Tag Archives | eczema

All-Natural Tips For Managing Childhood Eczema

The Mommy Footprint site began after I became frustrated with the medical advice being offered for my daughter’s eczema 2 years ago.  Only after I sent an email to 5 moms with kids that suffered with sensitive skin, did I get answers. My Isabella hasn’t had an outbreak in over a year and I have a ‘recipe’ of tips that have been very effective. I’m not a Doctor and don’t claim to have a cure for eczema, but because all of my suggestions are completely natural – there’s no harm in trying. After writing out the ‘eczema recipe’ for parents in stores, gymnastic facilities, and over email, it’s time to Mommy Footprint my routine in one article. I realized a few months ago when the routine changed, how effective it really was when Isabella’s skin started to react.  More on this later…

Step 1: Personal Care Products

Many traditional soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc. contain phthalates and synthetic chemicals. For this reason, they are not healthy for any one’s skin, but especially not a child with sensitive skin. For children with eczema, organic skin care is a must. And try to really streamline how often you are applying even organic products to a child’s body. Do you use soap or shampoo on your baby/child everyday? If so, this is just not necessary.  I never use soap on my daughter or very occasionally if she has paint or really dirty feet and I wash her hair once every 3 months. Even if you’ve sourced all organic care products – you don’t need to use them often on a young child. A child or baby with eczema should only bath in clear water – no bubble bath, paint tablets that change the color of the water, etc.  Also, a big step that I missed at the start of Isabella’s journey is proper maintenance of cleaning my bathtub. There are two problems to eliminate before your baby or child with eczema takes a bath: residue from mommy or daddy’s personal care products and residue from cleaning products. The solution is to wash the bathtub before your child takes a bath and only use organic cleaning solution with a microfiber cloth. Right now I use Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps to clean my tub and a Norwex microfiber cloth. For the longest time I kept forgetting that my soap and shampoo/conditioner left residue in the bathtub and that would aggravate Isabella’s skin. This point was proven when I worked for 3 consecutive days and my husband was in charge of bath time. I was taking a bath each morning to get ready for work, then he was giving the kid’s their baths that evening without cleaning the tub first. For the first time in a year, Isabella started getting little red bumps and was on her way to having an eczema outbreak.

Step 2 Laundry Routine

The first question a Doctor will ask when you bring in a child with eczema is “do you use dryer sheets?” I’ve written before about how toxic dryer sheets are for the entire family and removing these from a home will immediately improve your home’s environment. But let’s take this a few steps further for children with eczema. Your laundry soap is important to change to no fragrance and no dyes. I love my Ecos liquid laundry detergent and yes, it’s okay for front loading washing machines. Ecos also has a built-in soy based fabric softener which eliminates the need to use dryer sheets or traditional fabric softener that is terrible for sensitive skin. If you can’t find Ecos (I buy mine at Costco or Planet Organic), find a detergent that is marketed for sensitive skin with no fragrance.

Step 3 Household Environmental

My girls like to help clean-up so I needed to ‘green’ those areas if Isabella was going to be helping. Hand soap for dishes was the first area because Isabella loves to play in the sink with bubbles and dirty dishes. I make sure I always have eco-friendly brands available and luckily, these are easy to source.  Isabella also loves helping wash windows. I would never let her spray Windex to ingest, but she uses the Norwex window cloth that only requires spraying water.

My organic cleaner and microfiber cloths have been an amazing solution to spraying toxic cleaners in my home. The Dr. Bronner’s solution is great for cleaning hard wood, counter tops with a microfiber cloth, is made with organic oils, and naturally deodorizes with a wonderful peppermint scent.

Step 4 Direct Skin Contact

If I could afford it, I would replace all my kids t-shirts and PJs with bamboo. But for now, I try to make sure only cotton is against Isabella’s skin.  This is especially important with PJs or nightgowns.

I always find skin irritation occurs when I use crappy sunscreen on Isabella’s skin. I try to only use non-toxic, organic sunscreen.  I never use lotion on her skin either. When she has an outbreak or rash I use Spectro cream because it’s so effective with dry skin.

