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Posts tagged ‘baby eczema’

My Experience Using Herbal Medicine for Eczema

By Sophia Ruan Gushée (see bio below)

Managing eczema has been a big issue in my family. When my youngest daughter was 3 days old, she began developing eczema. Since my older two children had not experienced eczema or other health issues, I kept waiting for my youngest to outgrow the eczema as I tried different natural remedies. Sometimes it seemed that the eczema was subsiding. But, in fact, it was on a general trend of becoming more severe. Eventually I knew I had to try a different course of action. Read more

Got Eczema Milk?: A connection between breast milk and baby eczema

By Dr. Amy Duong (see bio below)

In the past couple months, I’ve had many breastfeeding moms reach out to me for guidance when it comes to breast milk and baby eczema. Some moms have eczema themselves and others have babies that have eczema. Every case is different since the paths and factors that lead to acute and chronic eczema can be varied, including hereditary predisposition, drug therapy (steroids, antibiotics), a weakened immune system after childbirth, and of course the infamous food allergies!

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“Will my child outgrow their eczema?” A clinical perspective of the development of atopic dermatitis

By Fatima Lakhani, BS and Peter A. Lio, MD (see bio below)

Eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD) is often thought of as a skin problem mainly affecting infants and young children, most of whom will outgrow the condition [Abuabara]. However, relatively few studies have been conducted to validate these beliefs, and the concept of “outgrowing eczema” remains somewhat mysterious. The relative similarity between childhood and adult eczema prevalence rates suggests that the condition may be more common in adults than generally thought. There are several possible explanations for this, including that many children do not outgrow their eczema or that childhood eczema is replaced by adult eczema, which may actually be different. Additionally, the proportion of children who outgrow eczema may be falsely elevated due to lack of follow-up during later years in life—perhaps some just grow weary of doctor appointments [Abuabara]! Read more

ScratchMeNot – A lasting, scratching solution for eczema in children

By Andrea Thomas (see bio below)

What started off as a tiny red patch of skin on my newborn daughter, turned into a journey of eczema, skin allergies and craziness. It also inspired me to invent the ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten, a solution that would forever change our family’s experience with eczema.

My daughter was only 2 months when eczema began to rear its face. I, like many moms, went to the doctor to figure out what was wrong. I was told it was just “baby skin”; to give it time for the dry, redness to clear up. Well, it didn’t. Matter of fact, it spread to all of her joints, face and scalp. These are memories I wish I could go back and change; the days of having a screaming and crying child all day and all night that rarely slept and constantly scratched. This was our life for months.

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4 Tips for Parents On Managing Eczema In Children

By Dr. Peter Lio (bio below)

1. Stop the Itch-Scratch Cycle

One of my favorite techniques to help a child stop scratching is to do a “Skin Reset”. This was discussed by Lisa Choy at the National Eczema Association here. But the idea is that if the itch-scratch cycle is getting out of control, you can hit the “reset” button by doing the following:

  • Give a short bath or shower in lukewarm water
  • Gently pat dry and then immediately apply their medication (if necessary) followed by a liberal amount of moisturizer

This is a powerful way to help wash off any allergens and irritants that may be worsening things, helps to super-hydrate the skin.

ScratchMeNot flip mitten sleeves are also a helpful tool for parents managing eczema in children. These scratch mittens for babies with eczema aid in preventing children up to 6 years old from scratching their skin. I recommend ScratchMeNot for nighttime use as they could potentially affect motor development if used too often during the day. Read more

Could The Eczema Company Win The Cribsie Awards?

Why not?!!! But we can’t do it without your help!

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IF, and only IF,  you love The Eczema Company, then show us and nominate us!

Until December 20th you can nominate The Eczema Company for the Cribsie Awards. The Cribsie Awards recognize the best products, services, and websites for babies and tots. These are the ultimate open choice awards. You can nominate any product, brand, website or service! It’s your choice. Speak up and tell the Cribsies who or what you love.

