Managing Eczema the Natural Way

About a month ago, my daughter starting having this rash on her arms and legs.  It looked like it was more of a heat rash than anything.  But after a few days, it started to spread on her arms and legs more and started to appear on her stomach.  I gave her Benadryl thinking it was possibly something she came in contact with that she was allergic to, even though she had not ate anything out of the ordinary or been around anything or anywhere different.

Well, the Benadryl worked somewhat, but didn't get rid of them.  I was racking my brain trying to figure out what was going on, and, quite frankly, as a person who worries about things more than I should, I started to get a little concerned that it was something other than just a rash.  So where did I go, the Internet (of course).

What Kind of Rash Is This?

I looked up every kind of rash possible - and let me tell you, there are apparently a lot of different kinds of rashes, and some that are quite unpleasant to look at, and she is prone to get eczema during the winter, which I suspect is hereditary as her dad will get it every now and then during the winter too.

What concerned me is that the patches of eczema she had (only on her bottom), which have never bothered her in terms of itching or anything, the rash that was now on her arms and legs and stomach did not look like the typical eczema rash, nor did it seem to itch like most eczema does.  The location of the rash was on the underside of her forearms and along the back of her arms and on her legs, the rash was on the inner part of her knee.  It wasn't were your typical eczema would be at (which is typically in the folders of the back part of the knees, inner elbows, etc.).  It was more like she was putting her arms down on something and it was causing her rash.

After posting pictures and asking for help on Facebook, I received a lot of helpful suggestions from changing detergents to allergies.  It was then that I realized that in the mornings, the rash on her arms were not that bad, but after playing on the carpet (which is well over 10 years old) and being around our dog, the rash seemed worse by the evening.

What Does the Doctor Think?

The next day we went to the pediatrician.  She was diagnosed with eczema and contact dermatitis and told to put hydrocordizone cream on it and it should go away.  Well, we tried that and the minute I did just that, she started to complain about it burning so I quickly washed it off and was back to square one.

About a week after seeing the pediatrician, one evening, after she was playing on the carpet, she starting to complain that the rash on her arms hurt and burned.  Her arms were very, very red where the rash was.  Everything touching her arms seemed to hurt so I took out our satin sheets out of the linen closet and put those on the couch so she could lay her arms down.  I gave her a dose of Benadryl hoping that it would help with the irritation, which this time it did.

That night I was up worrying what was going on with my child.  So I again posted on Facebook  pictures of how red her arms were and once again received some helpful suggestions from allergies to unwashed clothing (which I wash all clothes before anyone wears them) to even possible measles.  But most of the suggestions were that of eczema, even though the rash did not appear to have the typical eczema look or location.   I was also surprised how common eczema is in children and how common it is.

Back to Square One.

After researching, again, what type of natural methods to use to treat eczema, coconut oil was one of the main treatments used in salves and ointments.  So the next night, I lathered her up in coconut oil. She said it felt good and first but did not make a difference in the rash and brightness of it.  Not to mention that we had to put old sheets down on her bed so the oil would not ruin her good sheets.

A Second Opinion.

The next day, I took her to another pediatrician to get a second opinion.  I specifically asked to see a pediatrician who is prone to take the more natural approach in treating her patients.  When the clinic told me that there was a pediatrician who did just that there, I was actually surprised and happy that medicines wouldn't be pushed down my child's throat.

Well, let's just say that after speaking with her about possible causes: the carpet, our dog's dander issue (this winter was really bad for his skin issues and are changing his diet too), even possible food issues.  It was went I mentioned food issues that she had this look on her face like, well.....

It was at that moment that I knew this wasn't the pediatrician for her.  She diagnosed her with eczema and contact dermatitis and that no amount of Benadryl would help her, only a prescription topical steroid.  She then tells me that the cream may burn at first but she needs to keep applying it as that is the only thing that will help get rid of it.  Seriously!!!!  I'm going to put something on my child's body that may burn and hurt but it will work.  Ummm, NO!  Needless to say, I didn't fill that prescription.

Research, Research and More Research.

Instead of putting a chemical on my child's skin that would possibly burn and make the rash worse at first, I once again did more research and possible causes of eczema, specifically food and environmental causes.  Since dealing with my own food issues that have caused/causing my health problems, I knew deep down that food had to be a cause (if not a contributing factor) that her body was exhibiting signs of eczema.  The more I researched, the more I realized that food could be the problem.

