Point of View: Registered Dietician, Registered Physician Assistant, and mom of 3, Debra Marino discusses how diet and natural products affect sensitive skin and eczema.
As a mom, I knew my kids would have sensitive skin as I struggled with it all my life. As a child, I grew up allergic to each and every brand of soap I tried; including those deemed "for extra sensitive skin.” Scent was also an issue for my problematic skin, and I was always in dismay when buying detergents. I love being able to pull out fresh, clean smelling laundry, but I was forced to have clothes that smelled like nothing. The trade off however, was that I wouldn’t be covered in welts, hives, redness, soreness and painfully itchy skin. In addition to my body, my scalp would be itchy and sore, and would even bleed at night. Thus, throughout my childhood, I was unable to use shampoos or have bubble baths.
Now, back to my kids. As predicted, all of my 3 children have sensitive skin, with my son being the most complex, and unable to take bubble baths. Specific laundry detergents would impart furious itching and tiny bumps on his skin, in addition to compulsive sneezing if there was a scent. My girls have dry, sensitive skin and will get hives and welts from particular lotions and sunscreens. The only solution I found was transitioning over to using all natural products on my children and myself.
What is eczema exactly and what should I do about it?
Unfortunately, allergies, eczema, and dry sensitive skin conditions have increased throughout the years and have become a very common diagnosis. Eczema is an autoimmune condition, that usually is seen with asthma but can be seen without it. It is genetic, and basically it causes pruritus (itchiness), erythema (redness), and dry, scaly skin. There are many different types of eczema and can be so severe that a child's skin looks two different tones. It can bleed and become very painful and even cause a secondary infection (causing fever and other medical complications).
It is hard to control especially in babies, infants and toddlers. But once your child becomes more independent and understands how to help, it may be a bit easier to care for throughout their life. The most important part to control eczema and any dry skin conditions are to eat the right foods, keep well hydrated, get enough sleep, wear comfortable clothing, and use hypoallergenic products (try to use the most natural products) that will keep the skin well moisturized.
Diet and healthy eating: what are the benefits for eczema sufferers?
With a compelling desire to understand the effects, I became a nutritionist. In my learning, I discovered I was allergic to casein (the protein in milk). Since cutting that aspect from my diet, my skin condition has disappeared.
At home, my children are dairy free, which helps their dry sensitive skin. Additionally, I do not use sugar in anything when I cook/bake, opting for honey (and sometimes rice syrup) as a substitute. This has significantly helped with their allergies and skin conditions. Another key factor is to drink A LOT of water. Keeping the inside healthy is crucial as you are what you eat.
However, having a dairy free diet did not affect the local eczema in my scalp or behind my ears. Some people have eczema all throughout their skin and some just have a condition, like myself, where it's localized in one area. It is crucially important to keep well hydrated inside and out.
Natural products for sensitive skin
Equally as important as keeping your inside hydrated, skin must be always kept moist using only soaps and lotions with extra gentle, non-irritating, and conditioning ingredients. Skincare makes a huge difference, and by using only the most natural products you can achieve the best results.
At our house, I actively seek out the best natural bubble baths, sunscreens, etc., which is how I found TruKid. As a mom, a PA, and a nutritionist, I feel that it is the best brand out there. All of my kids enjoy taking bubbly BathBlast baths now and have super soft, smooth skin!!!
Debra Marino, MS, RPA-C, RD.
Opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the writer and are not necessarily that of TruKid's.