We haven’t explored play makeup yet, but I invested in non-toxic face paints and they keep all of my kids totally entertained and rash free after we apply them.

This long road of trying to prevent eczema outbreaks and dry skin has been very successful by improving the condition of our home with replacing toxic products that contain chemicals. Isabella was my inspiration for starting Mommy Footprint, born from knowing there is real value in parents sharing experiences and lessons learned in their journey. The cortisone cream that I used on Isabella never worked and I wished I had tried the natural route first. I hope these tips help any parent that are currently watching their poor child or baby experience the discomfort that eczema causes.  If you have any tips to add, please post a comment to this article.

Related Articles:

Treatment for Childhood Eczema

Dryer Sheets & Fabric Softner – A Household Toxin

Are Cosmetics Killing Us?

Gaia Natural Baby Lends A Hand With Childhood Eczema

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Gaia Natural Baby Lends A Hand With Childhood Eczema

My daughter Isabella has seasonal childhood eczema.  I don’t know what causes it, but in the winter it flares up and causes rough patches all over her body, face, back, hips, and chest.  To watch her scratch last year and say “Mommy itchy, mommy owwie” was hard because she was only 1 year old and she was my first child to suffer with sensitive skin.  She doesn’t have food allergies and with last year being SO much worse, I’ll attribute her continual flare-up to the personal care products we used on her skin and chemicals we’ve since removed from our household.  Products like shampoo, soap, clothes detergent and dryer sheets, previously laced with fragrance and toxic chemicals, now replaced with fragrance free, eco-friendly, or all natural products.  And don’t get me started about toxic dryer sheets – I discovered they never belonged or served a purpose in my home.

I’d like to focus on a new line-up of products that were introduced to me by Gwen, the owner of Nayla Natural Care.  The product line is from Gaia Natural Baby and she thought of me instantly because I’m always on the look-out for safe, natural products to use on Isabella.  I first became a fan of hers when I noticed she carried very inexpensive BPA free, ice-cube trays for storing baby food.  Ever since writing about this product, Gwen and I have a wonderful rapport because her product knowledge on natural products is outstanding!  She is happy to consult, share, and even point you to a different company or product she doesn’t carry if it can help you.  I trust her product selection and am proud that she’s a fellow Canadian mompreneur making a difference with offering babies, children and moms a line-up of products you can trust.

Gaia Natural Baby is a certified organic brand, made in Australia, started by a family that couldn’t use any traditional products on their child suffering from eczema at 8 weeks old.  They were started in 2002 which makes them a grandpappy company in the world of organic personal care companies.   She too was told cortisone was the only way to treat her son’s sensitive skin (I was told the same thing), an answer she refused to listen to and Gaia Natural Baby was born.  Ingredients are listed on the bottle and rather than the words nobody can pronounce and alcohol being listed, you’ll see:

Certified Organic Calendula Extract ~ Certified Organic Chamomile Extract ~ Certified Organic Evening Primrose Oil ~ Certified Organic Avocado Oil ~ Certified Organic Shea Butter ~ Certified Organic What Germ Oil ~ Certified Organic Lavender Pure Essential Oil ~ Certified Organic Sweet Orange Pure Oil

All things you know are natural – I even got a little hungry while typing that out! <grin>  When Gwen mentioned the lavender scent with the Gaia brand I was hesitant because lavender smell gives me an instant headache…but I agreed because Isabella’s skin has been breaking out in recent weeks.  I’ve been very happy to discover that the scent is lovely and very light; from the shampoo, to the body wash/bubble bath, to the skin moisturizer, just a wonderful, natural and soft experience.  Oh my gosh and the delight that my girls experienced with having bubbles in their tub again after many months in bubble-free water was so fun to watch!  The just loved it and the bath water stayed very moisturizing and the shampoo is fantastic!  Isabella is able to have her hair washed and her skin moisturized in a comfortable, natural way.

