This is the second post in our series on eczema. If you missed the first post, you can read it here. I am thrilled to share with you my recent interview with Dr. Michael Shannon, MD from Sea View Pediatrics. Dr. Shannon was my boys’ first pediatrician, and provided outstanding care to our boys during the time we lived in Orange County, California. You can learn more about Dr. Shannon and his practice here.

I have always appreciated Dr. Shannon’s balanced approach to healthcare. With nearly 40 years of pediatric medicine under his belt, his wisdom and expertise are based upon tremendous experience, research and a passion for the families he serves. His huge heart and calm demeanor put his patients (and parents) at ease. If there is an effective homeopathic treatment for an issue, he will try it first.

I have to give you a little background on how Dr. Shannon played a role in my journey to creating organic skincare. During my first child’s newborn baby visit (nearly 5 years ago), I was a bit shocked when Dr. Shannon suggested that I go purchase a can of Crisco to use as a diaper ointment and moisturizer for my baby. He would later recommend it to help clear up cradle cap and a myriad of other dry and chapped skin issues. He had been recommending the use of Crisco for years as a more natural, vegetable based alternative to mainstream products on the market. Well, we tried the Crisco, and besides the obvious hangups, I was happy with the results, particularly the texture and simple ingredients. Although, more indepth research of the ingredients, and my increased commitment to organic and environmental issues led me to forfeit the Crisco for healthier more environmentally sound options – his recommendation of this popular cooking product for skincare sparked my curiosity enough to delve deeper into my journey to produce plant-based, organic skincare products. Fun fact: Zoe Organics Diaper Balm was the first Crisco “replacement product” that I formulated.

You will hear Dr. Shannon refer to Crisco as recommended natural treatment for eczema, but I’ll tell you, during our recent conversations Ithink he may be edging closer to believing that our products are superior to his beloved Crisco! He is trying our Extreme Cream himself and has passed out some samples to his patients with eczema.

Now, thankfully, my children have not suffered from eczema, but when I started delving into this common issue, I knew that I needed to talk with Dr. Shannon. I knew his perspective would be based upon years of experience and that he may even have some alternative, and somewhat quirky (Crisco) solutions. ;P

Here are some of the questions I asked Dr. Shannon, and his answers:

Q: In your opinion, what are the biggest factors contributing to eczema?

A: The biggest factor in eczema is that our skin does not hold moisture well. This can be exaggerated by living in a dry climate or by a cold time of year which involves using heating for the home, which dries the air. People who live in dry climates also tend to drink too little and are chronically mildly to moderately dehydrated, leaving skin cells more dry as well.

Q: How does diet affect eczema?

A: Most dermatologists believe that diet has nothing to do with eczema. That has not been my experience. In studies of eczema patients, milk has been the most common food that exaggerates eczema. It may not be the cause, but it makes the eczema worse. I have seen breastfed babies’ skin blister when the mother ate sesame or other nuts. I think foods always have to be considered as a factor.

Q: Do you believe that skin and body care products have an effect (positive or negative) on eczema?

A: Cleansers for eczema skin need to be products that are not drying. For example, J&J baby products are too drying for the southern California climate. Dove and Cetaphil are lotion cleansers and do not dry the skin (removing more hard to retain moisture). Products which are oily hold or seal moisture into the skin. I use Crisco and olive oil the most.

Q: What are some of the steps you take to treat eczema before prescribing steroids or other prescription meds?

A: I use steroids and prescription medications as a last resort. I only use them if applying Crisco several times per day (sometimes 6-8 times) and a nightly olive oil rub down after a bath, have failed.

Thanks Dr. Shannon!

What questions do you have regarding eczema? We want to hear from you! To participate in this blog post, submit a question below for Dr. Shannon! Your entry will not only make you eligible for the grand prize (a full set of Zoe Organics Baby products, $100 value), but your question may get chosen for an in-depth discussion and answer from Dr. Shannon!

Stay tuned for our next post – we will share the feedback and results from our own Extreme Cream product testers!

Dr. Michael ShannonDr. Shannon began practicing in the Saddleback Valley in l973, originally in Mission Viejo, and since 1996, in Laguna Hills. Dr. Shannon has a special interest in infant and toddler growth and development and in the parenting of first children. “My basic philosophy about children is that we must listen to what they tell us from their first sound and facilitate their development of self, beginning at birth!” Dr. Shannon has been married to his wife, Vera, since 1968 and has two children, Michael (a pediatric dentist in Mission Viejo and San Clemente) and Vanessa (a PhD. in sports psychology specializing in college athletes), and his two grandsons, Spencer and Owen.