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Soap Nuts: A Natural Laundry Detergent & Soap for Eczema

I met today’s guest blogger online a few years ago when I was just starting the blog. I was reaching out to online support groups and found Heidi at her eczema FB support page and immediately loved her natural approach. We’d been using soap nuts for a while at that point, so when I saw she loved them as I did, we started chattering away about them. Eventually I asked her if she’d honor us with a story about why she started using soap nuts and she went a few steps further – including tips, facts, and even a recipe for making soap nut liquid!

Again, a big thanks to Heidi for her post!

– Jennifer

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Careful What you Apply to Your Skin, Study Proves Food Can Be Absorbed Through Weakened Skin Barrier

A new study from King’s College London and the University of Dundee has demonstrated that “food allergies may develop via immune cells in the skin” when the skin barrier is weakened in babies with eczema. According to the article in US News & World Report, “It’s believed that the breakdown of the skin barrier in infants with eczema leaves active immune cells found in skin exposed to environmental allergens — in this case food proteins — which then triggers an allergic immune response, the researchers explained.”

The study was conducted on infants, but it seems possible that adults with a weakened skin barrier and a weakened immune system could also develop sensitivities or allergies to foods via the skin. Now, I’m certainly not a scientist, but it seems to me this would mean so much else could be absorbed through the skin and into our blood stream. I’ve always heard mixed comments from physicians about what can be absorbed through the skin. Many claim that commercial and pharmaceutical skincare products are formulated so they cannot be absorbed through the skin, but I’ve personally always questioned this as I’ve heard of many people developing allergies to ingredients like propylene glycol (also see this post)and to treatments like cortisone or developing red skin syndrome aka Topical Steroid Addiction.

Let’s just say it’s possible that anything can be absorbed into your skin, if your skin is broken and irritated, as is the case with those suffering from eczema. And since we can become allergic to just about anything, what are we to do?

Rotate Skin Care Products

We all know to be careful about what we apply to our eczema and now it seems we must be even more cautious if our weakened skin barrier is truly a direct portal to our blood stream.  This means the chemicals in our skincare could potentially be absorbed into our bodies – potentially leading to chemical allergies or sensitivities, or maybe even other health issues. This is why if you do opt to go with cortisone, which can be essential in some cases, or other pharmaceutical skincare products, share your concerns with your physician and try to limit exposure to them or rotate your skincare products (a good idea with natural products as well) so you’re not using the same products daily. Most dermatologists will tell you it’s not safe to use cortisone for long periods of time anyway.

Take Precautions When Feeding Baby

Its not just chemicals and toxic products we need to watch out for either – we certainly need to be cautious of rubbing any of the top 8 food allergens directly on our skin, either just the food itself (dairy products, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shell fish, fish, soy, and wheat) or via a natural skin care product. Now, babies are messy. When they start trying these highly allergenic foods, they will spill some on themselves. That’s unavoidable. As parents, freaking out as soon as some peanut butter touches an open eczema wound won’t help anyone. You’ll probably scare your baby into tears and we don’t want them to become scared of trying new foods.  If you’re worried about your baby dropping some food on their skin, try dressing them in long sleeves and pants or you could purchase a long sleeve bib to avoid food-skin contact.

Natural Ingredients to Avoid

It may be wise to watch out for skincare products containing soy oil or protein (or any “vegetable” ingredient), peanut oil,  dairy products (goat milk products are quite the rage), even almond oil and other tree nuts oils. Shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil are popular and effective natural skincare options for eczema, but some believe they are considered tree nuts. For more on this topic, take a look at this post. While these tropical “nut” butters may be in the same family as tree nuts according to some sources and not according to others, there is a very small chance of developing an allergy to shea, cocoa butter or coconut oil. Although it’s important to remember anyone can develop an allergy to literally just about anything.

True, this is just one study, so it’s not the be all end all, but it should open our eyes to what we’re applying to our skin.

