Whats On The Horizon For Alternative Eczema Treatments
While the rising incidence of eczema appears to have reached a plateau in countries that previously had the highest incidence of growth, such as the U.K., New Zealand and U.S., it is still on the rise in developing parts of the world such as Latin America and Southeast Asia.
As our knowledge of eczema continues to grow, we expect to see the emergence of more robust research and effective treatment modalities. I think most of my colleagues that are trained in Western medicine would agree that CAM should be used strategically in conjunction with conventional medications to optimize outcomes in eczema.
We are entering an exciting era for eczema where we have a surge of targeted Western medications under investigation, and ancient CAM modalities are now being evaluated and backed by evidence-based research.
Dr. Vivian Shi is a board-certified dermatologist and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in Dermatology at the University of Arizona where she directs the Eczema and Skin Barrier Specialty Clinic. She has extensive clinical and research experience in eczema and repair of the skins natural protective barrier. Her principal focus is atopic dermatitis and shes a longtime AD sufferer herself.
Eczema In Babies With Black And Brown Skin
According to the National Eczema Foundation, eczema affects more African American babies than any other racial background. About 1 in every 5 thats about 20% African American babies has some form of eczema. This compares to 10.7% of Hispanic babies, 12.1% of white babies, and 13% for Asian and Native American, respectively.
Eczema doesnt appear red like it does on white skin. Instead of red patches, eczema may cause gray, darker brown, or even purple patches. These discolored patches may still be dry, warm, swollen, itchy, and/or scaly.
What Foods Trigger Eczema Flare
Just like some foods can help improve eczema, some foodsinflammatory foodscan make eczema worse.
Cows milk is one of the most common triggers of baby eczema. Other common triggers include: eggs, soy, gluten, nuts, fish, and shellfish.
Other inflammatory foods include:
- Refined sugar: Though hopefully youre not feeding baby processed sugar anyway!
- White bread and other products made from refined, processed flours: These are sneaky ingredients in toddler snacks, such as cereal bars, crackers, and breakfast tarts.
If you arent sure what food is causing your babys distress, try an elimination diet and keep a food diary. You may be surprised just how many foods can cause flare-ups!
If you are having a hard time pinpointing the triggers, consider getting food sensitivity testing done.
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Our Top Tips For Babies And Children With Eczema
1. Baby eczema can be traumatic for parents because no parent wants to see their child suffering. The baby cant tell you what is wrong all he or she knows is that they are feeling pain and irritation.
2. Scratching at eczema skin will only enhance the symptoms of eczema, but a baby will not know this. The best way to prevent a baby scratching itself is to ensure that he or she wears cotton mittens on their hands. This significantly reduces skin damage from scratching.
3. Often a baby who has eczema will grow out of the condition, but this is not always the case. Many parents often assume that if their child has grown out of an eczema condition, it is because of the medications that were used.
4. This is completely false because any doctor will tell you that you cannot cure baby eczema or any other type of eczema for that matter. If your childs eczema has disappeared as they have got older, it is more to healthy internal factors and a more developed immune system, rather than a medication.
Eczema in babies should be treated naturally as possible to avoid other health issues in the future. The biggest piece of advice that we can give on the topic of how treat baby eczema is to use medications cautiously, and the safest and best treatment for baby eczema will be a natural one.
Top 5 Home Remedies For Baby Eczema
Unfortunately, there is no definite cure for eczema. This chronic disease has a remittance and relapsing cycle. But the symptoms can be treated with traditional medicines and home remedies for baby eczema to make them moderate or less severe.
Because inflammation and dryness are precursors to eczema, these conditions must be treated. Both cause flares of red rashes and itchiness. Below are a few home remedies for baby eczema that aim to prevent flare-ups and keep the skin hydrated:
1. Use oil moisturizers. Atopic baby skin suffers from a damaged skin barrier that allows skin moisture to escape. After bath, lock in the moisture by applying hypoallergenic baby moisturizing oil or lotion. Virgin and organic oils such as from olive and coconut can work wonders. Olive oils have linoleic acid, which is also found in our skin, though it is not naturally produced but derived from foods. Linoleic acid creates water barriers preventing skin from losing its moisture. If oils are not present, petroleum jelly is a good alternative in moisturizing dry and irritated skin.
Home remedies for baby eczema should be part of the ongoing management of this more and more common skin condition.
Have you ever tried any home remedies for baby eczema? What was your experience?
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How Can Good Eczema Control Help Prevent Food Allergy
Since healthy skin acts as a barrier, it also helps prevent substances like food allergens from getting into the body through the skin. Healthy skin helps protect the immune system from being exposed to food allergens. When your child’s eczema is under good control, your child’s skin is better at preventing food allergens from getting in.
