Eczema Triggers and How to Avoid Them – Non-Food Triggers (Part 1 of 3)
I can’t stand watching my kids suffer from something that I feel like I should be able to fix. When my pediatric dermatologist took my daughter Adeline’s palm like a palm reader and showed me the tiny lines that she said showed the lack of a “hydrating gene” and made Addie prone to eczema and dry skin, it was not a good day.
First of all, I personally was not a lotion user. My skin has always been on the oily side. So I had no idea what to do for someone with dry skin (other than lather her up with available lotions which wasn’t working).
That was years ago. Since then, I created the My True Nature product line to help kids with sensitive, dry and eczema-prone skin.
I have also learned that what I go through with Adeline is NOTHING compared to the shear agony that many moms experience fighting eczema! Little did I understand the all-consuming, overwhelming, makes you want to jump off a bridge issue that eczema is for such an increasing group of us. Sleepless nights, crazy diets, medicines we never thought we would give our precious little ones in a million years. Anything to solve the problem and get some sleep! And put our little pumpkins out of the misery that consumes so much of their little lives.
So I wanted to share a few things that I have tried and some that my customers have tried that are more natural remedies for this eczema issue that is increasingly becoming more prevalent.
Dr. Julia Getzelman, a leader and pioneer in the world of pediatric integrative care here in San Francisco (that is fancy for a doctor who uses conventional but also alternative approaches to treating every aspect of a child – and focuses on natural solutions to issues) has also thrown in her 2 cents on the issues to help us navigate. (www.getzwell.com)
If you have comments or suggestions, please share! Hopefully we can all get smarter about natural ways to fight off eczema and dry skin.
Because there was so much information to share, I decided to split this blog into 3 parts.
Part 1 – Non-food trigger events for eczema and how to avoid them
Part 2 – Bath routines – what works and what doesn’t
Part 3 – Diets and Medicine
A special thanks to Jeni Izuel, Sarah Yerger and Alison Fong – three of my wonderful customers who have been kind enough to contribute many of their experiences to this effort.
PART 1 OF 3
ECZEMA FLARE-UP TRIGGER EVENTS
Ok…so we all know that we can’t stop trying to figure out what is triggering eczema flare-ups…but that is harder than it looks! Eczema and food allergies are often linked…no news there. But what are all the things that could cause a trigger event?
NON-DIET related triggers:
- Synthetic ingredients or natural irritants: soaps (particularly with non-natural ingredients), clothes (rayon, silk, wool, any synthetic material), diapers, synthetic perfumes, deodorant, detergents with chemical dyes
- Environmentally generated: dust mites, dog hair, cat hair, rodents, mold
- Illness – bacterial infections, fungus, yeast, asthma
- Generated by our own bodies – sweat from overheating
Dr. G says:
There is a potential additional trigger out there that we should all be aware of. A recent study (the ISSAC program) found that among children who were 6-7 years old, the use of acetaminophen (like Tylenol) in the first year of life was associated with both an increase in the likelihood of eczema and asthma. In addition, the researchers stated that children with eczema, asthma and nasal allergies were more likely to use acetaminophen thus, research into pharmacology is still necessary and on-going and further investigation into the relationship between acetaminophen and possible increases in the likelihood of asthma is warranted. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18805332
Here are some ideas of how to eliminate non-food triggers:
Dr. G says:
Make sure you have a hepa filter on your vacuum which you should use frequently. In addition, remove rugs and stuffed animals, where dust and dust mites hang out. Family pets sometimes contribute – consider whether this could be an issue for your child. Choose safe cleaning products for your home. The Environmental Working Group has done an impressive job of vetting household cleaning solutions and also personal care products: www.ewg.org.
LAUNDRY: We were using Seventh Generation Free & Clear detergent coupled with BabyGanics Free & Clear fabric softener sheets. I have switched to Soap Nuts and wool dryer balls. The Seventh Generation wasn’t causing a problem (I don’t think) but I figure the least amount of chemical stuff the better. In any event, I completely eliminated using regular detergent like Tide or Bounce fabric softeners.
DIAPERS: We use Seventh Generation diapers and homemade baby wipes. We had a few packs of Pampers that people gave as gifts. All of them caused problems. With wipes, we had used BabyGanics on my older child Wyatt and that’s what I had been buying as backups for my younger son Everett who suffers from eczema. We also use them as face wipes after a messy meal, etc. When we use them more than 2-3 diaper changes in a row for Everett he gets mega eczema breakouts on his tush. So I started making homemade wipes. The homemade wipes are made with 1/2 roll of paper towels, water, My True Nature’s Daisy’s 2-in-1 shampoo/body wash, Clio’s “Beary” Soft Lotion, and a few drops of Tea Tree Oil.
CLOTHING: A huge thing is finding the right protective clothing. We stumbled upon ScratchMeNot sleeves and a great sleep sack called Peke Moe http://www.pekemoe.co.nz/. We also love CastleWare organic cotton velour for bedtime since she has periods of time when she’s awake, fussing and would bust out of the sleep sack.
For daytime wear, Kumfy Cotton has good options for footies and shirts with mits, especially for older babies/toddlers. I quickly realized that footies for day wear are only made by most companies until 9mo. Kumfy Cotton makes bigger sizes. www.eczemacompany.com sells the Kumfy Cotton and ScratchMeNot sleeves.
SHEETS: We’ve been a huge fan of Cloud and Stars (http://www.cloudsandstars.com) quick zip crib sheets for both kids, but for Mia we opted for their new “poly mink” – it’s 100% cotton and super soft (feels like a very soft velour lovey). I was so worried the first time I put Mia in her crib unswaddled knowing she was going to scratch. But between the sleep sack and these sheets, she looked just fine in the morning. Later a friend sent me an article about cotton velour sheets being helpful for babies with eczema. We’re hooked!
Part 2 of 3 – what to do about bath time will post NEXT WEEK. So stay tuned…
Categories: Family Health