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People's Pharmacy

Eczema cleared after nickel device removed

October 18, 2010|By Joe Graedon and Theresa Graedon, Special to the Los Angeles Times

I suffered with eczema for years. The intense itch in my hands was torture. I saw numerous doctors, including dermatologists, who prescribed steroid creams and prednisone. I was at the end of my rope when a doctor suggested the nickel in my dental partial was affecting me.

Once I got rid of the metal, my hands started to clear. Surprisingly, so did my depression. I doubt that I am the only one suffering with eczema and depression as a result of nickel toxicity.

Dermatologists have known about nickel allergy for years. Usually it is seen as contact dermatitis. This can show up as a rash or irritation where the snap of a pair of jeans touches the belly. Rings or earrings also may trigger a reaction.

Dentists have reported reactions to nickel in orthodontic appliances and other dental fixtures. Thank you for sharing your story.

My son has acne and seborrheic dermatitis. He has been treated with antibiotics that help somewhat but never completely clear it. I have heard that applying milk of magnesia to the face is a low-risk approach. How effective is it?

There are no scientific studies of milk of magnesia applied topically for acne or seborrheic dermatitis. Some people tell us it is ineffective, while others sing its praises: "My grandson had severe acne. I sent the column about milk of magnesia for acne to his mother. The next time I saw him, about a month later, I could hardly believe the improvement, about 90% better. He applied MoM morning and evening and is still using it."

Your son also might consider a change of diet. We heard this from a reader: "My 16-year-old daughter had terrible acne. She gave up sugar, dairy and gluten, and started taking natural supplements for other reasons, and her acne disappeared within six weeks. She has beautiful skin now." Her experience is supported by research published online last month by the European Journal of Dermatology.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. http://www.peoplespharmacy.com.

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