New research suggests that when your child’s skin is scratched open, food allergens can get into the body more easily to make contact with the immune system. Direct contact between open skin and food, such as peanuts, may increase the chance that an allergy will develop to that food. The immune system may be more prone to developing a food allergy if the first exposures to the food are through scratched open skin.
The opposite may be true if the immune system is first introduced to the food by eating it. If the first exposure to a food is through the digestive tract, the immune system may more likely tolerate the food.
For more information about controlling eczema, please refer to the section on the next page called: How can I help control my child’s eczema?
What Are The Differences Between The Skin Symptoms Of Food Allergy And Eczema
An allergic reaction to a food typically happens quickly. Symptoms of an allergic reaction then go away, usually after several hours, as long as the food is not eaten again. Eczema is a chronic condition that does not go away quickly. Eczema tends to show up in predictable places, such as on the cheeks of young babies or elbow creases of older children. The places on the skin where symptoms of an allergic reaction to food appear are more unpredictable. Hives, redness and itching from an allergic reaction can show up just about anywhere on the body and even in different places each time the food is eaten.
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Optimize Your Gut Health To Treat Eczema And Reverse Gut Dysbiosis
The microbiome is a collection of trillions of microorganisms that inhabit your body. The health of the microbiome and the integrity of the gut lining has a major impact on immune system development, and whether a child develops allergies, eczema or asthma. When there is dysbiosis, a disrupted microbiome, or leaky gut and eczema or allergies, theres also likely to be symptoms of abdominal bloating and discomfort.
Supplements that reduce inflammation, nourish and heal the intestinal membranes and feed healthy flora can be incredibly beneficial in healing the gut. This may include the use of L-glutamine, turmeric, DGL, marshmallow root, zinc, quercetin, ginger and chamomile. To help promote healthy gut flora, we recommend a high quality probiotic, especially of the S. boulardii and Bifidobacterium species. Work with your provider to find the best probiotic and dosage for you or your child.
Progression Of Eczema In Infants And Children
Baby eczema is most prominent on the cheeks, forehead, and scalp of an infant within the first few months of life, and often tends to make the skin look more red and weepy than at other ages.
The eczema can appear on other parts of the body as well, including the diaper area.
When the infant begins to crawl, usually between 6 and 12 months, eczema will typically affect the elbows and knees, which rub on the ground. The eczema rash can become infected, resulting in a yellowish crust or tiny bumps of pus.
When the child is around age 2, eczema may begin to appear on the inside of the elbows and behind the knees, as well as on the wrists, ankles, and hands. It may also appear around the mouth and eyelids.
This eczema tends to be drier, scalier, and thicker .
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Managing Your Eczema Symptoms
If your eczema is severe then you shouldnt suffer in silence. Go and speak to your doctor as they can prescribe steroid eczema creams or other ointments for severe eczema.
For atopic eczema, emollients need to be used every day and topical corticosteroids creams and ointments should be applied during flare-ups.
Depending on the severity of your eczema, your doctor might refer you to a dermatologist who can put together a tailored eczema plan. They might suggest phototherapy and/or stronger medication.
11 March 2021
Can You Prevent Baby Eczema
Unfortunately, you cannot prevent eczema with 100 percent certainty. Remember that genetics is a big factor for eczema, but you can minimize your babys risk for eczema.
The first and most important step is to avoid the common environmental triggers, as well as the previously listed inflammatory foods.
Youll also want to:
- Avoid heat and sweat
- Keep nails short and use mittens if baby scratches frequently
- Use breathable natural fabrics like organic cotton only
- Avoid using products with fragrancesthis includes laundry detergent!
- It may seem obvious, but cigarette smoke can be an irritant
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How Does Baby Eczema Differ From Dry Skin
Dry skin is a symptom of eczema. Your pediatrician can diagnose eczema by examining your baby’s skin. He or she may send you to a pediatric dermatologist for confirmation and treatment if the condition is severe.
In general, dry skin can be handled at home with some moisturizer and isnt as bothersome as eczema. However, babies with darker skin tend to have drier skin than those with lighter skin making moisturization even more crucial.
Help Your Child Avoid Personal Irritants
Some substances can irritate skin and start the cycle of itching and scratching. If you notice that your child’s eczema gets worse after being exposed to something, help your child avoid it. Irritants are not the same for all children. If a common trigger does not bother your child, there is no reason to avoid it. Here are some examples of possible triggers that can cause eczema flare-ups in some children.
