Eczema really sucks. During my pregnancy I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. To control my blood sugar I followed a loose keto diet. While my numbers were great and didn’t have any complications before or after delivery, I believe this contributed to the result of her eczema. Emma has had on and off eczema since she was about two months old. My poor baby.
Her main areas were her cheeks, occasionally in creases of her neck, arms, and behind the knees. Her cheeks would go in different stages of anger from dry and flaky to raw and weeping, always highlighted in bright red. A baby’s cheeks has always been my favorite feature, squishy and chubby. I looked forward to being able to squish my own baby’s cheeks, but that was put on hold. We tried more moisturizers than we anticipated in desperation to bandaid the issue. You can find the other moisturizers we used, here.
At six months she had an allergy skin prick test and officially diagnosed with Atopic Dermatitis (eczema).
The Results: Highly allergic to dust mites, moderate allergy to eggs and dairy. We washed the sheets more often than we ever have, wiped toys down, and dropped dairy and eggs (even traces of it) from the diet as she was exclusively breast fed.
Her skin had improved, but she still continued to have flare ups and man would they get bad. Her cheeks would get so raw, they were definitely infected. And the weeping, sometimes they would weep golden sap for days. The problem was that we were using steroids and after we were done with the treatment protocol, it would come back and angrier than before. A cyclical cycle.
Two weeks after the allergy test, it was the worst it had been and I stopped the use of steroids. Her skin needed deeper healing. I cried a lot during this time. I had so much self guilt and blame, I still do. I felt so helpless with no clear direction to help my baby, and I wasn’t finding relief for her fast enough. Emma was a trooper through and through, with smiles followed with laughter that simultaneously encouraged me and made my heart just feel even heavier for her.
Feeling low and tired we Skyped (because Covid) with a Naturopath and had a 96 food sensitivity test done.
The Results: Her highest sensitivity was to almonds, hazelnut, beets, cucumber, pumpkin, whey, milk, and eggs. Finally, no more guessing. These sensitivities happen to be the things I had been consuming the most, all types of almond products on a daily basis! This was the start of Emma’s skin healing journey inside out. I was put on a potent multivitamin, zinc, and krill oil. And homeopathic sulphur- this was amazing in healing her open lesions on her face by the next day. But a few days later she started developing hives all over her body and her eyes were swollen. I then realized lactose is a listed inactive ingredient (there is a lactose free version, but didn't do much for Emma).
Sensitivities are a tricky thing because they have that delayed response. Sometimes she will eat something not listed on her test and show a reaction in the late evening or next day. I started to do a lot more reading to figure out the things we needed to work on and what we should be consuming as far as supplements. There are so many thoughts of theory. For us, I thought it would be best to focus on the lymphatic system, staying regular (bowel movements) to get toxins out, and finding a moisturizer that wasn’t aggravating .
Since then we’ve tried probiotics, omega 3, glutamine, lactose free sulfur/nat mur, and collagen. Some supplements we would both consume or I would consume to transfer through breastmilk. She has made so much progress. The raw, cracked, and weeping days are almost forgotten until we look back at pictures. Currently we are working on her stubborn areas on the sides of the mouth that are slightly dry and fungal looking. It’s taking it’s time time to heal, but we’re getting there. She no longer takes omega 3 or a probiotic (I do), but consuming more fruits/veggies and collagen.
When you figure out a trigger, you can see a positive response in a few days of change. It generally takes about six months for new healthy gut cells to grow. The skin journey is a patient one. Emma will be turning one in a couple weeks and I can’t believe we have been tackling eczema for as long as we have. As if motherhood couldn’t humble me any more, it found a way. If you have any advice or questions, send them my way!