Just because it is on the market doesn’t mean it is safe
There are a lot of products on the market claiming to treat eczema. Many go through strict testing to get TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approval. TGA is Australia’s regulatory agency for medical drugs.
However with today’s modern technology any one can produce any product and sell it online. They can claim it is a new miracle cure and target the unsuspecting customer.
One such product is Magicream which claims to treat eczema. The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has issued a warning about this product which is being sold over the internet because it contains a steroid and a substance used to treat fungal infections. The label does not list either ingredient therefore the required special authorisation to sell products containing these ingredients has not been obtained.
IMB says the product is not authorised for marketing in Ireland and cannot be considered safe. It may be a good product but it is impossible to tell and not listing vital ingredients like steroids is a serious warning sign.
Due to the accessibility of the internet it is possible to buy products such as Magicream anywhere in the world. To the best of my knowledge Australian Authorities have not declared Magicream unsafe but then it may not have reached the authorities attention as it is not an Australian product.
Australian products are TGA approved
Each country has a medical authority board which will approve medicinal products for that country. In Australia it is the TGA. In Ireland it is the IMB and in The US it is the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). These organisations ensure the medicines we buy over the counter and by script are not harmful and work in the way they are said to.
This system has its faults as we saw in the US when in 2000 and 2001 the FDA approved two new drugs for use in the treatment of eczema. These treatments were later black boxed (strongest of all safety warnings) and there have been calls to have them removed from the market altogether due to their links with cancer.
In Australia many new drugs become available to us that are not TGA approved. They are often natural products made by people with eczema who have experimented with different ingredients trying to control their own symptoms.
Whilst some of these products are not that great and would be best avoided many are very good and may be just the thing to control your symptoms.
So how do you know?
- Always look at the ingredients. All ingredients should be listed. Ensure the ingredients are ones you are familiar with and can use.
- Check there is a preservative listed. Natural eczema creams made from herbs need a preservative to enable them to have a shelf life. Avoid products that do not list their preservative as you do not know what they have used and their reliability to have listed all other ingredients can no longer be guaranteed.
- Avoid products that claim to cure eczema. There is no cure for eczema. Products that claim to cure eczema are misleading you with false representations and may be misleading you in other areas and possibly in the ingredients used as well.
- Avoid products that contain artificial or synthetic ingredients. These are not natural and are more likely to cause a reaction.
- Avoid products with artificial colourings or perfumes. Once again they are more likely to cause a reaction.
Trial and error
Treating eczema is a matter of trial and error. If you find a natural product that you want to trial buy the smallest container available first to see if it suits your skin and always patch test it on an unaffected are before using it.
When using a cream for the first time it is also a good idea to use it on one area (ie one arm) for a week or two. This way you can compare its effects on your skin and your eczema by comparing that area to the rest of your body. Also if a cream does not suit your skin and causes the eczema to worsen it is better to find out on a small area rather than on the whole body.
Finding an eczema treatment that suits you is a matter of trial and error. Don’t be discouraged it the first cream you try doesn’t give you the results you are looking for.
The Calendulis Plus Cream is a natural product that is TGA approved and lists all of its ingredients (including its preservative).