Hi, Steve Barwick here, for The Silver Edge…
According to a clinical study published in the journal Nanomedicine, in 2008, titled "Anti-inflammatory activity of Nanocrystalline Silver in a Porcine Contact Dermatitis Model," researchers found that when dermatitis was induced in animals (i.e., pigs) the redness and swelling returned to near-normal after 72 hours of treatment with nanosilver.
Meanwhile groups treated with saline or with 0.5% silver nitrate (a very caustic chemical compound of silver) remained inflamed.
According to the researchers:
"These results demonstrate that nanocrystalline silver had a direct anti-inflammatory effect in the porcine contact dermatitis model that improved the overall outcome of the healing process," and that "nanocrystalline silver may be responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity and improvement in healing."
This, of course, is no big surprise to the millions of colloidal silver users who have used colloidal silver topically on everything from cuts to burns to bites to acne outbreaks, boils, shingles, topical fungal infections and more. And it's no big surprise to those who have seen the previous clinical research on the anti-inflammatory benefits of silver.
Another Study: Silver Cream Heals Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Another study, published in May 2004 in the journal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, demonstrated that a topical nanosilver cream was used to heal allergic contact dermatitis induced in guinea pigs via application of a chemical organic compound called dinitrochlorobenzene.
The researchers wrote:
"Dermatitis was induced with dinitrochlorobenzene and treated with different concentrations of nanocrystalline silver, medium and high potency steroids, tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, or appropriate vehicles once daily for 5 days.
Erythema was evaluated daily (on a score of 0 to 4, from absent to very severe) and histopathology of the skin biopsies was evaluated after 5 days of treatment."
In other words, the researchers used a chemical organic compound to cause dermatitis on the guinea pigs. Then they treated the condition on the guinea pigs with nanosilver, as well as with topical steroid drugs normally used to treat dermatitis, and with two different topical immunosuppressant drugs frequently used in the treatment of stubborn cases of atopic dermatitis (eczema).
The researchers wrote:
"Prior to treatment, the average scores of erythema in all the groups were in the range of 3(+) to 4(+). In the no treatment and vehicles groups these scores remained at about this level for the subsequent 5 days of the study.
Nanocrystalline silver reduced erythema within 1 day of treatment in a concentration-dependent manner with significant reduction at silver concentrations of 0.5% and 1% (P < 0.05) and this reduction progressed throughout the study period."
This means the "no treatment" groups saw no healing of the dermatitis at all, over a five day period. But within only one day of treatment with the nanosilver cream, "significant reduction" of the redness and swelling (erythema) that characterizes atopic dermatitis were observed on the guinea pigs.
The researchers concluded:
"Steroids and immunosuppressants produced similar decreases in erythema, with no significant differences compared to 0.5% and 1% nanocrystalline silver.
In skin biopsies scored for degree of inflammatory response, effects of treatments mirrored erythema results.
This study suggests that nanocrystalline silver cream may have therapeutic potential for topical treatment of inflammatory skin diseases."
In other words, the researchers discovered that the nanosilver cream worked just as well as the topical steroids normally used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, and even as well as the topical immunosuppressant treatments used in stubborn cases of atopic dermatitis.
This is very important news, because the known side effects of topical steroids (including weakened immunity) and topical immunosuppressant drugs (including inducement of skin cancers) can be devastating. Topical use of silver, by comparison, has relatively few side effects.
Another Study: Silver Cream Stops Inflammation in Allergic Contact Dermatitis
If the above studies are not enough evidence for you, here's another study that sports the lengthy title, "Topical Nanocrystalline Silver Cream Suppresses Inflammatory Cytokines And Induces Apoptosis Of Inflammatory Cells In A Murine Model Of Allergic Contact Dermatitis." It was published in June 2005 in the British Journal of Dermatology.
In this study, researchers induced dermatitis in mice using a chemical called dinitrofluorobenzene. Then they tried three treatment options: A nanosilver cream, the tacrolimus ointment that's normally reserved for treating stubborn cases of dermatitis, and a "high potency steroid" (which are often used to reduce the swelling and inflammation of dermatitis).
