Eczema: Solving the Underlying Causes, Part 2


Over the past month or so, I’ve been sharing on the topic of eczema, and how to naturally and holistically approach it in order to bring both relief and healing. If you missed any of the past posts, here they are:

Eczema: What is it and what causes it?
Bringing Relief to the Discomfort
Solving the Underlying Causes, Part 1

4) Try Food Eliminations

Eczema as a reaction to a food allergy or sensitivity is very, very common. Some of the most common food suspects are: Wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, shellfish, tomatoes, strawberries, and citrus, though there can be other culprits as well.

Often, these are not true allergies, but rather something that the body has become sensitive to through poor digestion, improper preparation or simply an inability to properly assimilate that particular food. By removing these foods temporarily from the diet, and working to heal the digestive system during that time, many of them can safely be reintroduced with no further problems.

If you have access to a good Naturopath, I would highly recommend a visit to one. They are able to provide detailed food sensitivity testing (such as a Vega or other similar test), and this often highlights sensitivities that you might not have otherwise considered. An alternative would be to have conventional allergy testing done.

If none of these options are available to you, or you would prefer to just do it yourself, you can do an elimination diet (see this
for a fairly good explanation of how to do an elimination diet). The basic idea is that you eliminate all common allergens for a period of time, and then slowly, one by one, reintroduce them and watch carefully for reactions.

While undertaking a diet like this, it’s important to strengthen the body and the immune system, and some good ways to do this are to: avoid all refined grains and sugar, take a probiotic supplement (such as acidophilus, or even better, one that contains several different strains of good bacteria), focus on eating nutrient-dense foods and also on getting plenty of fiber and water for good elimination. All of these things will help to heal a weakened digestive system.

5) Consider Detoxification

Though we are unclear of exactly where the toxins have come from, this seems to be one of the major issues for my son. We do our best to avoid toxins in our home, but we are still continually exposed to them through the water supply, the air, the foods we eat (we don’t eat perfectly, 100% organic, and even if we did, there are still traces of pesticides and other chemicals from the environment that we can’t control), etc. His body seems to have a particularly hard time flushing those toxins out, so that has been our main focus in his treatments.

Supporting the liver, gallbladder, and digestive system are very important, which we did using homeopathics and probiotic supplements. We’ve also used blood detoxifiers, which included more homeopathics and certain foods that aid with this (especially leafy greens, anything with chlorophyll and also chlorella). We’ve taken out foods that he was reacting to sensitively, to allow his gut to heal, and to give his body one less thing to have to deal with while trying to flush the toxins.

When you have to take this approach, know that it usually gets worse before it gets better. We’ve been working at it for about 3 months (less intensely in the last month), and we’ve seen it flare up much worse during that time. Now it’s starting to calm
down a lot more, but we also realize that the toxins aren’t all gone yet. We’ve recently started him on a couple of new things and are continuing on again with some previous ones, so (as I expected) it briefly flared up again, but I am hopeful that we are starting to see it heal more thoroughly.

**Just a note on this- If you are unsure of what you are doing in either food eliminations and especially with detoxification, and quite frankly most of us are (myself included), I would work with a trusted naturopath, certified nutritionist or herbalist, or naturally-minded doctor on this, especially when it is with an infant or child!

This was the last of the series on eczema. Obviously, it’s not going to answer every question or concern, and is not completely comprehensive in offering solutions, as it is only from my own personal experience and study. I hope, though, that it’s given more food for thought and perhaps some ideas for next steps to take. Thank you for all of your wonderful feedback throughout the series!

Any thoughts on these last two underlying causes? Have you dealt with either of these in particular, and what was the route that you took in addressing them? Was it successful?

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Priscilla says:

    Any suggestions how to find a trusted naturopath, certified nutritionist or herbalist, or naturally-minded doctor in my area?

    Thank U!

  2. The information you are posting here is priceless. Thanks a ton!

  3. I’ve been reading your blog and It’s really good. Always great advice.

  4. I just had to stop and say thank you, I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times over, but you were indeed an answer to a prayer. We’ve struggled with my 1yo son’s eczema since he was 3 months old. Not knowing any better, we put and kept him on steroid creams for more than 6 months, twice a day, per his pediatricians advice. He completely quit growing, not only that, but he quit having wet diapers and was hospitalized, which could or could not have had anything to do with steroids, he quit progressing. At 9 months old he couldn’t even sit up, between 6 and 9 months old, he went from weighing 18lbs to 15lbs. We were so upset and had no idea what to do. I did research and the first thing I did was throw the steroids out the door, the second thing was find a new pediatrician. Since then we’ve been on a “quest” of sorts to figure out what we could do for him. We’ve had him allergy tested, and he is allergic to many things. Since being off the steroids he has slowly caught up, but is still very small for his age, and still having trouble walking. Thank you, thank you for all your advice….I’ve read so much all over the internet, but nobody has ever laid it out as clearly as you have. I’m looking forward to trying out several of your reccomendations.

    God Bless,
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Dairy Free Rice Krispies Treats =-.

  5. You have no idea how well timed this post was for me today. Due to several mishaps this weekend my 2 yod ended up eating some homemade ice cream. It took 3 days but the eczema came back with a vengeance today. It was bad enough that when he got a bug bite last night, he body was so overrun with the toxins from the ice cream that his little hand swelled up to twice it’s size. I ended up at the dr this morning. I am so thankful for her because she very holistic in her approach to medicine. She’s just as baffled over his issues as I am simply because we don’t vaccinate, he’s never received antibiotics, and our diet is pretty good. Anyway, I have been walking through much of what you are talking about for a long time with other children and now him. It was just so well timed to let me know that I do not walk through these issues alone. There are others who are struggling and wrestling as well.

    God Bless,


  6. Eczema is normally discovered with children that are newly born. It is a good thing that it is discovered early so parents can avoid any accidents in the future.

  7. Thank you Stephanie for all the helpful insights. I emailed you a while back asking for help for my 1 year old son. Since then I have been doing what you described in this post–eliminating the most common allergens and slowly adding them back in. At one point we were down to just veggies and rice, as I had no idea what was causing his eczema! I am still nursing, so that was his major source of nutrition. I have figured out that he has a reaction to sesame and perhaps soy sauce (I use it occasionally in stir-frys). His eczema is slowly clearing up and right now just looks like patches of dry skin. I am so thankful! I am continuing to be careful about what I give him. I have stopped buying any pretzels and crackers. I know sesame is in alot of processed foods or they are processed on the same line, so I will have to be careful. Thanks again for all the help!

  8. I appreciate all your insight as this is something I’m trying to learn about. My fourteen month old son has had very mild ezcema on his abdomen and behind his knees since he started on solids around nine months old. In the last three weeks(around the time we weaned) it has gotten much worse, now all over his back and on his chest. I never notice him itching at it so I don’t think it is too uncomfortable but I decided this weekend though to take him off all dairy and see if that improves it. The elimination diet seems a little much for him at this point so I may go the opposite way, removing one thing at a time instead of all at once.

  9. Thank you!!! My middle child has chronic eczema that has seemed to flare over that past three months. This information came is very timely as I was just at the natural food store looking for some natural remedies for him. He has some allergies that have been diagnosed at various times since he was 18 months old. These allergies/sensitivities include all nuts, milk, soy and some environmental ones as well. So again THANK YOU for these articles.


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