Living with Eczema

Eczema….. Don’t you just hate it?

It is heart wrenching to see people suffering with it, and it is especially difficult to watch if it is your own children.  

So how do we help them?

Eczema refers to a group of medical conditions which affect the skin and cause sore, itchy, scaly dry patches to form.  There is no one cause for eczema and it can be triggered by anything from the metal in a zipper to changes in weather. It’s common in babies and toddlers, and those with compromised immune systems. There isn’t necessarily a cure but many find ways to keep it under control and many outgrow it.

Certain ingredients have been linked to flare-ups and avoiding them may help minimize the chance of outbreaks.  

Here are a few common ingredients that are skin irritants:

  1. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) – an antimicrobial Preservative
  2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – used as an emulsifier, gelling agent, and surfactant. This is what makes a lot of soaps bubbly
  3. Fragrance – Not a single ingredient but a group comprised of almost 5000 different ingredients
  4. Triclosan – A antimicrobial preservative and disinfectant
  5. Nickel – Metal found in jewelry, snaps, buttons, zippers and so on.
  6. Methylparaben – A antimicrobial preservative

The hard part in helping children beat eczema is rooting out the cause.  Pay close attention to everything your child comes into contact with, eats and drinks. Look at all the ingredients and see if any are linked to common allergies or skin conditions. A quick way to do this is by using the 1source app which allows you to enter a health condition and then scan products to reveal which ingredients are good and which are not and which will affect their health condition.  If you don’t have the app you can download it here for Android or Iphone.  

Other things to consider when trying to identify the cause is that you’ll need to think a bit outside the box. What things are they contacting indirectly? Things such as the cleaning agents which were used to wipe the floor, the type of dryer sheet used in the dryer, or the air freshener used inside the home.

When a child is suffering from eczema you may feel helpless and figuring out the cause may feel overwhelming. But this process of going through everything and really understanding the amount of chemicals and objects we come in contact with is really an eye opening experience. It is also a great chance to form healthier and more eco-friendly habits.  

I suggest whether or not eczema is a concern in your home that you take a moment and list all the things you come in contact with daily, and see if there are ways to reduce the amount of chemicals and compounds you come in contact with daily. I think you’ll be surprised. I know I was.