Friday, April 15, 2011

Eczema and Alkaline Water and Epsom Salt and Cerave Cream, Oh My

We've got issues.

We've got a nut allergy.  And a rash which started as little red patches on my son's arms, but has turned into a horrific, two-year long nightmare.

It's eczema, and it's severe.  And it makes me cry every day.

And you could go crazy trying to eradicate any and every thing that could possibly be causing it.  Should we rip out the carpet?  Are the bed sheets organic cotton?  Is it the detergent?  Could it be the dye they used on the sheets?   Maybe it's the pillows, or the grass?  It seems worse after some meals-- is it the milk?  or the fruit?  or broccoli?   Could it be artificial food colors, or possibly natural food colors (or "colours" for my Aussie friends)?  Seriously, I don't want to bore you, but this kind of useless banter could go on and on for days-- or longer.

And dermatologists are crap.  Of course, if you are a dermatologist reading this and are offended, please feel free to tell me what you suggest to treat eczema.  And should your advice relieve my child's eczema I will retract this statement, and publicly, profusely apologize to all dermatologists whose feelings I may have hurt.

Back to dermatologists being crap, dermatologists seem to think it's okay to slather a young child in steroid ointments and call it a day... even if it means the condition comes back two weeks later with a vengeance.  And if you even mention fish oil or, god forbid, anything natural to them, they'll look at you and vehemently insist there is no proof that any of these things help.  I am generalizing, but I have seen several and they appear to be clones of one another.  And considering that my wonderful sister is a pediatric acupuncturist and Dr. of Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, I have an amazing advocate in my corner.

Anyway, in my search for a cure for eczema, I've recently learned about acidity and alkalinity in the body, and the not so easy balancing act required to "get alkaline". We've even purchased this contraption which, if I'm understanding this correctly, electrocutes your water with magnets and sparkles, then divides molecules and something else, and ultimately dispenses magic water that is high in alkaline, or conversely, water high in acidity.   And if you read up on this magic Kangen water, you will quickly find out that the different levels of alkaline or acidity can be used to do things you never imagined you can do with water... like sterilize things (not people) and wash fruit.  Well you can wash fruit with regular water too, but not half as well :).

And so now in our house we are drinking the Kangen water kool-aid.  A water so perfect, and delicious, and molecularly amazing, that we just cannot get enough.

This water is like crack.

And my children have even mastered using the countertop (that's "benchtop" for my Aussies) Levelux Kangen water machine, and can choose their own level of Kangen water, so they can make their own kiddie-water-crack.

The other thing we've done recently (in addition to the numerous supplements, and coconut oil slatherings, and kinesiology appointments), is that we're taking baths in Epsom Salt.

Epsom salt, like witch hazel (which I've used for about 20 years as my face cleanser), is old, tried, and true blue.  So what does Epsom salt do?  The answer is more like-- what does Epsom salt NOT do???

Epsom salt is actually Magnesium Sulfate, which according to my close friend, Google, numerous studies show that magnesium deficiency is the root of all evil, and is potentially a factor in many, many childhood epidemics-- including autism, ADHD, asthma, and last but not least, eczema.   In fact, the benefits of Epsom salt don't stop there... magnesium helps the neurological system function mo bettah.  It alleviates arthritis, can help Alzheimer's patients, and improves circulation.  Seriously, the list goes on and on and on.

Apparently, magnesium is difficult for our bodies to absorb when taken in supplement form, but interestingly enough, it is easily and best absorbed through our skin.  So needless to say, we are bathing in it, a cup of Epsom salt and a spoon of coconut oil and a lot of lukewarm water-- it's like a party in a tub.

So this is where we're at, drinking Kangen alkaline water to neutralize acidity inside, and bathing in Epsom salt to extract toxins and do other things to "fix" us.

Bottom line is, we are going to close this eczema chapter.  No seriously, we are.  I fully support the notion that eczema needs to be treated "from the inside out",  and that, my friends, is exactly what we're going to do.

As I massage lotions and ointments into the red splotches, I tell my baby again, and it's something we talk about often-- everyone's got something.  And we are lucky that our "something" is what it is.  Our conversation then often turns to whether or not we'd want to trade our problems, for someone else's, and some of the issues other children and/ or adults may face.  And even at this young age he understands, and I reassure him-- this may be hard, but it's only for now.   We are totally going to kick eczema's ass... very, very soon.  For real. 

