Childhood Eczema: Natural Strategies to Keep Flare-Ups at Bay


Childhood Eczema: Natural Strategies to Keep Flare-Ups at Bay

May 14, 2014

Blog by: Jenny Daniels

It may sounds sensationalized… but about 1 in 10 children will develop eczema, with symptoms typically appearing before age 5. The good news is, by time they reach their teens, more than half of them will have outgrown the condition. Standard treatment typically involves avoiding triggers that may give way to an outbreak, and medications used to ease symptoms once they have manifested. Conditions like eczema often respond well to natural interventions, and if you are interested in experimenting with such, here are just a few to keep in mind.

Uncovering Food Allergies

While eczema is not an allergic condition, allergic reactions being triggered in the body for other reasons can contribute to eczema flare-ups. Food allergies can be one such culprit—while this term may bring to mind visions of facial swelling or hives, food allergies can manifest in many other ways that affect the body on a much deeper level. If your child is eating foods to which he may be allergic, or at the very least, to which he has a sensitivity, it may be contributing to flare-ups of his condition, as the allergic response triggers inflammation and other processes that contribute to the eczema.

Experiment with cutting certain foods out of his diet—the most common allergens are soy, gluten, dairy, shellfish, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. Essentially, you will eliminate all of these items for a set amount of time, and reintroduce them one at a time and observe the effects. This is called an elimination diet, and it can take a bit, but it well worth the effort. Read up on how to do it properly, or consider consulting with a health care practitioner who is well-versed in using nutrition to improve health.

Curbing Inflammation with Food Choices

As far as diet goes, you don’t want to just focus on eliminating potential allergens;  you want to feed your child an anti-inflammatory diet supplemented with natural oils that target eczema. The foods we eat make a big impact on this process in the body, a process that is necessary, but harmful when it occurs frequently and consistently.

Increase the amount of healthy fats your child eats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are used by the body to create chemicals that fight inflammation in the body. Good sources include salmon and other fatty fish, flaxseed, hempseed and walnuts.

Reduce her consumption of omega-6 fatty acids –while they are not inherently bad for our health, they become problematic when they are eaten in large quantities, which is what usually happens with a standard American diet. Cut back on using oils rich in this fat, like soy, sunflower, corn, safflower and mixed vegetable. Read food labels carefully as these oils are commonly used in many packaged snacks and the like.

When it comes to carbohydrates, focus on whole grains and other unprocessed whole foods; cut back on the sugary treats and drinks. When it comes to fruits, stick to fresh rather than dried versions, and fruit juices, which both have higher concentrations of sugar.

The quick spike in blood sugar and subsequent release of insulin, that happens when we eat quickly digested simple carbohydrates, triggers an inflammatory response in the body.


Several supplements may help keep eczema at bay, but before giving them to children, it is important you educate yourself on potential reactions and suggested dosages. In fact, it is probably best to consult with a doctor experienced in treating children with natural medicine.

·  Fish oil supplements have been shown to reduce production of a particular inflammatory chemical linked to eczema—if you are having trouble working them into your child’s diet, this may be another way to get these important fats.

·  Probiotics may be helpful for treating eczema by boosting the immune system, and keeping allergic reactions at bay that contribute to outbreaks. These supplements may work particularly well in kids for this purpose.

·  Supplements rich in the fatty acid GLA, such as borage oil, evening primrose oil, and black currant oil, may help reduce outbreaks, and ease symptoms once they have erupted, but some studies have shown no benefit.

·  Bromelain, which comes from pineapples, has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

·  Topical treatments containing the following herbs may be beneficial: licorice, chamomile, calendula, witch hazel, chickweed, St. John’s wort and marigold.

When trying to treat your child’s eczema through natural means, it is important you are patient, and willing to possibly go through a bit of trial and error as not all treatments will work for all children

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