One of the most common questions we receive is "What products do you recommend for eczema?" This gets a little tricky because although we do have products to help nourish and soothe severe dry skin and eczema, there are so many factors that can contribute to this frustrating condition and will often require more than a topical remedy.
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, can be commonly characterized by severely dry, itchy and irritated skin. The severity can range from mild to debilitating. In this blog post, we want to go over some of the culprits that contribute to eczema, share which Zoe Organics products are best for those suffering from eczema (hello Cream!) and provide you and your family with a soothing nighttime/bath routine.
Let's see what the experts have to say about eczema. According to Parsley Health:
"Eczema is one of the three parts of a triad that includes allergy, asthma and eczema – this triad is referred to as the “atopic march”, given the frequency of overlap between the three conditions. These conditions are symptomatic of immune system dysregulation.
There are a number of factors that have led to frequent immune dysregulation in our kids. Here’s what could be at the root:
Changes in the gut flora
This is in part due to the diet consumed by many children and families that includes large amounts of carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods. Common food additives can push microbial communities in the wrong direction, by aiding the emergence of new pathogens, and by selectively feeding certain microbes, ultimately leading to illness and even death. Typically, gut microbes are kept slightly removed from the intestinal lining by a thin layer of mucus, and the Standard American Diet can erode that protective barrier. An ideal diet, one rich in whole foods high in soluble fiber helps keep the mucus barrier thick and healthy.
In addition, changes in the gut flora could be due to changes in birth practices and infant feeding practices. In terms of birth practices, C-sections comprise 34% of births in the US, potentially leading to an overall lower range of diversity of gut flora and fewer beneficial strains of bacteria. This contrasts with vaginal births in which babies are bathed in microorganisms of the mother’s vagina (particularly Lactobacillus). In terms of feeding practices, breastfeeding leads to a more diversified microflora, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Overuse of medications
The frequent overuse of medications, including antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as Motrin, and protein pump inhibitors (PPI’s), are impacting the natural ecology of the body.
The lining of our intestines has tight junctions that should be closely linked without any gaps. Unfortunately, NSAID’s and antibiotics cause gaps to form between these tight junctions of the lining of the intestines, a condition that is otherwise known as leaky gut syndrome. In leaky gut syndrome, fragments of protein and bacteria reach the sensitive immune centers in the gut, triggering the immune system to produce antibodies to mount a reaction against these foods. Leaky gut syndrome is associated with food allergies, food sensitivities, and other autoimmune diseases, such as eczema.
Increased exposure to environmental toxins
There are toxins in the air, water, soil, foods, body products, cosmetics, home furnishings and even clothing. Environmental toxin exposures can directly dampen immune system function, specifically how immune cells develop and how they function. Kids have higher metabolic rates and their bodies absorb more toxins than adults and have difficulty disposing of these toxins.
Children are exposed to these chemicals more than ever. In fact, there are approximately 80,000 chemicals produced and only 8 chemicals are restricted on a government level. This overload of toxins may trigger an immune response, and increase flares of eczema, allergies, and asthma."
Ten Natural Remedies
We put together a list of things we have learned over the years from our own experience and from those in our community:
- Determine which foods might be disrupting the gut, which in turn causes skin issues like eczema. We suggest removing the common inflammatory foods like dairy, soy, corn, gluten and sugar for 2-3 weeks and then slowly reintroducing them one by one. (Always consult with your Doctor.)
- Hydrate from the inside out! Dry climates can exacerbate eczema. Drink lot's of water and try using a humidifier, especially at night.
- Avoid using soaps and shampoos that contain sulfates, fragrances or other harsh and drying chemicals. Our Bath Wash is a great gentle, multipurpose soap that everyone in the family can use.
- Reduce the number and frequency of baths and showers to 2-3 times per week. Bathing too often can remove the sebaceous oil from the skin (sebum), disrupt your pH balance and the good bacteria, and ultimately cause dry skin. We also suggest keeping bath time relatively short. Try a bath with our Baby Bath Tea, to soften and moisturize skin. The natural cleansing and soothing properties of organic oats and flowers, plus cocoa butter create a luxurious moisturizer. Together these ingredients work as anti-inflammatory agents to reduce redness and inflammation.
