Eczema/Topical steroid addiction & cold sores (Herpes simplex)

A 60 year old financial planner was referred to me by his general practitioner because his facial herpes simplex (“cold sore” virus) was “out of control”. He wondered if wheatgrass might be able to help his patient.

The patient had been treated for “eczema” with the topical steroid betamethasone – a drug 600 times more potent than hydrocortisone – on his face and body almost daily for about 15 years. He used such large quantities trying to control his itchy, dry skin, his dermatologist prescribed 10 x 100gm tubes (one kilogram) of the topical steroid at each visit – a very large amount! Numerous other dermatologists were unable to help.

Three days earlier, he suffered a severe flare due to a herpes simplex (cold sore) virus infection of the eye known as eczema herpeticum, which also affected his face and upper body. Most likely the rapid, wide spread of the virus, was due to topical steroid atrophy, or thinning, of his skin which compromised his skin’s immune protection so much it could not fight the virus. He had also been commenced on oral steroids (prednisolone 50mg) and antibiotics, by another doctor.

Clearly, his immune system was by now, highly compromised.

At the first visit, (2002) he had a severe herpes simplex facial rash that was grossly inflamed, fissured and weeping in places. (Fig. 1.) I commenced him on wheatgrass extract spray twice daily. (Today, I would have recommended alternate days only, or less), combined with his usual colloidal oatmeal based moisturiser. Oral steroids were reduced to zero over the following week as were topical steroids. The photographs below show rapid improvement in the first 4 days of wheatgrass treatment (Fig.2.) and thereafter, (Figs. 3) complete control of withdrawal from topical steroids 9 months later. (Fig. 4.)


Interestingly, the patient’s diagnosis was “eczema” – a condition rarely seen after 20 years of age. This man was 60, so one wonders why he was still receiving treatment for “eczema” – with topical steroids!  

Although topical steroids may help reduce inflammation, they very quickly atrophy or thin the underlying skin compromising its multiple protective functions. This is also the reason they should never be used on infant skin and avoided if at all possible, by adults.

Dr. Chris Reynolds.

View links below for more information about using wheatgrass extract for eliminating topical steroid use.

» Infantile eczema? Avoid topical steroids. Use wheatgrass. 
» Case study – Steroid dependent eczema
» Case study – Steroid dependent nail recovery
» Case study – Chronic eczema recovers with wheatgrass
» Easing the pain of topical steroid withdrawal
» Wheatgrass significantly improves quality of life in severe steroid-dependent eczema 
» Case 7 Proof wheatgrass spray works better if all other skin applications ceased