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My 2nd child is my sensitive child. No, not sensitive emotionally…well maybe, but I’m talking about his skin.
He has dealt with eczema since birth. Literally, I have pictures of him only a week old with a sad, red face. Through his first year, it got the worst it’s been and that is what really started me into this world of crunchiness.
I was tired of his poor face being covered in this red rash. Now he is almost 4 years old.
Some years I don’t see much eczema at all. Others, like this year, we see a flare up usually around winter time. Through these years, I’ve tried many things. Some work, others do not.
(edit to add: My son is now 11 years old and we haven’t seen an eczema flare up in years!)
Eczema is usually related to food sensitivity, chemical sensitivity, environmental sensitivity or issues with the immune system.
Unfortunately since there is such a wide range of causes for eczema, it really becomes a game of luck when trying to find the solution.
Here are some of the things that I have found in my research. As I stated though, I haven’t “cured” my son’s eczema. I would say we have a pretty good grasp on it though.
His eczema only flares up in winter (dry heat) and we can generally get his skin back to normal within a few days of a flare up. Odds are I need to put him on an elimination diet, but I haven’t attempted that yet. (edit: it looks like we have now but I imagine if we relapsed into unhealthy habits it may come back)
Ways to Eliminate Eczema
Reasons and Triggers for Eczema
If the eczema is related to a food allergy/sensitivity then an elimination diet is generally needed in order to determine which food is triggering the eczema.
This means that if a baby has eczema and the mother is breastfeeding, then mom gets to go on the elimination diet. For older kids and adults, they get to be the ones eliminating certain foods from their diet.
Common foods related to eczema include: gluten/wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, and fish.
On an elimination diet, some chose to avoid all the possible trigger foods and then after a month or so, slowly reintroduce each food type one by one.
If after reintroducing a food, there is no flare up of eczema then the next food type can be reintroduced.
Others however, prefer to eliminate only one or two food types at a time. Thus keeping more foods available to them while on the elimination diet.
Even with eliminating a trigger food, eczema may not be completely eliminated; sometimes more will be needed to keep eczema away.
Maintain an alkaline/acid balanced diet – people who deal with eczema may be more sensitive to acid producing foods. An ideal diet for those dealing with eczema is said to be 75% alkalizing food and 25% acid foods.
A chart that states which foods are acidic and which are alkaline can be found here. This doesn’t mean that you should just stop eating all acidifying foods. Acid foods are good for you but for those with eczema it is best to eat mostly alkaline foods.
Sometimes eczema is caused or aggravated by chemicals. These chemicals are usually found in the form of personal products and cleaning products.
Here are some tips for those with chemical sensitivities, although I think these are good for anyone to follow.
Switch to natural or at least unscented/dye free cleaning products (laundry detergent, fabric softener, etc)
Switch to natural or unscented personal products (soap, shampoo, lotion)
Chlorine shower/bath filter. Chlorine is a chemical put in our water to disinfect. However, it’s also not so nice to skin. You can find chlorine filters at your local Lowes or Home Depot.
Limit baths and use natural soaps or no soap at all. Kids particularly don’t need soap or shampoo.
Think about limiting vaccines or spacing them out. Toxin overload can just make eczema worse. A body that’s dealing with other sensitivities will have a harder time dealing with vaccine ingredients.
These can range from indoor air to water temp.
Stick to lukewarm baths/showers instead of hot or cold.
Keep hydrated. If you are dehydrated, it will just make things worse.
Only heat your house as warm as you really need it. The drier your indoor air is, the worse the eczema will generally be. Plus there are also many other reasons to keep your house cold.
Moisturize after baths/showers and at least twice a day.
Immune System Issues
For one reason or another, eczema can be related to issues with the immune system. Most times this has to do with the gut but other times it can be because of a lack in certain nutrients.
Probiotics can be helpful to anyone but particularly those with low immune systems or food sensitivities. If you don’t want to go all out and buy probiotics then I suggest eating plain yogurt with live and active cultures.
Add foods that contain Omega-3 to your diet such as: fish (try to avoid the big fish who have more mercury in them), avocados, chia seeds, etc. Omega-3 helps with inflammation, which can help relieve eczema.
Items to Help Relieve Eczema
California Baby Calendula Cream. If you are looking for a good natural lotion type product this one is good. It obviously is safe for babies but adults can use it too.
Coconut oil (I prefer Extra Virgin Coconut Oil) for a good natural moisturizer.
This DIY Soothing Eczema Cream from Joybilee Farm sound great.
Amber or Hazelwood necklace. I haven’t tried this out on my son yet. (I have one for my daughter but we use it to help with teething) I have heard amazing reviews from friends though who tried it and saw results in just days! I recommend Hazelaid for these necklaces.
Aloe Vera – Preferably the gel from a real plant instead of store bought but if you go with store bought, opt for the real natural stuff. This can be applied to the skin.
Chamomile or Calendula – There are products which contain chamomile or calendula but you can also add chamomile or calendula flowers to bath water (in a muslin/mesh bag) or make your own chamomile oil!
Oatmeal – Ground up and added to a bath can help soothe. I’ve got a great recipe for a lavender calendula oatmeal bath!
Baking soda – Can be added to a bath to help soothe also.
Epsom salts – Yet another bath additive. Epsom salts can help soothe the skin as well as help it detox. Here is a great diy bath soak recipe that uses epsom salts.
There of course, are hundreds of other remedies out there. Some are natural, some are not. I just wanted to share some of the popular natural ways of treating eczema.