My Story

How I Healed my Eczema and my Children’s Eczema Naturally

Introduction to my Journey to Heal Eczema Naturally…

Here is my story of how I grew up as a child with eczema. How I was taken along the path (by orthodox doctor’s) of treating eczema symptoms with orthodox methods, and eventually how they affected me.

My journey changes course as an adult when my eczema became probably the worst I had it in my life while I was pregnant and breast feeding my first child. I did not want to use any steroid creams at this time, so I searched for natural remedies and alternative therapies to help clear my eczema.

I will be honest, I did not find the relief I was hoping for within that space of time, but I was determined to continue to find out how I could heal my eczema naturally.

When our son was a year old he also had a severe case of eczema, again I was still not willing to give our son steroid creams. So I was relieved when I was led to read specific information about foods that can aggravate and foods that can heal eczema.

Our son responded really well to the few food changes that we made and fortunately we have never seen his eczema return. My eczema also improved but I still had recurrent eczema flare ups. It was clear that my body required a lot more natural healing and maintenance than my son’s. I started to monitor my flare up’s and identify my eczema triggers which allowed me to begin to manage my eczema naturally, and formed the basis for the eczema monitor.

From my observations I realised that my body was super sensitive to a variety of foods. If I wanted consistent positive results with my eczema I had to commit to eating eczema “friendly” foods on a daily basis. There were also patterns in environmental factors that were affecting my eczema too. Monitoring my flare up’s really helped me understand which foods I had to eliminate from my diet and which were supporting my skins heath. It also showed me which lifestyle changes I needed to make to improve my eczema.

When I fell pregnant again 4 years after our son was born, my eczema really flared up strongly again. Once more I embarked even further on a journey to heal my eczema naturally. I read countless books on healing with herbs, and I took this knowledge and applied it to my diet. I had a particular focus on using herbs to make nourishing teas as a healing drink. Finally I started to see results in reducing the overall severity of my eczema by drinking my homemade nourishing herbal teas everyday. I just love my teas, they are healthy and so tasty and they repair your skin at the same time, delicious and curing all at once, yay!

When our second baby was born, she had eczema affect her from just a few months old. I confidently healed her eczema naturally within 7 days. Within 48 hours the itchiness, swelling and redness was reduced, and I did it all naturally.

Note: if you are breastfeeding and your baby has eczema but you do not, you will also get great results by using the eczema monitor. You can read the advice from my natural Healing Eczema Tips and try some nourishingOrganic Herbal Tea.

I hope that by sharing my story, and if you (or your child/ren) are suffering from the intensity of eczema, you may wish to embark on your own journey to help you understand your eczema triggers through the eczema monitor. Combining this knowledge with making some lifestyle changes as recommended my natural Healing Eczema Tips, you may also live your life with eczema, without the itch.

xox

Caroline

My Eczema As a baby

I was born in late spring 1978 in New Zealand, a country that is prone to a high percentage of eczema sufferers among children. Despite neither of my parents having eczema, I did have a genetic link to eczema and asthma in my great Uncle. It was after only a few short months as a baby that I had developed eczema, on my arms and legs, and I had asthma as well.

Healed my eczema

Being refrained from scratching my eczema as a toddler

My parents were diligent in making sure that my suffering from eczema was minimised and conventional medicine was the best solution that was available in the time and location that we lived. I was prescribed with steroid hydrocortisone creams, the cream dealt with the symptom of the eczema and not the cause, so my eczema was constantly present and therefore the steroid cream was often applied to my body to relieve the symptoms.

You can see from the photo of myself in a cot as an infant, that even while taking conventional medicine I still needed to be refrained from itching my body.

The side effects from the eczema and asthma medication (mainly oral steroid prednisone) started to take effect from early on, when at a young age of 4, I was submitted to our local hospital to have dental surgery under general anaesthetic, to remove most of my baby teeth. My teeth had all but turned yellow-brown and were rotten from the medication that I was given so regularly and at such a young age. Despite this reaction in my body, my future treatment for eczema was still to be with steroids as this was the only known and best method at the time.

My Eczema As a child

The journey of self-managing my eczema started here as a child when I became old enough to recognise when I needed to administer the steroid cream to my skin. We always had a white tub of hydrocortisone cream in the fridge that I would dip my young fingers into whenever I felt the itch. At this stage I was also taking a daily oral preventative steroid, Becotide, twice a day, for my asthma so I started to apply “my eczema cream” as a preventative measure everyday too. It became a part of my daily routine for most of my childhood.

