Eczema… oh how I really really dislike that word! The photo with this post is of Xanthie’s legs about two years ago. It hurts me to look at that photo and remember how much pain she was in. That was an exceptionally bad breakout, but the story of her life nonetheless.
I thought we were still actively battling it, but after being reminded of that photo I realized she has come a LONG way! Last summer she had a few bright patches behind her knees and in the creases of her elbows, but with time we were able to get them somewhat improved. Going into this summer I’m so excited to say she doesn’t have any current spots! It feels amazing to say that!
I will tell some of her story and that may help you too! She has been dealing with eczema since she was about 4 months old. We started noticing it on her legs. Aisling had had some eczema on her legs that we were quickly able to identify as an egg allergy and once we pulled them out of my diet (since I was breastfeeding) and out of hers, the rash quickly went away. With Xanthie our homeopathic MD said she thought it was dairy, so I took diary out of my diet and we definitely noticed improvement, but it didn’t completely go away.
I was discouraged even though I know it can take up to 3 months for dairy to work it’s way out of your body even after not eating it. We tried quite a few things and nothing was really working. We tried removing other foods like eggs, soy and gluten with no real change. I tried soaks and oils, lotions and creams. Some of those things gave relief, but with time the eczema always seemed to come back.
I think for Xanthie stress seems to be a big trigger, but I think dairy is the other cause as well. We did notice that the chlorine or pool water did seem to aggravate her rash in summer, but it was tolerable if she rinsed and we didn’t have to completely swear off the pool. We could relatively simply remove the dairy from her diet (she has never really eaten a full piece of cheese), but stress is a whole other thing. She is number 4 of (at the time) 4 kids; that alone is stressful. So much noise, people in your face, a mom doesn’t respond to your needs immediately, and just the adjustment to life.
I think that is why we saw a worsening last summer was because I was gone out of state for a month for Aspen’s adoption and I think it was stressful for her. Life wasn’t the same. She knew I would be back and she talked to me on the phone, but it wasn’t the same.
So… I’m not sure how helpful our story is, or her story, really. But it’s what we have been through with her in her 5 years of life! The following are some remedies that we have used that have seemed helpful. I can’t say one of them in particular was revolutionary, but I think they combination truly helped.
- Detox bath (2 cups Epsom salts, ⅓ cup sea salt, 1 cup baking soda, essential oils like lavender to help with pain and inflammation). I would give her a warm bath and try to get her to soak as long as possible. When she was acutely inflamed sometimes she would say the bath would sting, but most of the time she liked it.
- Bone broth/stock is VERY effective in helping strengthen the body’s immune system. It’s GREAT for helping skin to heal and rebuild new cells because it contains collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. It also helps reduce inflammation. I frequently make my own and usually have a quart we are working on in the fridge. When kids are sick or have skin rash issues we will often do a mug of broth in the morning, more if I can get them to drink it!
- Coconut oil we frequently tried. Xanthie would often complain it would hurt when I put it on her if the rash was raw and red. There was only one thing I could put on it in that stage (next item on the list) and it wasn’t coconut oil. I would often give her 2 tsp orally daily just to help moisturize her skin and then would apply it topically during the later healing stages when she said it didn’t hurt so much.
- Calendula in Olive Oil (similar to this) – This was an moisturizing oil that a friend gave me because they were moving and she was cleaning out her bathroom cabinet and said she never used it. It was the ONE thing that Xanthie would let me put on her eczema when it was bright red, raw and painful. We LOVED this oil!
- Essential oils: Lavender is soothing and calms the burning and itching. Frankincense is good for any skin ailment and helps with healing. Helichrysum is also great for healing and decreasing inflammation. It’s more on the pricey side, but we have found it very helpful! Also, Roman Chamomile is like lavender in the way it soothes and calms the angry patches. Peppermint is also helpful with itching and is a pain reliever. However, if the skin is super sensitive, then the peppermint will only irritate it. If it’s a more mild reaction the peppermint can help with the itching and pain. It has a tingly sensation which can be helpful for some people. Always dilute any of the oils first to see how your skin will respond. Lavender is the only oil I would ever recommend applying neat (directly to the skin with no dilution)
- I’ve heard wonderful things about Shea Moisture Eczema cream, although I’ve never purchased it. It is on my list of next things to try if/when we need it. I LOVE their other hair and skin products, so I’m not worried about this one either!
- I did recently purchase this Eczema Cream by All Terrain which Xanthie does like, but we haven’t had any severe outbreaks that she would need it (I can’t believe I’m actually saying that!!!) But we have it on hand to try if we do!
I also think time and her body growing and maturing and developing has helped. I think her gut had some healing to do and having her on a whole foods diet with minimal grains and no dairy helped her significantly. I’m so grateful for where we are today with her eczema and I only hope it gets better.
I know there are many others out there with kids struggling with this. What have you done? I know my list isn’t comprehensive! Please share! I’d love to hear!