Did you know that rates of eczema/atopic dermatitis for adults and kids have more than tripled in the past 20 years? Experts believe this massive increase is due to industrialization.
Although eczema is a genetic condition, it is a multi-factional disorder that can be triggered by an overactive immune response to environmental and other factors. As it can be triggered by many different things, then controlling the external factors can help to control and keep eczema at bay.
I’ll explore a handful of reasons of why it appears on the skin of babies, kids and adults.
The foods, drinks, or medications that mother consumes during pregnancy can cause enfant eczema from a very early start.
Whether a baby is born via birth canal or c-section can make a difference. Babies born via the birth canal pick up the necessary different bacteria from the mother which will help to build the immune system. This isn’t the case for babies born via c-section
Bottle fed babies can be susceptible to eczema if they have an intolerance to cow milk.
What the breast-feeding mother is eating or using on her skin can impact her breast milk and therefore trigger eczema on the baby’s skin.
Antibiotics or any medication given to the baby at a young age can affect the gut or skin.
Skincare – baby skincare products with fragrance/synthetic chemicals can trigger eczema. One fragrance in a product can have over 30 synthetic chemicals and does not have to be included on the ingredients label.
Bed linen – synthetic bed linen can cause itching and can cause the skin to become too warm which can trigger eczema
The flame retardant in/on the mattress and pillow can be a trigger for eczema, as the chemicals are slowly released over the years. You can purchase natural mattresses and pillows.
Food colouring/food dye – These are all known eczema triggers, due to the inflammation they cause in the body and because of their artificial nature.
Ultra processed /processed foods – these foods are so far removed from their natural food state with added chemicals, that as well as offering very little nutritional value, they cause inflammation in the body, which can lead to eczema
Inflammatory natural foods – As foods that contain gluten are so far removed from their original traditional origin to what is now just really another highly processed food, more and more people are becoming allergic or intolerant. They are also known triggers for eczema.
Processed sugar – This is a known trigger for eczema. Unfortunately, more and more of our foods contain sugar to make the processed foods more addictive. Any ingredient that ends in ‘ose’ or is a syrup is also sugar.
Pollution – This can be both indoor and outdoor pollution. The harsh chemicals in our indoor cleaning products can be a trigger, as well as air fresheners and even our own perfumes. Outdoors, things out of our control such as car fumes and industrial pollution can cause irritation to skin and trigger eczema.
Skincare and haircare products – You will need to become more label savvy, as the myriad of chemicals that are added to even children’s products nowadays, can trigger eczema and other dry skin conditions.
Clothing with dyes or synthetic materials – you will never know what chemicals have been added to create the dyes in the clothes you are wearing. If you have already changed your laundry detergent and it has made no difference, then its time to look at organic cotton or other natural materials (not wool though). You should always wash new clothes before wearing them.
Stress & no sleep – Although we don’t like to believe our kids can become as stressed as adults, they too can have eczema breakouts from stress and lack of sleep. Stress and lack of sleep can trigger the stress hormone cortisol and then can lead to eczema as well as other health conditions.
Bed linen – Just like clothing the quality of bed linen, natural or synthetic or the dye can make a difference to the comfort of our skin.
Hair products – As well as affecting the scalp, the shampoo or conditioner can drip onto the neck and body to trigger off eczema on the skin
Skin products – too many skin irritating chemicals are added to make our products look, feel and smell enticing without doing any actual good to the skin.
Perfume/ Fragrance in products – As mentioned previously, there can be over 30 separate chemicals in one fragrance.
Laundry detergent or fabric conditioner comes with a toxic warning on the label for a reason.
Stress from work – not getting stressed is easier said than done, but it definitely adds to reoccurring eczema.
Cleaning products – the smell catches on the back of the throat for a reason. And just like many products…if they have toxic warnings, why would you choose to use them? Good old fashioned white vinegar didn’t need that toxic warning when our grandmas cleaned with it. Our grandmas in the 1940’s also didn’t have eczema.