** Update January 2012 **  Our eczema is 100% gone.  In saying that I should note we don't even allow the word to be uttered in our house.  Cerave Cream is an absolute godsend.  Please try this cream on your children or yourselves or anyone who is suffering.  Yes it will sting for about 1 minute if your skin is irritated, but after a few days there will be no stinging because your skin will be in repair mode!



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42 comments:

Dina said...

I think you're a brilliant mom. I love how you did your own research, and found something to help your kids. You're making me want to run out for some Epsom salt.

I think it's unfortunate when doctors are so quick to dismiss any type of alternative medicine.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Thanks Dina, that means a lot to me. As you know I've got lots of alternative medicine support-- very lucky in that respect!

Michelle said...

Hey, girl. I love that you address the "Our problems aren't so bad" way of looking at it. It sounds like it's a pain but you're handling it amazingly well.

ChiTown Girl said...

Thanks for the education about epsom salts. I've recently been purchasing it by the pallet for another reason, but I'm glad to see it has so many other applications. Actually, just this week, I saw on a tv show here that it can also be used to treat dandruff. I've been trying to get my son to relent and let me try it on him.

PamelaRose said...

A job well done, Laura.

steck said...

A few weeks ago, I went to the dermatologist to have a huge skin tag removed from my back. She asked me where it was -- I thought it was obvious. She then proceeded to use liquid nitrogen to freeze off a half-dozen of those puppies from my back.

I got home and checked out her handiwork in the mirror. She'd missed the huge one! She was nice and all ... but still cr*p.

Jen said...

wow!! thats amazing! I am going out right now to get me some epsom salts!! And yes, you are right up there with hands on mums, good job :)
P.s. can you buy it by the barrelload?? lol

Anonymous said...

If you're interested, there's a product on the market called "Billie Goat Soap" made especially for people with Eczema. It's organic and made from goat's milk and it came about from a mother's attempt to soothe her son's eczema. Here's the link: http://www.billiegoatsoap.com.au/

And shops that stock it:
http://www.billiegoatsoap.com.au/stockists.php

The NSW shops start about 1/4 of the way down. Hope it helps!

Jenny said...

We have our own awful eczema battle going on right now- so I feel your pain. I'm pretty convinced it's an allergy to something but I have no idea what. Have you seen any results from the magic water and salty baths? I, too, am willing to try just about anything at this point.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Jen- If you find it by the barrel load please let me know!

Anonymous- I have the Billie Goat soap in a pump, but used it for myself at the sink, as I ultimately was too scared to use it on him with his dairy sensitivity. Smells nice.

Jenny- Not sure which one of yours, or how badly they have it, but I'd definitely recommend getting some calendula ointment from a health store and trying it on the spot/s. If it's more than just a little-- call me. I think the Kangen water is making a huge difference in combination with the baths and fish oil supplements (Nordic Naturals only-- or Carlson in the US) I believe that together they are helping rid his body of acidity-- though there certainly are foods that set him off. Any of these things take 2-12 wks to really see a major difference, but we are there now (I think). If it's just a little spot you may want to just zap it with the cortisone and be done with it-- or call me and I can give you the name of someone who is very helpful, our kinesiologist and NAET treatments.

Brady Stump said...

Enjoyed the blog post!

Marvin the Martian said...

Fascinating! I'm so glad you're making progress! I'm a firm believer in a patient being able to find their own solution more easily than a doctor can.

Erin Maggie said...

Awesome post. Awesome mom. Period. xo

Anonymous said...

My Mum stumbled on your post. I am currently suffering from widespread eczema and psoriasis. I have started bathing in Epsom salts, just in the last week. I would love to talk to you about how long it took, and other questions I have. My email address is meelou07@hotmail.com if you could please contact me.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Anonymous- I've sent you an email...

Jenn Brigole said...

Thanks for sharing this knowledge and your experience with this problem. I definitely feel for you and to those people who feel frustrated at not knowing what exactly is causing the pain of a/their child. And I applaud you for saying it as it is. Just because they have a thing that says "licensed" under their name, doesn't mean they can refute alternative, "unproven", medicines. Keep it up! :)

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Jenn- Thanks, I agree-- and cannot understand why some doctors refuse to accept that there are natural remedies which can be even more effective!