My greatest skin irritants as a child were dust, molds, pollens, clothing and textiles. We lived in a cool climate which meant that there was a lot of woollen and synthetic items in our homes, including carpets and bedding which were havens for dust mites and pollen powders. I found the most aggravating of all was my school uniform. Our uniforms were made with rough wool and even students without eczema would find them “itchy”. I remember my woollen leggings itching my eczema so much so, that I would sit in class and itch my skin until it bled, often having to peel the tights away from my skin as it dried. I always looked forward to summer when it wasn’t necessary to wear our woollen clothes anymore. Despite this I do feel that my eczema did not largely impact my primary school experience, perhaps it was my daily lavishing of hydrocortisone cream on my skin that seemed to keep my memories of eczema at this time relatively passive.

There would have been no reason either for my parents to have greater concern to look into what else we could have done to manage my eczema, such as dietary or lifestyle changes, as the hydrocortisone cream seemed to be doing an ok job at solving the problem as it occurred. However there were side effects that were starting to present themselves after many years of continual use, for example whenever the white tub of eczema cream in the fridge was empty, I would feel myself internally spin into panic mode, my body would flare up with eczema and it would not be calmed until we would have “my eczema cream” back in the fridge. I was not aware of it back then as a child, but upon reflection as an adult it is clear that from a young age I developed a daily habit of relying on an external substance to make me feel at ease

My Eczema As a teen

For the first part of my life I lived in a valley in the hills of outer Wellington where there was a lot of dampness, moisture and mould in the air which are common triggers for eczema. When we moved away from the valley in my early teens, to a flat, open and airy suburban area I really noticed that the change of environment had a very positive impact on my eczema, as the land was more open and the sun could dry moisture more effectively meaning there were less airborne allergens around to cope with. At this time I also stopped applying the hydrocortisone cream unless I needed it, and the eczema flare ups in my teenage years were uneventful. I was hopeful that I was going to grow out of eczema once and for all.

But as aforementioned the side effects of orthodox eczema treatments still remained with me, even though the physical symptoms weren’t there. Aesthetically, it was very clear where my problem eczema areas were as my natural olive skin complexion was a few shades lighter where I had been applying the hydrocortisone eczema cream over the years. Emotionally and mentally I struggled with my self-confidence in my teenage years, after relying on pharmaceutical products everyday to make me “feel better” I developed a strong inclination towards dependency whether it be on a product or a person, which eventually lead to depression at the age of 17. I was back in the doctor’s office again and prescribed with a daily dose of orthodox medication, to ease my depression, and on another level to satisfy my addiction to medications.

At 19 years old, I decided it was time for a new start, a time to leave my habits behind, so I packed my bags and I left New Zealand for the beautiful continent of Australia, I arrived in Sydney and after a few months found myself residing at Manly Beach. The difference in climate and weather was a blessing and after a few short months I had put most of my medication away, my eczema was mild and my asthma reduced so dramatically that I almost forgot that I had it at times. I also started surfing and that seemed to be the best natural anti-depressant and external source of happiness that I ever discovered (and it still is).

My Eczema As an adult

After a few years in Sydney, I moved up to the south east of Queensland, and it was here with the even warmer humid air that my lungs sang with joy, and my skin rejoiced, and I happily said goodbye to asthma and eczema for good; or so I thought.

My 1st Pregnancy

After being eczema and asthma free for over 5 years while living on the sunny Gold Coast, I was very surprised when I was pregnant at 32 years old with our son, that eczema entered my world again, and it came back worse than I had ever had it before.

Eczema turned an otherwise pleasant pregnancy to an eczema onslaught, as a child I only had eczema on the backs of my knees and in my elbow creases, now I had eczema all over my legs from top to bottom and patches on my arms. I had been eating a clean vegan diet for a few years prior to this, so the dairy trigger was out of the question, I tried every natural eczema relief cream on the shelf at the health store, I went to see a naturopath, and I thought perhaps it was also an emotional condition, so I tried energetic clearing but all had very little positive effects. Surfing and swimming in the sea became painful as my tortured skin ached in the salt water. I did not want to use any steroid creams as I didn’t want these to harm our baby in utero, so I just persisted with the pain of eczema. My eczema still continued after the birth of our son, I suppose I was so busy being a Mum and I was used to dealing with the pain that I just continued to cope with the intense itching and skin damage.

