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When topical steroids and other treatments don’t work to clear up eczema, we can get pretty desperate for a solution. If your dermatologist has run out of options, my guest, Dr. Richard Aron, might have what you’ve been looking for.

Or, listen on your favorite app: iTunes (Apple Podcasts) | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | Subscribe on Android

Dr. Richard Aron is a world-renowned dermatologist with a focus in atopic eczema. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, he is the creator of the Aron Regimen. By examining the causes of atopic eczema and the common flaws in conventional treatment, Dr. Aron has developed a totally different approach to treating it.

In this episode, Dr. Aron shares his groundbreaking treatment regimen and how he discovered it. Perhaps the most interesting part of it is its simplicity. It involves taking normally available medicines and combining them in such a way that can be used throughout treatment and adapted for patients of all ages.

Have you reached a dead end in treating your eczema? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

In this episode:

  • An explanation of Dr. Aron’s unorthodox approach to diluting medicines when treating eczema
  • Why treating the root cause of eczema is the most important thing you can do
  • The potential synergy of antibiotics and steroids for sustainability treating eczema in patients of all ages
  • Doctors you can contact if you think the Aron Regimen could help you

 

Quotes

“I have done something that confounds common sense in the sense that I've taken a steroid that we all use and is widely available, I've taken an antibiotic… and I’ve taken those two active products and put them in a moisturizer.” [4:21]

“The skin is almost certainly infected if the condition is chronic. The key thing which will give you the best chance of healing, which may lead to remission, it may give the body the chance to heal from within, is controlling infection.” [17:23]

 

Links

Find Dr. Aron online

Follow Dr. Aron on Facebook

Dr. Aron's Patient Facebook Group

Get my list of root cause skin tests!

Other practitioners recommended by Dr. Aron:

The Healthy Skin Show The Healthy Skin Show 004: A Groundbreaking Approach To Treating Atopic Eczema w/ Dr Richard Aron

004: A Groundbreaking Approach To Treating Atopic Eczema w/ Dr Richard Aron FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer:              Hello everyone and welcome back. Today I have a very, very special guest with me, someone who I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to interview because number one, he does not live in the U S we are talking to Dr. Richard Aron and he is in South Africa and it's, you know, thank God for Skype because we're able to have this conversation and if you're not familiar with him you should be because what he has done for his patients with eczema is truly remarkable and his even willingness to give his protocol and share it with other dermatologists who are open to the idea is also astounding. And so I wanted to have him here to share with you what he's been able to do. He is definitely doing something that is not, it is still using traditional medicines and I could be wrong about that, but Dr Aron will tell us he'll dive, he'll dive into that.

Jennifer:              But he's doing something completely different in a different way. And I believe that while yes, I love having natural alternatives, the reality is if we have access to medications that do work or protocols that do work and help us get to an end point, which is having clear skin and getting back to a more normal life, then it is, it is worthwhile to investigate. And you shouldn't feel bad about any choice that you make because your decision of how you help your health and your skin is personal. So Dr. Richard Aron is a world renowned dermatologist with a special interest in atopic eczema. He is based, as I said in Cape town, South Africa, and he is the creator of the Aron Regimen, which is completely different. It's, it's a totally different way of approaching the treatment of eczema. So welcome to the podcast, Dr Aron.

Dr Aron:               Wow. Thank you very much for that incredibly complimentary introduction. I really appreciate it and I'm very pleased to be with you.

Jennifer:              Yes. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about how you figured out or came up with the Aron Regimen and what it is. Because I think a lot of people aren't, you know, they're not familiar with it and it would be good for them to know how it differs, you know, what it is and how it differs from conventional treatments of just, use a steroid cream.

Dr Aron:               Well, yes. And it's, it's not an altogether simple answer, but the ultimate answer is one of simplicity because firstly my regimen and my protocols of treatment have been evolved and refined over very, very many years. Indeed. And what I have discovered once again, many years ago is that probably the most important trigger and maintenance factor in so-called ASD or atopic skin disease or atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema call it what you will, is infection of the skin with a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus. And central to a successful continuing outcome of treatment is you have to address the staph aureus. Meaning you've got to get rid of the bacteria to get a lasting control of the eczema. Now how that is achieved is another matter indeed. Because firstly in the medical literature it is clearly stated there between 70% and 90% of patients with active AE are infected with pathogenic meaning virulent staphylococcus.

