Q. I am a 51-year-old female who has been plagued with persistent eczema. The skin on my hands was always red, itchy, cracked and often bleeding. My hands were always covered with bandages or gauze.
Dermatologists prescribed cortisone creams of increasing strength. None was helpful over the long term. Hand cream for dry skin was totally useless.
Five years ago I went to an allergist for an unrelated problem. When he saw my hands, he was concerned that the open sores put me at risk of infection. He suggested taking borage oil since it had helped many of his patients.
I tried it, taking one capsule of borage oil after breakfast and one before bed. Within a few months the eczema on my hands had disappeared completely and the condition is now only a minor annoyance. My dry skin is controlled with ordinary hand cream. I hope this tip will help others.
A. Borage oil is rich in a fatty acid called GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). The oil comes from the plant Borago officinalis, also known as star flower. We are delighted that you got such relief, but not everyone will benefit.
A placebo-controlled study published in the British Medical Journal (Dec 13, 2003) suggests that borage oil is ineffective for eczema. The researchers conclude that, “it seems unlikely that dietary supplementation with gamma linolenic acid is beneficial in management of atopic dermatitis.”
Others have told us that they have seen benefit from drinking oolong tea, taking cod liver oil, brewers yeast, hemp seed oil or probiotics. We also like to remind visitors that a sponsor of our radio show, Redex Industries, makes a wonderful moisturizer that is amazingly affordable called Udder Cream.