Anonymous said...

hi
i suffer from eczema very badly allovermy body and ihave researched alkaline water.. so u would recommend it for sure??

my email is carrsydney@hotmail.com
would love to hear from you and if you could help me overcome eczema..thx so much

charleston forge furniture said...

I have wanted to start writing in my site like that. I will add your rss feed.

Jillian said...

I am an American living in Australia also, a few hours north of Sydney. I came across your blog while I was searching to see if Costco has some of my favourite American food. I am 23 and have had eczema since I can remember! Painful, covering 90% of my body at times, eczema. And they told me it would go away as I got older, and it never did. Finally they decided to test me for allergies, only took 22 years of hell!! Nickel and chrome. Now you wouldn't think this is in much you eat/drink. But oh it is!! As soon as I went on a nickel free diet (about a month to clear it all up) I am now basically eczema free. I haven't had to use bad steroid creams or predinsone or anything.Worth getting him patch tested. Or just trying a nickel free diet for a month. It is hard since there is no chocolate, potatoes, legumes, nuts, anything whole grain/whole wheat allowed. But trust me it is so worth it to have clear skin and not be itchy always!! Hope it helps!!!!!

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Anonymous- The verdict is still out for us on whether the alkaline water has helped! sorry I'm not more helpful!

Jillian- thanks so much for that info-- I will ask our naturopath to muscle test him for it next week!!! Also have you heard of NAET? You can actually eliminate the allergy to nickel-- it is really working for us with other things he's allergic to.. if you find some naturopaths in your areas you may want to look into that, it's amazing.

Stephanie said...

Well Hello Florida Girl in Sydney-
I have to say I have been a fan of the site since January of 2009, when I was gearing up to move to Melbourne with my partner. All that great advice, and observation was really useful, and felt like I was geting a good taste of OZ.Well I am here now, in Melbs, looking at another blog that I frequent"extinguishing eczema" and there you are again in comments. I am an acupuncturist and NAET practitioner here, after doing it for 5 years over in LA. I thought there she is again! I was wondering how your son's treatment is/was going? And who is your son's practitioner?
thanks for all,
Stephanie

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Hi Stephanie, that is so funny, what a coincidence-- damn eczema!
We go to Polly Wilkie here in Sydney, the NAET treatments were recommended to me by my sister-- who is an acupuncturist in San Francisco-- specializing in Pediatrics, she interned for years with a famous pediatric acupuncturist-- Randall Neustadter?? (I think)? Anyway, we did NAET for yeast a week and a half ago and wow, that is not fun-- he has been red and super cranky for 10 days now. rrr. Well I hope you are enjoying Melbourne and if you have any advice on the eczema front-- I'm all ears! We currently are on a regime of calendula ointment and Dermeze. Taking a probiotic called Probiozyme, taking D-hist Jr (from the US), Nordic Naturals fish oil, vitamin E capsule, D3, and ionic Zinc-- wow, when I type all that out, it sounds pretty WOW. Sooo any tips? Keep in touch! Laura

Stephanie said...

Hi Laura
you are probably in good hands between your sister and the practitioner- what your doing/taking is exactly what I would recommend. I can tell you he probably didn't pass yeast, from that reaction he is having now. Might be better to retreat sooner than later. I am sure your NAET practitioner has told you, but is there anything that your son craves/loves to eat? always a good place to look. It can be tomatoes,c it can be yogurt, it can be anything as what we are allergic to we usually crave,and eczema can so often be allergies.

How did the milk go? did you reintroduce it?

Naet can be slow and steady, but for children especially it can work wonders. Does your sister do it as well?

On another note- how good is the chocolate here compared to the US?! Know you don't love the food here, but the chocolate (swoon).Might be my allergy ;)

Corliflower said...

Dont you find it amazing that with all the progress in medicine, there is still no cure for eczema? I am 49, and have raised an eczema baby who turned 18 this year. I firmly believe that the answer lies in what we put into our bodies. I have developed severe eczema over the past two years, and I'm currently on a severe liver detox for my skin. You cannot imagine what it looks like...I have only two clear spots on my entire body. Check out www.healing-oil.co.za
Started using the oil and ointment last night, and this morning my skin seems a lot less inflamed. Will keep you posted on the results.