Dr Aron:               Now how do you treat that? That is another matter altogether because in the first instance you have to make the diagnosis of infection and that is quite often overlooked even by the most experienced physicians. Having decided that there is infection, you then have to treat it appropriately. And oral antibiotics, which are often prescribed are usually not altogether successful specially in low grade infections as opposed to funganating horrible weepy sore type infections. So what I've done, and I'll try not to go on too long about this, but I have done something which confounds common sense in the sense that I've taken a steroid, which we all use and is widely available in America. I've taken an antibiotic and the antibiotic which is available in the United States is [inaudible] 2% either in cream or ointment form. And I've taken those two active products and put them in a moisturizer.

Dr Aron:               Now, this is where the trick comes in, because I've weakened the steroid, weakened the antibiotic and increased the amount of moisturizer and they are applied simultaneously in a compound to wherever the eczema may be active and ironically or contra distinctively, this combination of dilute product works much, much better than using undiluted products individually at separate times. And because they are diluted, it means that you can continue with the treatment even when the eczema is much improved or clear because you do need maintenance therapy. So you cannot stop the therapy once the improvement has been achieved because the AE is a chronic relapsing condition and if you do so it will come back again. And then everybody gets very upset and very disappointed. So there are many other aspects to the Aron Regimen. But those are the key aspects. Treat the infection, use dilute steroids, moisturize simultaneously and use a compound that can be continued with for long periods of time.

Jennifer:              And this protocol allows you to create [inaudible] actually starts to make improvements that's the number one piece to this. I think people forget that. You know, even I, when I was dealing with my hand eczema, I still used steroids in order to help reduce the inflammation. And so I don't like to demonize medication. My father's a doctor. And so I grew up having a respect for medicine as a whole. And you know, I, I like to be very I think everything has its place and serves as purpose. So something like this would by diluting the medications, does that also reduce the rebounding effect that can happen sometimes when people use these really full strength heavy duty steroids?

Dr Aron:               Yes, yes, definitely. It does reduce the potential for rebound. There's a, there's no question, but in, in regard to speed of, of response. Now bearing in mind that the patients that I see are invariably in a very, very desperate state because very few,parents or adults with eczema,will approach,a doctor online because of fear of scams and, and all sorts of unethical or inappropriate behaviour. So these patients are pretty ill. Now when you take an infant, maybe say up to the age of about two years with infected skin, the progress can be very, very dramatic indeed. They can sometimes get clear on this, A S M casm combined antibiotic steroid moisturizer cream extremely quickly, often within 48 hours. And even.

Jennifer:              Wow!

Dr Aron:               Oh yes and even in adult patients, the burden from the staphylococcal infection can be eliminated as quickly in 48 hours.

Dr Aron:               Now let me hasten to say that that's not a cure of the eczema in two days, but it's certainly, to answer your question, it is a very dramatic relief of symptoms. And then the treatment has to be managed subsequently because as the patient improves or stabilizers, the frequency of application of this product is tape it off. So the dose of the steroid and antibiotic is steadily reduced even though the treatment is continuing. So the fear of steroids and the fear and phobia, dare I say, of antibiotic products should be shelved not only by parents and patients, but also by medical professionals in, in whom the pendulum of avoidance of these products as swung from excessive use many years ago to inadequate, dare I say use today. So many of the benefits of these products are being denied to patients because of the bad reputation of topical steroids and topical antibiotics. So like everything else in life, the middle way, a moderate way is ,in my opinion, the best and most effective way to go.

Jennifer:              And I wanted to add to something that you had said. So this treatment or protocol regimen, it is okay with infants and with young children. So all ages, you've treated all ages with this.

Dr Aron:               Absolutely, yes, indeed. I sometimes used it in infants as young as three or four months of age. You've had the eczema so called almost from birth or from two or three weeks of age. But this is a very interesting point because these little ones who are covered in these red dotty spotty things. I am beginning to believe from my obviously my own experience that these are primary staphylococcal bacteria infections and they are not eczema as such, but if they are not adequately treated, the chronic inflammation turns that rash into an eczema. But off course this is an anecdotal observational opinion and it's certainly not widely accepted within the profession. But having said that, it doesn't change the treatment principle. You have to have your topical antibiotic in that moisturizing steroid compound. And here's the point. In an infant I may take 15 grams of steroid cream and diluted in as much as 250 grams of moisturizer.

Dr Aron:               So the concentration is approximately, my math is not that good, but it's probably about a 16 times dilution of the steroid.

Jennifer:              Wow, that's really low.