So Gaia Natural Baby isn’t joining the fight against childhood eczema, it probably was one of the leaders.  I’m thankful to Gaia Natural Baby’s founder, a mother that decided to trust her instincts and create a company to help her child and many more as a result.  Thanks to Gwen for sourcing these items and telling me about Gaia. 

Nayla is starting to grow and branch out into the natural Eco-Me cleaning kits I keep hearing such good things about.  A truly wonderful store to check out for Valentines Day for that expectant mom or little person deserving these and many other natural gems!  Check out their new arrivals – perfect to kick start Valentines or baby shower planning.

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Are Cosmetics Killing Us?

It’s such a harsh title for an article, but the Environmental Working Group posted a similar title ‘Beauty Secret: Your Make-Up Can Kill You’ and not only did I sit up and read it, I agree.  I’ve long wondered why so many young people seem afflicted with disease and problems that used to happen later in life, and weren’t so common.  Why are 30 year old woman getting breast cancer, why are so many couples struggling with fertility problems, and why the high rate of immune problems?  The list goes on and even to a lesser degree…why have most children you know at one point been diagnosed with either eczema or asthma and why do girls in Grade 6 look so overdeveloped?  Most will agree it’s environmental.  Well what if it’s the chemicals that leech from our plastics, the body care and household products we use to ‘clean’ with, the air freshener we spray around children and pets, or the make-up we apply to make ourselves beautiful?  Even people’s pets these days seem to have higher rates of cancer. 

I’m not a scientist or at all educated on environmental issues, but I do believe much of what watchdog groups like EWG have to say.  After all, they’ve been bang on about bpa and phthalates.  We spend so much time checking labels and ingredients for our children, take a few minutes and review what scores your own body care products receive using the skin deep cosmetic safety database.  If the rating isn’t low, make it a New Year’s resolution to take a trip to Whole Foods, Planet Organic and surround yourself with some natural products.  My Noxzema scored a 4 on the cosmetic database and it’s really the only beauty product I use.  That score doesn’t impress me, so I’ll need to replace with one of the many solutions out there that scored 0-2 which is low level of concern for hidden chemicals, etc.

What are a few easy things you can do today that will remove many chemicals from your home/self immediately?

Use only natural personal care products on yourself and family.  Either that or use nothing at all (when I run out of natural soap and shampoo for my kids, I just use water).  Products purchased with the rest of your groceries (Johnson & Johnson, etc.) contain phthalates and this is not good news if you have boys.  Phthalates attack their reproductive systems and you can’t search for this in an ingredient list…it’s a chemical that manufacturers sneak into products masked with the word ‘fragrance’ on the bottle.  So steer clear of anything with fragrance for your entire family….yes even Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo contains phthalates! Read more here: Protect Your Family From Phthalates In Your Home

Get rid of fabric softener or dryer sheets.  One of the most toxic things in your home…they release chemicals two ways:  through the skin and in the air.  Just stop using them and find out natural ways to help with static cling. Read more: Dryer Sheets & Fabric Softener – A Household Toxin

Don’t spray febreeze, air freshener, or plug-in room deodorizers… they are only masking odor with chemicals released through fragrance for your family to ingest.

Replace your cleaning supplies.  Ever wondered why your head is pounding after cleaning the bathroom or glass windows?  If you are spraying traditional cleaning agents, your headache is from inhaling toxins. Your children, family, and pets are also inhaling and touching those products. Eco-friendly cleaning products are sold everywhere these days and not only are they much better for the environment, but it’s much easier to clean thanks to companies like Norwex! Read more: Norwex – Cleaning Without Chemicals

