Eczema 101 – a personal journey

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.)

My opinion:

  1. 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.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Food Intolerances…

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)

• irritability

• pale, washed out skin color

• underweight

• 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.

Hello dermatologist.

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

‘The stay at home mom who got too comfortable staying home…’ – Social Anxiety & Motherhood

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Better Than I Know Myself by Anna Vanes ©

The many pressures of parenthood include disruption to social life and the need to enter new social relationships and interactions. For parents who suffer social anxiety, this can cause increased stress and guilt and other emotional difficulties as their struggles with their illness impact not only themselves but their child too.

Parenthood requires social interaction for themselves and on behalf of a child with medical professionals, their administrators, educators, carers and so on. This places new and urgent pressures, as blogger, Chloe Lawrence writes: “I now have to push myself to be that outgoing person, I have to speak to people, go to appointments, speak on the telephone because who else is going to do that for my daughter?”

Additionally, there is the need for parents to interact with other parents for the benefit of themselves and their child’s socialisation. A blogger and mother who calls herself the “40 something housewife,” writes recently of her ‘failure’: “Last night I should have gone out to meet some other mums from my daughters class. I didn’t go, I just couldn’t do it. I can usually get past my social anxiety, I don’t like it but I will do it. Last night I just couldn’t. I let my thoughts get in the way of taking action. I imagined myself feeling awkward and uncomfortable, not being able to hear people properly and not knowing what to say. I shouldn’t have done that. It didn’t help that I didn’t really know most of the Mums going which made me even more anxious.”

Another mother, Kat, writes about fear of attending social events for her son: “In the three years that Joshua has been at nursery, he has received many invites to parties, and we’ve only managed to attend one, and that was only because I knew the mum from baby groups and they live up the road from us.”

Kat, who is an aerialist, considers herself to have overcome most but not all of her social anxiety, writes of her doubts: “What if this means that I don’t fit in with the yummy mummies at nursery; the ladies that lunch and their soccer mom cars? What do I even talk about with them? I can’t talk like I would with my close friends, as chat consists largely of pole-atics, penis jokes, swearing, toilet humour, how Tom Ellis would definitely be on our “list”, and how if we came back in another life it would be as a rainbow unicorn who farts glitter.”

Under the title, “the stay at home mom who got too comfortable staying at home,” (linked below) Alisha Jimenez, describes her sense of narrowing of her identity, having been out of paid work for some time, raising her family: “Hearing their wonderful stories about recent travels, latest jobs news and opportunities, newest ventures, I feel like a total outcast. I have nothing to speak for besides my kids newest milestones, latest school achievements or new found interest. Then theres that moment when they redirect the question, “so, what have you been up to? or what do you do”, and well I simply just state that I am a stay at home mom.”

“After almost any type of social situation,” she adds, “I get a ringing sadness that just doesn’t let up until my shame of being so unworthy subsides. So mostly, I don’t even try to get deep friendships.”

Alisha not only struggles with social anxiety-like symptoms but, also, a sense of social stigma: “They do not see me, they just see the run down clothes I wear almost every day because they are the only ones that fit and are convenient enough to move around in, the same bun hairstyle because I lack time and interest in putting forth effort to make myself look good, the dull darkened face because I lost my own ‘light’, the mom in me. I chose this life and I adore my children, but sometimes I just wish to be looked at as more than the stay at home mom who got too comfortable staying home.”

Despite her fear and sense of having fallen behind whilst outside of the paid workforce, Alisha, is planning to work as an educator: “What people don’t see is the continuous stress to find a job that would give me a chance to prove myself worthy of teaching, the late nights spent on creating lessons and imagining what kind of teacher I would be, the many nights searching for ideas on Pinterest putting together my perfect classroom, the list of “todos” I have to complete to become an effective teacher in NYC.”

“40 something housewife,” is seeking to forgive herself for ‘failure’, whilst going for walks with her partner and finding creative activities to do with her children, one of whom currently has chicken pox – precluding them from social gatherings for now: “I have read that the more creative things you do, the more creative you become. So there will be an upside to being socially isolated, I am determined!”

Kat managed to attend the birthday party with her son, Joshua, held at a softplay centre. Despite difficulties, she found that: “the other parents were pretty much just normal people. OK, a lot of them had David Lloyd memberships and interactive home Peloton bikes, but they still talked about how much they can’t stand Frozen and the time their kid stuck a crayon up their nose.”

Finances, anxiety and lack of amenities are all challenges, as blogger, Chloe Lawrence, who is preparing to return to her nursing course after maternity leave and prior sick leave, writes: “People say to me to take Edie to all these different places but taking her out costs money, and some weeks I can barely afford petrol in the car so I have to try not waste it! I walk into town with her to get us out the house but there is only so much you can do in a small town like ours, especially by yourself. Id like to take her to more baby groups but my social anxiety really gets in the way and I just can’t bare the thought of turning up there by myself, then I feel guilty because I feel like she is missing out all because of the way I feel.”

Each parent with social anxiety or other mental health issues has a journey that is different. Meeting new people, especially, unfamiliar and in group settings is often challenging. Difficulties give rise to guilt and can leave one feeling lesser, unworthy and alienated. Support, whether through a partner, friends, counselor or medical expert is essential, especially, in smaller group or one-to-one settings for the benefit of parent and child. Whilst not considered ‘a job,’ caring for a child is often overlooked essential work necessary for the health of society.

Image designed by Anna Vanes.

To read Alisha Jimenez’s full blog-post on her blog, click below.