Our Son’s Eczema

Our Son’s in Eczema

Eczema on our little boys cheeks

A year after our son was born he started to get a rosy red mark on each side of his mouth and slowly it became bumpier and then it was apparent it was eczema. Again I tried every natural cream I could find for his eczema but they did not seem to help. He was unfortunate to pick up impetigo in his eczema and it turned very raw and unwelcoming.

We had to medically treat the impetigo and then we were also given a steroid cream for the eczema. I was hesitant to give him any steroid cream at such a young age and especially on the face, my gut instinct was telling me that there had to be a natural way to heal his eczema. I disposed of the steroid cream knowing that I could heal him without it. I was asking everyone who I met if they knew of any natural eczema healing treatments and I tried all the suggestions.

Finally we had a breakthrough when my Nana stumbled across an article in a magazine about a specific diet for eczema, referring to a book called “The Eczema Diet” by an Australian nutritionist Karen Fischer; I immediately ordered the book and it was at once the most treasured item in our home.

This was the first time in my life that I heard about “salicylates” and how they are present in many fruits and vegetables, and how they can cause and aggravate eczema. So we followed the dietary guidelines in Karen Fischer’s book for my son and myself, and we had success! In 6 months our son’s eczema was gone with a few flare ups here and there, but after 12 months it had completely disappeared and it has never returned; it took will power and trust, but eliminating salicylates really worked. I also followed the diet alongside my son and it really helped my eczema a lot, but unfortunately I was still plagued with eczema more often than not.

My Journey Continues

After the success of healing our son’s eczema with food I was filled with optimism that I would also be able to heal my eczema naturally. However a few years on and I was still dealing with this eczema come back, I needed to find out what other changes that I had to make to manage my own eczema, and to do this it became imperative to monitor my triggers so I could manage my eczema. This monitoring phase lead to the development of our eczema monitor.

After assessing my personal flare up and trigger data I discovered there were a large number of lifestyle factors and choices that were affecting my eczema.

Here are how just a few of them, and how they affect my eczema:

Climate

It became clear after looking at where I was born in a cool-temperate region, and how each time I moved to a warmer climate that an improvement in my eczema was observed, my skin enjoyed the humidity in the air, as it prevented it from drying out. It was becoming clear that the seasons, weather and resulting environment played a big part in my eczema campaign, and still in a sub-tropical environment, I experienced eczema flare up’s. In the humid summer months my eczema backs off and when the dry air with the winter rolls in, so does my eczema. One winter when my eczema was in high flare up mode, we flew to the tropical humid island of Bali and my eczema disappeared for the entire three weeks we were there, upon return the eczema came back. I jokingly suggested to my husband that to cure my eczema I must be on holidays in the tropics for the rest of my life.

Exercise

I love exercising; I exercise everyday, whether it is surfing or yoga or aerobic fitness. But I noticed a pattern occur when I had eczema and I did a high intensity work out, my eczema was more aggravated the higher intensity I trained, as the blood rushed around my body, the areas that had eczema became really hot, inflamed and itchy. So when I had eczema flare up’s I changed my aerobic workouts to include gentle aerobic routines, swimming, walking and bike riding.

However when I do not have eczema on my body, I can practice whatever exercise I like! I realised exercising wasn’t a trigger for me, it did however alter my experience of eczema. In my new awareness of how my body reacted under high intensity work outs, I could exercise everyday even with eczema!

Daily exercise is so important for your body, ensuring that the blood is flowing easily and freely around the body, allowing the body to heal more rapidly. Even if you can take a walk for 20 minutes a day your body and your skin, will thank you for it.