I also researched on what to put on her arms, legs and stomach other than coconut oil to help with the eczema.  I can't tell you how many lotions, creams and ointments I purchased, and some being well over $20 for, which some did and did not work for her.  We even changed laundry detergent even though we were already using one that was free and clear of dyes, perfumes, etc.

In the meantime, we also tackled the problem of the carpet and the assumption that our carpet was old, our dog was constantly on it (laying on it, scratching, etc.), my husband can't lay on the carpet because within 5 minutes he starts sneezing due to dog dander (even after I vacuum - which I do daily).

So we had our dog groomed, changed his food again, and replaced the carpet.  (We would have went with hardwood floors but the house is 100 years old and the places where there is hardwood flooring is very cold during the winter so in order to at least help keep the room warm, we opted for carpet.)

Allergy Testing?

We also considered doing allergy testing, but decided that instead of doing allergy testing, which is expensive and can be painful depending on the test used, I consulted a local chiropractor who specializes in Muscle Testing.  His testing concluded that her body does not react well with dairy (which is one of the main food culprits of causing eczema), wheat, corn, oats, refined sugar and chocolate.  We were also given a good children's probiotic to help with healing the gut and to counter the effects of antibiotics she has been on in the past.

Three Weeks Later.

Fast forward 3 weeks later, my milkaholic daughter is now dairy free, which is a daily struggle as she still asks for milk and cheese, even though she realizes how much better her arms are.  We are also cutting out all the other reactants.  It is a daily struggle to find foods that she can eat and to keep her from eating foods she isn't supposed to eat.  I have even brought her own cupcake to eat for birthday parties since she can't have regular cake.

We have also replaced the carpet and have been keeping our dog off of it.  (The carpet may or may not have been a contributing factor since she tested negative for animal dander, but hey, I have new carpet that is so soft and we all can actually enjoy laying down on without causing allergy attacks or stuffy noses.)

I am glad to note that during those three weeks, her arms and legs have gotten so much better.  They are not 100% though.  Limiting her exposure to dairy, wheat, and corn have seemed to be the hardest as they are in everything - especially corn.    It is so clear too that when she has eaten something with one of the foods she is not supposed to have, her rash does flare up and is more noticeable.  But, it is promising and reassuring to see how things progress with the changes in her diet and even the warmer weather (which means being outside in the sun more) and without medicines, will help to heal her skin and possible gut issues.

Does anyone have/has had eczema or their child has/does have eczema and what you are doing to help cure or even manage it?

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  1. Interesting! We've gone the allergy test route and it is very expensive! I'll have to look into the muscle testing and see what that's all about. I have gotten almost all the carpet up in our house - just two rooms to go!

  2. My daughter suffers from eczema as well and we've been through a cycle of trying to find a remedy similar to your story. I too decided against an allergy test and eventually started her on probiotics, reduced diary and we use natural soaps, detergents and lotions as well as coconut oil. We did get get the steroid creme just to have on hand but have only had to use it once in six months!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm going to offer a suggestion that might be completely useless. I have weird skin issues (dermographism is one of them) myself and the only thing that helps me, right now, is to take a loratadine tablet (claritin) when the discomfort is at it's worst. I know you want to go with less drugs, so feel free to ignore, but that little allergy pill does wonders for me so I wanted to pass it on. Hugs to her and good luck finding a solution.

  4. That makes sense to me. Last year I cut out milk (amongst other things) as part of my low-fodmap diet and my skin problems cleared up. Lately I've been using a lactose-free milk, rather than the oat or rice milk I used last year, and my skin is as problematic as it was before. Thank you.

  5. I have an adult child that suffers with allergies. She has done allergy testing, taken the shots, sees a dermotologist, uses very little make up, selectively eats very plain foods. The most helpful Dr. has been and Endocrinologist.

  6. so interesting- my kids suffer from eczema also and it looks very similar to the photos you posted. My doctor has never recommended benadryl but has recommended the aveeno lotions and body washes. I've used both and they do seem to work. My daughter gets it bad on her bum and the doctor said to put vaseline on her bottom before bed since she wears a pull up at night and that might be aggravating it.

  7. So sorry your daughter had to go through all that.!


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