be helped to clear up by swabbing the area with hydrogen peroxide. I have not tried this personally though and I imagine you would not want to apply this over a larger area, but perhaps just to help with small stubborn patches once you've tackled the majority of infection by other methods. If the skin is broken at all, do not use the peroxide as it will burn! Only over top of small, healed over patches with unbroken skin. 

This is the apple cider vinegar we use, it is raw and supposedly has "the mother", a healing enzyme left out of regular grocery ACV but I don't know if that 100% accurate, it just made me feel better about using it. If anyone knows if regular table ACV works just as well let me know. :)

Now that we have the yeast under control and minimized again, the little eczema patches that Sam gets with detergent exposure are easily washed away within a day or two, and sometimes as little as a few hours.  

Oh, I also want to mention that yeast and other fungal infection on the skin seem to be largely opportunistic.  The borders of infection followed exactly where Sam's eczema was the worst previously, in other words, he only had yeast where he'd already had eczema and also where we had used the most topical steroid. I have absolutely no scholarship in this area but my guess is that the steroid contributes to favorable conditions for yeast growth and other microbes to take hold. 

*Please do not take any of this as medical advice (!), these are strictly my speculative observations and most educated explanation as to what has occurred with my son's skin. Please feel free to leave additional questions in the comments section.

For more information on the possible influence of steroid medication on spreading  yeast skin infections, see my follow up post.