Bed linen – keep it simple with cotton, bamboo or if you can afford it…silk. Cotton can be drying to eczema but none of these materials cause irritation to eczema unless they are dyed.
Two very important facts with all of these lists is
Neem Oil has been a bathroom cabinet staple in our household for four or five years, since the last time my son had a major eczema flare up triggered by accidentally ingesting cow milk.
At the time, I was advised by a family member to use diluted neem as an alternative rather than reaching for the steroid cream. I was extremely dubious as my son’s skin was sensitive to everything I had tried in the past, so for me it was a major leap of faith.
It is safe to say that it was one of the best decisions ever.
By applying the neem oil that had been diluted with olive oil, the itching stopped quite quickly, and the angry reddened skin visibly calmed down within a couple of days. At the time, I had panicked and also given my son infant antihistamine, so I believed then, that the antihistamine had helped as well. Nevertheless, during his previous flare up, when he’d only had the antihistamine medicine, the itching didn’t completely go away, so I knew I was on to a winner. After four days of using the blended neem & olive oil day and night, I noticed that my son’s eczema had flattened and was no longer inflamed. It wasn’t bothering him at all.
I was still of course applying my own handmade Tigs & Moo Body Butter as well, hence his skin was well moisturised, and I knew the ingredients to have anti-inflammatory properties. At that time, it wasn’t a skincare product I was selling, but rather just for the benefit of my family only. After seven days the eczema was the same colour as his skin and no longer an issue. After 14 days the eczema was gone completely.
What a relief!
I have to admit though, that it wasn’t the skincare products alone that fixed the eczema. I am fully aware, as a result of doing a food diary, that my son’s food triggers are all animal milks and all processed sugars, so I knew how to prevent another flare up by keeping away from those foods.
I did however decide that it was time to do my research on neem.
Used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds, if not thousands of years, neem is known for its medicinal and healing properties. Three of neem’s compounds are nimbidin, nimbin and quercetin. These compounds are what makes neem antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. As well as being used to soothe inflamed eczema skin, it can help with psoriasis, acne and hyperpigmentation, so now, as soon as I feel any acne slowly making an appearance, I dab neem undiluted on that particular bump, even before there is a whitehead on it. I then continue to use it until the scarring has gone. As well as using it undiluted, I also add it to my daily face cream to help with my uneven skin tone.
The best type of neem oil to purchase is the organic cold pressed neem oil. The colour can vary but the smell is distinctive. Some people have described the smell as a cross between peanuts and garlic. Remember that when you first try it, dilute it, and do a test patch, as it is potent and sometimes those with very sensitive skin may find it too strong. If you react negatively, then you should stop using it because of its potency.
If you do a quick online search, you will see that neem can be used for many other conditions. Neem comes in varying forms, including teas, powders, supplements and even pessaries for the ladies. It can be used on the hair and scalp, in soaps, lotions and many other cosmetics.
As well as the oil being used topically, other parts of the neem plant can be used in powdered form, added to foods, used to help digestive issues and as a blood and liver cleanser. This is a definite benefit, as many of you will probably know that internal issues with our gut, blood and liver can appear as symptoms on our skin, in the form of those many skin conditions that we have normalized such as eczema and acne.
Although bitter in taste, this can be overcome by having neem as a supplement, or blending the powdered neem leaf with something else, which is worth it, as neem can also help to lower blood glucose. If you are someone who suffers regularly with acne, then controlling your blood sugar levels, and preventing it from spiking and falling will help prevent the appearance of acne. For me, applying the oil topically and taking the supplement when I deem it necessary, has without a doubt, helped my skin.
And just when you thought the benefits stopped there, neem can even be used as an insect repellent on your skin, and for your plants when added to water and put in a spray bottle. In fact, it has been approved in the US as a natural pesticide for organic crops.
I hope you found this useful and become a user of neem as it is a true product hero.
