Four Tips from an Eczema Mom

Written by:

Maia James

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Before I had children, I thought the whole fuss over kids with allergies and eczema had to be exaggerated.

So perhaps it was my karma, then, to have a child who struggled with skin conditions and sensitivities from day one. A bit of cradle cap turned into food sensitivities that morphed into bad eczema with food and cosmetic allergies. It has absolutely rocked and taken over our world.

Wyatt eczema gimme the good stuff
Wyatt struggled with eczema almost from birth.

I’m an acupuncturist. I come from a family of doctors and nurses. In treating our son’s ailments, we’ve tried both Eastern and Western medicine, but four years in, we’re still very much still on our quest to figure out what works.

The Search for an Eczema Cure

There is no universal magic ointment or balm that heals all. As parents, we have to advocate for our kids and trust our instincts, and this is the number one rule for helping our children with eczema and allergies.

One very helpful dermatologist (we saw about eleven in just three years) made the analogy to a pot of water. He said children with allergies and eczema will always have some water in the pot. The goal should be to not have the water boil over. How can we do this? We have to sleuth out the triggers.

Fortunately, we’ve discovered a bunch of triggers and treatments that HAVE improved my son’s eczema, and I am happy to be able to share them with the Gimme the Good Stuff community.

Complete Natural Eczema Care

If you or someone you love has eczema, you know it often can change over time. Weather, diet, daily activities like swimming or spending time in air conditioning/heating environments, stress level changes and other variables can leave our skin very confused. When we pay attention to these changes and respond intuitively, we can manage our eczema alot more effectively. Here in this set there are products for all stages of care that our skin may need.

  • Soothing Suds Oatmeal Soap: We don’t always use soap on our sensitive skin, but when we do, this one is always a good choice.
  • Licorice Love: Reduce redness and inflammation, exfoliate dry & dead skin to soften and relieve itch.
  • Calendula Oil: A quickly absorbing, soothing herbal oil to deliver moisture, soothe inflammation, relieve itch and cool redness and heat.
  • Ultra Healing Body Butter: Deeply moisturizing and rich, herbal infused, plant based butter for complete absorption into the skin.
  • Touchy Skin Salve: Deeply herbal infused nourishing salve with castor oil for deep emollient penetration into the skin, licorice root to soothe inflammation, plantain and burdock to relieve itch, thyme to help prevent infection, comfrey to help repair and maintain skin integrity, domestic beeswax for itch relief and protection and more!

Eczema Caused by Food Allergies

There are growing studies showing a link between eczema and food allergies. In fact, recent research link a subtype of eczema to food allergy.

Immunologists are beginning to believe that “food allergens may reach immune cells more easily through a dysfunctional skin barrier affected by atopic dermatitis, thereby setting off biological processes that result in food allergies.”

That said, dermatologists may not be quick to recommend a food allergy test. The first thing I always recommend to my friends and clients who have discussed issues with their baby’s skin, is to get a food test!

Upon a recommendation, we were slathering coconut oil on our son’s skin to help with his cradle cap. This seemed to make it worse, and were confused how a beloved and natural oil could cause any harm.

After finally getting a food test, we found he was allergic to all tree nuts. And yes, this includes the almighty coconut! While it might not cure all, omiting sensitive foods can drastically help bring down inflammation and reactions.

Cosmetic Skin Test

Having a cosmetic test is another recommendation I wish I didn’t have to make! It’s tough, as it involves multiple patches on the back, and having to go in repeatedly to the doctor for one week. But only by doing this did we learn that Wyatt had two allergies, to propylene glycol and cocomide DEA. Note from Maia: Nothing we call Good Stuff has these ingredients, ever.

Upon further investigation, we read that these are two very common triggers for kids with eczema. Furthermore, if propylene glycol is used as a flavor or color for food, or carrier or solvent instead of a direct ingredient, it is considered an indirect ingredient and therefore not required to be listed on the nutrition label by the FDA.

Really reading labels and ingredients is a must. It’s daunting, to look at a label and see there are twenty plus ingredients, some of which have scientific names with six or more syllables. But take a pen, make a list, and start getting to know their names. There are repeated offenders which are sadly in many products that are triggers for eczema.

I do wish this could all be shared and discussed openly by dermatologists from the get go. We immediately saw a connection between when our son used these ingredients and having reactions. Systemic, generalized dermatitis has been reported after eating foods with propylene glycol, or from taking medications that contain it.

wyatt without eczema gimme the good stuff
Now 4 years old, Wyatt’s eczema is greatly improved, although it’s never gone away entirely.