AJimenez

I sometimes feel like I suffer from social anxiety. I get nervous in new surroundings and communicating with people. Hearing their wonderful stories about recent travels, latest jobs news and opportunities, newest ventures, I feel like a total outcast. I have nothing to speak for besides my kids newest milestones, latest school achievements or new found interest. Then theres that moment when they redirect the question, “so, what have you been up to? or what do you do”, and well I simply just state that I am a stay at home mom. Compared to the manager, medical, top sales job titles that surround me, mines just sounds so, well, un progressive. Do not get me wrong I love being with my children, but, being home for so long has made me question my own capabilities outside of laundry and cooking duties. I sometimes forget that I even graduated college and…

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“Child-Free” — The Choice and the Pressure on Women

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Izaya Orihara by Anna Vanes ©

A woman who chooses not to have children faces being questioned and doubted by friends, colleagues, family and strangers. When mental health difficulties play a part in this decision, the questioning and doubting can take on a more intrusive nature.

The blogger, whose post, “Child-free,” is linked below, describes her frustration with dealing with, apparently, well-meaning proponents of reproduction: “We’re not having children,” I’d say. I thought the women who were asking would understand as most of them were mothers and would get that parenting wasn’t for everybody, but very few were accepting of the fact that I didn’t want to be a mother. I’d get responses like “Oh, you’re still young enough to change your mind”, “You’ll change your mind”, “Never say never”, “Its different when it’s your own!”, and other responses that suggested that my non-existent maternal switch would magically flip on one day and I’ll be crazy for babies.

One by one, she retorts to the common urgings she hears: “Other women have tried convincing me they used to be just like me until they took an embryo to the uterine lining. I highly doubt any of them had tokophobia (on top of depression, anxiety, and Asperger’s) that brings on horrific nightmares about being pregnant, sensory issues with children screaming or crying, a stockpile of Plan B just in case a regular birth control pill is missed due to human error, and a plan to abort if the oral contraceptives and condoms fail.”

Some women do choose to raise families whilst experiencing mental health difficulties, such as social anxiety symptoms. The choice is a personal one which involves a look at a range of factors from severity of symptoms to financial situation, to the most crucial, preference: “The world acts like pregnancy is the best thing a woman can experience and that it is the ultimate bringer of joy. It’s 2020: Isn’t it about damn time we stop pretending that children are these magical creatures that bring eternal happiness to everyone and just accept that not all women are going to find having them rewarding?”

Society’s expectation that all women have children and become mothers is deep-rooted and, inevitably, must relate to an innate desire to reproduce that many have. One wonders, however, if, in part, it is, also – especially, in the case of nosey strangers – a desire to see women occupied by childcare and not challenging society’s mores and power structures – which they supposedly will find more easy if child-less.

To read the full blog-post and other intriguing tales from the blogger’s life working in a food store in the US, click below.

An old man rode up to our deli counter in one of the store’s electric scooter carts. I felt my liberal bleeding heart cringe at the sight of the “Trump 2020 Keep America Great” cap perched atop his head, but that didn’t stop me from giving the polite customer service I would give to anyone […]

via Child-Free — Don’t Worry…Do Your Best!

Image designed by Anna Vanes.

“What No One Tells You About Mental Health and Pregnancy” — Medication During Pregnancy

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Header with Oreuis by Anna Vanes ©

During pregnancy, the risks of taking antidepressant medication, including selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), must be balanced against the risk to the mother and the foetus of withdrawal symptoms from ceasing intake, including depression and anxiety symptoms.

In the detailed personal account linked below, US military partner, Summer, living in Germany, followed her doctor’s advice, at six weeks, to stop taking Zoloft (Sertraline), an SSRI that she had been on for over three years – as well as Topamax, for her migraines. Whilst she does not state what the doctor’s reasoning was, she writes, having conducted her own research: “Zoloft is not as dangerous to the fetus, but it has been shown to cause withdrawals in the baby immediately after birth (like excessive crying). Topamax has up to a 3% chance of causing cleft lip and/or cleft palate if taken during the first trimester. (Source: FDA).”

The severe withdrawal symptoms of headaches, nausea and vomiting meant that Summer eventually resumed taking Zoloft. After discussions with a psychiatrist, she was put on the maximum dosage of 200 mg: ” The research seemed inconclusive as to the risks for the baby, but even more so, the risk of becoming severely depressed could be even more harmful to the baby.”

She describes feeling better and being more active but continued to experience vomiting and social anxiety about doing so in public. She also says that she lost enjoyment in doing activities she normally enjoys. At the time of writing the account, she was 24 weeks pregnant and still struggling with anxiety and sickness but describes having a routine and being physically active.

The dilemma of taking antidepressant medication during pregnancy is one that should be raised with all women who are prescribed. Withdrawal from SSRIs is recommended to be done gradually, to reduce withdrawal symptoms. In England, the health service advises that: “As a precaution, antidepressants are not usually recommended for most pregnant women, especially during the early stages of a pregnancy. This is because they might be dangerous for your baby. But exceptions can be made if the risks – including of taking Citalopram and/or Sertaline – posed by depression (or other mental health conditions) outweigh any potential risks of treatment.”

Image designed by Anna Vanes.
For stock image and other credits, click here.

To read the full blog-post by Summer on her blog, OutsideThisSmallTown.com, click the link below.

Pregnancy comes with a range of emotions — highs and lows. While it’s a beautiful thing bringing life into this world, the toll it can take on a first-time mother isn’t something commonly discussed. I want to tell you about my personal experience — my first and second trimester of pregnancy and the mental, emotional, […]

via What No One Tells You About Mental Health and Pregnancy — Outside This Small Town