For more information, check out our YouTube video;
I absolutely love Neem oil. It is my bathroom cabinet saviour oil; my son’s eczema saviour oil and my daughters saviour oil for her teenage hormonal acne. When I was first introduced to neem oil I couldn’t believe how quickly my son’s painful and itchy eczema flare up was calmed and controlled. Knowing that his prescribed steroid cream didn’t ease his itch, or work quickly on his eczema I was advised by a family member to try neem diluted with another carrier oil. I’m so glad I listened to their advice.
My son’s eczema itch stopped and within 2 days his eczema was noticeably calmer. Within 2 weeks it was completely gone from his elbow, neck and knee joints.
Now…I have to admit that at this point we had already eliminated milk and sugar from my sons diet. His eczema flare up was however triggered when he accidentally ate a pancake that had cow milk as an ingredient. The difference this time was that I didn’t panic and use a steroid cream or his usual prescribed dry skin creams, like I had during his previous flare ups. Instead I continued with his 100% natural Tigs & Moo Naked Body Butter and simply mixed several drops of neem oil in with it, into the palms of my hands.
Even the nutty smell pungent smell of the neem oil could be forgiven, as we watched the eczema fade away without needing yet another trip to the doctor.
That was four and a half years ago and I haven’t used a steroid cream ever since…despite the conventional dermatologist telling me that I should. It is amazing how many doctors are still unwilling to try a more Homeopathic or Ayurvedic remedy over something like a topical steroid cream which at some point, with long-term use will cause damage to the skin, as is the case for my mum. Topical Steroid Withdrawal is hell to go through for anyone let alone a child.
Neem, combined with my own body butter was and still is a little miracle dream team.
Like many other natural oils and butters, neem has absolutely fantastic anti-inflammatory compounds that can soothe the skin and reduce the dreaded eczema itch and irritation. Some of these amazing anti-inflammatory properties are three compounds called nimbidin, nimbin and quercetin.
Now, I’m no scientist, but I believe it works so well because neem also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. I have even used this as a natural insect repellent when added to another carrier oil.
Neem only has a comedogenic rating of 1 – 2 meaning it is less likely to block pores, making it a good choice for acne sufferers. For those who want an oil that can aid collagen production, dry skin and wrinkles, neem also has an absorbency rating of 5, making it an oil that slowly absorbs into the skin and therefore offers a protective barrier. Some of its other benefits also include properties such as fatty acids, antioxidants and Vitamin E.
When it comes to the smell, like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, but that is why diluting neem with another carrier oil is something I do, unless I am dabbing it directly onto acne. My kids love the smell, I don’t! But as I have seen the benefits of this oil first hand, I do add a couple drops to my daily facial moisturiser.
As always, test anything new on the inner part of your elbow and wait 48 hours. If you’re going to give it a try, go for Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Neem Oil.
My skin tone, eczema, adult acne and fine lines salute this oil with the most respect!
Firstly, and very important, anyone with a nut allergy should not use almond oil. And, as with any type of new skincare product, you should always do a patch test first…especially if you have sensitive eczema prone skin.
Now that we have said that, it is good to know that almond oil is classed as both a moisturiser and an emollient, which is a double bonus for those who want to give it a go. It is a vegetable oil, obtained from the dried kernels of the almond tree, it can be applied directly to the skin and hair, or used as an active ingredient or carrier oil.
As an emollient it smooths the skin, filling in little gaps, which helps the skin retain moisture by improving its barrier function. As a moisturiser it supplies water to the skin and holds it in with an oily substance.
With its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and even anticarcinogenic properties, many people use almond oil as a natural skincare ingredient to help treat common skin conditions, such as dermatitis and eczema. There is good evidence that this natural moisturiser improves eczema when used regularly, and I myself add almond oil to my skincare routine regularly.
Almond oil includes B vitamins, vitamins A, D and E and also includes fatty acids such as oleic acid, which help cells to function normally.
With an absorption rate of 3, it mostly sits on the skin and leaves a satiny silky look
It also has a comedogenic rating of 2 which means that it won’t cog the pores of most people, but may potentially block the pores of some.