Battling Eczema: A Family Affair


by Malvina Beker (see bio below)

“Wow, that looks terrible!” The doctor started to say, looking at my brother’s exposed stomach that was covered in red patches, scabs, and puss.  My older brother Eugene and I had decide to take matters into our own hands and take our younger eight-year-old brother, Milan, to the doctor our selves.  His rashes were just completely out of control and nothing that my parents were doing was helping him.

Mavina's brother with moderate eczema flare-up.His rashes began very early on, when he was about six months old.  My parents had no idea what the patchy rashes were or where they had come from.  He had struggled with them ever since.

What started off as little patches began to formulate to bigger patches.  It would appear seasonally around the folds of his skin and had gotten my parents attention from the beginning.  They went to the doctors who had confirmed that indeed these patches looked like eczema and prescribed cortisone cream.  Since they had never seen or heard of eczema before, my parents didn’t know how big of an ordeal it would be. My parents started using the prescribed cream with much caution, being very uncomfortable with it because it had steroids in it.  More so than treating the rashes, they wanted to prevent them from resurfacing.  My poor brother went through all sorts of preventative methods that my parents had tried, including homeopathic medicine, diets, hypnosis, even a trip to the dead-sea, but the patchy rashes continued to come back, and what was worse, the older he got, the less control they had over them, since my brother would scratch at them whenever they would appear. By the time he was eight-years-old my brother was being wrapped like a mummy for bed to prevent him from scratching.  His stomach especially was a problem.  My parents had no real direction or answers on how to battle eczema and had given up going to the doctors.

And so, my older brother and I had snuck him off to see a doctor hoping that we could find something to help control the eczema.  The doctor prescribed cortisone yet again.  “Unfortunately there is not much else that will help, especially because he has an infection in the area from all the scratching.”  The doctor then had a chat with him and told him to  be a bit more responsible about his eczema and encouraged him to try to control his scratching urges.  We were once again back to square one. To treat the really bad outbreaks we resorted to using the cortisone cream, but in the meanwhile I started to help my brother with some easy solutions to prevent the outbreaks in the first place.  These easy solutions included restricting any perfume based soaps from ever touching his skin and during a scratching urge, I insisted he bathe or shower or put ice around the itchy area.

My brother’s eczema was something that everyone in my family had suffered from and lived with right along with him.  It was a real ordeal for him in his daily life.  He had to be wrapped to go to bed, he even wore wraps around his body during the day sometimes.  He didn’t feel comfortable going swimming and exposing his stomach to anyone, and did not like discussing his eczema either.

With time however, eventually, the eczema sort of stopped coming on as strongly.  He was lucky that there were no scars left behind from all the scratching that he had done, and with age, had gained control over his rashes whenever they would come back.

As my brother grew into his teenage years, his eczema was like a forgotten dream for me.

And then I gave birth to my child, Alyssa.  A few months later, I almost had a melt down when I noticed the very same patches of red rashes forming on her skin.  I made an appointment to see the doctor right away, there was no way I wanted to go through this again.  The doctor didn’t seem concerned at all.  She prescribed yet again, more cortisone cream.  Was there no other solution?

My husband found a more natural cream, that had no steroids in it, which I started to apply at once.  I didn’t bother with the cortisone and stuck with applying the cream every time I felt the eczema patches forming on her skin.   Our battle to control eczema continued as I noticed my one-year-old daughter, Emma’s, skin began to break out too, but by then I knew what I was in for.   I have now incorporated a daily routine with my kids to always check their skin after they’ve had their baths, to look for any potential patches forming, and to put cream around those patches so that they don’t spread or continue to form.  Neither one of my girls have ever experienced anything remotely close to what my brother had, and I hope that we can keep their eczema as much under control as possible so that they never do.