The researchers wrote:
"Significant reductions of ear swelling, erythema and histopathological inflammation in mice ears were observed after 4 days of treatment with 1% nanocrystalline silver cream, tacrolimus ointment or a high potency steroid with no significant difference among them."
In other words, once again, the nanosilver cream worked just as well as the strongest prescription dermatitis medicines out there!
Again, this is very good news, considering the fact that the prescription steroid treatments and well as the prescription immunosuppressant drug tacrolimus can cause a host of side effects, whereas nanosilver cream is relatively benign by comparison.
The researchers concluded, "This study demonstrates that nanocrystalline silver inhibits allergic contact dermatitis in mice, similar to steroid and tacrolimus. Nanocrystalline silver suppresses the expression of TNF-alpha and IL-12 and induces apoptosis of inflammatory cells; mechanisms by which nanocrystalline silver may exert its anti-inflammatory effects."
In short, the silver stopped the inflammatory response that characterizes dermatitis, and even caused inflammatory cells to die so healing could take place.
Another Study: Silver Stops Bacteria-Induced Eczema
In researching this article, I found a reference to another study indicating that silver can be helpful with eczema skin conditions.
The study is titled "Silver-Coated Textiles Reduce Staphylococcus aureus Colonization in Patients with Atopic Eczema," and it was published in the clinical journal Dermatology, 2003, 207, p 15-21.
In that study, the researchers state that topical infection with Staphylococcus bacteria can sometimes be a contributing factor to eczema, and that wearing clothing that has nanosilver embedded in the fabric resulted in lower Staph counts on the skin, and coincided with clinical improvement of the eczema itself.
This is obviously very interesting information for victims of eczema/dermatitis. It implies, by extension, that topical use of colloidal silver, or a good colloidal silver gel or cream, might help heal bacteria-induced eczema (non-allergic dermatitis) by killing the bacteria that contribute to the skin condition.
How Silver Reduces Inflammation
Eczema, or dermatitis, is generally characterized by redness and inflammation of the skin. In fact, the word "dermatitis" actually means inflamed skin.
Fortunately, in recent years silver has been clinically demonstrated to reduce inflammation by modulating excessive cytokine expression.
This is important news, because cytokines are signaling molecules in the body that tell the immune system to send white blood cells and other infection-fighters to the site of an infection or wound. This causes mild inflammation, which is a normal part of healing.
But in some cases the pro-inflammatory effects of cytokine expression can get "stuck," resulting in excessive unwanted inflammation that actually becomes a roadblock to the healing process.
Researchers, however, have demonstrated that in such cases, antimicrobial silver has a modulating (or calming) effect on cytokine expression, resulting in both reduced inflammation and increased healing.
For example, in this clinical study researchers demonstrated that silver nanoparticles have the ability to reduce excessive cytokine expression, and thus reduce excessive inflammation that often gets in the way of healing.
According to the study authors, "It has been shown in vivo that silver nanoparticles act to decrease inflammation through cytokine modulation."
What's more, the study authors concluded, "These experimental data suggest that nano-silver could be used to treat immunologic and inflammatory diseases."
Here's an excerpt from an article summarizing the results of the study:
"Silver has for centuries been used to treat and prevent infection, and its wound-healing properties are well known…
…But the new research...indicates that silver goes further than this and modifies cytokines – the enzymes involved in cell growth and movement – leading to reduced inflammation and an increased rate of healing."
In even another clinical study, researchers documented once again that antimicrobial silver promotes wound healing not just by reducing microbial burden in the wound, but also by reducing wound inflammation through modulation of cytokine expression.
Finally, in an overview of clinical studies titled "Silver Nanoparticles Interactions with the Immune System: Implications for Health and Disease," conducted by researchers from two separate universities in Seville, Spain, the researchers once again found that silver nanoparticles strongly inhibited excessive cytokine production, and reduced the pro-inflammatory effects that can slow or even block healing.
According to the study authors, "It has been shown in vivo that silver nanoparticles act to decrease inflammation through cytokine modulation."
