Alternatives to Steroids for Eczema in Kids & Adults

Natural Eczema Treatment

Anyone with eczema can testify to the quick speed with which most doctors are ready to dispense prescriptions for steroid creams. However, an increasing number of people are turning a skeptical eye towards this conventional approach to treatment and questioning steroids’ safety. These creams are absorbed into the body through the skin. There are strict maximums on steroid dosages due to potential side effects, which children are particularly prone to. Although regarded by many as a benign medication, steroid creams can actually cause growth restriction for children, thinning of the skin, depigmentation, contact dermatitis, stretchmarks, and more. Although there are cases where eczema requires medical treatment, there are safer alternatives to steroid creams that can be tried first.

The first “treatment” to try for eczema is not a treatment at all but rather prevention via the identification of eczema triggers. Take a look at what some factors might be in causing the appearance or worsening of eczema. This includes infections; very hot or very cold weather; environmental allergens such as pollen, mold, dust, or pets; skin exposure to substances that can irritate the skin, such as many soaps and laundry detergents, body care products, and cleaning products. Even emotional stress can cause an eczema flare. Changing hormone levels may also trigger it, as can certain foods (whether or not you have a truly allergy to them).

The second natural approach that can be taken to treat eczema is the use of chemical-free moisturizers, emollients and oils to sooth the skin and deeply moisturize it, as well as protecting it from weather changes and irritants. When Ora’s Amazing Herbal was first launched, two of our first products were our All-Purpose Salve and Touchy Skin Salve. These were initially created by founder Ora Assayag to treat her own child’s severe eczema in order to avoid resorting to the antibiotics and corticosteroids suggested by doctors. Ora quickly discovered these salves were effective for the treatment of eczema and extremely dry skin, didn’t cause stinging for people with irritated and sensitive skin, and provided a protective barrier for people engaging in work or play that can irritate and dry out the skin, in addition to having many healing properties. They can be applied to a child’s exposed skin before going out into the cold or heat, used to treat rough, dry or irritated patches of skin, and can even be effective for cradle cap. Consider giving safe salves and healing oils a try before resorting to medical treatments that may cause as many problems as they solve.

5 Things You Need to Know About Gluten-Free Skincare Products

You have no doubt noticed an astounding array of new gluten-free offerings popping up on grocery store shelves and at restaurants as awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance have grown. But did you know that there’s another gluten-free trend that goes hand and hand with gluten-free diets? It’s important for anyone with celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, gluten-reactive eczema or gluten intolerance to keep the following things in mind:

  1. You eat more shampoo and face wash than you realize!
    These products frequently drip down your face and into your mouth along with water. Many shampoos and face washes include various wheat proteins, barley and oat extracts, and other gluten-containing ingredients.
  2. Use soap and bodywash that is clean for your insides and your outsides.
    Soap and bodywash residue remains on your hands, which you then use to eat and wipe your mouth. It is only natural that one would want to make sure these products, too, are free of any ingredients that compromise your body’s wellness.
  3. Your mom told you not to eat that delicious flavored Chapstick™, but you still do.
    Lip balms and lipsticks frequently contain gluten. As you go about your day you consume more of it than you might realize. One study that found that lipstick use was corrollated with rates of systemic lupus erythematosus found that lipstick wearers consume an average of 60 milligrams of it a day. Lip balm wearers likely consume a similar quantity. Make sure any lip product you choose is as gluten-free as your food!
  4. Gluten can cause eczema flare-ups and rashes.
    Ingestion is not the only way that gluten can irritate the body. There are some people who find that applying skin creams that are not gluten-free cause skin problems… Whether it causes you or your child’s eczema to flare up or leads to an itchy contact rash, you may find that gluten-free lotions and oils help moisturize without irritating.
  5. Gluten hides in skincare products under a lot of sneaky pseudonyms.
    Ingredients sometimes found in skincare products that should be avoided by gluten-free individuals include avena sateva (oat) extract, hordeum vulgare (barley) extract, wheat germ oil, wheat amino acids, hydrolized wheat starch, triticum aestivum, triticum carthlicum, triticum durum, and triticum vulgare. You can avoid these ingredients by purchasing your skincare products from a company that is 100% gluten-free such as Ora’s Amazing Herbals.

Breina Gidseg is a mother of five and is a nutritionist, health and wellness writer, recipe developer and cooking teacher based in New Jersey.

Do NOT Put THAT On Your Skin!

Shea Butter

It seems intuitive that using natural and pure skincare and clean eating are the same thing. Everything that goes on your skin gets absorbed through your skin to your underlying adipose (fat) cells, to your blood, and from there to your whole body.

