Eczema is an extremely common ailment for babies and adults alike. Being a sufferer of eczema my entire life, I know firsthand how uncomfortable and irritating it can be. Of course, the doctor prescribed steroid creams work very well for eczema, but besides the potential side effects of the use of these creams, these creams are treating the branch of the problem—not the root.
In Traditional Oriental Medicine, we are very focused on getting to the root of the problem for all ailments as this allows us to rectify the situation, not just topically treat it each time it resurfaces.
For me, it was a long battle to figure out the root cause of my eczema. I always had very sensitive skin often exacerbated by environmental triggers from food to detergents. My own personal experience has afforded me the knowledge to clinically help my patients and their children when dealing with eczema.
Here are 7 great tips for getting a handle on your child’s skin condition:
During a Flare Up, Take an Oatmeal Bath
Get some 100% organic (nothing added) oatmeal and grind it up in a coffee bean grinder. Draw a luke warm bath (water that is too hot will flare the skin up even more) and add two cups of ground oatmeal to the tub. Swirl your hand around in the tub (prior to bathing your child) to be sure the oatmeal is spread out and not clumped. Bathe your child in the oatmeal bath for 10-15 minutes (this timeframe is ideal, however some is better than none). At the end of the bath, pat your child dry. Do not rub as that can irritate their skin more.
Moisturizing with Coconut Oil for Eczema
Organic, raw, cold-pressed coconut oil is one of the best moisturizers for skin. Apply it liberally and massage it into dry patches. Use this daily on the skin, flared up or not. **Note: as always with trying anything new on your child’s skin, apply a small test patch to a small area of skin and leave for 5 minutes and be sure there are no negative reactions.
What Detergents Are Best for Treating Eczema in Children?
Use hypoallergenic detergents and soaps that are free of harsh chemicals, additives and fragrances that can aggravate skin conditions. I love my Seventh Generation products. Give them a try.
Cod Liver Oil for Babies with Eczema
Give your child a daily dose of cod liver oil. Cod liver oil (a great blog on the health benefits of cod liver oil) has many amazing benefits for your child (and your entire family) from boosting the immune system to improving cognitive functioning to helping treat eczema. The healthy amount of omega 3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D make cod liver oil amazing for healthy skin. Start off with giving your child ½ teaspoon per day for a week and then work up to 1 teaspoon per day. Carlson’s and Green Pastures make great flavored cod liver oils that most children don’t mind.
Give your child a daily dose of probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are normally present in our digestive tracts but get overrun by stress, infections, poor diets and antibiotic use. Supplementing with a daily probiotic will help improve digestion and therefore absorption of nutrients to help your child’s immune system get stronger and therefore less susceptible to allergens that can aggravate eczema. The brands Garden of Life and FloraStor make great probiotics for children (follow the label for dosing).
Limit Added Sugars
Watch the added sugars in your child’s diet. This is a super hard one, I know. But I can’t stress the importance enough. Sugar is a very inflammatory substance and will exacerbate any inflammatory condition going on in the body—and eczema is one of them. Personally, if I have too much sugar (more than 10-15 grams of added sugar per day) my eczema on my hands will flare right up and itch like crazy.
Get Your Baby Tested for Allergies
And, lastly—pay attention to the most common food allergens and how they affect your child. The top eight most commons food allergens are: peanuts, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, tree nuts, fish and shellfish (read more here: Mayo Clinic). Following an elimination diet (removing these foods all together and then slowly adding them back in one at a time) is the best way to determine your child’s reaction to them. Of course food allergies—the ones that result in anaphylactic episodes—are much different than food intolerances. Talk to your doctor if you’re at all concerned about food allergies.
Licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and book author Aimee E. Raupp is a women’s health and fertility expert. Her growing practice focuses on improving health and beauty, preventing disease and increasing fertility among women whose health and wellness are challenged by the demands, stressors and imbalances of Western culture. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @aimeeraupp.