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Ah, poor baby!  Eczema patches, which are not contagious, can be quite dry and itchy, with the skin sometimes cracking and weeping.  There are many possible causes of eczema, so it’s important to treat the localized patches of irritated skin, as well as to look for the deeper cause of the eczema and address that.

First, let’s soothe the irritated skin. A salve containing Calendula and/or Saint John’s Wort will be immediately moistening and healing.  Some herbalists recommend Evening Primrose Oil, too.  I find that reapplying a healing massage oil or salve regularly is important, because these patches dry out quickly. A poultice can be made with Comfrey leaves and Chickweed, or Coltsfoot leaves.  You can make a pot of tea from dried Red clover & Calendula flowers and pour the tea into the child’s bathwater.  Another wonderful bath to moisten the dry skin & relieve itching is an Oatmeal bath.  Cook a large pot of Oatmeal, using two or three times the usual amount of water, so that the Oatmeal is very runny.  Strain the slippery concoction and add the liquid to the bathwater.   You might want to switch to Oatmeal soap.  You might want to reduce the frequency of bathing, too, since daily baths or showers can dry out the skin.  Well-known herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar recommends a combination of Valerian, Echinacea and Burdock tinctures to promote relaxation and reduce itching.

There are several reasons your child might have eczema, including common food allergies or intolerances.  Wheat, cow milk, eggs, tomatoes, peppers, and chocolate are some of the most common culprits, so you might try eliminating each of those foods for a few weeks and seeing if the skin irritation begins to clear up.  Eczema is sometimes a sign of a nutritional deficiency.  Be certain your child is getting a healthful diet of whole foods, lots of vegetables and high quality fats, including olive oil and butter.  Highly nutritious herbs such as Nettles, Red Clover, Burdock and Kelp may also be very helpful.  If the adrenal glands need some support, or your child also has trouble with constipation, you might try a little Licorice root glycerite.  Avoid fried foods and sugary foods.

Eczema can also be caused by contact with various chemicals found in many cleaning products, laundry detergents and bubble bath products.  Look for natural products to use instead.  Some people are sensitive to synthetic fibers used in clothing.  These same synthetic fibers can be found in bedding, carpets, and even your child’s stuffed animals!  Even wool can cause irritated skin for some. You might want to use cotton products whenever possible.  Eczema can be caused by dust mite allergy, or be an allergic reaction to animal dander.  As you can see, the cause can be difficult to uncover!  With a little persistence and help from a holistic healthcare provider, you should be able to solve the mystery.  Good luck!

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