- Moisturize as soon as you get out of the bath. Rather than a conventional water-based lotion, try using a natural cream or balm, particularly on the hot spots.
- Reapply moisturizing balms often. Balms are effective because they contain rich oils and wax that create a barrier and hold in much-needed moisture.
- Sometimes prescription products are necessary, such as steroids. But oftentimes, natural remedies can work too! Just be sure that the products you choose are pure and natural; free from synthetic fragrances and hidden chemicals.
- Take a look at what is in your home:
- Wool/harsh fabrics don't breathe well and are full of chemicals. These fabrics are constantly in contact with your child's skin. Make sure they are cotton; organic cotton and bamboo are wonderful. Yes, they are more expensive, but consider buying fewer clothes and opting for quality.
- Skip the scented, harsh laundry detergents and go with a natural, unscented one instead.
- Traditional housecleaning products are a toxic concoction that leave a residue and permeate the air in your home for hours. Do your family a favor and get rid of all of the toxic household cleaners in your cabinet. Make your own cleaners using a mixture of water and vinegar or gentle castille soap. We also love Branch Basics.
- Get dirty! Yep that's right. "Sanitary conditions have disrupted the delicate balance between our body’s inner ecology and the balance of the type of immune cells we produce. Interestingly, as a result of our current lifestyle, we are not getting colonized with some important bacteria, leading to poorly maintained gut integrity and subsequent immune system dysregulation. An easy solution to this is to encourage your kids to play outside, get dirty and play with other kids, avoid antimicrobial chemicals for hand-washing, and simply wash with plain soap and water." - Parsley Health.
- Check your Vitamin D level. Studies have shown the link between low vitamin D levels and eczema.
Prior to launching Zoe Organics, Heather worked in pediatrics and became aware of how common and frustrating childhood eczema was. Moms felt hopeless after trying all of the commonly recommended conventional lotions and creams, only to watch their children continue to suffer. Zoe Organics Cream (and several other products) was created with these moms and children in mind.
The ingredients are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that effectively nourish and protect skin. No toxic, synthetic or unnecessary ingredients required. The little jar is literally filled to the brim with only the good stuff! The primary ingredient in our Cream is organic shea butter, a super rich conditioning "butter" extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It contains high amounts of vitamins A and E. It is solid at room temperature, but melts against contact with skin. Other oils in our cream include cold-pressed and unrefined coconut, rosehip, and avocado; all rich in vitamin A, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Calendula has antiseptic properties making it ideal for eczema, acne and compromised skin. Marshmallow root is particularly useful in soothing inflammation. The texture and consistency is very unlike conventional lotion and sometimes this takes a little getting used to. The formula is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
In addition to restorative, power-packed nutritious ingredients, the ability of a product to create an effective moisture barrier on the skin is critical for those with eczema, psoriasis or generally dry, cracked skin. Traditional lotions are made with up to 90% water and quickly evaporate or are absorbed by the skin, providing only a very temporary barrier. An all butter/oil based cream, such as our Cream, has incredible staying power – protecting the skin for hours. Not only does it need to be applied less frequently, it also has time to rest on the skin and do its work!
One of our most popular blog posts dives more into our Cream here: "Why I fell in love (again) with Zoe Organics Cream."
For hot spots that need even more protection, try our Dr. Shannon's Skin Balm. In addition to a blend of nutritious organic oils and herbs, it is made with organic beeswax that will create another level of protection for the skin. It can be layered over the Cream, or used on its own.
Finally, a step-by-step nighttime/bath routine just for you and/or your child to soothe skin with eczema:
- Take a short, not too hot, bath or shower. Use our Bath Wash all over your body or just clean your most important parts! If you or your child like bathing better, take a nice soak with our Baby Bath Tea.
- Step out of the shower or bath and while your skin is still damp, apply our Cream all over, paying special attention to dry, chapped or damaged skin. Take a few minutes for that to sink in.
- Apply our Dr. Shannon's Skin Balm to "hot spots".
- Reapply often throughout the day.
We would like to give 2 of you a chance to win a package of Zoe Organics products valued at over $100! Simply enter below. Don't forget to share with your friends too!Zoe Organics Eczema Giveaway