This post is long overdue and I know so many of you have been waiting very patiently. It may have to be a two part post because there is just so much that goes into eczema. It’s plagued our life since Milan was 6 months old and she’s now 2.5 and we are still fighting it. There are good days but unfortunately those days are far and few between. Winters are brutal for us and Spring and Summer tends to give her a little relief. I’m not an expert by any means however we’ve done extensive research on this topic and have tried almost every single natural remedy out there.
Before we dive in in, this post is strictly solely based on my own experiences. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be one. Please consult with your doctor, health care provider and/or pediatrician. After a lot of time going down the rabbit hole on the internet, we made the decision not to give her any prescription medication or sterioids for her eczema. Not so say that if you’ve done this, that you’re a bad parent. We do what we need to do for our little ones and this was just our personal choice. I simply want to share what has worked for us in case it may help even one person get some relief.
What is eczema?
First, what is eczema? Eczema causes the skin to be itchy, dry, cracked and red. It can appear anywhere on the body. Milan had it first on her chest/tummy area and once that cleared, it spread to her legs and arms. There are several types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis. It’s most common in infants but adults have it too.
As you may or may not know, Milan had hernia surgeries in two areas of her body when she was only six weeks old. You can read more about it HERE. This traumatic experience wreaked havoc on her immune system which we believe may have been a huge factor in her eczema.
I could go on and on about every single product we have tried but that would take forever. That was my original plan for this post but then it just got to be too much. Instead, I will focus on the natural remedies that have helped us. Each person and their skin is different so what worked for one may not work for another so take this info with a grain of salt. There is no cure for Eczema and nothing you apply topically will ever make it go away. It may soothe the skin or give some relief but it will not cure it. This skin condition is more than likely gut/diet related and needs to be healed internally. I tried the elimination diets when I was nursing – removing dairy, gluten, wheat, soy etc…and nothing seemed to work.
Here are some tips, products and natural remedies that have helped us:
We have never used any soaps or shampoos on Milan and have always bathed her in either plain water, breast milk or ACV. I prefer this brand over anything else. Apple Cidar Vinegar has SO many benefits. It can reduce skin inflammation and reduce redness and even soothe sunburn. It has a million different internal benefits when you digest it as well but that’s a other post. I use 1/4 or 1/2 a cup depending on how large her bath is and let her soak in it for 5 minutes. I try to keep her baths luke warm (not hot or cold) and under 6 minutes if possible.
Out of all the hundreds and I mean hundreds of lotions, potions and creams, this one seemed to work well on Milan’s skin. It’s best when applied directly out of the bath when the skin has some moisture left. The balm itself doesn’t go very far unless there’s a little bit of water on the skin. I also tried this organic cream which is pretty good and used this diaper balm for diaper rash. I like Zoe Organics because they use ALL natural and 100% organic ingredients. Some companies are very slick and just because something is “organic” does NOT mean that all of the ingredients are organic.
3. Tallow Whip
You are probably wondering what Tallow is right? It’s basically animal fat that’s used for cooking and has tons of benefits. I use this beef tallow and whip it with olive oil and other essential oils. I haven’t used this since her skin started to clear up but was using this religiously. If you’re interested in the recipe, please leave a comment below.
Waxelene is the petroleum jelly alternative – made from natural, pesticide-free beeswax. When I first started buying this, it was around $13 a jar and now the price has sky rocketed to $34 a jar. We even went as far as contacting the company to ask why the major price increase and apparently there’s a major demand for the beeswax that they use. I understand price increases are inevitable in business however this is madness. I guess when you are desperate to give your child relief, you will pay any price. I apply the Zoe organic skin balm on first and then top off with Waxelene after she takes a bath. This seems to be the best method to trapping in moisture.
First, this stuff is insanely expensive however the benefits are well worth the hefty price tag. I use it for cuts/burns and take a spoonful when I’m feeling sick. I apply it to Milan’s skin where she has major scratches. Manuka honey has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. I love this stuff but wish it wasn’t so darn expensive.
I never thought I would be making my own soap but it’s cheaper and way better than all the harsh chemicals found in other hand soaps. We use Dr. Bronner’s Castille liquid soap with distilled water and these foaming soap dispensers. I feel way more comfortable washing Milan’s hands with this home made, all natural hand soap than any of the other hand soaps that are on the market.
We’ve tried several different types of free and clear laundry detergent but I like this one the best. I think this made a huge difference in helping her skin. It’s crazy how many harsh chemicals are used in other detergents.
I try to use all organic bedding and put her in organic clothing as much as possible. She wears organic pajamas to bed and when she’s playing at home (most of the time). Burt’s Bees is a decent option and available at Target.
Last but not least and by far the most important, is diet. I try my best to feed Milan organic and whole foods as much as possible. This is much more difficult than it sounds. There’s so much that goes into healing the gut and foods that triggers Eczema. HERE is a good article about leaky gut and atopic dermatitis. Common foods that may trigger Eczema include: cows milk, eggs, soy products, gluten, nuts, fish and shellfish. The past few months we have gone way off track with eating a lot of junk and most definitely need to go back to being a bit more strict on the foods she’s intaking.
There’s so much more to Eczema and about a million more products I want to talk about but that will have be for another post. Hopefully this will get you started if you are looking for some answers or ways to soothe your baby or perhaps your own Eczema. It’s so frustrating, deflating and all around maddening having to watch your baby scratch or suffer every single day. Milan really has never been able to run around nude or just with a diaper on because of this skin condition – so sad. She’s always covered up in public even when it’s hot outside. The days when she can show her arms or legs and not scratch is a great day for us.
I’m convinced that at this point, Milan’s incessant scratching is more of a soothing mechanism than anything else. She scratches when she’s tired or frustrated. Her skin looks pretty good right now but that’s typical when it’s summer. All these photos are within the last week so you can see what her skin looks like (plus some cute pics from TuTu school). 🙂 I tried to include as many as I could with her bare arms and legs. Looks pretty good right now compared to what it used to look like in the winter. Praying she gets better. I would love to hear any thoughts or suggestions about things that have worked for you or your little one!