Coping with Eczema? Read These Tips for Emotional Health (Guest post)


Healthworks Hong Kong (健康工房) – Modernised Chinese Herbal Tea shop

In this post, I would like to share another recommendation of a store that I like and would visit from time to time.  This store is called Healthworks Hong Kong (健康工房) and it is actually a health shop franchise with about 20 stores in Hong Kong (See address below).

Healthworks (健康工房) is a modernised Chinese Herbal Tea shop that offers ready made herbal tea, recuperating Chinese soup, and healthy dim sum snacks.  I quite like this store as I feel this store starts with the customer experience rather than making money.  Sometimes, I would go and buy one of the herbal teas when I go and grab some sushi for lunch in the ThreeSixty supermarket.

The kind of herbal teas that Healthworks offer are generic herbal tea.  They are not specifically targeted at eczema but sometimes they are still good for cooling the body after too much fried food or detoxing from too much junk food, etc.  You can purchase them cold or warm.  In the winter, I would also go and buy some Chinese soup from them from time to time to help build up health or warm the body.

For more information about the stores, you can visit their company website below:

Store Addresses and Telephone Details

健康工房 [Entrance to the Oneness World] 分店
HealthWorks Entrance to the Oneness World Shops
金鐘港鐵站大堂32號舖 (C出口)
Shop 32,Admiralty MTR Station (Exit C)
2861 2062
Shop TST3, Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station (Exit D)
2377 1378
Shop KOT14, Kowloon Tong MTR Station (Inside gate)
2337 0031
觀塘港鐵站大堂 KWT26號舖 (C出口)
Shop KWT26, Kwun Tong MTR Station (Exit C)
2389 6280
LCK9 Lai Chi Kok MTR STN, Cheung Sha Wan Kowloon
2959 2858
Shop TSY55, Tsing Yi MTR Station
2435 0556
Shop TSW6, Tsuen Wan MTR Station
2891 8209
Shop 5, Tin Shui Wai Station, West Rail Line
2663 2400
Shop SHT39, Shatin MTR Station
2312 2532
健康工房 [自然般若] 分店(設有堂座)
HealthWorks “PRAJNA NATURE” Shops (With Dining Area)
Shop no. G404, Yuan Kung Mansion, No 20 Tai Koo Shing Rd,
Tai Koo Shing, H.K.
2560 1288
健康工房 [都會健康茶] 分店
HealthWorks “Chinese Urban Healing Tea” Shops
中環港鐵站大堂W7號舖 (環球大廈A出口)
Shop W7, Central MTR Station (Exit A Worldwide House)
2840 0518
Shop JOR12, Jordan MTR Station
2730 3003
葵芳港鐵站大堂KWF 9 號舖 (D出口)
Shop KWF 9, Kwai Fong MTR Station (Exit D)
2422 6698
黃大仙港鐵站大堂WTS 7-8號舖 (D出口)
Shop WTS 7-8, Wong Tai Sin MTR Station (Exit D)
2321 2682
九龍灣港鐵站大堂 KOB11號舖 (B出口)
Shop KOB11, Kowloon Bay MTR Station (Exit B)
2305 3823
香港中環置地廣場四樓ThreeSixty (Tea & Tonic Bar)
ThreeSixty, Shop 411-413 , 4/F, The Landmark,
Central, HongKong (Tea & Tonic Bar)
2111 5174
九龍站圓方1樓1090號舖 ThreeSixty (Tea & Tonic Bar)
ThreeSixty, Shop No. 1090, First Level at Elements,
Union Square, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon Station,
Kowloon(Tea & Tonic Bar)
2196 8076
健康工房 [季節自然郵] 分店(設有堂座)
HealthWorks “Nature Post” Shops (With Dining Area)
Unit 020, G /F, JUSCO Kornhill Store, Kornhill Plaza (South),
2 Kornhill Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong.
2967 9943
HealthWorks Shops (With Dining Area)
Shop G20, G/F, Marina Square West Comm.
Blk Comm’l Development South Horizons, Apleichau H.K.
2870 0880
Shop 2113-2114, Level 2, Sunshine City Plaza, Ma On Shan, N.T.
2643 1777
Shop no. 2, G/F. 167-173 Castle Peak Rd., Tsuen Wan
2944 8292
Shop 1119-1120, 1/F, Comm Accommodation Metro City,
Phase 2, Tseung Kwan O,N.T.
3194 5091

A snack option for eczema / allergy sufferers – Zing Bar

In this post, I would like to share with readers a snack that I have been taking from time to time for the last six months after my recovery of chronic eczema condition.