Dealing with severe eczema outbreaks is a very tough battle that sometimes can affect the whole entire family, as was in our case.  In some cases, it can be a difficult fight, as it was for my brother, but for the most part it can be kept under control.  For our family, monitoring our children’s skin daily and using natural based creams has been very helpful in preventing major outbreaks and keeping the eczema under control.  Good luck to everyone else battling!

Malvina Beker - Start with MomBio: Malvina Beker is a teacher, an author, a sociologist and a mom. She has a Masters degree in Sociology, a Bachelor of Education, and a background in child psychology and development. She has taught high school Family Studies, Parenting and Music courses, and has research experience through interviewing as well as surveys. She is a mother of two little girls that inspire her the most, and is always excited to share and exchange opinions and experiences with others.  She is also the founder of Start With Mom, an online resource/directory for moms seeking solutions to healthy living. You can follow Start With Mom on FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Announcing a Breakthrough in Eczema Treatment: Chicago Integrative Eczema Center

Honestly, I am quite beside myself over the launch of this new clinic, the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center. I met the co-founder, the amazing Dr. Peter Lio, at the National Eczema Association Patient Conference last summer, and he mentioned this clinic was in the works. So, I waited patiently for the launch and now that the clinic is open for business, I just want to shout about it from the rooftops!

Just what makes this clinic so special?

It combines the best of western medicine and natural therapies to treat eczema. Can it possibly get any better than that?! I am a firm believer in holistic medicine, but I also understand that western medicine can be essential at times. So, this clinic’s approach is spot on in my opinion. Not to mention the involvement of Dr. Lio, who is a highly qualified and respected dermatologist and happens to be incredibly kind and forward thinking. I have not had the fortune of meeting his partner, Dr. Ryan Lombardo, but if he’s collaborating with Dr. Lio, he must be just as wonderful.

Without further ado, please welcome Dr. Peter Lio for a Q&A about the new Chicago Integrative Eczema Center!

Chicago Integrative Eczema Center

Q: Dr. Lio, please give us a brief background on yourself and why you chose to go into Dermatology, particularly why you chose to specialize in atopic dermatitis.

A: I have been interested in becoming a doctor since I was little, but once I got to medical school, I realized that it wasn’t so simple–there were lots of fascinating specialties to consider! Initially, I thought I was going to be a neurologist.  My research during college was all about learning and memory and I found the study of the brain to be extremely compelling.  However, during the second year of medical school we were exposed to a one-week lecture series on dermatology.  About 15 minutes into the first lecture (given by the great teacher and mentor Dr. Charles Taylor), I was hooked!  Interesting words (where else do you get to use terms like “ostraceous” and “serpiginous”?!), fascinating diseases, and lots of unanswered questions!  While in other areas of medicine there were pathways, cycles and genes that seemed to explain almost everything, dermatology was wide open… there was a lot of mystery!  That drew me to it and still does.  Atopic Dermatitis is perhaps the ultimate dermatologic disease: on one hand, we know so much about it and can do some things to help, but we still don’t fully get it and–try as we might–we can’t seem to get to the root of it to cure it.  YET, hopefully…  I found lots of patients and families struggling with eczema, and I decided to dive in to learn everything I could and try to help out as much as possible.  It’s been an incredible adventure so far: difficult, but deeply satisfying.

Q: How do you feel about alternative and integrative medicine as it relates to eczema? (Do you have any good recent research on treatments you can quote here?)

A: Part of what was frustrating for me was coming to terms with our fairly limited armamentarium of treatments for eczema.  After I finished my Dermatology residency, I decided to study acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to see if I could gain a new perspective and open the door for new treatments.  I spent a year with Kiiko Matsumoto and David Euler in Boston and completed the wonderful course called Structural Acupuncture for Physicians.  It opened my eyes to many things, most importantly the reality of “energy medicine”, which is what acupuncture is on the most fundamental level.  To that end, a few colleagues and I published a paper last year that was able to show some benefit for the itch of eczema–arguably the root of the disease–by using acupressure.  The study can be viewed here.  This led to looking into other forms of alternative medicine, and I am particularly interested in botanicals that can heal.  Lately, I’ve been very excited about the anti-inflammatory effect and skin-barrier-rebuilding powers of topical sunflower seed oil.  I’ve been recommending this combined with coconut oil, which is known to have some anti-bacterial properties which is also very useful in atopic dermatitis.  I’ve written a few updates on some of these alternative treatments, you can view them here – part one and part two.

