My daughter started her life with itchy red patches of inflamed skin. When I took her to the pediatrician, she gave me a prescription for a topical steroid cream even stronger than the one you can buy over the counter. I was not ready to use a pharmaceutical that had never been tested on human infants. The doctor also instructed me to use a cream that contained mineral oil, petroleum,lanolin alcohol,and panthenol. No thanks!
Eczema is described as dry, itchy irritated skin. My daughter would scratch until she was bleeding. Although contact with a substance such as soap or laundry detergent is often blamed, the real culprit may be a food allergy. According to Dr Robert Wood from the Allergy department at John Hopkins, egg is usually the offender. In the case of my daughter, skin prick testing confirmed my suspicion that she was sensitive to milk and wheat. Children with eczema need to limit their exposure to allergens and potential irritants such as chlorine.
Treatment of eczema should also address the underlying causes of the condition. Holistic doctor Mary Bove recommends building up the digestive and immune systems. Other holistic researchers such as David Horribin have found that a fatty acid deficiency is to blame.
My daughter’s skin condition has been under pretty good control. We only resort to occasional hydrocortisone in the summer, when heat and environmental allergens such as pollen and ragweed flare up her condition.
Treatment: Fatty acids in the form of omega 3 from fish and omega 6 from evening primrose oil. You can try a liquid such as Udo’s Perfect Blend with flax and evening primrose oils. Carlson’s has a pleasant tasting liquid fish oil. Several companies now offer fish oil chews, such as Nordic Naturals which is always highly rated. The dose of fish oil for children is usually 200mg a day.
When my daughter was an infant, I rubbed evening primrose from a capsule on her skin, and supplemented my diet with 2 grams of fish oil while she was still breastfeeding. If you are a vegetarian you can use flax seed oil in place of the fish oil, 1-3 teaspoons a day.
Acidophilus powder for children 1/2 to 1 tsp. One brand that has been studied extensively is lactabacillus GG. One study found that pregnant woman supplemented with lactobacillus had a lower incidence of atopic conditions such as eczema.
The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Infants and Children by Dr Mary Bove also recommends zinc, 10-30 mg daily and bioflavanoids , 100-500 milligrams daily.
Food sources of bioflavanoids include apples,berries,onions, and red grapes.
Topical creams and salves:
For every day use and to keep skin moisturized, I like California baby Everyday Lotion No Fragrance Super Sensitive. No nut oils,no parabens.
For skin that is getting scaly and red, I use a salve with calendula and olive oil.
Calendula Cream for Face and Body by Farm at Coventry www.farmatcoventry.com
I also like like Un-petroleum Jelly by Alba www.AlbaBotanica.com
When I have more time (ha ha) I am going to start making my own cream and salves.
You can find some good recipes at www.mountainroseherbs.com