As the owner of an organic body care company, I take the health of our skin pretty seriously. But I value the health of the whole person even more.
Today I want to look at eczema – something we’ve wrestled with here in our own home. Eczema is often treated with a topical cream and little else, but there is much more that can be done!
Eczema care does not start and stop with steroids. Over the next few weeks I’d like to share with you some tips to help you go deeper and achieve true health.
Let’s begin here: Eczema is not a skin condition.
That’s right. Eczema is not about your skin.
Instead it is about the health of your whole body, specifically your digestive system and immune system.
Eczema is our body calling out for us to make some changes. It’s a visible symptom of a deeper issue. And if we only treat the eczema we will miss out on the healing that our body truly needs.
I know. What I’m proposing sounds like a big job. But taking care of our bodies (and helping care for our children’s bodies) is important work. Work that we muster our strength for and step up to. Because our health matters. So very much. You deserve wellness, and so does your little one.
If we have eczema our body is taxed and is asking for care.
And providing that care isn’t always easy. Especially if we feel overwhelmed by making big changes to our lives. Therefore, to keep this journey from becoming a taxing one, we’re going to take this slow and see how much good comes to us.
For years customers have been asking me to sell a balm for eczema. But there is no such thing as a topical solution to an internal problem like eczema. I’m not interested in just handing someone a jar. Sure, I want them to find comfort wherever they can, but more than that I want them to heal. Really and truly heal. And that doesn’t come in a package.
I can make the most wonderful, magical balms in the world but they will never heal the true causes of eczema.
And healing… well, that requires a commitment of time and energy. Which can be hard.
So I decided that the easiest way to tackle this was one step at a time. We’ll work together, week by week, removing triggers and toxins and adding the stuff that our bodies are craving. I think you’ll be amazed by the changes that unfold.
I am breaking the information down into five separate blog posts so that we can take things slowly. Small changes are often easier than big ones, so take your time, and celebrate your successes along the way.
To keep from feeling overwhelmed, choose one item to work on at a time. When you have achieved that goal, move on to the next one.There is no schedule, no one-right-way to do it. Take it at your own pace and be gentle with yourself.
Are you ready to change your life? Well then let’s get to work.
Please Note: the information provide here is not intended to replace professional medical advice and care. It is simply my perspective for you to consider as you go about making good choices for your family’s health. Seek the support and care of a naturopathic or western physician, and listen to your own wisdom. Be well!
Step 1. Remove environmental triggers
Help your body heal by removing common triggers and toxins. These include:
Synthetic cleansers (for home, laundry, dishes, and body)
Instead, purchase natural versions of the same products at a coop, natural foods store, or the “natural products” section of your grocery store.
Better yet, make your own. Baking soda, vinegar, and soap are all you need for cleaning house.
Avoid air fresheners, dryer sheets, carpet cleaners, synthetic laundry soap, and other synthetics in your home. Reach for essential oils instead, and experiment with making your own laundry soap.
Synthetic fragrances (in body care and household products)
Choose “fragrance-free” when shopping department store brands. Or better yet, make your own products or buy from small organic body care companies. (Ahem.) You’ll be amazed at how wonderful products can smell and feel without the synthetics ingredients.
When in doubt smell the household cleaner you are buying. Often fragrances are not noted on the label and may be hiding in bathroom wipes, laundry soap, floor cleaners, lotions, dish soap – even disposable diapers.
Petroleum-based body care
Read those labels! Petroleum-based products do not nourish the skin. They create a temporary barrier between skin and environment, but do not actively support healing. Some people also report a long-term drying effect from using petroleum products on their skin. (You may have experienced this effect when using petroleum-based lip balm and feeling “addicted” to it after use.)
Replace petroleum products with simple, natural concoctions. If you would eat it, wear it! For example, extra virgin coconut oil is a wonderful, simple replacement for petroleum jelly. I make lots of body care with oils like avocado oil, shea and cocoa butter, olive oil, sunflower oil, and other nourishing foods oils.
For a topical product made just for eczema you can create your own or buy something premade that is petroleum-free. (I make Da Balm for eczema or look locally for a product with ingredients you can trust.)
Synthetic preservatives in body care
Again, we’re removing irritants and replacing them with more gentle ingredients.
Instead of lotion (which almost always contains preservatives – or alcohol, another irritant) choose a simple, nourishing body oil. Instead of synthetically preserved products, choose simple natural ones.
In short, I’m suggesting that you ditch the toxins and simplify the products you bring home. Regardless of your eczema or lack there of, how could that be a bad idea? It benefits each member of your family.
The labels don’t lie.
Well, not the ingredients lists anyway.
Read and re-read every label. If you can’t pronounce it (or don’t know what it is), don’t use it.
Here is a simple example.
Let’s say you are crazy about lavender. Add chamomile and ylang ylang? Even better. You also have sensitive or eczema-prone skin, so you’re looking for something natural and gentle.
Hey! This product seems to fit the bill. Let’s take a closer look.
The label states that this product “calms and relaxes,” “moisturizes skin,” contains “soothing oatmeal,” and is “dermatologist recommended.” “Naturals” is right in the name. So far that sounds like just what we’re looking for!
You flip the bottle over in your hand and you read the ingredients:
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Decyl Glucoside, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Glycol Stearate, Sodium Lauroampho PG-Acetate Phosphate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Trioleate, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Fragrance, Quaternium-15. May Also Contain Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid.
Hm. What do you think now?
Can you pronounce every ingredient? Would you eat those ingredients? Does it contain fragrances, petroleum, or synthetic ingredients?
Oh. Maybe it’s not quite as natural as it seemed.
Okay. Let’s try again.
And looks at that! This one is the same scent – lavender, chamomile, and ylang ylang. So will it have the same ingredients?
You flip this one over and again read the ingredients list:
Saponified oils of *coconut, *cocoa butter, *olive, and *sunflower; essential oils of lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile; and ultramarine oxide (mineral pigment). *organic ingredient
And now we ask ourselves the same questions. Can you pronounce every ingredient? Would you eat those ingredients? Does it contain fragrances, petroleum, or synthetic ingredients?
The difference is dramatic.
By simply choosing a different product you can avoid all kinds of ingredients that you can’t pronounce. Go to your bathroom right now and grab your shampoo, lotion, baby wash, or deodorant. Does it pass the test? You can also check your body care safety ratings here. (Here is the rating from the Aveeno product above and here is the rating for the LuSa Lullaby Soap.)
I’m not proposing that you only buy my products. Truly, buy whatever speaks to you. But commit to reading the labels on every product you buy and making good choices based on what you read there.
You are in control.
You can filter out undesirable chemicals from your life, one product at a time.
Are you in? Does someone in your home struggle with eczema and are you ready to tackle it head-on?
Next week I’ll bring you Step 2 – removing our trigger foods.
Happy healing, friends.
Find the whole series through the links below.