A Remedy for Itchy Skin – A father and son medical team discover eczema ointment with Eastern botanicals and Western science
By Dr. Steven Q. Wang (bio below)
As a dermatologist and researcher at a world renowned cancer center, I have had many opportunities in the last 10 years to care for sick patients with severe skin diseases and work with scientists and physicians around the world on research to improve skin health.
Three years ago, I started another gratifying and exciting research project. This time, it was with my father, who is a practicing acupuncturist and herbalist in New York City with over 40 years of clinical experience. We set out to discover an eczema ointment that would offer eczema relief and a remedy for itchy skin.
Start of the Journey
A Remedy for Itchy Skin
Our collaboration began after a serendipitous exchange in 2012. I showed my dad a scientific publication that used Chinese herbs to successfully treat psoriatic patients who failed a number of conventional Western medical treatments. To my great surprise, my dad read the article and said “this is not a new treatment; we used those same herbs when I was practicing in China.”
What started as a curiosity to learn about natural herbs quickly turned into full-scale research. Together, we conducted a meta-analysis on the use of natural herbs to treat eczema and psoriasis. After factoring in the patient size, duration of treatment, disease severity, and treatment outcome, we narrowed down our list of ingredients to over 50 herbs. Then, we conducted additional research on the active ingredients and biochemical properties of the actives in these selected herbs. In the end, backed by scientific evidence, we managed to narrow our choice to a select few herbs that are most effective as natural remedies for psoriasis and eczema.
Intelligent and Rational Design
Eczema is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition with multi-factorial causes. Although many patients with eczema have inherent abnormalities in their skin barrier, persistent inflammation initiated by the dysregulated immune system further impairs the skin barrier, brings on severe itch, and even makes patients susceptible skin infections.
Hence, the goal in our design for our natural, herbal and non-steroidal skincare product, was to target the three “pillars”, or root causes, of eczema – inflammation, infection and poor skin barrier.
A variety of herbs were chosen because of their strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. To rebuild and enhance skin barriers, we also used:
- Castor oil
- Olive oil
- Hectorite – a natural clay material rich with a range of minerals
- Ceramide — a waxy lipid essential in maintaining healthy skin barrier
- Vitamin E
To test the efficacy of our natural, herbal and non-steroidal eczema ointment, we conducted a small clinical trial on people with mild to moderate eczema. After an average of 6 weeks of application, 81% of the eczema patients had better than moderate improvement in their skin condition. They showed significant improvement in the scaly, dry and cracked appearance in their skin. The clinical result validated our initial hypothesis that improvement of eczematous skin can be achieved by reducing inflammation, preventing infection, and rebuilding skin barriers.
Our initial clinical results also yielded a surprising finding. Our natural, herbal and non-steroidal eczema ointment also provided a remedy for itchy skin. Controlling itch is a valuable desire for many eczema patients. Many people with eczema complain of severe itch, which prompts them to scratch. Frequent scratching can impair skin barrier and trigger inflammation and infection.
We were so excited about this observation. If we could stop or reduce the severity of itch, we could prevent the scratch-itch cycle. We decided to carry out another clinical study with 14 volunteers. Three patients had recent insect bites (<3 days old), four were diagnosed with psoriasis, and seven with eczema. Each volunteer reported their itch level from 1 to 10 (e.g., 10 as most severe) at baseline, 5 minutes and 2 hours later. The trial showed an average of 61% reduction in itch score only 5 minutes after application of the natural, herbal, and non-steroidal ointment. The anti-itch response lasted at least 2 hours for majority of the subjects.
Launching of Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare – Eczema Ointment
The research over the past three years have been especially rewarding. Although my father and I have been talking to each other about medicine and patient care for over 20 years, it is the first time we actually collaborated on a research project. It allowed us to share and bring forth the best of Eastern and Western medicine. Second, unlike many of my prior research that ended with a scientific publication in a peer reviewed medical journal or a series of lectures, this time we actually created a physical product that can bring comfort and relief for patients. This was not an abstract idea that only existed in a publication. It was something that one could see, touch, feel, smell and apply to the skin.
For itchy Skin, ILW also recommends: Aloe Vera Skin Soothing Spray
Largely encouraged and prompted by our patients who used the product, my father and I decided to launch the natural, herbal and non-steroidal eczema ointment under the name of Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare in the late fall of 2015. As physicians, we strive to deliver effective, holistic, innovative and compassionate care to our patients on a daily basis. At Dr. Wang Herbal Skincare, our philosophy resonates from this core belief as physicians. We hope to create effective and innovative skincare products for people with eczema and many other skin conditions. We plan to do so by combining the time-honored traditions of Eastern medicine with the insights of Western medicine and modern science.
Bios: Dr. Steven Q. Wang is a board certified dermatologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is the Director of Dermatologic Surgery and Dermatology, leading the Dermatologic Section in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Dr. Wang has extensive experience in treating skin conditions and received numerous accolades for outstanding performance and compassion as a dermatologist. In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Wang has an active and successful clinical research program focused in photoprotection, antioxidants, nanotechnology and skin health. He has published more than 85 peer-reviewed scientific medical articles, book chapters and four books in dermatology. Dr. Wang also lectures extensively throughout the world, and serves as an expert scientific and medical consultant for a number of international cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. In recognition of his expertise, major media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, Dr. Oz and CNN have frequently quoted and featured Dr. Wang.
Gui T. Wang, Lac is a licensed acupuncturist who has been practicing acupuncture and herbal treatments for more than 40 years. He serves as the Founder and Director of the New York City Acupuncture Center. Over the past four decades, he has treated tens of thousands of patients. In recognition of his compassion, clinical experience, deep understanding in acupuncture & herbal medicine, he has received the Best Acupuncturist Award. Aside from treating patients, he studies and formulates unique combinations of Chinese herbs to help his patients. Read more about this father and son team here.