The snack is called “Zing Bar” and it is essentially a “nutrition” bar that is made of organic certified ingredients with a good balance of protein, fibre and carbs.  There are a number of flavours, some are gluten-free, some are dairy-free, none have preservatives and all are made with 100% natural ingredients.  I have tried all the flavours, I think they taste good (so does my 5 year old son) and I think they are a good alternative to the typical over-the-counter savoury snack (chips/biscuits) or sugar-loaded snack (chocolate bars).

Nowadays, I often have a zing bar during a workout to replenish on my carbs and protein requirement and sometimes to satisfy my chocolate / sweet tooth craving.

Below is a screenshot of the available flavours.

Overview of Zing Bars

Overview of Zing Bars

For more information, you can visit their website:

In the website, you will see that the Zing Bar is an American-based product and retails for about HK$20 per bar in the USA.  In some places, you can even get it by the box of 12 for about HK$12 per bar, e.g.

In Hong Kong, I buy them from ThreeSixty at Elements Mall in Kowloon.  They go for HK$29 per bar (price as of Apr 2013) and if you buy 12, you get 2 free and so the price averages to HK$24 per bar if you buy 12.  Pricewise, it isn’t cheap and you probably thinking I can get 4 equivalent chocolate bars in a convenience store for that kind of money, but I think it is an good healthy alternative, especially if you want gluten-free or dairy-free products.

Additional note (as of May 2013):  If you purchase them bulk from ThreeSixty in Elements Mall, you can get HK$100 off by spending HK$1,000 in one go and join their wellness club for the first purchase.  Subsequently, you can get another HK$100 off for every HK$2,000 spent by accumulating 20 points on the wellness card (HK$50 per point).  This would take it to HK$22 per bar if you are willing to buy 48 bars in one go.  

To date, I haven’t seen the product being sold anywhere else in Hong Kong.  If any readers spot it in Hong Kong and for a cheaper price, do let me know and I will check it out and update this post.  Thank you in advance.

Greendotdot 點點綠 – Organic chainstore in Hong Kong

In this post, I would like to introduce a shop called “Greendotdot” to readers.  Greendotdot is a health and organic chain store with 18 stores located in Hong Kong.

Personally, I have not done much shopping in Greendotdot although I have done some window shopping and they seem to have a bit of everything.  Hence, I think it would be a useful reference for many people in Hong Kong, especially if you are finding it difficult to source organic / healthy food in your vicinity.  For more details of the locations of their stores, click here.

Greendotdot stock a range of goods including:

  • organic grain
  • organic honey, oil and seasoning
  • frozen organic meat
  • organic noodles, drinks and snacks

They have an online website with online shopping facilities, so users can also go and check out their products, pricing and shop online.  Their website is

I hope you find this post useful.

Choose the positive!

To readers,

If you have been reading my blog on eczema in Hong Kong, thank you.  I know there is still some more work that I need to put into the blog but I would to thank you to date for reading it and hope it has been helpful to you in some way.

Recently, I have also started another blog and I think it would also be a good read for readers whom are suffering from eczema.

The link is

I hope you will also enjoy it.

To good health!  William

Contact details of Doctor Mak for eczema treatment in Hong Kong

At different points in time, a number of readers have asked for the contact details of the Chinese herbalist doctor that I have been visiting over the last 2 years that have nursed me back to good health.

Please find below the latest contact details of Doctor Mak in Chinese below.  His is now based in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon.  He practices his consultation in the International Chinese Medicine Treatment Centre on the 21st Floor of Good Harvest Commercial Building , 515 Nathan Road, Kowloon.  It is approximately 5 minutes walk from the Yau Ma Tei MTR station from exit B1.  He works from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday.  He is over 70 years old now, so he takes his time to diagnose, consults and explain to his patients doing so in Cantonese / Mandarin.  He can be contacted at +852 90756163 and it is advisable that you call him beforehand during the day to check his availability for an appointment.  He normally lectures on Wednesday evening as well, so it is best to avoid Wednesday afternoon or evenings.

