I have eczema. (atopic dermatitis) I have had it all of my life, even as an infant. Over the course of 41 (yes, shocked folks FORTY-ONE years, I have learned to live with it. I've learned what irritates, and what doesn't. I have tried elimination diets (as a kid) and been to dermatologists endless times. I have used many different (gasp) steroid creams, and non-steroid lotions, creams, etc. I have tried oatmeal baths. And so forth and so forth.
Now I have a child with eczema. Damn.
I would like to treat his skin in an unAmerican way - treat the issue, not just the results. (grin) So....that being said...
I am going to put us (at least DS and myself) on a food regime with much reduced dairy and gluten. Much to my poor hubby's chagrin! I asked for advice on the email loop of the Holistic Moms Network, and got several kind responses. Most agreed that dairy should be minimal (I've always thought so, but didn't follow it much) and some suggested eliminating gluten. Others suggested some natural creams, which I may try out. But for now I will continue to use Sweet Almond oil on his skin, and sometimes Aquaphor. (Which I'm trying to phase out) I will track our progress here.
Day 1: Accidentally gave DS some yogurt and a small amount of butter this a.m. It will take time to become accustomed to avoiding everything! I've done better this afternoon. We ate tuna, mixed nuts, stuff like that. I have to figure out what to make for dinner...
Skin: DS has uninflamed dry, bumpy skin on his torso on the sides of his body. He has a more inflamed, but not open skin, rashy area on his hand. Today it is not red, but is rashy looking and feeling. It's a small area, about the size of a dime.
Skin: My skin is as it has been for some time. I have some mildly rashy areas on my fingers on both hands. My elbows and knees have been a bit rashy lately as well. On the tops of both feet I have rashy patches that have been there for quite a while. I have a basically healed area on my neck. I use a steroid cream every night before bed. A very little bit on each area. I use Aquaphor and sweet almond oil also, and Burt's Bees on my hands.
Misc: I did a little reading about gluten-free eating and about a book that recommends eliminating grains. Yikes! I feel that there is an argument out there to eliminate any food you can think of. What's a person to do??
Day 2: Doing well with our "diet" today. I went to the grocery store to load up on some gluten-free items. I was starving, having not eaten much for breakfast. I bought some gluten-free peanut butter bars that are high in protein. It wasn't until I got them home and opened one that I thought to look at the label. Shoot. Dairy! Argh... this isn't easy! Ugh, and I just realized that my coffee had half n' half in it this morning. I didn't even give it a thought til hubby pointed it out later on. Shoot! But I did pick up a book of gluten-free AND dairy-free recipes from the library today.
DS Skin: He is not too inflamed today, though he commented on his "bruise" which is the patch on his hand - the one that does get red sometimes. I discovered another patch under one knee....rats. Ugh! This evening my hubby put both kids in the tub. I was told later that they were taking a castile soap bar (eucalyptus) and rubbing it on their bodies and faces. My son got soap in his eyes, and for obvious reasons, freaked. I joined the situation at this point, and took him out of the tub. I put sweet almond oil everywhere except on his face. (As usual, though I do sometimes put some on his cheeks) Fast forward to dinner time, and his face, cheeks, chin and upper lip, are bright red and warm and dry to the touch. What the??? Hubby filled me in on the soap on the face deal (I knew about they eyes, of course) and the obvious conclusion is that his skin is reacting to the soap. Or is it? I also had put lavender oil in the water for DD, who is experiencing growing pains. He has been in the tub with lavender before, so I don't think that's it. I know that eucalyptus essential oil is not good for use on kids, but I didn't worry that much about the bar.... but the kids haven't rubbed it all over their skin before, either. I would rub a small amount on a cloth to clean them with, if I used any. I keep the bar for myself, and have a castile bar with no scent that I bought for the kids specifically. Alas....
Day 3: So far so good with diet, but I realized the nutrition drink I've been giving my kids has dairy in it. I didn't give it to DS today. I did well with meals today until dinner when I had a beer. Duh. This is hard. I was told today that there is a gluten-free STORE not too far from here. Wow.
DS Skin: His cheeks are back to normal (phew.) I washed his face last night with water only, then put sweet almond oil on it. The pink started fading right away. Contact reaction. His rashy skin looks pretty mild today with the exception of his hand patch, which is still red after being in the bath last night. Less so, but still red. I put a little steroid cream on it last night... Sweet almond oil again and again and again. His skin has looked pretty uninflamed today. The hand patch looks less irritated as the day progressed.
My Skin: The usual. A little itchy today. Used steroid last night as usual. Using sweet almond oil after my showers. Using very little Aquaphor these days.
DAY 4: Chicken for breakfast - lol.
DS Skin: The skin on DSs torso looks slightly red today. Sighs. Could this possibly be from me drinking a beer last night? Seems doubtful. But what else? Maybe it's time for muscle testing?? Maybe I should persevere and see what happens. I don't know.
DAY 5: Pretty good with the diet. I scheduled NRT - Nutrition Response Testing - for both of us for Monday.
DS Skin: Looked worse today.
My Skin: Felt like crap today. Mine felt worse after being around MIL's cat, which has been the case in the past.
DAY 6: Persevering with the diet. Hungry all the damn time! Frustrating. Making more meat than usual.
DS: Looking less irritated today.
My Skin: Feeling pretty good.
DAY 7/8: Diligently following diet until late this morning. DS really wanted some cheese. I gave in, as I, too, have been HUNGRY! He doesn't usually go for these mozzarella cheese sticks, but he devoured two of them! I have otherwise kept us on the diet. It will be interesting to see if his skin reacts. DS got Nutrition Response Testing today (see post on NRT and NRT - The Appointment.)
DS: Definitely looking better today!
My Skin: Also looking better today. Weird. I also had NRT today. No results or recommendations yet.
*Update: After my second NRT appt at which I had counted on getting dietary recommendations and for the most part didn't, I got frustrated, and eased back on our gluten/dairy diet. Not entirely, but a little. As a result, perhaps, my son's skin has gotten worse. So I am going to redouble my efforts. I'm not going to refuse any gluten or dairy ever, but I am going to try to make my home as close to free of those things as I can.
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