I still find my children bathing or mouthing soft plastic toys.  PVC plastic is dangerous to human health…it’s proven that it releases the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm immune and reproductive systems.  Remove any soft plastic toys that might contain PVC from your home.  Something that still makes me sick is the Vancouver Aquarium gift shop sells isles of soft plastic toys, dolphins, whales, snakes, etc.  Every time I would take my boys there as toddlers, I would buy one of these figures so they could play in the tub with them.  I even bought an octopus for my girl’s to teeth on because the tentacles on the toy felt good against their gums when they were cutting a new tooth.  Last time I was at the aquarium, I noticed a sign under each bucket of these toys that read “PVC”.  It upset me for two reasons.  I had purchased these toxic toys for my kids to mouth, bath, and play with.  I also wondered how many parents know exactly what PVC means and why would they continue to sell them?  If you want to warn people about a product, write the word TOXIC underneath, not an acronym that most people don’t understand.  Sorry to start a rant, but I really suffer from guilt about the world of plastics and how much exposure my family had before the chemicals came to light for parents.

I look forward to highlighting companies in 2009 that are offering natural alternatives to traditional products that we grew up with.  I think we can look around and see that the cleaning agents, cosmetics, fragrances, and world of cooking with plastic, just isn’t working for us anymore.  If you don’t know where to start, check out the wonderfully natural site Nayla Natural Care.  A great place to start to find replacement products for your home.

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Home-Made Baby Food & BPA Free Ice Cube Trays

I received a great question from Melissa regarding what to use when freezing home-made baby food. I know the ice cube trays I used many years back probably contained BPA (because they were old and didn’t have resin codes) and I’ve always felt badly my boys had to eat chemicals along with food that was supposed to be nutritional.

So back in August when I wrote Organic, Non-Toxic Gift Ideas For Baby, number 5 on the list was Baby Cubes by Petite Creations, which are ice-cube trays designed to store and freeze baby food. For only $6.49, I wanted to mention them again because I can’t think of a better stocking stuffer or shower gift add-on for an expecting mama or gift for baby. The wonderful estore Nayla Natural Care sells these trays which are actually very hard to find. Nayla is an on-line Canadian store and are dedicated to providing natural, non-toxic products for parents. Also available at this site are Food Trays by Fresh Baby, which are great to store expressed breast milk and baby food freezing. They have covers that completely seal the tray so there are no spills or mess. These trays are made from food safe plastic and are phalate-free, plasticizer-free and BPA free.

While you’re checking out Nayla, load up on stocking stuffers for older kids with their Trukid products. I discovered Trukid when trying to source non-toxic products to help with my daughter’s last eczema outbreak.  I’ve tried most of their product line and I’m a big fan. Give your children the gift of phalate and BPA-free products this Christmas – practical gift ideas they’ll love to receive.

Related articles:

Organic, Non-Toxic Gift Ideas For Baby

Protect Your Family From Phthalates In Your Home

Plastic Food Storage Alternatives – Glass, Stainless Steel, or Bamboo anyone?

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Discount For Canadians At Bug & Blossom

Have you heard about the online store called Bug & Blossom? WOW – what an awesome on-line site to source products for babies, kids, and new moms. They have everything you need AND they’re Canadian! I love saying that! One of their best product lines at the store is the organic skin care line Trukid. They have graciously agreed to honour the 20% discount off Trukid products for Canadian Mommy Footprint readers so we don’t have to pay extra costs with Trukid products coming up from the States. At the Bug & Blossom checkout, use the code ‘footprint’ and enjoy the savings! US parents wanting to source Trukid products can order via the Trukid site and also use the discount code ‘footprint’.

Trukid sunscreen was rated #2 from the Environmental Working Group, their facestick in particular, is an amazing product for kids. How awesome to not have to read ingredient labels or worry because this product line is 100% safe and non-toxic. Not only do they have sunscreen, but a full product line including shampoo, body/face wash, conditioner, hero stick for boo-boos, lipbalm, etc. Unlike the large companies that have dominated the bath skin care line for years with their products full of phthalates and fragrance, Trukid is leading the way to chemical free skin/hair care. I’ve tried sourcing all of these products because of Isabella’s eczema and my concern over how harsh most sunscreens and bath products react with her skin…it’s not easy! Well, it is now because these products are at my fingertips with the ease of on-line and low shipping within Canada.

Don’t wait, the 20% discount will expire August 22/08 and is valid for purchases over $25.00.

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