Today we are sharing baby Graham's story thanks to his beautiful mum Lindsey.
Australia is among the countries with the highest prevalence of eczema. Recent research conducted at the University of Melbourne showed that around one in three infants (38.5%) suffer from eczema. Eczema can have such a significant impact on their lives and the lives of their parents and other siblings. Karen's passion for helping people with skin disorders actually began when her baby developed eczema, which worsened by the age of two. With Karen's knowledge and understanding of nutritional biochemistry, she designed ‘The Eczema Diet’ and the ‘Skin Friend’ supplement for her daughter which healed her skin.
Babies will commonly develop eczema due to their undeveloped immune system - reacting to an allergen possibly either a food (think dairy!) or something in their environment.
The positive news is that there are things you can do to help your little one's eczema. Providing foods that will support their immune system and gut flora and staying away from the ‘itchy dozen’ worst foods for eczema and skin products that can potentially irritate your child’s skin is essential.
Graham developed eczema at around 2 months of age. Lindsey and her husband sampled nearly every over the counter cream and oil available, but nothing soothed that redness and itch.
In January of 2020, at 4 months, he developed a severe skin infection on his left cheek. He was taken to a children's hospital where he was prescribed topical steroids Triamsinalone and Hydrocortisone. These creams were used for only 2 weeks however, after discontinuing use, Graham started showing signs of Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW).
“Topical steroid withdrawal has by far been the hardest season of our lives.”
At around 6 months of age, Lindsey was able to slowly introduce solids, and this became a significant step in supporting his skin healing while going through TSW. He commenced having eczema-friendly fruit and veggie smoothies of pears, bananas, and sweet potato.
Graham's healing was not a quick process, and this healing process remains ongoing. Eczema and TSW, particularly in babies are complex conditions and unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. However, by using nourishing eczema-friendly foods, natural, hydrating skin products, and lots of cuddles, Graham’s skin continues to improve.
At 12 months, Graham was able to start taking Skin Friend AM and PM and this was also significant in his healing journey. In the morning Linsey would add AM to his smoothie and in the evening, she would give him Skin Friend PM with a little water through a syringe.
“He’s never had one single problem taking the vitamins and I know that they have helped him heal so much.”
Linsey didn't take Skin Friend AM and PM while breastfeeding, but she now feels that this may have been beneficial.
Nutritionist Karen Fischer explains that during breastfeeding, your body has increased nutritional requirements in order to nourish both your baby and you. So, taking extra vitamins and minerals can be an important part of this routine. Calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin C, and a range of B vitamins are particularly important during this time.
Karen often prescribed Skin Friend to her patients who were breastfeeding. Either the baby has eczema (and the supplements are taken by the mother to enhance her milk quality) or the mother has severe eczema and it is affecting her quality of life and she is prescribed the Skin Friend supplements to boost her nutrition and calm her skin.
If you are taking medications and breastfeeding, we suggest checking with your doctor to see if you can take multivitamin/mineral supplements while on your medications. With your doctor's support, it would be safe to take the Skin Friend supplements.
“Graham’s skin is healing every day. He has a lot of food allergies, so along with avoiding those and following the eczema friendly diet, and taking both AM & PM, his skin has improved so much. He still has eczema flares every now and then - mostly when he is teething. Our dry climate is a constant challenge as well. But his flares are less intense and are shorter than they used to be. His bad days now are better than what his good days used to be.”
To other parents struggling who have a child with eczema, Lindsey says...
“Be patient and get to the root cause. Don’t settle for the quick fixes that are likely to cause much bigger issues in the long run! Natural is almost always better. Unfortunately, eczema doesn’t heal overnight, and it can be a long, hard, exhausting road, but your baby is worth it!”
Thank you to Lindsey and Graham (what a cutie!) for sharing their story with us.
Much love (and happy skin)!
Article by nutritionist Bonnie, who works with Karen Fischer at The Healthy Skin Kitchen.