“Turn your obstacles into opportunities and your problems into possibilities.” These words ring true for me as I have experienced this first hand when I was a young mother.
My second daughter, Chloe was diagnosed with a severe type of eczema known as Atopic dermatitis. I still remember the confusion and frustration I experienced when I could not provide the relief she needed. The itchiness, redness, skin peeling and rashes that happened during a flare up was heartbreaking to watch. Repeated visits to doctors provided temporary relief but I was seriously concerned about the medication that such a young child had to use continuously. Generally, eczema patients will be given medicated creams that contains steroids and I was determined to find alternative healing modalities to deal with the condition.
As a skin care formulator and instructor, my journey began as a search for relief for Chloe’s skin ailment. I am sharing this part of my story because I believe it’s important to raise more awareness about natural and organic ways to manage eczema. If you or your dear ones are facing eczema, I am sure you will find this helpful.
How I managed eczema?
Healthy diet and Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize.
After a lot of research, I was aware that barrier disruption thus causing dryness and sensitivity was a serious matter for those battling eczema. When Chloe’s skin would turn scaly, rough and hard. I decided that tackling the dryness would be my first step. This meant creating a skin care routine that was gentle, moisturizing and non-irritating.
I decided that in order to overcome this challenge, i need to be better equipped. I spent a lot of time in learning how to developed my skills as a formulator. This is not to say that you have to be a formulator; I found my passion in skincare during this period and pursued it professionally.
Back to the routine:
I created body butters and salves that used gentle ingredients that are suitable for sensitive skin. Calendula oil is one such example. You can use it straight as a body oil or blend it with butter for a more intense moisture. Shea butter is a popular choice. However, i soon experience that everyone's skin needs is unique. Chloe did not do very well with Shea Butter.
I also find that Chloe does better going soap-free.
The specific cause of atopic dermatitis is yet to be determined. What we do know is that people who do have it have skin that produces less oils or lipids or that their barrier is usually not working well, hence there are more transepidermal water loss causing severe dryness. This is why bathing with soaps and detergents can aggravate the dryness.
I use an oleogel as an alternative to this. The oleogel can serve as a cleanser or body wash. What makes this soothing is that it cleanses the body while retaining the moisture. I also deliberately decided to avoid fragrance of any kind. I replaced traditional soaps with oleogels for my children and their skin loves. If you would like to try an oleogel, I do stock it in my online shop.
Other alternatives that you could opt for are gentle cleansers that don’t contain sulfates. And certainly no bubble baths. You can refer to my previous articles on soaps for a more detailed discussion on soaps.
Invest in pure cotton attire. Cotton is light, cool and allows the skin to breathe. You want to avoid fabrics that make you feel hot because that can induce a bout of itching and scratching. Synthetic fabrics can also be an irritant are a no-no.
It all starts at home
The small changes you make at home can result in a big difference.
I have replaced several cleaning supplies with products that don’t use synthetic fragrance. Changing a system at home can consume a lot of time but it is definitely worth it. You can start with using a laundry soap that is fragrance free.
Change your beddings to pure cotton. It will provide great relief especially if you live in a region where the climate is very hot and humid. I make sure that Chloe’s bedding is not made out of synthetic fabrics.
Detergent also includes caregiver who would come into contact with the child. As a baby, the child will most often be carried around, ensure that your clothing or any materials that come into contact with the baby is also fragrance and allergen free.
More importantly, ensure that appropriate amount of detergent is used and not to over cleanse. Ensure that you provide an extra rinse cycle to ensure that all traces of detergents have been washed off.
These are just some of the initial steps you can take to manage eczema. It is crucial to realize that dealing with eczema is a long drawn out process. That’s why patience and discipline are keys to succeeding.
There are so many factors to consider. Over the weeks, I will be going in to more details. I am also excited to collaborate with Joyce Yong, a certified juice specialist. She too has battled eczema and has wonderful insights to how juices can heal us. She has also been kind enough to share 3 recipes that you can try at home. I am sharing the recipes on Instagram over the coming weeks. Do stay tuned.
I will be sharing more updates when the other articles are up. If you haven’t already subscribed to our newsletter, you can sign up at my home page www.skindewi.com
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or inputs you can comment below. I’d love to hear from you.