At the International Chinese Medicine Treatment Center, you can choose to either have your medicine in powder form or utilise a service with extra courier fee where the medicine can be made and delivered to you.  Alternatively, you can ask Doctor Mak to just give you the prescription and you can goto a traditional Chinese herbal shop to pick up the medicine if you prefer old school.

Contact details of Doctor Mak in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

Contact details of Doctor Mak in Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon

Lucas Papaw Ointment & Eczema


Further to prior posts on recommending moisturisers for eczema, I would like to recommend another effective ointment that I have used for my eczema. It is called Lucas’ Papaw Ointment and originates from Australia. This is a petroleum jelly-based product with fermented papaya, i.e. similar to vaseline but the fermented papaya properties (presumably rich in vitamin e) takes it to another level in terms of healing characteristics. More information about the product can be found on their website at

This product can be purchased online and it is reasonably cost effective. In fact, the overseas delivery charges may cost more than the product itself. Hence, if you have friends in Australia, they may be able to help save you a few bucks through helping with the logistics.

In terms of personal experiences, I found that this was the only product that could help me during the worst of my eczema when my skin felt like planks of wood. At the time, all the water-based moisturisers that I was using was ineffective and even coconut oil would dry up within 30 minutes of application. The papaw ointment was the only product that could keep my skin moist for a good few hours and the way I would use it is to apply it on wet skin straight after a bath to lock in the moisture and keep my skin supple and protected. Additionally, the ointment is good for healing scratch cuts… Minor cuts would close overnight.

Music therapy for Eczema

When we talk about a therapy or a remedy for eczema, most of the attention is often focused on the physical aspect… be it a debate on what on cream / ointment to use, or what constitutes an effective recovery routine or recommended dietary habits, etc.  However, when you have chronic and prolonged eczema, it becomes more than a battle for physical recovery, it also becomes a psychological test & a spiritual toil.  Hence, in my mind, therapy is needed for the body, mind and soul… it could even be debated that the inner scars that eczema leaves behind are often deeper than the physical ones.

In this post, I have compiled a list of youtube videos of some of my favourite songs that I listen to as therapy, relaxation or motivation for my eczema and I would like to share the list with other chronic eczema sufferers.  A key criteria in the selection of the songs is listening to songs that gives me a positive attitude rather than a feeling of collective sorrow or sadness (I’m sure we all have our own mourning songs).

I will update the list from time to time.  If you have any song suggestions, please send me a comment and I will add it into the list if I also think it is a good time.  Relax and enjoy.

“Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.” – Ronald Reagan

Song list

My Story So Far – 30 months later – July 2012 Update – Part 1

It has been over 12 months since I started this blog and over 30 months since I’ve stopped using steroids to treat my eczema and to seek alternative methods of healing. Today, I am still on a journey seeking for a full recovery from all the skin ailments that have engulfed me beyond imagination over the last 3 to 4 years. As I speak, I am still not fully healed but I believe I am alot better than what I was 30 months ago. In this post, I am going to share with readers a summary of my journey over the last 30 months including photos of my flare outs & recovery at different points in time. I hope, through this post, I am able to convey the dangers on prolonged usage of steroids to treat eczema and also a sense of hope to eczema sufferers illustrating that the worst of eczema conditions can heal. If you are new to this blog, you can also check out the following post which gives you some background about myself.

In relation to my skin ailment condition, I have read through many eczema articles and websites as I seek for a life-lasting solution to my condition (see Useful Links for some references). Interestingly, I recently came across a website that reinforces my suspicions that my problem is not atopic dermatitis eczema as commonly diagnosed to most eczema sufferers but steroid-induced eczema (also known as “red skin syndrome”) caused by topical steroid addiction. More details about “red skin syndrome” are available on the International Topical Steroid Addition Network (“ITSAN”) website. For the remainder of this post, I will continue to write in the manner of a “red skin syndrome” sufferer, where upon the stoppage of topical steroid usage, the sufferer would go through cycles of topical steroid withdrawals resulting in widespread skin inflammation & flare outs; the length and frequency of which is correlated to the amount of topical steroids that the sufferer had used and accumulated into their body in the past (in my case over 20 years with the last 10 years being particularly excessive).

