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How we treat eczema naturally with diet modification

Posted on: by Kate
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me as a Thrive Ambassador on behalf of Kaiser Permanente Orange County. I am not a doctor and do not provide individual medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any medical decisions. All opinions are 100% my own.

how we treat eczema naturally

I have been doing a lot of research about food sensitivities and allergies recently. It’s fascinating.  Our youngest daughter has had severe eczema from about three months of age on. We desperately wanted to treat eczema naturally, but had no idea where to start. While the internet can be overwhelming, it has given me so many things to consider.  As a Thrive Ambassador for Kaiser I was recently given the opportunity to speak with Kaiser Permanente Registered Dietician Kimi McAdams, MS.  I was so thankful to be able to speak with someone about our unique situation.  There is such a range when it comes to allergies and food sensitivities. While the internet can be helpful, I highly suggest speaking with a professional about your individual needs.  Below is how we have proceeded with the guidance of a nutritionist, but please consult your doctor first.

We learned just last year that dairy was the culprit of our daughter’s eczema rash. We have found that simply avoiding dairy keeps eczema away. What we thought might be a huge lifestyle change turns out to be very small.  In all the years of her struggle with eczema, allergies were never brought up in our pediatrician’s office.  We researched on our own and found that one way to treat eczema naturally and without medicine is to modify the sufferer’s diet. This seemed like such a simple answer, it was crazy that our doctor never mentioned allergies or food sensitivities.

baby eczema

For years steroid cream was our pediatrician at the time’s answer.  “This is so easy to treat, here you go!” he would say while scribbling away on his prescription pad. “Is there something else we can try? Something natural?” I would ask.  Shrugging he would say “Maybe, but we know this cream will make it go away.”  To his credit, the eczema did always go away, but it always came back.

As a mother I wanted to do more than just treat the inflammation, I wanted to eliminate the source.  Our doctor at the time dismissed me saying it could be so many things and cream worked fine. Because he wasn’t helping us find the source I decided to research what might be causing eczema on my own. From what I gathered, it appears eczema can be caused by several different things; diet being one of them.  Apparently gluten and dairy are very often the culprit.  We decided to try eliminating dairy first.  Friends and articles seemed in agreement that change should happen in the next few weeks if she had an allergy to dairy.  Within three days the eczema that had plagued her for more than four years was completely cleared up. Coincidence some may say.

Kaiser Permanente teaches that preventative care is essential. Some might be quick to say treating the symptom is as easy as a pill or cream.  I personally wanted to get to the root of the problem and treat it before we had symptoms.  It seems simple. Every person is different and some people just shouldn’t have certain foods. Our poor girl’s body was fighting against dairy all that time. The answer to her healing was simply to avoid dairy. For us, it really is that simple.

When I spoke with Kimi McAdams she reaffirmed this. Kaiser encourages staying active, eating healthy, and living well.  Eating healthy is important and while there are standard guidelines, for some those guidelines need to be tweaked. I found it refreshing and validating to speak with someone who believes that preventative care is best. She encouraged us to be positive and supportive about our daughter’s new dietary restrictions.  In solidarity we now have a dairy free home.  We offer fun dairy alternatives.  We talk about how awesome it is to live without ‘itchies’ on our skin.  Eating healthy isn’t a chore, and it has so many benefits.

eczema free skin

If your kiddo is anything like ours, you might be cringing at the idea of trying to eliminate dairy.  Little Miss C ate a steady diet of dairy.  She ate yogurt with breakfast, loved cheese sticks, and ice cream was her favorite dessert.  Believe it or not, many dairy alternatives are such good mimics the transition was almost effortless.  Coconut milk is our favorite, vanilla flavored is a special treat. Several nut or coconut based faux cheeses make great snacks as is and even melt on pizzas.  Almond based yogurts are our favorites.  While we thought we might only find milk substitutes at fancy stores, we have found them at big box and even discount stores! We even found a chain pizza place that offers a dairy free cheese for their pizzas for only $1 more.  The first week had a learning curve, but we would never look back!

One exciting thing that Kimi McAdams shared with us is that sometimes dairy allergies can be outgrown.  She stressed that there is lots of different research on the matter, but that it is worth investigating with your doctor. She shared that one day we may be able to take all the dairy out of her diet for some time, including the minuscule ingredients in bakery items, etc.  Apparently once a body that has a dairy allergy has a complete rest from that allergen, it can sometimes have that item introduced!  She said this is not something to be done with peanut, fish, or gluten allergies, but there is promising research with dairy.  While we may never want to reintroduce dairy at all, we found that exciting for the future.  I am thankful to have a registered dietician on call if and when we decide to give it a try.

dairy free

*A huge thank you to Kimi McAdams, MS for taking the time to talk with me about our daughter’s individual needs. If you or your child is suffering from eczema I encourage you to speak with a dietician and your doctor. Every case is different, but I am so glad our answer was so simple!*









Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: 22 Responses
  1. candy says:

    Glad to know there is finally something other than cream to help. My husband suffered as a child for awhile.