Dr Aron:               So we are using an extremely low intensity, which brings me back to my earlier point. When you use that with the antibiotic and the moisturizer is a phenomenon called synergy and what that means is that the antibiotic potentiates, the activity of the steroid and the steroid potentiates the activity of the antibiotic where the antibiotic kills the germs, the steroid reduces the inflammation, and therefore you get a beneficial cycle going round and round instead of the vicious cycle of, of suppressing with steroid, not killing the bacteria because there's no antibiotic. So as soon as you stop the steroid, which you have to do, bingo, rebound.

Jennifer:              Hmm.

Dr Aron:               And that is part of my rationale behind the use. But I, I should say this, that the treatment for a six month old, one year old infant will be distinctly different to an adult who's had eczema for 20 years because you would use the same products but more potent in adults for obvious reasons.

Jennifer:              Naturally. And so for someone who is, does not have the means to see you , and I imagine you're super busy, by the way, I can imagine, but if someone can't afford to come to South Africa to see you, from my understanding is there are some doctors in the U S that you have either collaborated with or a trained by you in this regimen. And you're also, from my recollection of, of researching you, you're very willing to even share your protocol and how you do things with practitioners and doctors on your website. Is that correct?

Dr Aron:               Yes. Well let me say immediately that the two physicians from whom I've received the most support and recognition or respectively Dr John van Wagoner, who is a pediatric allergist out of Dallas, Texas. He and I work in close association on the management of patients and John managers, in essence, all patients who want to follow the Aron Regimen within the continental United States, which, which is quite an important factor. The other colleague to whom I owe a vote of gratitude is professor Peter Lio associate professor at the Feinberg school of Medicine, Department of Dermatology out of Northwestern University in Chicago. Dr Lio is an open-minded physician who has invited me to present papers in Chicago on two separate occasions. First in 2015 to his so called eczema integrative group. And then subsequently, as I mentioned earlier in our talk at the recent eczema expo, and he has adopted my regimen protocols for many of his patients.

Dr Aron:               Most particularly the ones who shall we say, fail to respond to simple conventional means and where he feels something different maybe required. They are other doctors who follow my regimen, but I have no feedback from them. So whether they are doing it and how successfully they are doing it, I'm not at all sure. So my recommendation, if I may be so bold, is that people who are particularly struggling should contact Dr John van Wagoner , his website, is eczemaspecialist.com. Simply as that, or Dr Peter Lio, who has a conventional practice in Chicago. I don't think that professor Lio consults online, but so it means that patients who have access readily to Chicago could consult with him.

Jennifer:              And we will put both of the doctors in the show notes for anyone who's listening to this so that they'll be able to easily find both physicians. And I just, I really want to appreciate you for just the work that you've done. You know, I agree with you. There's a lot of people that are nervous and afraid to try different things because there are scams online, especially when health issues are concerned. I know that I was, I was always like, gosh, I was so desperate. I, my hands wouldn't clear up from just doing steroid topical steroids that I was desperate to try anything, but it was always this, you know, Oh, everyone wants you to do a detox or a cleanse or all these other things, which I'm really, I'm not necessarily comfortable with. And so the one thing that I can say is that I had spent a long time, I found you because of the national eczema association and I did a lot of research on you and then joined your Facebook group, which I'll also put a link to in our show notes if that's all right to share with that, that group with people.

Jennifer:              It was really inspiring to see the photos of where your patients had started and where they are now. It was just, it's truthfully the, the proof is in a picture.

Dr Aron:               Absolutely. Absolutely.

Jennifer:              And it's just so great to know that there are novel alternatives out there and I want to help give those options and spread that information to other people that are empowered to look deeper and to look someplace else because they feel like their dermatologist has run out of options.

Dr Aron:               That's absolutely fabulous. And I would like to say this. I like to be, and try not to be dogmatic in response to some of the holistic approaches that are used in eczema and where my protocols come into play. I have to say is this, that the vast majority of patients who ultimately consult with me have tried every other method under the sun. Multiple orthodox physicians, dermatologists, pediatricians, allergists, pediatric allergists you name them, they've tried everybody, they've tried homeopathy, they've tried naturopathy acupuncture, kinesiology and even faith healing. So all of these things come down to the, my original point, which I would like to remind your listeners about. The skin is almost certainly infected. The condition is chronic and the key thing in which would give you the best chance of not a cure, but was, I do not claim to cure, that will give you the best chance of healing. The healing may lead to remission, ie it may give the body a chance to heal from within, by controlling the infection. So that is the route. You forgive me route, we say route in South Africa. Sorry about that. So your, your, your listeners must pay attention to, to that potential. And if anybody wants to get in contact with me they can just go on Google or Facebook, r. Richard Aron and something will come up with me.

