Kids Eczema: A Nutritionist’s top tips
10 Oct 2018
Kids Eczema: A Nutritionist’s top tips
With Viv Klaver, Luxton Clinic Nutritionist
What is Eczema and why do kids get it?
Eczema is a red, itchy, irritating skin condition that many children present with. Although it may not seem that obvious, underlying food intolerances are very likely to play a part and are exacerbating if not causing symptoms.
The most common culprits include dairy and gluten, however a range of other foods may be contributing to reactivity, even if apparently inconsistent or delayed. Gut function also should be taken into account, as any kind of inflammation or imbalance of bacteria may be causing hyper-reactivity as well. Careful identification of food sensitivities, temporary avoidance, and a (supervised and gentle) gut support program may assist in bringing significant benefit and reduction of symptoms.
Why can food play such a big role in eczema?
When foods are consumed that the body isn’t really happy with, the immune system sees these as pathogens or irritants, and responds by sending pro-inflammatory mediators to combat them. Children’s immune systems in particular are still developing and extra sensitive, which is why certain foods can cause a reaction, which often results in high levels of inflammation that presents on the skin in terms of heat, irritation, itching, rashes or eczema. When a child has a hypersensitive tendency or where atopy runs in the family, it is evident that their immune system is constantly on high alert, and by minimizing those foods that irritate the gut lining, the immune system will be given a chance to downregulate.
Foods to avoid include (but may not be limited to)
- Dairy (including lactose free)
- Gluten-containing grains (including oats)
- Processed foods
- Food additives, preservatives and colours
- Foods that may be causing a sensitivity or immune reaction (these can be identified with the help of your practitioner)
Foods that calm the immune system and promote healing of the gut and skin
- Mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, eg avocado, flaxseeds and oily fish
- Foods with anti-inflammatory properties, such as ginger and turmeric
- Fresh fruits and vegetables due to their high content of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- Bone broth, due to its high content of collagen, gelatin and minerals
- Probiotic foods including yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and miso
What are the best products to use on an eczema skin?
The best products for children’s skin are those closest to nature, free from any additives, perfumes or artificial ingredients that may cause irritation. The skin is highly absorbent, so you should only put onto bubbas skin things you would put into your mouth. Clean, pure oils such as extra virgin olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, and pure jojoba or rosehip oil are lovely options. You can add these to the bath water or massage directly onto bubbas skin. Our top recommendations for kids with eczema include
- Using unrefined, virgin coconut oil topically as a moisturiser. This can even be added to bath water, however careful as bubs will become very slippery! Olive oil works great too if you don’t mind the olivey smell.
- Adding Epsom salts to bath water. These salts are rich in magnesium to calm the body and also antibacterial, so they are helpful particularly for oozey eczema. Use only a small amount and avoid soaking in the bath for too long, as the goal is to dry the eczema out. Pat dry very gently. Discontinue if any irritation occurs.
- Add 1 cup of organic oats to kid’s bath, as oatmeal has been found to be very soothing to irritated skin and particularly eczema. Natural, fragrance free oat based moisturizers may also work.
- Bathe only in luke warm water, not too hot, as this can further irritate and damage the skin.
- Use natural, fragrance free laundry detergent to minimise chemical irritation to the skin. This is particularly important for towels.
Book in with our Nutritionist Viv to find out how dietary changes can significantly help with your child’s skin reactivity and discomfort. BOOK HERE…
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