When I cook food, I do not add Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, or Propylparaben. When I shop at the store I read ingredients, and when I see things like yellow #5, which are known to accumulate over time in the body, I do not purchase those products.

For me, the same goes with skincare. So when formulating my new Ultra Healing Body Butter, it was a no-brainer to select ingredients that I want absorbed into my body.

Shea Butter
Shea butter is an all-natural ingredient made from the nuts of karite nut trees (Butyrospermum parkii or “butter seed”) that grow wild in the savannah regions of West and East Africa. I particularly love the addition of shea butter in this formula, for a few reasons. Obviously the way it feels and how well it works are the first reason. The next is its high nutrient density, vitamins A and E and essential fatty acids, to be specific. Shea butter can be used on babies and pets without any concerns, and feels delicious from the minute it goes on until hours later. It is often used for eczema, stretch mark preventions and minimizing, razor bumps, and plain ol’ dry skin and hair. Organic unrefined shea butter has a buttery texture and nutty scent, as well as an approximate SPF of 6.

Complementing organic shea butter with apricot kernel, castor, and my herbal infused base oil, gives me all the elements I could imagine wanting in a body butter.

I love to take a long hot shower or bath, scrub down, and then after drying off and body powdering, use my face serum and body butter. My skin is fed, I am a whole new me.

My skin is truly clean and happy. And so am I.

Oy! It’s Eczema And Allergy Season Again?

Herbal Skin Care - Ora's Amazing Herbal

A Time To Itch And Wheeze, A Time To Shmear And Breathe

In our house, the eczema comes and goes, just like the weather. Come to think of it, it comes and goes with the weather. When the flowers bloom and the temperature goes up, the sneezes and scratches are likely to follow. Here is what we do for the kids in our house that are prone to allergies, asthma, and eczema.

Try to avoid dairy and sugar. I know, it’s a bummer during ice cream season, but dairy is the #1 food sensitivity associated with both asthma and eczema. Sugar is a known irritant in addition to suppressing the immune system. The main real danger of eczema is infection, so we want to keep our immune systems strong.

Eat lots of veggies, the darker and more colorful the better. I don’t want to explain this one again any more than you want to read about it, so let’s move on, shall we?

Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Wet is the opposite of dry. In order to keep skin from getting dry it helps to keep the whole body hydrated.

Fragrance free everything. Even the green laundry detergent that we use that only has essential oils in it, can irritate our reactive ones when their systems are agitated. We switch to the unscented version for this season.

Essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants. There are a million ways to supplement these nutrients, but the most important thing we have found is that consistency is the most important. We do a yummy real foods based chewable that the kids always come asking for that is very high in vitamin C and flavonoids. We also do a lemon flavored liquid cod liver oil. With 4 kids, we simply can’t keep any of the fancy chewable fish oil pills in stock! Just keep the bottle in the fridge and act like it’s the best treat in the world. Take some with them every time too to make it look good. We do this anti-inflammatory regimen year round but I really try to be more mindful to do it daily during this time.

Nettles (Urtica dioica) and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) seem to be the two most important herbs in our house for this season. I buy them in bulk and keep a pitcher of iced tea sweetened with raw honey in the fridge and bring it out at meal time. I put about 2 cups of dried nettles (don’t touch with your bare hands, it stings) and 1/4 cup licorice in a 1/2 gallon mason jar of hot water. Steep covered for a few hours then strain, add a little raw honey or maple syrup and fresh lemon and chill. If it tastes too strong for you, you can always add water. Delicious and quenching.

Shmear them down. Doing a daily or twice daily shmear of all the areas prone to dry and irritated skin, really makes a huge difference. My bigger kids have their own jar of herbal infused salve, and I just make sure to remind them to shmear. My little one still gets the mommy spa treatment. Applying an herbal salve regularly gives the herbs a chance to work their magic so waiting for kids to complain doesn’t do anyone any favors. Just like you wouldn’t brush your teeth every three days and expect a good dentist visit, you have to be diligent with the shmear. Keeping both internal and external inflammation down requires maintenance. Make sure that whatever you use is free of those toxic parabens and/or petroleum based products.

So there you have it. Nothing ground breaking here, just a couple of good reminders on how to keep touchy skin happy during the weather change. Have a happy spring!

Ora Assayag loves creating simple and pure but effective concoctions for the skin, tummy, and soul. Ora’s Amazing Herbal, natural skincare for the whole family.

– Ora Assayag, Ora’sAmazingHerbal.com

Our little one loves her Touchy Skin Salve
Our little one loves her Touchy Skin Salve