Jennifer:              Absolutely. And we'll link all of that in the show notes. So it's super easy for everyone who's listening to find you and learn more about what you're doing. And like I said, this may be the answer for some people and I also don't see why it might not be a way for someone to do something like, you know, again, as I was addressing my issues from a more alternative standpoint, I still use steroid creams.

Dr Aron:               Yes,

Jennifer:              People want to believe that steroid creams like, Oh, I got to throw them away. It's not good. You know what, you have to reduce the inflammation, you have to reduce the symptoms. So even though someone may choose to go this route, they may also want to do some other work internally to see if there's other issues.

Dr Aron:               Yes, absolutely.

Jennifer:              [Inaudible] the inflammation as well. So I see a lot of synergy here and I, I just, I'm so appreciative that you took the time out of your busy schedule to join us. Thank you so much.

Dr Aron:               May I may make one other brief suggestion please. Dr Sheila Kilbane out of Charlotte, North Carolina is very interested and she does a lot of supportive nutritional treatments. I have another colleague of import. Dr Ryan Sullivan out of Nashville, Tennessee,who does,dietary supplementary support and who is a protangonist of my regimen. And I'm pleased to say that Dr. Sullivan will be opening a website service for patients in the great state of Tennessee. So there's some very good news for patients based in, in Tennessee. So the word is spreading and although I have run into an enormous number of professional barriers over the years, it is though the Hoover Dam, God forbid, is about to break. And the Aron Regimen protocols,are becoming more widely accepted Sydney throughout the United States.

Jennifer:              I am very , you know, that's why I wanted to get in touch with you. I felt like I personally feel from having been a patient that the way that we're doing things right now does not suffice. Like it's 2018 going on 2019 and we should be further along with how we approach these chronic skin issues and we should be open to other ways of addressing them because people are chronically suffering. People are losing their jobs, they're losing their relationships. If you look online they're threatening to kill themselves because they're so desperate, so sick.

Dr Aron:               That is correct.

Jennifer:              And I feel there's a lack of empathy to some degree within many conventional dermatologists. So that's why I'm doing this, to bring the information to the people and help hopefully to turn that tide so that conventional dermatology will start to realize it's got to, get with the program and start helping people from a different way.

Jennifer:              Because what they're doing right now, it's not, you know, if I continued on it was put Vaseline on your hands and you use a steroid cream and you know, if you want some stronger stuff we could give you that, but you're going to have that for the rest of your life. And I can tell you I have no, I have no eczema on my hands anymore.

Dr Aron:               So I see.

Jennifer:              So that's so thanks. Thank you so much Dr Aron. I really deeply appreciate it and you know, if there's anything that I can do, I actually spoke with Abby Lai, I believe she's in Canada, she's a nutritionist that handles eczema and she told me that she was at that conference in Chicago that you so she said it was such a pleasure to meet you. She was like, I felt like I was meeting a rockstar and.

Dr Aron:               I'm so pleased Kate, my dear wife is sitting in the background and I think she heard that she, she doesn't think that I'm rock star, but you go.

Jennifer:              Well, like I said, I, you know, we wanted to make this work and it was funny that Divania is from South Africa and she was there the last like three weeks. So I was like, see if you can get in touch with Dr Aron to make this happen.

Dr Aron:               Oh, that's fair. So the other thing is that even when you want to repeat this, if there's a follow up on this podcast discussion, you're welcome to email me and we can set up another chat at your convenience.

Jennifer:              Absolutely. I'm open to discussing all sorts of different things. You know, I, I have like I'm going to talk to an herbalist that deals with chronic skin issues. But we're also looking at not just eczema, it's all, it's all chronic skin conditions because really in many respects there'sthere's some overlap. Sometimes, sometimes not. I think eczema is like, I think one of the harder ones to deal with cause it's so complicated. But I'm always open to other conversations, but absolutely, we'll probably circle back and we'll definitely let you know when this gets released. We just want to, we want to provide people with more insight into what alternatives are.

Dr Aron:               Absolutely. Couldn't agree more.

Jennifer:              Well, I hope you have a wonderful evening and I know it's getting late and toward dinner time there, but thank you again so much for doing this.

Dr Aron:               I'm actually extremely flattered to have been asked and thank you very much indeed privileged.

Jennifer:              Well, I will be, we will be in touch and hopefully we'll be able to have that.

Dr Aron:               And in fact, I enjoyed the chat so much. We must do it again. In fact, I insist that we do it again.

Jennifer:              Okay. Sounds good. Sounds good. Dr Aron, thank you so much. And thank your stylist. You looked fantastic.

Dr Aron:               Thank you. She's laughing.


Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.


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