Q: From what I understand, you are a pioneer in the world of eczema, founding the first integrative medical clinic specifically for eczema sufferers. What was the inspiration behind this amazing idea? Was it a difficult task to achieve?

A: At the end of the day, my goal is to help patients.  My thinking is that I want to take the best of every tradition to get people better.  In my time of intense focus on acupuncture, I found that the acupuncture approach did some things better than the “pure” Western approach; but for other things, not so much.  There was a part of me that was disappointed when a patient returned to my very talented teacher and was only a little bit better.  I had secretly hoped that this was “the cure”, and that I’d find a powerful technique to zap the eczema and make it go away for everyone… It didn’t quite work out that way.  But, I did see some things that were important and were being overlooked by many Western physicians.  That was almost a decade ago, but the idea was planted then for me: to use some form of integrative care to help eczema patients and families.  The Chicago Integrative Eczema Center is the realization of that dream.  It’s been a lot of work getting things organized.  I was lucky when I met Ryan Lombardo, who is a DAOM (Doctor of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) and also very interested in skin disease.  We shared a number of patients and began to meet to discuss treatment approaches. Before long, we realized that we should probably pool our resources and collaborate… and the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center was born. 

Q: What do you hope to achieve with your clinic? What is the general approach?

A: The Chicago Integrative Eczema Center has 4 main goals: First, to be a trusted source of information and education about eczema that is inclusive of alternative and complementary medicine.  Second, to be a place for holistic care of eczema, offering a range of treatments from a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to the standard Western approach, and everything in-between.  Third, to be a place for patient support and connections.  We are closely allied with the National Eczema Association and their official Chicago Eczema Support Group, run by Erika Czopkiewicz and Nathan Jetter, two amazingly dedicated individuals. Fourth, to be a place to push the boundaries forward and learn more about eczema through research studies like the acupressure study mentioned above.  To meet these goals, in addition to collaborating on patients that we see in our individual clinics, we will have combined sessions where Ryan and I will see patients simultaneously and have guest speakers with questions and answers, and I will be the medical adviser of the Chicago Eczema Support Group as well.

Q: What services will you offer?

A: We will be seeing patients and, through Ryan, offering acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, nutritional supplements and other botanical topical treatments.  We also work with nutritionists, allergists, a hypnotherapist, and several other practitioners closely for when our patients need other types of expertise.  Part of what we are building is a network of providers who can work together and meet the need for holistic and integrative care, which is very exciting to me.  

 Stay in touch with the Center:




About the co-founders of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Center:

Dr. Peter LioPeter Lio is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology & Pediatrics at Northwestern University, Feinberg  School of Medicine. Dr. Lio received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, completed his internship at Boston Children’s Hospital and his dermatology training at Harvard. He has had formal training in acupuncture under Kiiko Matsumoto and David Euler, and has held a long interest in alternative medicines. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Eczema Association. His clinical office is located at Dermatology & Aesthetics of Wicker Park.

Dr. Ryan LombardoRyan Lombardo received his Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, IL. The Doctor of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (DAOM) is the highest formal educational credential available in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States. Dr. Lombardo is one of 6 doctors practicing as a DAOM recognized by the State of Illinois and has been practicing acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the Chicagoland area as a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) since 2003. Dr. Lombardo is a faculty member of Midwest College’s doctoral program, leading the Nutraceutical Science and Chinese Medicine Energetics curriculum.  His clinical practice is located at AcuHealth of Wicker Park.

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