Graci King shares her 3 year plus journey to investigate gut microbiome and diet solutions for her son’s eczema skin condition. First posted on her site.
I spent a lot of time and money learning about and trying to find a cure for a chronic case of eczema.
Now, I’m passing on everything I learned for FREE OF CHARGE!
Actually, I was thinking if it could help someone else, why not share it?
Disclaimer: I’m obviously not a DR. I have no medical experience or training. In fact, some professionals in the medical field would disagree with me, so there’s that. I do, however, have about 3 1/2 years of life experience in eczema.
What is eczema?
Doctor’s opinion: Eczema is dry skin. Use lotion, lots and lots of thick high quality lotion. Moisturize from the inside out… get him to eat lots of fish.
My opinion: She’s right on the lotion part… eczema gets itchy and when you itch it, it turns into a miserable looking rash so it seemed I should use ointments but they made only a small difference. I took her advice and we lotioned up every 3 hours. I had the timer set on my phone.
His arms were itched raw, bleeding and oozing from wrist to almost his shoulder. Putting lotion on it every 3 hours through the day brought almost clear skin within 1 week.
However, it didn’t fully clear up.
Lotion that worked best for us: Unscented body icing from lemongrass spa. We also learned that the skin adapts to one product so in order to see continued results you need to keep switching out lotions. Different brands, kinds etc.
The moisturizing from the inside out thing… she probably knew what she was talking about but I wasn’t sure how exactly to put that into action.
What causes eczema?
Doctor’s opinion: There is no underlying cause, some people just have naturally dry skin. He’ll probably outgrow it.
Here’s the deal… I don’t do ‘there is no solutions gloom and doom.’ It’s simply too depressing. So, realizing I’m on my own, I set out to find a solution.
My opinion: Eczema or any skin condition is a symptom of an unhealthy gut. I’m not a gut expert and if you start talking about balancing the gut microbiome etc, I will become very confused and will space out in utter boredom.
So, here’s the simple version: processed foods, food dyes, toxins, sugar, antibiotics and probably a whole slew of other things, destroy the ‘good bacteria’ in our gut.
If this ‘good bacteria’ is continuously destroyed but never replaced, the ‘bad bacteria’ will take over and can cause all kinds of physical problems.
Hello skin problems, body aches, fatigue and more…
In our eczema battle I concluded that an unhealthy gut was the cause but other possible causes of skin issues is: problems with the liver or hormone imbalances. I didn’t spend a lot of time on either of these so you’ll have to do your own research if you want more info. Sorry
What exactly causes an unhealthy gut?
Doctor’s opinion: Again… There is no underlying issue, some people simply have dry skin.
My thoughts: Nope. Something is wrong with my child’s body. Skin so dry that he itches it raw is not normal. FOR ANY SKIN TYPE!
(If you want to learn about gut health, find a nutritionist not a medical doctor.)
- Antibiotics. They kill not only the bad gut bacteria but also the good. If you’ve ever had antibiotics you should take probiotics for sure.
- Medications of any kind. Painkillers, prescriptions, over the counter etc. (I didn’t do enough research to explain this one but IMO they mess up your system)
- Food allergies. If your body reacts negatively to something you repeatedly put into it, it eventually starts to wear down your immune system and a weak immune system allows the bad bacteria to over produce.
- Processed foods and food dyes. Our bodies were never meant to digest some of the things we call food. So, it needs to work harder to digest these and again we wear down not only our immune system but every part of the body by eating processed foods. Kinda like putting diesel fuel in a gas car.
- Sugar. Sugar is just all around bad it seems. Do your own research but some studies are claiming that Sugar feeds cancer cells. There’s also studies being done that claim over time sugar kills brain cells and may be the leading cause of Alzheimer’s. There’s also studies that try to refute all of that, so who really knows but currently I stand by opinion. Sugar is bad for your health.
There’s more things that supposedly affect your gut health but those listed are the ones that I believe played a part in in our case of eczema.
How to balance the gut bacteria
Nutritionist’s opinion: Probiotics and a good multivitamin. Plus cut out all processed foods, food dyes and sugar.
My opinion: I agree 100%. Not sure how it all works but probiotics help balance out your gut bacteria. A good multivitamin helps your body run smoothly because it turns out if your body is running low on only one small thing it can actually cause a whole host of problems. (This is why so many multi-level marketing supplement business’s Seem to be good. They are full of vitamins and minerals, but I’m here to tell you that a good quality multivitamin would probably work just as well.)
