The following is a guest post by my new friend Henrieta, mama and owner/creator of Charlotte’s Bum Butter. My own daughter Gabrielle started suffering from eczema this Fall, when she was 5 months old. It was heart breaking to see her so uncomfortable. We went to the paediatrician and were prescribed steroid cream, but she had a reaction and actually started vomiting after a few applications (we learned later that can be a side effect).
We were desperate. I connected with Henrieta and found her information on eczema so very helpful. Her bum butter has made a huge difference, as has cutting out eggs from our daughter’s diet – even though we were told by the doctor that diet has no impact on eczema. It seemed like a good time to learn more about this common issue! Thanks so much Henrieta for sharing your knowledge!
Skin is the largest organ of the human body. And despite us often thinking that it separates us from the world, the opposite is true. Our skin connects us to our environment, to other people, to life outside of our bodies. It’s a complex, intelligent organ that is made up of multiple layers. And it does a lot more than just wrapping itself around our bodies.
Being uncomfortable in your skin can feel like a torture, and all of us have at some point experienced the pain of having skin that is not happy.
I started a cosmetic business after learning that my baby girl was not so unique in having multiple skin issues within days of birth. The skin of babies is delicate and different in structure from the skin of adults. It’s 5x more permeable than adult skin. Baby acne, cradle cap, eczema are some of the most common issues we see. I was one of the stressed-out moms looking at my baby, doing whatever I could to help and failing miserably. When the doctor put a prescription for steroid cream in my hand and I picked it up from the pharmacy and read the ingredients in it, I drew a line.
There hasn’t been enough research done in the field of eczema. Our bodies are blamed, and we are told it’s an autoimmune issue. The space age treatment of applying mineral oil-based product with powerful steroids on a few month-old’s baby seemed like a very lazy way of covering up a real problem. I started looking for other solutions, none of which brought any results and so I searched and learned and experimented in my kitchen until I had a product that was finally making a difference.
Most babies get eczema around 3-4 months after birth or as the indoor heating season approaches. For many it is a temporary issue that over time improves and does not return. In my opinion, this is the skin learning how much oil to produce and dealing with new environmental challenges. The best solution is to bathe without soaps and apply emollient moisturizer at least once a day. My motto is “Keep calm and Butter up!”
Avoid creams that list water as the first ingredient, because despite labels of dermatologist recommended claims, they contain synthetic polymers and powerful preservatives that are known skin irritants and sensitizers.
For some babies the problem persists and even gets worse. In that case I recommend you pick up the Liver Rescue by Anthony William, or the Medical Medium as he is known on social media. Anthony’s theory is that skin issues like eczema are a result of a struggling liver.
Eczema, he believes, is a reaction of the liver to copper and mercury stored there, that interacts with a dormant virus, most likely one of the strains of EBV. The virus produces a derma toxin which then causes a reaction like eczema. Our skin purges dermatoxins to take the burden off the liver and the result is dry, itchy skin or weeping painful skin. Your baby probably inherited the heavy metals from you. Copper can come from water pipes, pesticides and mercury, which was commonly used as an ingredient in dental fillings. You may have inherited these from your mother too and your liver never got the opportunity to eliminate it.
There are a few ways to deal with this issue, or more accurately help to alleviate the symptoms.
- Eliminate environmental toxins. This can be quite a challenge, since a lot of clothing is infused with fire retardants and fabric brighteners. Organic cotton and bamboo may be the best way to go. Emma Rohman right here in Toronto has a great little business called Green at Home. Her blog and FB group “the Green Product Forum” gives tips on making our homes greener and cleaner.
- Topical support for the skin. Coming from someone who tried everything under the Sun and ended up creating my own butter: petrolatum or mineral oil based products are not the answer. Our bodies were not designed to handle this kind of oil. Besides, mineral oil is a suspected endocrine disruptor – it causes more allergic reactions and dries the skin with long term use. Healthy baby skin is 5x more absorbent to begin with and inflamed and broken skin is even more permeable. Our bodies have no solution for the elimination of mineral oil, which has to pass through the liver to get eliminated. Unlike adult skin, baby skin is structured from saturated fatty acids. Using the right moisturizer is key. Unlike olive oil and beeswax for example, cocoa butter has small enough molecules to penetrate baby skin and nourish it from the deepest layers. That’s why we use 40% of crude organic Cocoa Butter in our formulas.
- Clean up your diet. Formula fed babies are given limited choices, but the amazing book “Super Nutrition for babies” written by a nutritionist and paediatrician has an entire chapter on different types of home-made formulas. Breast fed babies rely on their mom’s nutrition, and by avoiding foods that feed the viruses, such as dairy and eggs, we can improve the situation. Anthony William has a long catalogue of nutritional recipes that support the liver, including a heavy metal detox smoothie to help eliminate the trouble makers from our bodies.
- Reduce your stress. Eating healthy foods, regular exercise and meditation is a huge help. Try to reduce your consumption of coffee as it is a stressor for your body. Coffee forces our adrenal glands to produce stress hormones which get processed and neutralized by the liver, putting further burden on it. This not only translates in the quality of your breast milk, but in your own anxiety level. I don’t know if you have noticed yet, but babies are so in tune with their mothers; they basically feel everything we feel. Your stress becomes your baby’s stress. It’s not only the toxins from unhealthy food their livers have to process from your milk, but also your stress hormones too. We think babies don’t deal with stress! Not true! The process of development is a stressful one. New functions of the body kick in and surprise them with their intensity. Pain of growing teeth and digestion is extremely stressful for a baby, as well as your distress. Uncomfortable skin is yet another one. So take care of yourself first mama, to take care of your baby!
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge Henrieta! Check out Charlotte’s Bum Butter here!