Perfumes and fragrances, including the skin care and bathing products that contain them
Bath salts or bubble baths
Rough clothing, including wool fabrics
Temperature extremes, including hot and cold, dry air
Children with eczema often have more bacteria on their skin. Even when it does not cause an infection, the bacteria can make the skin more irritated and can make the eczema worse, so keeping clean is important.
Babies and children with eczema are also prone to skin infections. Infections make the eczema even worse and need to be treated by a doctor. An oral antibiotic, antibiotic cream or very small amount of bleach added to bath water might be prescribed. Bleach should not be added to bath water without guidance from your child’s doctor. Signs of possible infection include: increased pain, tenderness or swelling, hot skin, fever, pus, or red streaks extending from the affected skin.
Foods that are not allergens
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How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.
Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
- after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in
You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.
During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.
Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.
Matching Treatments To Eczema Severity
The NHS aims to match the treatment to the severity of a babys eczema. Weve tried to capture the spectrum of diagnosis and treatment in our Baby Eczema NHS Treatment Summary below. Atopic Dermatitis, or Eczema, is a very changeable condition so it is common for a childs eczema to move up the severity spectrum and therefore condition should be monitored and their treatments changed accordingly.
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Look For Food Allergies
Many times, eczema is triggered by allergies to different foods. If you or your spouse suffer from food allergies, your child is at greater risk of developing them.
Look for any other potential allergy symptoms such as diarrhea, upset stomach, or bloating after certain foods.
Also, you can take your little one to an allergist for official testing.
Additionally, if your baby is formula-fed, look into the ingredients of their formula. They may have an allergy to something in the formula which is causing the outbreak.
Studies found hydrolyzed formula such as this formula help prevent eczema and allergic reactions in babies.
Try to address your babys diet to help reduce eczema.
Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser 299
Childs Farm products have a well-known reputation among parents for helping manage sore eczema conditions. The moisturiser contains Shea and cocoa butter which help make the cream mild, hydrating and suitable for every part of your newborn baby, including their face and over eczema flare ups.
The product has a no sting formula so it shouldnt be too sore near your childs eyes, and its also approved by a both paediatrician and dermatologist.
Many parents swear by the Childs Farm range, including members of our MFM Facebook group. Mum Samantha who deals with eczema in her child said Childs Farm bath stuff and moisture cream have kept it at bay for over a year. Charlie agreed, adding, Childs Farm moisturisers have been the best for my son, and the bath products are the only ones not to irritate his skin.
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Fatty Acids: Evening Primrose Borage Oil
Gamma linoleic acid , a polyunsaturated fatty acid, is a precursor of inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandin E and is the primary substrate for arachidonic acid . It has been suggested that the enzyme responsible for converting linoleic acid to GLA may be deficient in in patients with AD . Evening primrose oil , black currant seed oil , and borage oil contain relatively high levels of GLA and therefore have been an area of investigation in the realm of supplemental management in AD.
A small RCT evaluated EPO supplementation in children and adults with AD and reported reduced itching and intensity of symptoms when compared to placebo . In another RCT, 313 pregnant mothers with strong atopic history were supplemented with BCSO or olive oil as placebo starting at 816 weeks’ gestation and continuing throughout the duration of breastfeeding. Infants born to these mothers in the BSCO group were found to develop lower than expected prevalence of AD in the BSCO group at 12 months of age as well as lower SCORAD indices in those infants affected. However, no differences were seen between groups at 24 months . A 2013 Cochrane review, assessing the effects of EPO or BO on treating symptoms of AD, failed to show benefit from either oral fatty acid supplement when compared to placebo. The analysis included 27 studies and nearly 1600 participants .
What Causes Baby Eczema Flare
We arent always able to pinpoint the trigger of eczema, but there are a lot of common trends. Typically, sensitive skin is exposed to something that is irritating or drying.
This leads to inflammation and itchiness.
A lot of eczema flares are triggered by:
- cold, dry air
- allergies to pets, food, or something in the environment.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you have symptoms of atopic eczema. They’ll usually be able to diagnose atopic eczema by looking at your skin and asking questions, such as:
- whether the rash is itchy and where it appears
- when the symptoms first began
- whether it comes and goes over time
- whether there’s a history of atopic eczema in your family
- whether you have any other conditions, such as allergies or asthma
- whether something in your diet or lifestyle may be contributing to your symptoms
Typically, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema you should have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months and 3 or more of the following:
- visibly irritated red skin in the creases of your skin such as the insides of your elbows or behind your knees at the time of examination by a health professional
- a history of skin irritation occurring in the same areas mentioned above
- generally dry skin in the last 12 months
- a history of asthma or hay fever children under 4 must have an immediate relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, who has 1 of these conditions
- the condition started before the age of 2