Let me start out by saying that I am not a Doctor. I am a veteran Mom of 3 children, but my youngest Son would have you thinking he was my first by how many curves he has thrown me since he's been born. From his sleeping to his skin issues, I feel like I could be a Doctor with all the research and diagnosing I've performed since he's been born. Today I am going to address his skin issue. Excema. After being told that excema starts in the gut, I went on a crusade to CURE this for my Son, not mask it. It does not necessarily have to be 'aggresively treated' with creams, ointments, sometimes steroids & chemicals, in my opinion. I thought I just had to lube my Son up all the time & that excema was just something we were going to have to deal with. That it would be impossible to determine what food(s) he could be allergic to. If it started in the gut, clearly we needed to address the foods he was eating. I never needed a Doctor to tell me that. It only seemed natural that if it started in the gut-that's where my research would start.
Lets start with the itch & topical issues:
My Son would itch... to the point it would wake him up at night, and when he learned to scratch, left scabs on the back of his head after scratching so much (yes, I kept his nails short). I would bathe him in a warm water, oatmeal (to relieve the itch), olive oil (for moisture), & baking soda (to balance PH) bath, pat him dry, & seal in the moisture with Vaseline (seldom washing him with soap). The only soap I would use on his skin is Honest Company or Burt's Bees. Though, you do not want to wash a baby's skin everyday with a soap. Limit soap washes to 2-3 times per week (I suggest this even for babies that do not have sensitive skin. They don't get dirty that fast!
FRAGRANCE (another skin irritant): I refuse to use anything that has a fragrance in it on his skin (or mine, for that matter). I suggest this not only for anyone dealing with excema, but for everyone in general. Why put these chemicals on our skin? His skin reacted great to Coconut Oil (extra virgin), however, it has to be applied ALL THE TIME & still didn't cure it. Coconut Oil can be found at your local grocery store, normally in the health foods or organic aisle's.
LAUNDRY DETERGENT: The long story short; laundry detergent leaves a residue on our garments that our skin will absorb (and can also be inhaled. Yikes!) Due to trade secrets (any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret) detergent manufacturer's are not required to disclose what is in their detergent brand, at times leaving the ingredient list very vague. Conventional detergents generally contain the following:
-Bleach = Chlorine - A possible carcinogen & endocrine disruptor. Bleach is also a known environmental toxin.
-Optical brighteners - Often made from Benzene, a definite carcinogen. They're no fun for the environment either. Optical brighteners washed down our drains frequently survive wastewater treatment and escape into our lakes, rivers, and streams. Once there, they don't completely biodegrade and instead accumulate in fish.
-Toxic fragrance's - Usually containing phthalates. From the CDC: "Human health effects from exposure to low levels of phthalates are unknown. Some types of phthalates have affected the reproductive system of laboratory animals. More research is needed to assess the human health effects of exposure to phthalates." From a Breast Cancer research study: "Phthalates, pronounced THAL-ates, soften plastics and are known to disrupt the body’s hormones. A 2012 study found that women working in the automotive and food-canning industries have nearly a fivefold increase in risk for premenopausal breast cancer, likely because of their exposure to phthalates, BPA and flame-retardants. Phthalates have also been linked to birth defects, asthma, neurodevelopmental problems in newborns, fertility issues and obesity. Though phthalates are banned in children's toys, they can still be found in school supplies, cosmetics, and personal care products such as nail polish and shampoo." O.K. Maybe that was long story long (LOL), but at least you learned something new. If they are banned in children's toys- lets not put them on their skin. This is why I use Honest Company detergent for clothing & swear by it. I also wash my entire family's laundry in Honest Company because #1: It's an excellent product #2: We all hold him so he rubs against all of our clothes & #3: If I wouldn't put it on my baby's skin, why would I put it on mine or any of my other children? That's just my HONEST opinion ;)
NOW LET'S TALK FOODS!
I removed ALL foods from my Son's diet for 2 days (he's 7 1/2 months old) & allowed his rashes to clear up somewhat & I began my food testing. I was on a Facebook thread & had commented that I thought my Son may be allergic to Apples. We had been giving him Apple Juice since he was 2 months old to regulate his bowels (which we were advised was fine to do, being that Apple Juice cannot be digested & it would "flow right through you", so to speak & was also recommended that babies can have approximately an ounce per month old that they were). Many Mother's said that it couldn't be Apples, that majority of the time it is often dairy, glutens, or grains. I cut his Apple Juice bottle out of his daily routine immediately along with the foods. I introduced a new food every 3 days, so for lunch & dinner for 3 days we started with Green Beans every day for 3 days. After that we went with Bananas for 3 days- still no flare- ups. We started with Apples after the Bananas & sure enough, that night his skin flared up again. At first I thought maybe it is just the Apple Juice, since I'm assuming it probably isn't boiled, I assumed maybe it was the pesticides they spray the Apples with, but when you make Applesauce or baby Apples I thought the only process was to boil them to mash them. Either way, for whatever reason I can speculate- Apples are definitely the culprit. We immediately stopped the Apple Juice & Apples after flaring up after 1 meal of Apples & his skin cleared up almost entirely.
We have also done this exact same research with tap water vs. PURIFIED water. Be sure to know your purified/filtered/distilled processing when it comes to purchasing bottled waters. Purified water is often confused with filtered water. Many people believe they mean the same thing, but they do not. Both types of water are subject to some sort of filtration (as is almost every spring water), BUT purified water is cleansed and purified through additional purification processes, typically reverse osmosis, distillation or deionization. The resultant product, “purified” water, is of significantly higher purity than either spring water, tap water or filtered water. Like anything else, there has been research for and against water of such purity mainly due to demineralization, however, I am a reverse osmosis gal all the way & my baby's skin loves it too! When given tap water (on the rare occasion we ran out of purified water) his skin tended to flare up as well.
This is just my experience with baby excema. For whatever reason your child has excema, it is beneficial to try to cure them of this condition rather than to attempt to combat it with creams or oral medications. Chances are it is a food allergy that can be determined over time & weeded out without the use of harsh chemical's or oral medications. Did or does your baby have excema? Have you found out what yours is attributed to? What different ways are you using to keep flare- up's under control? Tell us in comments below!
Proud Mom of 3 beautiful children. Creator, designer, & owner of Liv & Co.
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