Best Clothing for Kids with Eczema

Kids with eczema should really try to stick to materials made of 100% cotton. It’s best for the skin.

And just like in foods, I’d recommend reading the ingredients of clothes, sheets, towels, and accessories. There are many outfits we thought were just cotton, but have a blend of materials. Even if it’s just 2% polyester, your child’s skin can react strongly.

Wool is especially bad for kids with eczema. And by the way, this means that cosmetic products with lanolin are also bad for kids with eczema!

The Best Creams for Eczema

We were familiar with CeraVe and Vanicream, as every doctor we met with had recommended the two.

We liked the ones without parabens or fragrance (and we learned to read the ingredients lists carefully–as the same company will make ones that have them and don’t, like CeraVe).

But I didn’t read or hear about ceramides until four years into our eczema journey, when a new dermatologist told us to look for creams with ceramides.

Ceramides are fatty lipid molecules that help keep our skin moist and soft. Moist and soft skin should be the goal, especially if your child has eczema or allergies. But children with eczema are often lacking ceramides. Hence the red, dry, itchy, and splotchy trademark of eczema!

Our favorite cream with ceramides is this one (which Maia calls “pretty much Okay Stuff, and worth a try for sure if your kid is suffering!”).

Despite the fact that it doesn’t contain ceramides, this Green Goo also brought Wyatt relief.

Most likely if your child has eczema, he or she has a combination of sensitivities. I know from experience this can at times feel like you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack. Or you feel like you need to just buy your child a bubble suit! But there are steps to take. Begin with testing and reading ingredients. Don’t be afraid to keep the doctor in the room longer with your questions. Because it’s possible to find answers — to keep your child’s pot of water from boiling over.

-Guest post by Laura Hoffman

Laura Hoffman is a New York State Licensed Acupuncturist. She received her Master of Science degree from Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City. She worked at the California Pacific Medical Center using acupuncture to treat patients recovering from physical trauma, stroke, and spinal cord injuries. Laura has studied various modalities to treat conditions including, but not limited to, women’s health, digestive concerns, chronic pain, muscular strain, anxiety, stress, addiction, and insomnia. Laura has also spent the last four years on a quest to understand her son’s allergies and sensitivities. She knows from experience this journey can be arduous and at times frustrating, and is happy to help a fellow parent out in any way. Follow Laura on Instagram at @laurahoffmanacu feel free to reach her at info@laurahoffmanacu.com

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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14 responses to “Four Tips from an Eczema Mom”

  1. Bella Mang Avatar
    Bella Mang

    Thank you for this article! I’ve been on this journey with my toddler for about a year now. The CeraVe cream has mildly helped us as well but I’ve kept looking for alternatives. I’m curious what both you and Maia think about the NEA Seal Of Acceptance for eczema creams? They seem to have quite an extensive list of NO-NO ingredients (potential irritants) specifically for eczema patients. I recently found TruKid creams through their database and feel like I have finally found a moisturizer that actually DOES make a difference for my son! I’m beyond happy about that and hope it keeps working for him. Also, I find their list of ingredients not alarming – curious if there’s anything Maia would flag about it. If so, would be great to know!

  2. Elena Avatar
    Elena

    I’ve used Foderma serum eczema for less than a week, and i can already tell a distinction in my baby pores and skin. She has a mild eczema. And no joke within an hour of applying Foderma serum it seems to begin to disappear. I am satisfied somebody mentioned this and i’m satisfied to get it again.

  3. Dorothy Avatar
    Dorothy

    I went through every eczema lotion for my daughter and nothing worked until I found foderma eczema serum! It is the best! It works almost instantly to sooth and heal my daughter’s eczema.

  4. Nora Avatar
    Nora

    I had eczema on my hands for several months. They were cracked, bleeding, flaking and I could barely do anything that required me to use my hands…which is a lot. Then I started taking probiotic MegaSporebiotic. And within a month my eczema started to heal. It’s been several month that I have been using MegaSpore and I only have a small patch on my right hand that persists, which if you had seen my hands before is an amazing recovery. I decided to try it per the recommendation of nutritionist blogger Jennifer Fugo. She also has a podcast, the healthy skin show, that anyone with a skin condition should consider listening to.

  5. Jane Avatar
    Jane

    Try Seventh Generation Free & Clear laundry detergent and Ultra Downny Free & Gentle fabric conditioner.