The implication, of course, is that silver nanoparticles may one day play a key medical role in decreasing inflammation in chronic infections, wounds and other inflammatory medical conditions (such as eczema/dermatitis).
What Colloidal Silver Users Say
I haven't had any personal experience using colloidal silver for eczema/dermatitis. But over the years I've heard of other colloidal silver users getting good results from spraying liquid colloidal silver onto the affected areas of their skin several times a day, and allowing it to air dry before putting clothes on.
For example, a reader recently wrote:
"My mother had a dermatitis infection on and in her ear and the skin was very irritable and flakey, and she sprayed colloidal silver onto it 3 times a day and in 3 days it disappeared completely. The doctor would have given her some cream or pills, but this way it went faster and without all those drugs.
My brother in law has eczema and he uses my colloidal silver on it, and it relieves his irritability and takes the inflammation away so he has comfort and doesn't scratch. Other friends who have had skin infections and conditions have all asked to try my colloidal silver which I make, and all said it gave them relief."
– Stefano L.
Here's another short but interesting personal account of the use of colloidal silver for eczema/dermatitis:
"My friend is giving her daughter silver to help with her eczema. I haven't seen her but her husband said it was working and asked for another quart yesterday."
Here's an interesting testimonial regarding a stubborn case of eczema that turned into a MRSA infection that was finally resolved thanks to colloidal silver:
"I am currently fighting an infection on my ankle that started as an eczema sore that I picked at foolishly. It now has a staph infection that the doctors so far have been unable to find an antibiotic that works against.
"I run a small bird refuge and I have found it hard to attend the infection clinic that the doctors wanted me to go to. I took things into my own hands and started treating the infection with colloidal silver.
"My methods are rather primitive; I have simply strapped a thick piece of cotton wool to my ankle that is regularly soaked in colloidal silver. I had continual pain in the sore, that I did not realize at the time was being caused by the bacteria.
"Once the colloidal silver has been on the wound for a couple of hours the pain subsided. I had been taking regular pain killers for this pain and I was able to stop taking them. The sore is slowly getting smaller and cleaner looking...
"I made the mistake of leaving the cotton off one night to give my skin a chance to dry out, but in the morning there was yellow liquid coming out of the wound again and the pain had returned.
You have to keep the treatment up 24/7 otherwise it comes back quickly. It is only going slowly, but it is going, which is more than was happening with the antibiotics from the doctor."
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that several years ago when I attended the A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine) conference in Las Vegas, I met with Keith Moeller, President of American Biotech, makers of ASAP Ultimate Skin & Body Care Gel, which contains 24 ppm colloidal silver.
Moeller told me some of his customers have used the gel on eczema with good success. I think they're now calling this product ASAP 365 Silver Gel. It's often available inexpensively at SwansonVitamins.com or Amazon.com.
So it's not just spraying liquid colloidal silver onto the affected areas of the skin that works; it appears a good colloidal silver gel (or cream) works just as well. To learn more about colloidal silver gels and creams, see the article "Germ-Busing Colloidal Silver Gels and Creams."
As the Daily Mail newspaper of Britain stated, in their February 27, 2010 article titled "Shining Secret that Makes Silver Precious for Your Health":
'Silver could also combat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis – topical cream containing one per cent silver can suppress the kind of inflammation found in these allergic skin conditions.'
What the Older Medical Literature Says
Several forms of eczema, including chronic eczema of anterior nares, chronic eczema of metus of ear, perineal eczema and pustular eczema of scalp are listed as having been treated successfully with colloidal silver in the older, pre-1940's medical literature.
You can read more about it in the article, 109 Documented Successful Uses for Colloidal Silver Before the Advent of Prescription Antibiotic Drugs.
Here's a quote from a 1917 issue of the British Medical Journal that mentions eczema in regards to colloidal silver's effectiveness:
Colloidal silver "rapidly subdues inflammation and promotes healing of the lesions, it can be used with remarkable results in enlarged prostate with irritation of the bladder, in pruritis ani, and perineal eczema, and in hemorrhoids."
