The term eczema covers a group of conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The epidemic of eczema, which affects one fifth of children, may be as a result of our all too recent obsessive concern with keeping our children free of germs – aided and abetted by the media and advertising. And all those household and personal cleaning agents filled with chemicals and toxins are certainly not helping the situation.
Why Eczema is Now a Worldwide Epidemic
The skin of a child with eczema reacts abnormally to irritants, foods, dust, mites, pollen and other allergens. It also becomes vulnerable to bacterial infections. Eczema now affects almost 20% of all children in industrialized countries; its prevalence in the United States alone has nearly tripled in the past thirty years. Eczema treatment is usually with over the counter or prescription medications – ointments and creams, topical steroids and antibiotics. Often they will seem to work for a short time before an outbreak occurs again, worse than ever, and they could come with their own set of unwanted side effects.
Cleanliness & the Link to Eczema
There is a “hygiene hypothesis” which says that by protecting children from exposure to dirt and germs, and by preventing disease from taking its full course in childhood, we are inadvertently destroying the immune system’s ability to respond appropriately to infection and other stimuli. Of course, better hygiene is responsible for many gains in human health and there is a thin line between sensible hygiene and obsessive measures toward cleanliness, killing germs and suppressing illness.
Your Skin is Your Largest Organ
Please remember that everything we apply to the outside of our skin gets absorbed into the skin and into our bloodstream. For your children’s sake, you need to focus on what goes into the body via the mouth and nose (food, beverages, toxins) and what goes into the body via the skin. And we are not talking about every day dirt and germs here which in past decades, when children were allowed to spend hours outside playing with their friends and with their pets, they developed a natural immunity to. We are referring to everything that is totally unnatural.
10 Ways to Treat Eczema Naturally
- Changing your child’s diet from one that includes processed, convenience foods, sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial additives and colorings to one composed of fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts (organic where possible), free range eggs and poultry, meat from grass fed animals, salmon and other fish from a safe source.
- Seriously consider changing your child’s diet to a gluten-free one – it could make all the difference.
- Good bacteria and probiotics can help with the healing process of all skin related conditions including eczema while milk and milk products can irritate the immune system so should be avoided. On the other hand, don’t be tempted to switch to soy milk because it contains estrogen which is known to cause problems associated with skin conditions.
- Using virgin coconut oil to provide good fats and nourishment for dry eczema skin. It also contains lauric acid, which makes up 50% of the fatty acids. Lauric acid has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Drinking water from a safe, filtered source while avoiding any fluoride (including in toothpaste) which can wreak havoc on your child’s immune system.
- If needed, supplementing with zinc, B complex and fish oils as these can help your child’s dry, itchy skin from the inside out.
- Never forget the power of vitamin D. Studies have shown that the lower the vitamin D level, the worse the eczema. If your child has eczema, start giving him vitamin D3, about 1,000 IU for every 25 pounds of body weight per the Vitamin D Council’s recommendations. When you calculate the dose, round up; so a thirty pound child would take 2,000 IUs per day and a 55 pound child would take 3,000 IUs daily.
- Remember that many external factors can aggravate eczema ranging from changing weather conditions to household detergents, artificial fragrances and even clothing or bedding (such as itchy wool or synthetic fabrics).
- Stick to all natural lotions, avoiding any that list perfume or alcohol as these will dry the skin. Instead try aloe vera gel, calendula cream or chaparral lotion on irritated skin or colloidal oatmeal/coconut butter lotion which will soothe and moisturize the skin without clogging the pores.
- There are two types of bathing routines which work well for children. One is in warm water that has been slightly infused with bentonite clay while the second is a colloidal oatmeal bath. For the second, add colloidal oatmeal like Aveeno to the bath, and even use oatmeal as a soap substitute. For the bath, pour 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal into the lukewarm water. This oatmeal is a fine powder that will remain suspended in water. For use as a soap substitute, wrap colloidal oatmeal in a handkerchief, place a rubber band around the top, wet it, wring it out and use as you would a normal washcloth. After any bathing, just pat the skin dry without any rubbing and add a natural lotion while the skin is still damp to conserve the moisture. Skin rejuvenation goes through a 28 day cycle so it can take several weeks to get your child’s skin virtually clear. Don’t be put off if the skin becomes a little worse first – it is the result of all those toxins being eliminated from the cells and going into the bloodstream.