Dr.Hauschka Med Event

Dr.Hauschka Med lecture series in Hamburg, Düsseldorf und Freiburg

Bad Boll/Eckwälden, 20 January 2015 – Every day, atopic dermatitis presents particular challenges to those suffering from it. When we examine a problem from a different angle, new solutions often present themselves. At this year’s WALA Heilmittel GmbH lecture series, “Atopic dermatitis – Changing perspectives, charting new paths”, held in three German cities, experts presented an interdisciplinary look at their academic and clinical experience with atopic dermatitis and introduced interested laypersons and professionals to new preventive approaches.

In keeping with the comprehensive approach to special care offered by the Dr.Hauschka Med Skin products, it was important to WALA to communicate the special aspects of a holistic treatment approach to atopic dermatitis. Holistic therapies focus on the entire person and do not limit themselves to treating the symptoms of the disease.

“It is precisely these chronic, relapsing and remitting skin conditions which affect the person in their entirety”, anthroposophic dermatologist Dr. Brigitte Roesler of Berlin explained to 100 attendees at the kick-off event held in Hamburg on 6 November 2014. “So in treating atopic dermatitis, which often affects people over long periods and presents significant challenges to the patients, their families and physicians, we need holistic and long-term approaches. Specifically, approaches which aren’t simply limited to treating the symptoms, but look at the person in their entirety – their mental and emotional state as well as their environment and the daily rhythms of their life.”

Interaction between mind and body

Atopic dermatitis, also known as atopic eczema, is now one of the most common skin conditions experienced by children. A sad statistic tells us that 90 percent of children suffering from atopic dermatitis first experienced symptoms in the first five years of their lives1 – with 60 percent of those affected already as infants – making it the most commonly experienced chronic disorder during childhood. If one parent suffers from the skin condition, the newborn has a genetic predisposition of 20 to 40 percent; if both parents are affected, 60 to 80 percent2. Some two to four percent of adults suffer from atopic dermatitis. As Dr. Roesler noted, “The term ‘atopy’ describes a genetic predisposition of the immune system to mistakenly identify certain antigens as dangerous although they are actually harmless, leading to an inflammatory overreaction in the wrong location (atopos) in an attempt to eliminate them. This manifests itself in the form of extremely sensitive, dry, flaky skin which can sometimes become red and inflamed in places, accompanied by strong itching.” Triggers can include allergens such as pollen or animal hair, foods such as citrus fruit or dairy products, environmental pollutants, chemical agents, and climatic factors such as cold or hot, humid weather. In addition, scientists now know that with this chronic skin condition, the mind has a strong influence on the itching and the immunological reaction.

1 Peter Fritsch: Dermatologie und Venerologie, Springer Verlag, Berlin 2004, S.190
2 Karl Heinz Niessen: Pädiatrie, S. 48, Thieme Verlag, Suttgart 2001

Relaxed at last – thanks to special care products

People suffering from atopic dermatitis are especially vulnerable in the cold months of the year. They are sensitive to the cold and to the dry air in heated rooms. Dr. Roesler explained, “What helps the skin at times like this are special care products that fortify its protective barrier, stimulate its natural powers of self-regulation and let it feel smooth, healthy and relaxed – from the first time they are applied.” Applied daily, especially between October and Easter, a lipid-replenishing, hydrating moisturiser can even prevent a renewed flare-up. “Particularly in combination with anthroposophic, holistic elements of treatment, such as a change in diet, promoting good colon health to strengthen the immune system, stress management, and a life of inner harmony, in tune with your own personal rhythms.” With this in mind, she recommended outdoor sports and exercise and going to the sauna during the winter months. “This warms the body, which is very important for people suffering from atopic dermatitis.” And creative activities such as drawing, singing, playing an instrument or making sculptures can be good for mental health. They can also help the individual to become more centred. It is also important to develop a rhythmic daily routine with set times for certain activities or shared meals with your partner or the entire family.

The ice plant – moisture-storage specialist

“The ice plant serves as a role model from the natural world for dry skin which is prone to atopic dermatitis,” explained Annette Greco, pharmacist and Director of Galenic Development at WALA Heilmittel GmbH, who spoke next. The fleshy, vibrant leaves of this plant (botanical name: Mesembryanthemum crystallinum L.) are covered with moisture-storing bladder cells. They allow the botanical survival artist to grow and thrive even in saline soil and in dry, hot environments, such as South Africa or Lanzarote. “These amazing properties make the ice plant the most important component in Dr.Hauschka Med Skin products,” she added. “As a native of hot climate zones, the moisture-rich medicinal plant is truly a model of how to cope easily with the most extreme environmental stress, like dryness, and still thrive. In that sense, it can serve as a role model for extremely dry skin and help it to retain moisture independently again.”

Pressed juice – the essence of the vibrant ice plant

For Dr.Hauschka Med Skin products, WALA uses the pressed juice of the vibrant ice plant. It is embedded in an ingenious composition of rich natural oils such as jojoba, sesame, almond, avocado and white poppy. They infuse the skin with lasting moisture, enveloping it in a layer of protection. The Dr.Hauschka Med line of basic care products is deliberately fragrance free and includes Ice Plant Face Cream and Ice Plant Body Care Lotion for application to large areas. The face cream immediately lets the skin feel free; the lotion is an effective moisturiser that doesn't leave the skin feeling greasy. Intensive Ice Plant Cream is formulated for local treatment, for example the elbow or the back of the knee – especially in cases of severe itching.

In addition, Annette Greco discussed the clinical application study in which the effectiveness of regularly applied Dr.Hauschka Med Skin products was tested on infants and young children with very dry skin and a genetic risk (atopic predisposition) for atopic dermatitis3. Seventy-three children between the ages of three months and six years had Ice Plant Body Care Lotion and Intensive Ice Plant Cream applied by their parents once a day for four months. The study found that after the 16-week period, the skin of the young test persons wasn’t the only thing that felt relieved. Their parents, siblings and others in their daily environment were also more relaxed. The other results of the study demonstrate that skin care goes beyond simply moisturising. Whereas at the beginning of the study, 73 percent of the parents were worried that their child would develop atopic dermatitis, at the end of the test it was only 28 percent. And 90 percent of the parents were once again sleeping “well” – peace had been restored. As Annette Greco pointed out, “This positive result was partly due to the loving ritual of applying the lotion, to the moments of closeness between the parents and the child. It made them both more relaxed and comfortable.” The Dr.Hauschka Med line of skin care products is the perfect accompaniment to this loving ritual – they have a pleasant consistency, are very easy to apply to the skin, and are quickly absorbed so the skin does not feel greasy.

3Marianne Schario, Lena Lünnemann, Andrea Stroux, Annett Reisshauer, Torsten Zuberbier, Ulrike Blume-Peytavi, Natalie Garcia Bartels: „Children with Dry Skin and Atopic Predisposition: Daily Use of Emollients in a Participant-Blinded, Randomized, Prospective Trial“, Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 2014; 27: 208–216