Katie said...

After reading you post, I feel like we have the same child. We have been trying to get our 8 year old eczema under control for years and it just seems to be getting worse. We are now traveling 500 miles, one way, to see an allergy specialist because of her eczema. She has allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts, walnuts, coconuts, mushrooms and wheat. Those are the foods that we had to eliminate completely and there is a list that she can only eat every 3-4 days, but can't have everyday. She also has to stay indoors and cannot join her friends at recess because of an allergy to the mold in the air right now. We have tried Kangan water and recently stopped using it because we were on a trial basis. When using the water, she was improving. We haven't had the Kangan water for about 2-3 weeks and her condition is worsening again. We have decided to purchase the machine since it was obviously helping. I went and bought Epsom salt tonight! I have shared your post with 2 people tonight and almost start to cry. I know there are many worse problems out there, but I hate seeing my little girl in pain and so uncomfortable. I am wondering which model of the Kangan water machine you purchased? Do you use the Kangan water for baths too? I wish you and your family the best of luck on your journey to health.
Katie

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Hi Katie,
I'm not sure which country you are in-- but we have really good news, his eczema is about 85% gone! We really changed our routine and it immediately made a difference. We were just drinking the alkaline water and doing the things listed in my post.

This is our new routine:

We spray the ph6 (beauty water setting) on him in the morning, then put a new cream called Cerave (please read the amazon.com reviews).

Then during the day we spray the ph6 water on him face to toe and let it air dry (I know this goes against everything I thought you do for eczema). If it's convienent I sometimes apply the Cerave cream during the middle of the day too.

Then at night we've got a rainshow'r shower filter to remove chlorine from water. He's using Cerave wash in the shower. After his shower we dry his off, spray him again with the ph6 water and apply the Cerave.

I put regular PJs on him, until the cream is fully absorbed, them right before he goes to bed we change him into Dermasilk brand PJs. They are very expensive and by prescription in Europe-- but you can order them in Australia now-- and in the US you can order them from Canada or the UK-- they are considered a medical device for skin conditions and they are amazing. Because he had it badly on the top of his feet, he wears the Dermasilk socks to bed, then sometime during the night he tosses them off. If you want to discuss it more please email me at flgirlinsydney@gmail.com.

I think we are now using the best three products I've found in the Enagic Kangen machine, Cerave cream, and Dermasilk garments... but it is my mission to defeat eczema and to share any info I find on it! Wishing you much luck-- but please do email me on this.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

And btw, we just purchased a new kangen machine in the US -- the stainless steel finish one, and I must say it's really pretty, which is good since it's front and center in my kitchen :)

Anonymous said...

HI there Laura!
I realise you moved! wow- good luck in San Fran- such a beautiful city. You get all the good ones! ;)

I was checking in with you about the NAEt- did you find the treatments helpful in the long run?

thanks and good luck to you and the fam!
Stephanie

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Stephanie- just looking thru here, saw your comment and wanted to let you know that our eczema is GONE!!! The kangen "beauty water" sprayed one, Cerave, and Dermasilk Pajamas seem to have worked for us-- we also take a dairy-free probiotic and Nordic Naturals with D3. Also, we don't do dairy. I am a true believer now in the Kangen water and Beauty water to balance acidity. I hope this may be helpful to someone else too! All the best, Laura <3

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Stephanie- And I have no idea if the NAET treatments also helped? Or may have been a catalyst??

minos said...

Can I also mention A2 milk. It might be that some eczema is not exactly a 'dairy' issue. A2 milk, like goats milk, has a different chemical composition. So you might not show up as lactose intolerant, but could still react badly to 'normal' Australian or US milk. See the A2 website at www.a2milk.com.au/for relevant scientific papers, and Prof Keith Woodford's book, Devil in the Milk, 2007 (which links non-A2 milk to a number of severe diseases). My family had bad stomach pains and other symptoms and since we have changed to A2 milk these symptoms have disappeared. And it tastes good. Worth a try.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Currently I have such a bad flare up of eczema on my hands. I have been prescribed steroids but find that it gives me really bad flare ups once I stop using it. I would like to try epsom salt for my hands and am just wondering where to purchase it. Also I plan to use a small container for it. Do you know the ratio for water:epsom salt? also how long do you soak it in for and hot water or warm water for how many times a day? thank you so much. ALso I heard that apple cider vinegar wiht baking soda is good for alkalizing...