  2. Awe! This is super helpful! I had a few friends growing up with chronic eczema and always wondered how to naturally treat it. Thank you for sharing with us.


  3. Shannon says:

    Wow, I am for sure going to look into this. My little 3 year old suffers from mild eczema. He does have allergies and he gets it on his legs. It can get bad sometimes and look like he’s been attacked by ants! He LOVES all things milk and everything you mentioned.

    • kate says:

      Shannon – poor kiddo!! We have found that once we were looking there were LOTS of fun dairy free options – (unsponsored gush – daiya cheese is pretty good) – we have found that cashew based ice cream is very creamy and a great sub – we always had cheese sandwiches but now we do turkey or pb and banana or jelly – we have ‘fake dairy’ as a fun special treat now – but it’s not a huge deal anymore, living wo ‘itchies’ makes her really happy so it isn’t the worst thing in the world – give it a try!

  4. Tara says:

    Your little ones are adorable. I am so glad you figured out what you needed to do. We tried to eliminate dairy to see if it would help our son, but I guess his has a different cause.

    • kate says:

      Ah bummer to go through the elimination process and it not work! I know it isn’t always diet, but our dietician said if dairy isn’t the culprit it is sometimes gluten – but of course there are many other reasons too! I hope you can find something – sometimes kids outgrow it once they are adults too! Thank you for stopping by =)

  5. Andrea says:

    there are so many dairy-free alternatives out there

  6. Emily says:

    I’m so glad you were able to find answers for your daughter’s eczema! My first child had it for a little bit and it was miserable!

  7. Tiffany says:

    My daughter is now 15 and her eczema was minor until kinder/1st grade it flared once really bad. We used what we had at home and got several prescriptions, the last strongest one bleached her skin. We found out that her trigger was eating foods/drinks with red dye. This seemed to bring on the tingling itchiness then red bumpy rash. Her eczema seemed to have minor flare ups since. However, since starting Middle/Highschool it has returned with a vegence. So now at 15 we think stress is a trigger too. Thanks for the article.

  8. Samantha @ Momma Wants Java says:

    That is so awesome! We are in the same situation. We have brought it up with our pediatrician and he just scribbles out a prescription. I will definitely look into this, as all three of our kids have eczema. I’m so glad this worked out for your adorable little girl!

    • kate says:

      Samantha – ugh! so frustrating! I would definitely research more – I would insist every time we met with our ped that something else might be causing it and he would always shrug it off – It makes me so sad that the answer for us was so simple and she suffered and we bought expensive creams for so long! I know the answer is not always this simple, but I know many people that found that eczema was an allergy to dairy or something else. There is lots of research out there, every kid is different but I would investigate further for your kiddos =) Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Amy Hagerup says:

    I’m so glad your sweet daughter got the help she needed. It really breaks my heart to see children suffer like this. So glad you were able to solve the problem with diet. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Leigh says:

    So glad you found something that helped your daughter! My son was sensitive to dairy when he was younger, but he’s able to handle it now. It’s amazing the different ways our food can affect us.

  11. Denise says:

    I’m so glad that I came across this. My little one has been suffering from eczema since birth…I’m definitely going to try cutting out dairy.

  12. Lo says:

    Dairy?! Who would have thought? I’ve never dealt with eczema but I know a ton of people who do. I’ve never traced it back to dairy though so that’s fascinating to me.

    • kate says:

      i never would have thought either – and it isn’t always dairy, or even always diet- but I was surprised to hear how many people it is quite commonly the source.

  13. Lea Ladehoff says:

    I am this way with wheat. I looooove bread.. but on a whim (ok, a mildly researched whim) I decided to give it up and see what happened. Wow. Skin felt better. No more insomnia. No more total body aches. I slid back over Thanksgiving and have doing a reset this week to back to wheat free magic!

  14. Cami Valenzuela says:

    Wow diary.. crazy to think what some things can do to our body. My boys have eczema when they were younger. Grew out if it. But I definitely would have never thought dairy would do this. Happy you got under control 🙂

  15. Vanessa V. says:

    I love this post about how to subtly change from a traditional diet to a new one. My dear sister is now allergic to gluten in her adulthood. I will be happy to share this post with her, I am sure it will have a good effect on her new dietary needs. And thanks for writing about it.

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