Food

For many years, I ate such a healthy vegetarian diet, I didn’t understand how my diet could be causing eczema or affecting eczema on my skin. But it was when I learnt about salicylates, that are present in many fruits and vegetables, and how they can irritate eczema, that I realised that I really needed to change what I was eating. So I reduced salicylates from my diet but I was still having eczema flare up’s. I was recommended a number of times to read a fantastic book written by a well-known American naturopathic physician Dr Peter J D’Adamo, “Eat Right for Your Type”, and when I did I was really grateful for all of the wonderful research that his father, himself and his team had done on the importance of eating right for your blood type, particularly when faced with physical weakness in the body. It was in those pages where I learnt about how my blood type has a major influence on the way my body absorbs nutrients from foods and how certain foods can be healing and others damaging. I jumped straight into the diet, but first I needed to modify it to make sure the foods were not eczema aggravating, I did this and since then I have seen amazing results. If I have a flare up in the winter I can often reduce the severity of the eczema and see a reduction in symptoms within 24 to 48 hours. Amazing!!

My 2nd Pregnancy

When I fell pregnant for the second time, 4 years after the birth of my first, my eczema resurfaced strongly again. I continued to monitor my eczema triggers to see if anything unusual was triggering my eczema, but it seemed that it must have just been hormonal changes in my body creating the additional flare up’s. I was consciously choosing to mainly eat eczema safe foods and my diligence in this really did help calm the symptoms of eczema.

As I was pregnant and growing new life within, I wanted to make sure I was getting enough valuable nutrients in my diet. I began to research the benefits of drinking nourishing herbal teas and I learnt about all the wonderful healing qualities that organic herbal tea’s can provide. I made a variety of herbal tea infusions, and finally found the right blends that used herbs that soothed the skin, nourished the body’s main organs and they tasted great!

All that I learned from monitoring my eczema and by drinking my nourishing herbal teas really seemed to help me manage the symptoms of my eczema. During this pregnancy, I had eczema, but I did not have the itch or the discomfort associated with eczema flare up’s.

Our Daughter’s Eczema

Our daughter was born healthy and well, however after a few short weeks she developed a small red rash no bigger then a coin on the side of her face. This is a common sight with newborns (think drool rash), so I thought nothing of it. Then a few days later, it went down her neck and on to her chest and the texture became raised and bumpy, and then I knew it was eczema. I immediately went to action, I was exclusively breastfeeding so I ensured that I only ate eczema friendly foods and I drank large amounts of my own blend of eczema relief nourishing herbal tea. It was amazing!! Within two days the intensity of the redness of her eczema was reduced, and within a week it was completely gone! I was elated and knew that from that moment on, I could heal our families eczema, naturally and easily for the rest of our lives!

As we began to introduce food into her diet at 4-6 months of age I made sure that I fed her eczema friendly foods and slowly introduced other foods. However she reacted quite strongly to other foods and her eczema flared up. Her body is very sensitive to salicylates and this made it imperative that we tightly managed her food choices to ensure eczema relief.

My Eczema Today

My eczema today is very predictable. I know when the dry winter air comes that I will experience eczema, and then in the humid summer my skin will be relieved for a few months. Therefore in the winter I nourish my body with delicious eczema safe foods. This heals my skin by strengthening my liver, and as a result my eczema will appear to be very mild, if apparent at all. I am very aware of the foods that trigger my eczema, so I eat these foods very rarely.

If I am on holiday and I am not able to home cook my own eczema safe meals, I make sure I drink plenty of my nourishing organic eczema relief tea everyday. I wear organic cotton or bamboo clothing. For my skincare I use only pure natural oils that are gentle on my skin. I do gentle exercise everyday and I also try and stay relaxed in my day to day life, to ensure my body can function at it’s best for my skin to stay healthy.

I make conscious choices everyday, always considering how products or environments may affect my eczema. I have even made my home eczema friendly! My lifestyle and food choices are all mindful and they are really healthy choices that benefit my body in a number of positive ways. See my natural healing eczema tips page for a growing list of things that I do to stay eczema free.

I really hope that you can improve your eczema too, it really is possible. It does take commitment, courage and effort; but trust me the rewards are worth it. To help you, I have developed this website which I hope to keep up to date with information that may assist you to heal your eczema naturally.

The key step and starting point really is here with the eczema monitor  which is where you will learn about your eczema triggers so you can manage and heal your eczema naturally.

I wrote my natural healing eczema tips page to share as many natural healing ideas with you as possible. You can also try some eczema friendly recipes here.

I want to help you reduce your eczema symptoms and help you heal your skin for the long term health of your body.

Everyone out there can access these tools and start to take charge of their lives!

Be disciplined with your choices, trust that your body will respond. You will see results!

Caroline xo