Dealing with difficult skin conditions in babies and children can be an emotionally and mentally exhausting process for both parent and child. While some skin conditions can be cleared up temporarily with the use of medicated ointments, we can’t help but believe that there is a better way to address these issues.
One of the most common, and relentless, is Eczema (otherwise known as Atopic Dermatitis).
Eczema is a skin condition which is thought to be linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to an irritant. When your baby or child has eczema, it indicates that the skin is failing to do its job of acting as an effective barrier (preventing water and heat from escaping and keeping out harmful bacteria and irritants). It is the response to this imbalance which causes the symptoms of eczema – red, sore, itchy, dry skin. Eczema is commonly found in families with a history of other allergies or asthma.
It is often very hard to pin point exactly what is causing eczema – from things as complicated as food sensitivities and airborne allergens, to a harsh laundry soap or a certain type of fabric irritating the skin. One thing is for sure – the skin needs help, and often the root cause is deeper than what a topical cream can ‘cure’.
Avoiding those popular cortisone creams can be a challenge – but there is a lot you can do naturally to help.
- Don’t strip skin of natural oils and beneficial microbes. The product you choose to wash with is arguably the most important factor in managing eczema. Avoid soap completely and use products with ultra-mild surfactants that are correctly pH balanced. We recommend the Pure Beginnings Probiotic Baby Sensitive Cream Wash.
- Keep skin well moisturised with products that use natural vegetable oils and allow the skin to “breathe”. It is important not to use any skincare products that contain harsh chemicals, sensitising preservatives, synthetic fragrances or perfumes as these are known irritants to eczema-prone skin. When moisturising, ensure that you avoid petrochemical based moisturisers, and choose a product with a natural vegetable oil base such as the Pure Beginnings Probiotic Baby Sensitive Body Cream.
- Limit exposure to water. Take short lukewarm baths.
- Try not use synthetic fibres. This applies to the fabric even on car seats, play mats and linen. Wear 100% cotton if possible. Cotton keeps the skin cool and allows it to breathe.
- Try avoid extreme Try not to overdress your little one and keep them from stuffy, overheated rooms.
- Use a natural laundry soap. What you wear can greatly affect the sensitivity of your skin. Washing your clothes with a harsh chemical detergent can exacerbate the problem.
- Identify foods that may trigger eczema. Dairy, gluten, eggs, corn and even citrus can sometimes be triggers. Food sensitivity testing will help identify any potential triggers in your child’s diet. Even if your child does not test positive for gluten sensitivities, try to avoid gluten when healing, as it is an inflammatory food and can irritate the gut and prevent the immune system from functioning optimally.
Understanding the microbiome of your skin and its impact on eczema
In the 1950’s, only 3% of the population suffered from eczema, whilst that percentage has sky-rocketed to more than 20% today. New findings from studies of the human microbiome show that skin health (like the gut) is largely dependant on the microbes living in and on the skin. Our modern lifestyles of extreme cleanliness (with “kill all” chemicals), overuse of antibiotics, high ceaserean birth rates and low breast-feeding rates are contributing to a substantial loss of microbial diversity in our bodies. The result is that our skin barrier does not operate optimally and leaves our skin vulnerable to attack by pathogenic microorganisms as well as dehydrated due to excessive water loss. This is thought to be a major contributing factor to eczema and these new findings are likely to significantly shape the way we treat eczema in the future.
All Pure Beginnings products are microbiome friendly. They are safe to use on delicate and sensitive skin as they are free from parabens, petrochemicals, sulphates, phthalates, synthetic colourants and fragrances. Many people who suffer from eczema or sensitive skin switch to Pure Beginnings and see excellent results when they make the change. However, for chronic eczema sufferers, the products you use are just one (very important) element of improving the condition, and an all-inclusive approach specific to each individual, is required to manage chronic eczema.
When it comes to a detailed treatment plan, it is best to consult with a holistic paediatrician, homeopath or dermatologist.