SOLVING ECZEMA, NATURALLY
Is there anything more delicious than the feel (and smell) of a newborn baby's skin? There is just something about the softness, the plumpness, the oh-my goodness-I-want-to-bite-it…
And equally, how heart breaking - and frustrating - when your little one suffers from eczema. Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is one of the most common childhood skin complaints and presents as a red, itchy rash, that may also weep and form dry crusts over time.
While most commonly found on the backs of knees, elbows, and arms, it can be located almost anywhere on the body. "While the cause of eczema is thought to be unknown in the medical community, atopic dermatitis tends to run in families and in many cases is thought to be due to an allergy," says Anna Mitsios, Naturopath, Nutritionist and founder of Edible Beauty.
And while eczema can be triggered by environmental allergens and extremes in weather, "flare-ups are most often triggered by skin irritation caused by certain chemicals, such as the detergents in bubble baths, shampoos, washing powders and fabric softeners," says Anna.
As a parent, it's often difficult to know where to start when looking for eczema treatment, as there are so many options claiming to offer relief. According to Bridget Carmady, Naturopath and Founder of Clemence Organics, the first thing to look at when choosing a product is to ascertain the ingredients contain no chemicals or preservatives which could cause further irritation.
"The second thing is to ensure the product does not contain any ingredients that your child has previously reacted to. Children can be allergic to natural ingredients, so it's always important to patch test the product first," she advises.
It follows then that when developing the Clemence Organics Baby & Mum Balm, Bridget ensured it contained 100% certified organic ingredients, with no preservatives or chemicals. "I then chose ingredients based on three key benefits I wanted to provide: anti-inflammatory, repairing and intense hydration. There are many products out there which claim to be 'good enough to eat' but these truly are."
Another product that only contains edible ingredients is Anna's Edible Beauty Mum & Bub Coco Barrier Cream. A highly effective natural barrier cream has been designed to be used as an intensely nourishing, protective and healing cream to prevent nappy rash and to soothe and restore irritated nipples.
"This product contains Candelila wax and a blend of exotic wildcrafted oils, which act as a natural barrier rather than zinc oxide and/or beeswax," says Anna. "Every ingredient in the cream is edible which means there is absolutely no fear of ingestion."
Tips from the pros…
Bridget Carmady, Clemence Organics
"Eczema is very often caused by a combination of factors and so it's important to assess the whole picture - both internal and external factors. A healthy digestive system is vital to a healthy immune system, so ensuring good nutrition (minus any food allergens) and healthy flora (gut biota) is a good start. Emotional factors can also trigger eczema and so keeping stress and anxiety to a minimum will also help."
Anna Mitsios, Edible Beauty
"I highly recommend using a food diary to determine what both you (if you are breastfeeding), and your baby are eating that may be making symptoms worse. I recommend keeping baby care products simple and relying mainly on oils and pure ingredients to heal and nourish the skin. When you bathe your child, keep baths short and add a moisturising oil into the bath to soothe and protect and prevent your bubba's skin from drying out. Bathing too frequently (more than three times per week during the first year of life) removes the natural oils that protect baby's skin. This may leave our baby's skin vulnerable and dry whilst also exacerbating conditions such as eczema.
words | Jacqui Grieg