Eczema is quite common among children and topical steroids are often prescribed once diagnosed. Unfortunately, relief is only temporary and many parents don’t prefer them as a long time solution. I wanted to share a few natural approaches today that could help to relieve symptoms and heal eczema.
Eczema can present as itchy spots or skin eruptions with inflamed blisters, or as dry, flaky skin patches. It is extremely irritating, especially to children, when it accompanied by itching or when it has a cosmetical impact.
There are two different types eczema. Contact eczema develops when skin in sensitive individuals is exposed to an irritant. This could be clothing, shampoo, detergent or other chemicals as well as certain foods. Atopic eczema is common in people with with a history asthma, hay fever or hives and is also knowns as urticaria. Clarify with your doctor for a clear diagnosis.
If you have used topical steroids or other medications but the eczema is recurring, here are some natural steps to reduce and manage eczema:
Gut health is important for overall health and eczema can be a symptom nutritional challenges. Choose foods high in quality protein and cut out sugar and white flours (refined carbs) as they are highly pro-inflammatory. Always aim for fresh rather than packaged foods whenever you can, as processed foods contain an abundance food additives, fillers, chemicals, food colors and other byproducts that are detrimental to skin health and known as irritants. Aim for high quality fish and whole grains, moderate portions organic full fat dairy such as Yoghurt or Kefir and healthy fats such as Omega 3 fats as those greatly benefit skin and overall health. Aim for anti-inflammatory supporting foods and spices, for example add fresh Ginger to teas or drinks, add turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon and other spices to recipes and use garlic whenever possible.
2) Food Allergies or Sensitivities
If eczema is persistent, does not respond to treatment and has a high recurrence rate, you might want to think of an allergy test, because allergies and food sensitivities often are underlying causes for skin problems. Protein in dairy or gluten are the main culprits in this scenario and often present in eczema outbreaks, but other foods can cause skin irritations such as eczema too. If allergies or food sensitivities are present, the food in question needs to be crowded out / replaced.
3) Natural Topical Applications
For inflamed skin, use a soothing organic oatmeal soak, which is inexpensive and easy to make at home. Mix 2 tbsp organic oatmeal with water to form a paste and apply it to the areas for about 10 minutes for immediate relief. You can also use calendula cream or the freshly squeezed gel from an aloe vera plant, which can be easily maintained at home. As a daily moisturizer, use plain coconut oil or sweet almond oil.
Aim for natural fibers in clothing such as cotton or bamboo that do not compromise air flow to the skin. Avoid nylon, polyester or other man-made fabrics as they often include factory chemicals and don’t provide for proper air flow. Try to avoid flame-retardant clothing, many pajamas and other clothing these days are treated with this chemical. Don’t dress in tight fitting clothes which might irritate the skin, instead use clothing that let the skin “breathe” naturally.
5) Household cleaning products
Try to aim for natural household cleaners, as they can irritate the skin with their often heavy chemical content when kids come in contact with them on kitchen, bathrooms or other household surfaces. Also pay attention to your laundry detergent as they come in direct contact with the skin. Often laundry detergents are loaded with an abundance harsh chemical and additives – many people want their clothes smell “nice”, but are not aware the smell comes with skin irritations. There are great non-irritating laundry detergents available today. And try to avoid dryer sheets as well, as they are heavily perfumed and also loaded with chemicals that irritate skin on immediate contact.
Cosmetics often contain harmful chemicals and paraben’s and children’s products are not excluded from this. Soaps, shampoos, lotions or all personal care products can causing the problem. Try to aim for natural remedies and products, you can also check out the cosmetics you are using with the Environmental Protection Agency’s cosmetic website, it is an AWESOME resource. It provides ratings in regards to toxic byproducts in cosmetics – check it right now (not only for kids), just type in the you are using and check the ratings: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
7) Get some sun
Aim for around 10 minutes sun exposure per day without sunscreen. Sunscreen can block the absorption Vitamin D, an essential vitamin and deficiency responsible for eczema outbreaks. Direct short sun exposure for a very short period time encourages the synthesis Vitamin D and is good for the skin.
8) Examine sleep habits and daily schedules
Stress can be a contributing factor to eczema. Does your child get enough sleep? Is there plenty of time to wind down after a busy day at school or afternoon activities? Sometimes overactive schedules, after school activities and full weekends can contribute to stress. Examine your child’s schedule and make room for “just-play-time” without academics or other obligations – it will provide for sufficient quality time to recharge their batteries.