– British Medical Journal (May 12, 1917), Sir Malcom Morris
In the 1920's, a medical publication called The National Druggist mentioned colloidal silver being used against eczema of the scalp:
"C.E.A. MacLeod says (Lancet, February 3, 1912) that colloidal silver has proved its value in combating the following ailments among others -- tonsilitis, gonorrhoeal conjunctivitis, spring catarrh, pustular eczema of scalp, septic ulcers of legs, boils, chronic cystitis, ringwork, soft sores. But we must not prolong the list of the good works of colloidal silver. Suffice it that at the present time it is the most extensively used in medicine of all the sols."
– The National Druggist, Vol. 50, page 388, August 1920
And here's a more recent quote from biochemist and natural health journalist James South, MA, regarding what some of the older medical literature says about colloidal silver's wide variety of uses; it too mentions it being used for a form of eczema:
"From 1900 to the beginning of the modern antibiotic era – circa 1940 with the introduction of sulfa drugs – Silver was one of the mainstays of medical practice in Europe and America.
Various forms of Silver were used to treat literally hundreds of ailments: lung infections such as pneumonia, tuberculosis and pleurisy; sexual diseases such as gonorrhea and syphillis; skin conditions such as cuts, wounds, leg ulcers, pustular eczema, impetigo and boils…"
– International Anti-Aging Bulletin, April 1999, by James South, MA
Dr. Kent Holtorf also mentions colloidal silver being used for eczema in a study review of colloidal silver's known historical uses:
"Silver formulations have also been used in hundreds of various infections and other conditions including pneumonia, tuberculosis, STD's, eczema, meningitis, erysipelas, Mediterranean fever, corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis and septicemia.
– Dr. Kent Holtorf, Holtorf Medical Group, "Safety and Efficacy of Intravenous Oligodynamic Silver"
As you can see, the older literature has many references to colloidal silver and other silver preparations being used successfully against eczema. What wedon't know, unfortunately, is precisely how much was used, how it was used and how often it was used in order to obtain successful results.
How People Use Colloidal Silver for Eczema
Most people I've heard from who have used colloidal silver for eczema use it topically, i.e., simply by putting some in a pump spray bottle and spraying it onto the affected areas of the skin four or five times a day, and allowing it to air dry afterwards.
Others say they soak a cotton ball in colloidal silver and then dab it onto the affected area and allowing it to air dry. They might do this four or five times a day, as needed.
My personal thoughts on the matter, were I to have eczema/dermatis, would be as follows:
I'd probably first try spraying a standard 10 ppm colloidal silver solution onto the affected areas of the body, four or five times a day, and allowing it to air dry before putting clothes back on. I'd then gauge the results over a period of days.
If spraying liquid colloidal silver onto the affected area of the skin is inconvenient or ineffective, I'd consider getting a good colloidal silver gel, such as ASAP Ultimate Skin & Body Care Gel (or any of the other colloidal silver gels and creams mentioned here) and apply the gel to the affected areas at least several times a day, and gauge the results.
If I had a truly stubborn case of eczema/dermatitis, I'd probably consider spending the extra money to obtain a really potent nanosilver cream, such as the 30,000 ppm nanosilver cream sold by SilverPure.com.
Silver Pure cream is expensive, but the manufacturer has told me his customers have experienced good results with it for all kinds of serious skin conditions. If I had a truly stubborn case of eczema/dermatitis, I might consider trying this cream several times a day, experimentally, to see if there's any significant relief.
(The above-mentioned product may be overkill, as it is VERY strong. I don't recommend using it around the eyes, or in the ears, or in the nose or anywhere it can be easily absorbed into the blood stream because of the excessively strong silver content. But I've heard of some people with severe eczema or dermatitis, and some with psoriasis, as well, saying it really helped them when nothing else would.)
As always, I'm just reporting on the information I've come across, and speculating on what I might do under such a circumstance. Therefore none of this information should be taken as "prescriptive" in nature. Be sure to consult your licensed and experienced natural health care practitioner for more information, as well as for specific guidance and direction.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that clinical research on animals now demonstrates that silver not only dramatically soothes the skin and reduces inflammation, but it also kills any infectious microbes that might be present and kick-starts the healing process into high gear.