Attn! Eczema sufferers, is there a place in the US like Avene-les-Bains?
April 6, 2014 2:25 PM   Subscribe

I suffer from eczema and am at my wit's end. My wife posted this question about it last year and I am now considering packing my bags and going to France to sit in some mineral baths to soothe my aching skin. My question is: Is there a hydrotherapy center for eczema sufferers here in the US so I don't have to travel as far?

I know it may all not be effective or whatnot and I'm willing to entertain that as an option- but I'm at my wit's end and have literally tried everything you can think of: oatmeal baths, dermatologist after dermatologist, kenalog shots, bleach baths, oils, creams, rubs, steam, chemical free everything, the list goes on and on. I'm from the western US and we boast many mineral pools so I'm sure someone has thought of doing this stateside?? Thank you in advance.
posted by rabu to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if this is too far off-topic, but the benefits of natural mineral pools have been touted for years. There are many options in California here
or here.
Some on that first list have a reputation of being touristy/hippie/etc., but many may offer a good combo of natural mineral water baths and avene-type facilities.

Hope you find some relief!
posted by stillmoving at 3:51 PM on April 6, 2014

Does Hot Springs National Park count?

(One of the bathhouses is still open, and the Arlington and probably other hotels also offer the hot spring treatments.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:15 PM on April 6, 2014

Hot Springs, NC
posted by hydropsyche at 4:20 PM on April 6, 2014

"West" is pretty vague, is Saskatchewan a possibility?
posted by saucysault at 5:19 PM on April 6, 2014

Each site will have a different chemical makeup of the water and it is not yet clear which element(s) at what concentration are fundamental for effective treatment of eczema. Additionally, public mineral/hot pools might have issues with the water quality, and a secondary infection with Staphylococcus aureus would be really unfortunate.

In France, there are several thermal spas specializing in dermatology and world wide there are thousands of thermal springs/spas. Not all springs will be beneficial for eczema though.

You could contact the National Eczema Association, they don't list balneotherapy as treatment method, but might be able to refer you to a dermatologist who specializes in this area or even patients who can speak to their personal experience with mineral pools in the US. Also BANA could possibly offer more info.

Tentative searching reveals that the Warm Mineral Springs in Florida (temporarily closed) and the Soap Lake in Washington could have a beneficial makeup of minerals for your skin condition.

For a more clinical setting, you could check out the Mavena Derma Clinic in Chicago. They do both, balneotherapy and phototherapy.

Hope this helps.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:02 PM on April 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I checked your previous thread, and there was only one mention of corticosteroids, so I wanted to bring that up again. There is a very wide range of potencies available, and in my experience, many dermatologists are hesitant to prescribe the strongest available.

From this list, what is the most potent you have tried? Diprolene AF is my go-to, for what it's worth. If you already have some experience with superpotent topical corticosteriods, it may be worth your time going down the list and making sure you've tried each one.
posted by trevyn at 6:23 PM on April 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used to go to those thermal places as a kid ( La Bourboule ) , when my eczema was really bad, and it was somewhat effective. But then we discovered i would get the same relief from sea water too, which was logistically much easier. So i don't know if that's an option that's accessible for you?
One week stay on the coast, with daily swims in the ocean ( it will hurt like hell and be horrible for the first couple days, then your skin starts to heal). My mom would even pack a few jugs of sea water on the way home to continue the soaks for a couple days after we were back...
posted by PardonMyFrench at 2:31 AM on April 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Came to recommend the sea. My sister suffered from terrible eczema as a kid and we'd hit the road for the coast on weekends. Mostly Santa Cruz. Just being in the sea air gave her relief. It's cool and moist at the coast and the salt spray didn't hurt either.

Seaweed and salt seemed to be the most help. Try one of these, see if it works.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:35 AM on April 7, 2014

I know this is not your question, but have your doctors tried methotrexate yet? I mentioned in your previous posting that I have a friend with severe exzema, and he also tried so many different things, but I believe he's having some success now with methotrexate. I also know someone who had pretty severe urticaria and he was successfully treated with some sort of combination of methotrexate and Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine). If these are things that you haven't tried yet, you might want to ask an autoimmune specialist about them.
posted by Dansaman at 10:24 AM on April 7, 2014

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