I have become a bit of a supplement snob. IMO if they have a bunch of added ingredients it kind of defeats the purpose.
Multi- level is a no go for me. Their main focus is money, not product. (That is over simplifying a big subject so stay calm and sell on.) Their products Are probably mostly good but I don’t trust them completely.
Mary Ruth’s Organics (online) is where I get our supplements. To the best of my knowledge she uses all natural, clean ingredients. Most importantly I’ve seen results from her products. They’re pricy but worth it.
Side note: I think most everyone is fine taking a multivitamin but adding in other supplements with out blood tests might not wise because There is such a thing as overdosing on supplements. Google it.
Adding probiotics and vitamins to Kyna’s diet controlled his eczema without the constant lotion regimen but it still didn’t clear up completely.
I do try (and fail a lot) to keep everyone on a Whole Foods, low junk diet around here. And while I feel like it has helped Kynaston’s eczema quite a bit, it still never cleared up completely.
At this point I went down the food intolerances road. I had tried cutting out dairy before but hadn’t seen enough results to consider it worth it. And in case you’re wondering… this is no small feat! Dairy is a vast food group!
After some research, I learned that it can take up to 3 weeks to see results after eliminating a certain food. We’re doing this, I decided, we’re going for It. We cut out milk and yogurt. Just milk to drink. After one week I saw a huge difference in his behavior.
Side note: Here’s what we were dealing with:
• social anxiety
• whining (so much whining)
• pale, washed out skin color
• dark circles under his eyes
• extreme eczema
• and overall he just seemed unhealthy
One week of no dairy and I saw a huge change in behavior although I saw no change in his skin.
We kept going tho because just the Change in behavior was worth. At this point I started noticing that anytime I used milk in a recipe he would be grumpy afterwords.
This is the moment I started Using almond milk in everything. Bye bye dairy.
The process continued and I realized that he reacts to single slice of cheese in a sandwich for lunch. Bye bye cheese.
However, even after a month of no dairy his eczema still hadn’t cleared up. It was much improved tho. And his mood… he was a completely different kid. (At this point he just had really small patches on his arms but behind both knees he had a big patch (covering almost half his leg) of thick rough (alligator like) skin.
Her opinion: possibly food allergies but we can’t know for sure without doing all kinds of tests and he’s a bit young for that. He’ll probably outgrow it.
Her advice was to use steroid cream for 2 weeks, followed by an over the counter cream for one week. Because his body has been fighting this for so long it just needs a little help getting caught up.
She also said we might need to use the over the counter cream for life in order to keep it under control.
My opinion: It’s definitely a food intolerance (side note: there’s a difference between food intolerances and food allergies. Google it.)
She was absolutely right on his body needing help. I was determined not to go down the steroid cream route because using it can cause your skin to become dependent on it. (Google it for more info.)
However, I have no regrets. 3-4 days after starting on this cream his skin was completely clear. His appetite finally increased and he lost that gaunt, undernourished look. No more dark circles under his eyes, no more pale skin. His face looks so different. He has rosy, glowing, healthy cheeks.
I also have no regrets not using steroid creams earlier because until we found the underlying cause it was only going to be a temporary band aid.
I do however refuse to believe that he needs any kind medical cream for the rest of his life. There is always a solution. And if not then we’ll invent one.
And there you have our eczema story. If you’re familiar with eczema, I hope this helps you out somehow.
Here’s some random facts:
• If your baby was born with any kind of medication: c-section, epidural, Pitocin etc. they probably have a gut imbalance. The main symptoms for this are: sugar cravings, getting sick easily and skin rashes. Solution: a good probiotic.
• If you are on any type of medication during pregnancy this can mess up your baby’s gut health. And if mom’s gut health is imbalanced it will effect baby’s gut health.
• Behavior problems such as irritability and whining may be related to a food intolerance or vitamin deficiency.
• I haven’t gone far down this road yet but I’m pretty sure there’s a relation between gut health and ADHD. Myles has always been my wild child… and that is totally his personality. but he is much calmer and more focused since I started him on a multivitamin and probiotics.
• kids not sleeping well, teeth grinding, hyperactivity and even bed wetting may be caused by vitamin deficiency.
• Certain skin types are more prone to eczema (heredity) but I’d say the underlying issue is still gut health.
• If your gut health is off balance for an extended period of time it has probably led to leaky gut. (Google it. My thumbs are tired of typing.)
Conclusion: if you have ANY physical problems start with balancing your gut and your problem will quite possibly disappear.
Good luck, be blessed and live healthy!
by Graci King, July 21, 2021