THE BLOG

Eczema Brings Out Mystical Healers, Vampire Cures, and Conmen

22/09/2014 11:24 BST | Updated 20/11/2014 10:59 GMT

If you put the word "Eczema" into a search engine, the first things that you will see are advertisements. These adverts offer cures in the form of magic pills and mystical diets that will only be revealed to you if you buy an extortionately priced book.

The next thing you will see are "Eczema" magic creams" that have supposedly been made by mothers who got so upset by their children's suffering that they created a cure. These creams are usually very cheap moisturisers, sold for a fortune because the mother has added some lavender or camomile. And in her Sales campaign material she will also add some regurgitated scientific/herbal info-babble about the properties of these plants in order to make it sound like some kind of thought has been put into its creation.

As a lifelong eczema sufferer I have seen a million of these and, quite often, pain, irritation, and despair has forced me to try some of these. The things I have tried so far are creams from the sausage tree plant, Homeopathic arsenic, chinese herbal tea, ancient Indian diets, the Ghengis Khan diet, starvation, grape fasts, diets based on eating just fat and nothing else, and a whole load more. These remedies are harmless enough because they don't hurt anything except your pocket, and very occasionally someone might find them beneficial, but there are others that are far more dangerous.

The most worrying offer I ever got was from an Indian lady while I was getting my eyebrows threaded. She told me that blood letting was the best way to cure eczema. She also told me she had the back street address of a lady in Glasgow who would carry out a procedure that would remove a quarter of my blood supply in one go. This, she said, would force my immune system to think I was bleeding to death and it would then concentrate all its efforts into saving my life instead of attacking my skin. To most people this would have sounded like a proposition straight out of a horror film but to me it sounded like a miracle cure. I was so tempted because she made it sound logical, and lack of money was the only thing that saved me from going through with the procedure. I think if I had have had the money, I probably wouldn't be alive today because I would have contracted a blood borne disease.

Another baddie who I met on the in my search for a cure wanted to sell me Immuno-suppressants in a pub in Newcastle. These drugs are usually only available to people with Lupus and Rheumatoid disorders. Doctors also give them to people with asthma who don't respond to any other treatment. These drugs are the holy grail for eczema sufferers, but doctors won't give them out on the NHS because they are associated with dangers like severe infection, and an increased risk of contracting cancer. But, for a price, this man was willing to let me have as many as I wanted. Again, If I had had lots of money, I probably would have employed this man as my live-in Michael Jackson Doctor. I would probably also have let him keep the royalties from all my future books in return for an uninterrupted supply of lovely skin pills. But I didn't have any money that night, so I had to go home without them. And that is another reason why I am probably still alive today.

The thing that all of these people who have produced these products has shown me, however, is that there is no compassion in the treatment of eczema. It is all about money. But the people who really could help allergy and eczema sufferers just don't bother. These are the main brand producing companies who make things like breakfast cereals and cheese, who put annatto and barley malt in most of their products.

These two natural ingredients are in everything and for most people they are harmless. But for allergy sufferers they can cause horrific anaphylactic attacks, and, for people like me, they cause a worsening of eczema and asthma. I have no objection to companies using these products, but I do believe there is room in the market for cereals and cheese that use different chemicals, so allergy sufferers can have a chance to avoid them through a wider choice of products. If these big companies did this, it would help people with eczema a lot more than Vampiric blood letters in dark alleyways and pharmacutical drug dealers in Newcastle pubs.

So the next time you use a search engine to look for an eczema cure, ask the person who is selling the product how much they donate to eczema research charities. And if they say they don't, then you'll know they are opportunists and have no interest in making anyone's life better except their own...in a purely financial way. And finally, if you find someone who offers to drain your blood, or sell you Immuno-suppressants, just say no. It's safer.