Now that the weather is consistently warmer here in California (you know we natives are only comfortable when it’s 75-85℉!), my family is spending more time at the pool. I know, it’s easier to not think about things like the hazards of chlorine and just try to have fun. But the dangers extend far beyond uncomfortable red eyes, stringy green hair, and smelly swimsuits. For your family’s health and wellbeing, you’ll want to learn how to reduce exposure to chlorine.
Does your child have eczema? Did your medical doctor prescribe steroid creams and other immune suppressors for him/her? Do you want to address the condition holistically instead? I’m happy to share what worked for my son. Read on to learn how to get to the root of the condition as you treat eczema naturally.
I believe you have strong parental instincts if you’re concerned. Eczema’s so common here in the United States that many doctors & parents assume that it’s normal and just a symptom of “sensitive skin”. They blame harsh detergents, soaps, or other things in the external environment. Any natural health practitioner will tell you eczema is a symptom of a deeper disharmony in your child’s body.
When my son developed eczema as a baby, I knew that it meant his immune system was challenged. I treated him appropriately with alternative medicine to resolve it quickly. I’m eager to share what I’ve learned with you so that your child can be comfortable in their skin once again!
Standard Medical Cause & Treatment of Eczema
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is an immune-mediated inflammation of the skin. It’s red, itchy, uncomfortable, sometimes oozy, and can be easily infected if scratched with dirty nails.
Merck Manual, 18th edition states that like asthma, eczema may be linked to an allergic T-cell immune response. It says that it’s becoming more common in developed countries because of “trends toward smaller families, cleaner indoor environments, and early use of vaccinations and antibiotics deprive children of the early exposure to infections and allergens that suppress pro-allergic T cells and induce tolerance.”
Food intolerance, wool intolerance, conjunctivitis, and other features accompany eczema quite often. Most medical doctors tell you to keep your child’s skin moist, but to decrease bathing & hand washing. They prescribe a corticosteroid creams to suppress the immune system, even though it’s already faulty.
In many cases, mainstay steroid treatments can have harmful side effects. There’s also a strong association with eczema and developing childhood asthma later. Therefore, it’s wise to explore holistic treatments that work with the original disharmony.
What Caused My Son’s Eczema?
My son developed eczema after his first round of vaccinations at 4 months old. (I wanted to delay them until he was 2 years old, but was pressured into getting them by my son’s Pediatrician.) Most doctors refuse to admit that vaccines could have anything to do with it. Just because they’re authority figures doesn’t mean they’re correct.
It was pretty clear that after his second dose of Pediarix at 8 months old, it was most definitely the vaccines. For both shots were done on different thighs. The eczema rash, both times, originated at the injection site on the different thighs.
The first outbreak was delayed, so I didn’t make the connection to the shot. I gave him some Chinese herbs and it disappeared in a few weeks. But the second time the eczema appeared within a few days and spread quickly up to his torso and remained there.
How I Treated My Son’s Eczema Naturally
This was a huge awakening for me. I knew this was serious and vowed to treat the eczema naturally. I resumed the Chinese herbal therapy I gave him the first time. It helped initially, but then the rash came back. Next, I did an elimination diet, removing the most inflammatory foods. We quickly learned he was intolerant to the dairy that he was consuming through my breastmilk.
When we went back for the next well-visit, he still had eczema on his thigh though most of his torso was now clear. I explained everything to his doctor. I was prepared for her to become defensive and deny that the vaccines were the cause. Instead, she sincerely apologized. Still, I could not see her anymore.
We started seeing a new Pediatrician who respected my views and profession. She said that eczema & a dairy intolerance often arise after the DTaP (Diptheria, Tetanus, & Persussis) vaccine in her practice. She supported me fully with the treatment I had already started. By the time he was 2 years old, he was completely healed of eczema and his dairy intolerance.
How You Can Treat Your Child’s Eczema Naturally Too
(1) Eliminate the source of inflammation
This is likely the most challenging part of healing your child because we’re forced to take a hard, honest look at what our child has been exposed to. We need to question whether something we’ve been doing “normally” (according to social norms) is contributing to the disease. This step is important for treating eczema naturally. Since it’s an allergic reaction, your child’s immune system needs a break.
Perhaps you’re not willing to stop or delay vaccinations though, even if it looks like they were the cause. If you continue vaccinating, try to implement the next few treatment options I have listed below. Just realize that you maybe fighting an uphill battle throughout their childhood, though. If this is the strategy that works best for your family and your core beliefs, then I wish you the best of luck!
At the very least, it’s wise to place your child on an elimination diet to determine of they have a food intolerance. Skin & blood tests for food allergies are notoriously faulty, so an elimination diet is your best bet for an accurate assessment.
This is a great post describing how to start a simple elimination diet that is great for the whole family.
I recommend the book The Elimination Diet by Alissa Segersten (of Nourishing Meals) & her husband Tom Malterre M.S., C.N. They remove more inflammatory foods, but it’s manageable since the recipes included in the book are easy & super delicious!
If your child has a food intolerance, you’ll need to avoid that food for at least 90 days. Then, gradually bring the food back into their diet to see if there’s an improvement. The intolerance should resolve within several months to a year if you’re diligent about the elimination diet.
(2) Improve their gut health to treat eczema naturally
People with eczema (& food intolerances) have compromised immune systems. They also have low populations of “good” gut flora. It’s vital to focus on improving gut health to heal the eczema & food intolerance.
I wrote about this extensively in the post Improve Your Family’s Gut Health to Increase General Health, part 1. Please read this 2-part series to learn how to build up a good supply of beneficial microorganisms. These organisms digest important vitamins & nutrients. They also protect the lymphoid tissue in the gut lining that makes lymphocytes & immunoglobulins (important members of the immune system).
(3) Include supplements to soothe inflammation
The following supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation (Read more about most of them here):
- Fish oil (Omega-3 oils EPA & DHA – Omega-3s should be twice the amount of Omega-6 in your diet)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamins A, C, and selenium (antioxidants)
- Flax seed oil
(4) Traditional Chinese Medicine to Treat Eczema Naturally
From the perspective of Chinese medicine, eczema is an accumulation of “damp heat and toxins” in the body that is venting out to the skin. The Lungs, Large Intestine, and Kidney organs & channels are all involved. Basically, you need to clear the heat & toxins and strengthen these organs/channels. This is done with herbal remedies and acupuncture/acupressure.
It’s best to work with a Chinese medicine practitioner, even if you’re eager to do it alone. I just happened to be a newly licensed and enthusiastic Acupuncturist when I was dealing with my son’s issue. I still sought advice from my son’s second pediatrician (who also does acupuncture) to validate my diagnosis & treatment plan.
Chinese medicine practitioners see the root disharmony. They can develop a treatment plan that will heal your child from the inside. Most of them embrace whole food nutrition and help you manage your family’s diet too.
(5) Sensible sun exposure
Alternative medicine recognizes the healing power of the sun. It’s is vital for vitamin D absorption, improving mood, boosting immunity, and maintaining a balanced circadian rhythm. Your child needs to experience short periods of unprotected (that’s right, no sunscreen) time in the sun to reap these benefits.
Even mainstream medical doctors recommend sun exposure for treating eczema naturally. Also, you can use artificial UVA & UVB treatments too, so you can ask your doctor about that.
YOU CAN help your child because YOU KNOW them better than anyone else. Trust your gut Mamma or Papa! Please ask any questions in the comments. If you have other advice that’s worked for you to treat eczema naturally, let’s hear about that too!
Well wishes to you all…
Download my helpful list: 10 Ways To Boost Your Child’s Health & Maintain Your Sanity!