Jan – June 2010 – Topical Steroid withdrawal cycle 1

When I first stopped using topical steroids 30 months ago, I recall I experienced the following on a daily basis for the first few months:

  • An intense itching sensation that originated not from the skin but an irritable sensation in the blood flowing through the entire body. This intense itching sensation was always coupled with an intense sensation of heat and it would be most pronounced after a shower / bath (even after a cold shower). I recall I would typically, on a daily basis, spend up to an hour locked up in my air-conditioned bedroom after a shower trying to control the intense itching sensation and moisturize myself but would always succumb to scratching my neck, my chest and my body all over & ending the session red and inflamed. Over time, I accumulated a lot of scratch wounds from the scratch sessions and daily showering became a torture in itself. I continued to be red and inflamed from neck downwards and at times, the skin was so raw it was painful to put on clothes and to undertake any active physical exercise. I continued to work during this time but sometimes I had to hide in the office toilet as the pain / itch completely consumed me.
  • In addition to the intense itching sensation, I would sometimes get pins and needles all over my body. This was most pronounced when I was in a densely populated situation, e.g. in a tightly-packed crowd. The feeling would be so sudden and intense that I had to stop walking and stand still as I found it hard to catch my breath. These unusual sessions would last perhaps 15 minutes and I noticed I also had high blood pressure whenever I had these pins and needles sessions.
  • These first few months were particularly difficult for me as I was on my own with no guidance on what to expect.   I went seeking for an answer going from doctor to doctor & trying out all kinds of alternative remedies.  The western doctors / specialists I went to visit during this time all continued to advise me that eczema was incurable and it was ok to use steroids.  Hence, I didn’t get any help through this route and I pretty much wrote off all western medical advice.  I also went to see a recommended Chinese herbalist doctor who was working in the Chinese medicine faculty of a public hospital.  I persisted with this doctor for 6 months drinking foul tasting Chinese medicine everyday until she went and pursued further studies overseas.  I made little progress with the prescribed herbal medicine by this Chinese doctor.  Her ongoing diagnosis was I had very “heaty” blood but the medicine didn’t do any magic in terms of addressing my heatiness and itchiness.  I also tried juicing and detoxing during this period.  The juicing experience did seem to help relieve the intense heat sensation somewhat but I also found out later (from my present Chinese doctor) that the juicing experience had also considerably weakened my health because taking a daily cool glass of juice of cucumber, carrot, granny apple, green pepper & bitter gourd was too cooling for the internal system weakening the spleen over time.  The symptoms of sudden shivers and feeling cold that I now have (as advised by my present Chinese doctor) is a consequence of taking too much cold drinks in an attempt to cool myself, particularly taking cold drinks in the morning including the daily raw juice routine that I tried for 2 months.  Hence, I would caution users with care when trying out raw vegetable juicing.  Perhaps, it should be a weekly routine rather than a daily routine.
  • In terms of alternative remedies, I have also tried a HK off-the-counter chinese medicine product called “Eczema Clear” (濕疹清) and I also went to visit the doctor who produced the product.  In summary, I would not recommend this product because the healing process is too painful though I would imagine it might have done the trick if I persisted.  I tried the treatment for about 8 weeks entailing daily cleansing of the mixed “Eczema Clear” solution in hot water (as hot as possible) but stopped due to the increasingly disabling pain I experienced.  My experience  on using the cleansing solution was it would clear up any immediate redness and inflammation in the first week with a skin depeeling process making the skin smooth-looking.  However, on continued use to continue the detox process, redness and inflammation would reappear (including in places where you never had eczema) and the theory is this skin inflammation and depeeling process would continue until all the toxicity were removed from the body.  By the 4th week of treatment, I had redness & inflammation appearing in every part of my body except for my face.  I recall it completely freaked out my family who had never seen me look so much like a red indian and I was wondering if I was really making any progress myself.  The catch to this remedy that tore me apart & led me to stopping the treatment was that after each daily cleanse, the drying off of the solution would also dry off all the moisture from the skin.  You could actually feel the sensation of moisture being pulled out of your skin and this sensation intensified in the later parts of the treatment where the skin felt so tight, it was painful to move and no moisturizers would give you any relieve.   I recall that, by the 8th week, a cleansing shower would take me over 2 hours because it was so painful and that my skin would be so tight afterwards, I would often shrivel into a wreck of pain and misery in bed after every shower.