Milica said...

Hello,
I'm sad to share that I think my father -in -law died as a result of drinking the water from his $2000 unit which was wired into his plumbing & water service.

There is alot of information avaialble on the net which goes over the initial research in Japan which recipeints used the water for only a few weeks with health benefits & that longterm use was very destructive to tissues & internal organs.

My father in law was using his unit for more than a year & died from an aortic dissection.

I wish you good health... I was brought to your webblog bc I'm interested in Epsom salts for treating growing pains in a 7yr old boy.
Kind Regards M

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Just an update here-- our eczema is gone!!! I believe spraying the "beauty" acidic water on our eczema and drinking the alkaline kangen water did help us.

But just as importantly I believe using Cerave cream (from the tub) also was a major factor in getting rid of it-- I applied it 2x per day morning and after nightly shower and after about a month it was about 70-80% gone, after a few months 100%. We use Crisco shortening for a face moisturizer and Cerave AM cream for sunscreen.

I hope this helps someone!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Florida Girl/Mum,

Your eczema post draws me here as I have a 3-yr boy suffering from this; after many attempts to put off this 'fire' I narrowed down the experiences gathered across different parents and your method, which I believe can relief (if not fully cure) this nasty thing.
I am in the process of selecting the Kangen machine but there are quite a number of brands available. I wonder whether yours work well after some time use? Do you need to change the filter often? What is the your machine model? As my wife is a Japanese she has already learnt from her family that this acidic water can relief the skin irritation and redness. I can assure that your assertion about this beauty water does work like magic! I am not sure whether I should drink the alkaline water though if I happen to purchase one. I just need the machine to produce me the acidic water for many uses...

In regards to curing the eczema from the "inside out" approach you probably need to boost up your children's internal systems so that they are always strong enough to do the body regulation job (like detox). One of the Chinese way is to consume a mild herb on a regular basis. If you are interested I will write you the Chinese name (perhaps I can find the English name as well) about these herbs.

Thanks for your post! I cannot agree with you more.."inside out" approach + the Kangen water / Epsom salt... (I will need to try out the Epsom salt on my 3-year old)...will share later.

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

Hi Anonymous- If you want some more info about the Kangen machine or how we finally got rid of the eczema, please email me at flgirlinsydney@gmail.com

Florida Girl In Sydney said...

anonymous, by the way- my sister is a Dr. of Chinese Medicine

Julian said...

Awesome post, I suffered from eczema and then psoriasis for most of my life until I found it was coconut, particularly in toothpaste (used twice a day my whole life!) that was causing it!
There is an answer out there you just have to find it :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Florida Girl,

I am the anonymous living in Sydney...I have sent you an email two weeks ago but I believe the email has been sitting in your junk box. I resend another one today and hopefully you can pick it up.

I appreciate that if you can share with me more about your approach in tackling this eczema as my son's itchness every night has made me mad... Thanks!

sensitive 2 said...

check out NAET for all allergies and senstivities and in fact all long standing health issues. Naturopath Alicia Harris is a well trained practitioner (Coogee in Sydney) others may not be. NAET is a wide ranging and very thorough allergy testing and treatment system not well known in Australia, developed in USA.Alicia gets you onto good water and good diet and NAET can deal with food, environmental, noise, sensitivities plus has had good results with CFS and other illnesses of our age.

Dano1000 said...

Great advice! I will definitely try this and provide feedback if if works. Thank you.

I would like to point out however that Doctors are wonderful and help people all over the world every day. I had a kidney stone and some say the pain is worse than labor w/o the spinal block. Pain was 10/10 and if it weren't for the ER staff and wonderful doctor, I would have suffered miserably. If you and your family ever plan to use a hospital, ER, or if you develop something like cancer or an unknown, you will no doubt go see a doctor. My dad is getting bypass surgery and w/o the help of his doctor, his life would be in jeopardy.

Hope you continue to have success with your son's eczema. I will be back to report on your findings.