Does your child suffer with eczema?
Eczema affects one in five children and it is estimated that there are five million
sufferers in the UK. It often starts in early childhood, at around 3 months old, and
tends to run in allergy prone families.
There are a number of possible causes:
• Food allergy – the most common culprits are cow’s milk, citrus fruit, eggs,
food additives, wheat and tomatoes
• Allergies to pollen, dust and animal fur
• Essential fatty acid deficiency
• Deficiency in the minerals and vitamins that are essential for skin health
• An imbalance of gut flora
In terms of diet a number of changes are advised:
Increase intake of Essential Fatty Acids, as these are often found to be
deficient in eczema sufferers. This means increasing consumption of oily fish
(salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines and herring); nuts, especially walnuts;
seeds and cold pressed seed oils.
Reduce intake of saturated fats (butter, cheese, bacon, red meat, crisps, chips)
as a high intake of these fats can hinder the uptake of the essential fats.
If you are breastfeeding and your baby is not weaned, try cutting out cow’s milk
from your diet to see if your baby’s skin improves.
Eat avocados regularly. They are full of essential fats and Vitamin E which is an important nutrient for the skin.
Eat orange and yellow vegetables and fruit daily (carrots, peppers, papaya,
mango, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato). They contain beta carotene,
which the body converts into Vitamin A, another important nutrient for the skin.
Zinc is another essential nutrient for the skin, and is found in protein foods such
as chicken, beef, turkey and salmon; wholegrain cereals, brown rice, spinach,
asparagus, shellfish, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Replace orange juice with apple juice, and see if there is any improvement.
If you suspect that food allergy is a likely cause, work with a Nutritional Therapist
to determine if this is the case and for advice on dietary alternatives if necessary.
Eczema can be exacerbated by chemical irritants – adopting the following
advice should reduce exposure to harsh chemicals.
Use a washing detergent that is non-biological, dermatologically tested and free
from unnecessary additives. I have found that both Surcare and Filetti are gentle
enough for my son. Better still use Eco balls rather than detergents, as they are
chemical free. Stop using fabric conditioner.
Avoid all shampoo, bath and shower products that contain Sodium Lauryth
Sulphate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). SLS and SLES are harsh
detergents that enable toiletry products to foam, but their use strips the skin of
vital oils, leaving it more prone to dryness and irritation. Examples of brands that
are SLS free are: Organic Babies by Green People (www.greenpeople.co.uk),
Little Me Organics and Halos & Horns. Natural toiletries containing Calendula
(Chamomile) can be effective as this herb is anti-inflammatory and soothing.
Regular moisturising is essential, especially in the winter months, when central
heating can remove humidity from the house. Use a natural, organic moisturiser
where possible – Calendula cream is good choice.
If you are interested in an individualised programme to improve your
child’s skin or would like help with other health issues, please call Emily
Fawell DipION, Nutritional Therapist on 07967 639347 or contact me via