Andrea Klopf, RN BSN
Is it gone for good? Is she cured? We sure hope so! My tough toddler has battled eczema for her first 21 months of life. She was born with a dime sized dry area in the crease of her right ankle. Within days of life, she had breakouts to her face and trunk. Instead of skin to skin, I had to keep a thin cotton baby blanket between us to protect her. Even that didn’t work well; my body heat alone caused red, irritating flareups. At 10 weeks old, she was officially diagnosed with eczema by her pediatrician. The typical, unhelpful recommendations were made. I was told she would likely battle it forever. This was unsettling, as I knew from experience how uncomfortable this condition can be, and I feared asthma and allergies may be in her future as well. At 16 months, the baby eczema evolved into toddler eczema. She now had angry red, raised patches to the backs of both thighs. She continued to have a slightly raised, dry rash to her trunk. She scratched incessantly.
How could this happen? We live a clean, organic lifestyle. I eat plenty of good, healthy fats and probiotics. I never use dryer sheets, scented detergents or toxic body care. I only had eczema flare-ups to my wrists in winter months due to scrubbing my hands all day at work. The genetic tendency was there, but I refused to believe there was nothing I could do. Once diagnosed, I started giving her Carlson labs baby vitamin d drops (400 iu) and Klaire labs infant probiotics (1/4 tsp). I applied topical treatments, detailed below, with each diaper change and kept her legs covered in loose cotton clothing. Humidifiers ran day and night to maintain about 60% humidity. Nothing worked! However, after three weeks of fermented cod liver oil, her legs are completely clear. Only skin discoloration remains reminding us of her battle. The following recaps her month of treatment and results. During this time, I started taking 2 teaspoons FCLO as I’m still nursing and have a history with skin conditions and food sensitivities as well. Her cradle cap she’s had since very young is also gone.
Monday:1/8 teaspoon Green Pasture non-flavored Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) by mouth (PO), to her disgust
Tuesday: 1/4 tsp FCLO PO
Wednesday: started administering 1/2 tsp PO daily
Week 2 (started applying FCLO topically as well, to my husband’s disgust)
Wednesday: right leg completely clear; left leg drastically improved but still itches
Friday: left leg with nickel size area of redness; still itches
Saturday: We left for family vacation to Florida and I wasn’t about to check liquid FCLO with our clothes, so I brought capsules in my carryon. I took 10-12 capsules a day and applied one to her affected areas once to twice daily. There’s no way possible to administer the capsules PO to her. Even administering the liquid doesn’t come without trials and tribulations. Ill discuss those later. Ugh. As noted above, my daughter’s skin loves humidity so I wasn’t anticipating too much of a set back.
Week 3 (in Florida)
Thursday: both legs completely clear with no desire to scratch!
Week 4 (home)
Monday: resumed PO administration
Tuesday: left leg with nickel size area of redness; itches
Thursday: left leg with pink nickel sized area; no desire to scratch
Saturday: both legs clear; no itch
continuing FCLO PO; no eczema; no itching
As a pediatric registered nurse, I was very concerned about administering what may be considered a “high dose” of vitamin A, as in FCLO, to my toddler. However, I knew from my own personal experiences, the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals are arbitrary and do not apply to all. According to Dr. Campbell-McBride and the Gut and Psychology Syndrome, vitamin A deficiency can cause “leaky gut and malabsorption” (www.gapsdiet.com). Then, in turn, the gut has difficulty absorbing vitamin A. Food sensitivities occur when foods “leak” from the gut into the bloodstream igniting an immune response. What is eczema? Eczema is an immune system over-reaction to something. Occasionally, the response is obvious, following dairy based formula for example. Most of the time, it is not. If all the mom’s out there knew what that “something” was, as it is different for nearly everyone, that would at least be helpful. However, allergy testing often fails to identify the culprits and food sensitivity testing is expensive and not covered by most insurances. So, the goal was to patch up the gut the best way possible. According to GAPS, vitamin A can do just that. Synthetic retinoids are toxic as is the case with Accutane, the popular acne medication, and whole foods sources of vitamins are better absorbed than from vitamin supplements.
Fermented cod liver oil has been considered a superfood for centuries by Roman soldiers and Nordic people’s. Green Pasture brand is recommended by the Weston A. Price Foundation as a safe source of FCLO, as it is third party tested for heavy metals and contaminates. The Green Pasture website provides recommended dosage ranges by age. I purchased this product from healthygoods.com. It is also available for sale on the Green Pasture website. Various blogs offer tips for disguising FCLO. My daughter could not be fooled. The best way has been to pull something up in the syringe with it, like black elderberry syrup in winter months or maple syrup, if you’re really nice. Then, I sneak up while she’s eating something and say “Ok, it’s time for medicine.” I quickly deliver the goods in her cheek while allowing her to swallow, and then we do a victory dance. She returns to eating and drinks water to wash it all away.
Fermented cod liver oil was certainly not the first intervention tested to heal her eczema. The following details what was trialed and if it was helpful or not. My daughter continues to take the vitamin d and probiotics in addition to the FCLO. I still do not use cleansers in the bath, and moisturize with rose hip oil and raw shea butter.
Green Pasture Fermented cod liver oil
Helpful for daily management before improvement:
Dead sea salt baths (short and Luke warm)
Rose hip oil
Raw shea butter following baths and with diaper changes
Homeopathic allergy PO
Gaia black elderberry syrup – noted when she was sick
No known visible effect:
Carlson labs vitamin D
Klaire labs infant probiotics
Great Lakes hydrolyzed collagen
organic bone broth
Lavender (doTerra and Young Living)
Baking soda bath
Barleans evening primrose oil
North American herb and spice Purely-E
Indoor swimming pools (chlorine) – dried skin
Dr. Bronners baby mild castile soap