Also known as Rosehip oil, the colour of Rosehip seed oil ranges from a beautiful deep golden tone to a rich orange-red. If it looks more yellow in colour this means it has been more processed and refined, which removes many of its original properties and benefits. It is also advantageous to know that when it is 100% pure it has a nutty toasty aroma due to the grinding process of the seeds.
When it comes to benefits to the skin there are lots of good reasons for using this natural oil.
First of all, and one which is massively important for those with sensitive skin or for those who are acne prone, rosehip seed oil only has a comedogenic rating of one. This means it is highly unlikely to block pores
It also has a absorbency rating of one which makes it a dry oil that is absorbed quickly by the skin, without leaving that oily feeling.
If you are someone who shy’s away from the oily feeling, then this will definitely be an ideal oil for you. There are many properties to rosehip oil that make it an ideal candidate for natural beauty warriors.
As well as fatty acids like linoleic and linoleic acid, which those with dry skin should use as part of their beauty routine to help prevent water loss, other benefits include that is has natural antioxidant properties.
All you natural beauty warriors by now will know that antioxidants are needed to help reduce inflammation in the body and skin. By reducing inflammation and neutralising free radicals, our skin can help to repair itself from damage such as those caused by the UV rays of the sun, pollution, our diet and even some of the synthetic skincare we use which includes those artificial chemical fragrances. Antioxidants can also aid in the production of collagen which is massively beneficial to those who want to prevent, slow down or reduce signs of premature ageing.
Did I also mention that rosehip seed oil is also a natural exfoliator?
Then apologies, because it is!
It is naturally high in vitamins A (retinol) and C which encourages skin cell turnover which means brighter, glowing, vibrant skin.
And for those with inflamed skin or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis or rosacea, rosehip seed oil is rich with anti-inflammatory properties like vitamin E, anythocyanin and polyphenols. Those words may be a bit of a mouthful but rest assured, when simply put, it means you are treating your skin with love.
Included in rosehip’s many benefits is its use for those with hyperpigmentation. As a person who has used this oil before, I know that although my face didn’t seem to like this drier oil, my body did reap the benefits. When I mixed this with other carrier oils and used in regularly on my imperfections i.e. hyperpigmented areas of my body, after several months I did start to notice a difference to my uneven skin tone.
I learned later on that rosehip seed oil contains beta carotene and lycopene. Both of these have skin lightening properties.
When I mentioned previously that it didn’t agree with my face, this was because it worked perfectly on my body during the 48 hour patch test, but when I made the mistake of using it on my face without diluting it with another carrier oil I did get a slight rash…oh to having super sensitive skin!!!!
So…the moral of this story is do that all important patch test and if you are still unsure, dilute it with another oil you are certain you don’t react to
Before I leave you I should also say that this is another oil that is easy to get hold of in wholefood and health shops, or online.
I should first point out that hemp seed oil shouldn’t be confused with hemp oil. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant and is cultivated for non-drug use
An all-rounder skin oil that is ideal for most skin types, hemp seed oil doesn’t block pores and has a rating of zero on the comedogenic ratings chart, which means that that for those who are worried about the potential of an oil blocking your pores, you don’t have to worry about this one at all.
With an absorption rate of 3, hemp seed oil leaves a nice satiny, glowing finish on the skin, hydrates the skin well, reduces inflammation and can even help to balance out oily skin.
Research shows that as well as using it on the skin, dietary hemp seed oil…in other words ingesting it as part of your diet, can help to improve eczema symptoms.
When applied topically, hemp seed oil can help to improve eczema, acne, psoriasis and dry skin. A 2014 study even found that hemp oil can contribute to stronger skin that is more resistant to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
As an oil that is naturally high in fatty acids and omega acids, hemp seed oil is a skin soothing oil which also has humectant benefits, meaning that it attracts moisture from the air, to the skin.
In fact, hemp seed oil is so great that to date, it has no known side effects!
Personally I love to use it on my face, hair and body!
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