Aiming Beyond Conventional Care

A determined dermatologist reexamines a natural remedy
in an effort to provide alternative acute skin care.

By: Beth Silva

Some you can live with, others you canít seem to live without, but a growing number of individuals are opting for non-conventional care whenever possible, and more and more doctors are taking a closer look at alternative medicine and are incorporating a number of these in their practices.

Says Arthritis Today, "New England Journal of Medicine reported that nearly a third of Americans had used some form of alternative medicine. Today, itís the rare drugstore that doesnít stock herbal remedies alongside the vitamins. The National Institutes of Health has even created the Office of Alternative Medicine as a way to encourage study of the odd assortment of treatments, preventatives and medical theories that have come to the fore in recent years."

Esta Kronberg, a dermatologist specializing in Dermatologic Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology, is just one of a growing number of medical experts that are taking a closer look at emu oil-a commodity long used as a medical remedy, but just now being researched on a scientific level.

Well known in the Houston medical field where her practice has been located for the past 13 years, Kronbergís goal is to provide her patients with the best skin care possible. Also on the medical advisory board for the publication Derma, she had been quoted in magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Allure, and Glamour. Her treatments embrace acute skin care problems including burns, skin disease, psoriasis, rosacea, eczema as well as anti-aging and general skin improvement treatments, etc.

While some dermatologists may continually treat skin care patients with routine medicine, Kronberg, in an effort to keep pace with advances in conventional as well as alternative medicine, utilizes the best of both for the benefit of the patient.

"A lot of times an emu oil product is my first choice, even though I can choose any prescription that I wish to give, and the irony is the emu oil works so well", concedes Kronberg. It was actually Kronbergís husband, Bill Davis, who was the first of the pair to be introduced to emu oil. Davisís background includes 25 years experience in marketing, sales and as an executive, predominantly in the Health and Beauty Aides industry. He is involved in A-Cute Derm, a product company stemming from the coupleís wish to provide the best in progressive skin care products. Of emu oil Davis relates, " It was sort of a fluke finding the oil. About four years ago I read a small article in a chemical magazine that discussed the benefits of emu oil and mentioned that it was an excellent moisturizer.

It caught my attention because weíre always looking for pharmaceutical grade, highly purified and high quality products for our program. And our feeling and belief is that although thereís many products on the market, better can still be located. And so it was that we found emu oil." Kronberg admits she was at first skeptical about the benefits of emu oil. But as the say, seeing is believing and several instances involving the oil finally convinced her.

Davis remarks that after he obtained several emu oil samples himself, he began sharing some with acquaintances. One such individual was a woman about to undergo a plastic surgery treatment on her neck. Davis explained that this procedure is very painful, irritating to the skin and results in redness as well as blistering and scabbing.

"Familiar with our product program, she inquired if we had something that could help," says Davis. "I told her that we were experimenting with a wonderful moisturizer and suggested that she give it a try. I sent her a sample with a request that she let me know how it worked. After using the oil pre and post-surgery, she reported that she experienced minimal pain with no blistering or scabbing whatsoever. On her first checkup with her surgeon, she noted that he was visibly impressed with her woundís rapid progression and questioned her as to what she was using because she has not disclosed that she wasnít using the product he normally recommends. And this was our first real clue and inclination that this product did indeed have not only anti-inflammatory capabilities, but much more."

It wasnít but a shore time after that initial incident that Davis supplied an acquaintance, who was a nurse, with an oil sample. He explains that this woman was on leave from a dermatology office (located in a psoriasis treatment center) because her own 10-year experience with severe psoriasis was non-subsiding. Recalls Davis, "Her first report a week later was that she was already experiencing relief. Her itching was subsiding, the discoloration was fading and she requested more oil! We ran into her at a round table drug conference in California just three weeks later and we didnít recognize her at first. She was wearing short sleeves for the first time in ten years, because it was a large portion of her arms and legs that had been affected." "I couldnít believe what I observed when I saw her and I asked her to let me have a closer examination in the ladies room, " says Kronberg. "What I found was that her psoriasis was almost completely resolved!"

It was soon after that Kronberg had an incredible experience with the oil herself, which sealed the decision that the oil indeed merited more attention. So it was that the couple stepped up their research into the oilís properties and Kronberg began using it on patients-but not just anyone. She remarks, "I give it to the worst patients with extremely severe problems such as burns, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and Iíve been extremely pleased with the results. It brings immediate relief to a lot of individuals, and as a result, I have a lot of happy patients."

Continuing, she says, "We have patients come in that have had laser resurfacing for bad chemical peels somewhere else and are severely burned. We give them the emu oil as an application and it calms things down tremendously and keeps the skin from scarring. We also use the oil on sore that havenít initially healed. And on patients with severe rosacea, emu oil calms the redness of skin and inflammation of blood vessels, and they donít break out even though itís an oil. This is because the oil is non-comedogenic (wonít clog pores). Iíve observed that the oil also has an extreme anti-inflammatory response and is a healing aid. Even when my topically applied steroids and antibiotics donít work well on rosacea patients, once applied, the emu oil will calm things down and they report immediate relief."

Another area in her practice that Kronberg uses emu oil as a treatment is before-and-after laser tattoo removal. She relates that the oil stops the initial onset of discomfort from stinging and pain associated with this procedure and that it encourages faster healing process. Kronberg also uses the oil on young patients. She relates, " Itís great for using on kids getting their shots. If you medicate the area prior to the injection with emu oil (emu oil only, no anesthetic) and then directly afterwards, it diminishes discomfort and they donít get achy and irritable later on." Kronberg says that she uses the oil for the same objective herself when administering shots before traveling abroad. Sheís not the only doctor with an interest in using the oil to block pain before and after an injection procedure, however, Dr. William Code of Duncan, British Columbia has researched the advantages of using emu oil with the local anesthetic Lidocaine and had delivered several discourses on his research findings. And thereís even been a patent involving this same function for the oil. The patent "Compositions Comprising Lidocaine And Emu Oil And Methods of Use Thereof" was granted to inventor David Rivlin in 1997. Davis is very excited and optimistic about the utilization of emu oil in medical procedures and relates that he feels that emu oil lives up to what itís been reported to do-act as a "bioactive transport", in that it had the capability of carrying other ingredients into the skin. "It actually takes ingredients into the skin with it as long as the ingredient molecule is small enough to penetrate skin. And since it takes it down and quickly, we tend to see things improve faster." Adds Davis, " And our feeling is that if at all possible, start the healing process prior to the procedure in order to accelerate the bodyís ability to heal itself. And emu oil is doing that. We believe that if you prep the skin with the oil in advance of a procedure, similar to prepping your body prior to a marathon, chances are that the healing process will be dramatically improved and thatís what weíve found. Weíre actually able to see a 50 percent improvement time with patients recovering from laser resurfacing, where theyíre going back to work in just two weeks, verse four weeks or more, and with no blisters or scabs!"

Reprinted with permission of Emu Today and Tomorrow