To be continued…

Eczema and supplements

In this blog article, I would like to cover the use of supplements to strengthen the body to deal with eczema.

Essential fatty acids (omega 3)
High quality omega 3 oil is a good source of anti inflammatory fatty acids taken as a supplement for eczema. Essential fatty acids must be ingested because the body cannot synthesise it. Omega oil also helps to soften the skin. If the reader is taking an Omega 3-6-9 supplement set, the reader should note omega 6 is an inflammatory fatty acid.

From experience, I found it makes a big difference ingesting omega 3 oil. The skin heals more quickly and subject to less dry cracks. All eczema sufferers should consider taking it.

Vitamins and minerals
I use to take an A to Z supplement everyday but research has proven that the human body absorbs minerals and vitamins most effectively as complex forms rather than as synthesised forms. Hence, I would not advocate taking any vitamin supplement but to focus on eating nutrient rich foods.

Vitamin E is an important vitamin for eczema because it protects the skin from UV damage, keeps skin soft and limits oxidative stress. Food rich in vitamin e includes
1. Broccoli
2. Red pepper
3. Spinach
4. Kiwi fruit and papaya

Vitamin C is another important vitamin because it restock vitamin E supplies as well as protect cells from free radicals. Food rich in vitamin c includes
1. Kiwi fruit and papaya
2. Broccoli
3. Strawberries
4. Chillies
5. Oranges

Depending on your dietary habits, I would advocate the intake of high quality probiotics to help maintain a good balance of microorganism in the gut.

Bee Pollen
Although I don’t take A to Z vitamin supplements, I do take 10g of bee pollen everyday. Bee Pollen is one of the most nutrient-dense food offered by mother nature containing minerals, vitamins, folic acid and enzymes.

From experience, I also found that ingesting bee pollen also has a positive effect on my well being. Energy level as well as overall well being is generally better.

Cranberry juice
During eczema recovery, I would take half a cup of pure unsweetened cranberry juice everyday. It is a good tonic for cleansing the lymph nodes and liver.

Eczema and Horse Oil

It has been a good while since I’ve last updated my eczema blog. There had been a number of topics I wanted to cover. In this blog article, I will cover the remedial use of horse oil for eczema.

Horse oil was recommended to me by my Chinese doctor as an alternative to lotions. At first, I thought…. what…are you serious… but after some research I now realise the practice is an ancient one documented in the Chinese book of herbs (草本科目) as an effective moisturiser thousands of years ago.

Horse oil is also rich in medium fatty acids and quickly absorbs into the body. Personally, I’ve had positive experiences with it and I find it has stronger healing properties than lavera lotion series.

Nowadays, horse oil is available in Hokkaido Japan where the Japanese have imported the practice and kept the tradition alive. Readers can find more information by typing “Hokkaido horse oil”. Based on my experience, you can get different horse oil products from HK$50 to HK$500 for a container but most are cheap knock offs. Pure horse oil or high quality medicated horse oil should probably be around HK$400 to 500 a container. In hong kong, you can purchase the product online or at Sogo.

Below is a photo of medicated horse oil. Note: Pure horse oil will smell a little like pork oil.


Local organic chicken in Hong Kong

In one of my prior articles, I mentioned switching to organic food to lead a more healthy lifestyle.  I also gave more information on the availability of local organic pork – Wah Kee pork in my prior article.  In this article, I will cover off the availability of local organic chicken in Hong Kong.

Ka Mei chicken is not only available at organic BB in Shatin but also at over 30 different sales point dotted throughout Hong Kong.  For more information, please click here (NB: in chinese).

As for more information on Ka Mei chicken, readers can visit their website by clicking here (currently in chinese only).  On purchasing Ka Mei chicken, my own experience is price can vary widely at different sales point.  I have seen a Ka Mei chicken going for HK$400+ at ThreeSixty (Kowloon ICC), HK$200+ at Organic BB (Shatin) and ~HK$150 at Sheung Shui market.  Hence, it is probably most economical to purchase it from the local wet market where I assume the lower cost of rent is keeping the price competitive.  However, readers do also need to be careful they are purchasing the chicken with their feet tagged. There have been newspaper stories of authorized sales point selling off non-organic chicken as Ka Mei chicken.  Somehow, the customer could taste the difference, made a complain to the farm, had leftover samples sent to a lab for testing to catch out the mischief.