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
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:
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.
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.
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!!