I’ll never forget the panic when my 2 month old son broke out in what looked like a rash that didn’t go away. It quickly progressed into a more serious condition known as atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Eczema is a skin condition that affects 5-20% of children1. It is evidenced by red, dry, itchy skin, and sometimes open weepy sores. It is most commonly found on the face and in the creases of the neck, elbows and knees.
Months went by before I was able to figure out exactly what was happening to him and how to treat it. His cheeks were so raw, it was painful to look at. His skin was itchy and he had trouble sleeping due to his discomfort. The agony of seeing your child so uncomfortable and not being able to help is excruciating!
I took him to the pediatrician, allergist, dermatologist – you name it! No one was able to tell me what was going on with his little body. The only thing they could offer was a topical steroid ointment that might help with the inflammation. However, the treatment wasn’t FDA approved and not recommended for children under 2. Yet, they were handing me a prescription and expecting me to fill it. Intuitively, I knew that the ointment may only temporarily relieve some of the inflammation but would not resolve the core problem.
I was driven to research and find out all that I could about this condition. I learned that there really isn’t a cure for eczema because it is a multi-faceted condition that is often approached with the goal of symptom-relief alone. I began looking at the issue holistically in order to understand the whole picture. What was getting “under his skin?” What was his body trying to release and why? I also felt his weepy sores might be his body’s attempt to release some emotion I wasn’t aware of.
I learned from observing my son; he would have flare-ups in the cold winter months and he had a number of allergies including milk, eggs, soy, nuts, and corn. I also noticed that he would have reactions every time he was vaccinated, not knowing that nickel and mercury are two heavy metals found in vaccines which may compromise the immune system. Subsequently, I learned they are commonly linked with eczema2. I ripped up all the carpets in my house to minimize household allergens, and I switched my detergent and soap to those which didn’t contain any chemical additives or fragrances.
I’m happy to report that my son has now outgrown all of his allergies. His flare-ups are minimal with the collaboration of a wonderful homeopath, energy work and doctors. I continue to take steps to minimize any symptoms which include:
- Limiting dairy intake.
- Wearing breathable clothing so he doesn’t become too overheated in the winter.
- Washing clothes in fragrance-free, natural detergent.
- Soap should also be fragrance-free, all natural and organic.
- Talk about anything that is bothering him so nothing major gets “under his skin.”
‘Comfort’ Body Butter
I’ve found using a homemade body butter treatment twice a day during the cold months helps keep his skin hydrated and moisturized. Body butter is thick and occlusive, which helps skin retain moisture (if eczema is weepy, use only after sores are dried). The butters and oils used have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial properties and are nourishing to the skin. The essential oils used consist of those with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and
May this help you or your loved one.
|Body Butter Base Ingredients||Quantity||Essential Oils||Drops|
|Shea Butter (Vitellaria paradoxa)||2 oz||Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)||18 drops|
|Cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao)||2 oz||Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)||26 drops|
|Babassu Oil (Attalea speciosa)||1 oz||Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)||4 drops|
|Calendula Herbal Oil (Calendula officinalis)||.5 tsp||Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)||18 drops|
|Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)||.5 tsp||Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)||8 drops|
|Hemp Seed Oil (Cannabis sativa)||.5 tsp|
|Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalis)||.5 tsp|
|Manuka Honey||1 heaping tsp|
Heat cocoa butter, shea butter and babassau oil in double boiler pan. Once these oils are melted, remove from heat, add the rest of the oils and stir. Allow oils to cool, then put them in the refrigerator until nearly solidified. Use hand mixer to whip up oils and add the manuka honey until it resembles a butter texture. Store half the whipped butter for future use (unscented). Add the essential oil synergy to the remaining mixture, mix well and store in a sanitized glass jar.
Always seek medical treatment and discuss any decisions with your doctor first.
1 Mairead Fennessey, Sue Coupland, Jennie Popay, Karen Naysmith. “The epidemiology and experience of atopic eczema during childhood: a discussion paper on the implications of current knowledge for health care, public health policy and researc h.J. Epidemiol Community Health 2000; 54:581-589.
2 Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. “Contact Dermatitis.” www.hopkinsmedicine.org.