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eczema and the gut

How does gut health affect eczema?

The gastrointestinal system, or the gut does more than absorb nutrients from our food. This system of digestive organs, which includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, rectum, small and large intestine, as well as the liver, pancreas and gallbladder, makes up 70% of your body’s immune system.

The important role of the gastrointestinal system is to act as a communication centre to and from the brain to fight against diseases. When the system is working well, it acts as a barrier to allow nutrients to pass but still protect against foreign pathogens. That is why the health of your child’s gut is so important as it could affect their overall immune system which is said to be linked to eczema.

Is eczema linked to gut bacteria?

Scientists from the University of Turku, Finland have discovered that kids who have eczema have a lot more bacteria in their guts than kids who not have this skin condition. They observed children with and without eczema to compare gut bacteria, and results showed that infants at 18 months who have eczema, had different amounts of bacteria, than those without eczema.

What food to eat and what to avoid for a healthy eczema gut?

The microorganisms living in the gut contain a huge number of good and bad bacteria. It is very important to keep the good bacteria in balance so the gut can work well.  Certain foods such as sugary, junk food, processed foods and also medications such as antibiotics and topical steroid creams can have a negative effect on the balance of your child’s gut bacteria so be mindful of your child’s diet as gut inflammation may trigger eczema flare ups.

Common foods that can help with eczema are fatty fish, yoghurt, soft cheeses, fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants such as strawberries, rock melon and kiwi. Foods containing quercetin such as broccoli, kale, apples and cherries are also good for your eczema child because they have natural anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties.

How does gut inflammation trigger eczema?

When your child’s body has too much bad bacteria, inflammation happens and this results in a fever. Inflammation is good for getting rid of harmful bacteria but too much inflammation can weaken the walls of your child’s gut lining and create holes which we call a ‘leaky’ gut. Bad bacteria can then enter these holes and into blood stream, causing infections. Our skin is the body’s largest elimination organ which means when the bacteria is being wiped out an eczema flare up can happen.

What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?

Not everyone will have the same symptoms so it is important to keep an eye out for how your child reacts to certain foods, especially processed or sugary. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach aches especially after eating
  • Skin rashes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Can probiotics help with gut health and eczema?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which can help with gut-related problems. Probiotic supplements are usually given in powder form to children, by mixing with food. They are being considered more and more for children with eczema and allergies as they can help build a strong and healthy immune system that can better withstand eczema triggers and allergies.

The most well-known probiotic rich food is yogurt which contains live cultures. Other fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, sourdough bread and soft cheeses also contain probiotics.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.


dairy products and eczema

Can dairy products and dairy proteins cause eczema?

If your child has an allergy to dairy products, this can be a food-related trigger for eczema symptoms. Food allergies happen when the body’s immune system responds abnormally to certain foods. In children who have eczema, this abnormal reaction can mean a flare up of their eczema symptoms, but this does not mean that by avoiding dairy products they will no longer have eczema.

According to the Australasian society of Clinical immunology and allergy (ASCIA)  about 1 in 50 Australian and New Zealand infants (approximately 2%) are allergic to cow’s milk and other dairy products

What is cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA)?

Most people who are allergic to cow’s milk will be told they have cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) and will also be allergic to other animal milks such as goat’s milk and sheep’s milk and products that are made from these milks. This is because the proteins which are in cow’s milk can be the same proteins in other animal milks.

For these people with dairy allergy (CMPA) it is really important to read all labelling carefully to avoid cow’s milk, other animal milks and products made from these, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

Is eczema directly linked to dairy intolerance?

Children who are known to be intolerant to dairy products are more likely to have eczema and other allergies such as asthma or hay fever. Dairy intolerance is not necessarily directly linked with eczema but both are more likely to occur in children with allergies. This could be because people with eczema are said to have an abnormally responsive immune system. Although dairy can be a trigger for eczema, removing it from your child’s diet may carry nutritional risks so speak with your doctor to make sure your child will continue to meet their nutritional requirements.

How do I know if my child has a dairy allergy?

If your child has eczema there is a higher chance they also have food allergies. Speak to your doctor about the best way to assess your child for food allergies and managing their food allergies.

How can I manage my child’s eczema if they have a dairy allergy?

It is essential to stick to your child’s eczema skin care maintenance routine to best manage your child’s eczema. Our itchy baby co. natural oatmeal bath soak and natural oatmeal bath soak with marshmallow root do not contain dairy proteins. Our moisturiser, scalp oil and face mask also do not contain dairy proteins.

Although animal milks for those who are not allergic can have a moisturising, nourishing and hydrating effect on the skin, if your child is allergic to dairy avoid using cows milk and other animal milks and read labelling carefully.

All parents of children who have allergies should see their doctor to discuss their individual allergy action plan  so you know what to do if your child has a reaction and how best to try to avoid it.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.

there is a relationship between lupin and peanut allergy

What is the connection between lupin and peanut allergy? 

Food allergies to a variety of foods are common in children with eczema and because of its close relation to peanuts, lupin is also starting to be thought of as a food allergen. Food allergies happen when the immune system responds abnormally to naturally occurring proteins in food. Eczema and food allergies are two separate conditions but there is a relationship. Having eczema increases the chances of your child experiencing food sensitivities and developing food intolerances and allergies. This could be because people with eczema suffer from a highly sensitive and over responsive immune system. The most common food allergies which are less likely to be outgrown and be lifelong allergies are peanuts, tree nuts, seeds and seafood.

What is peanut allergy? 

Peanuts are legumes, like peas, they are not nuts, because the proteins in peanuts are very different to those in tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews and hazelnut). Peanut allergy is a common allergy among children and is usually life-long once acquiredIt can develop as early as 4 months of age. Twenty-three percent of infants less than one year old who have eczema are also allergic to peanuts. 

What is lupin and what is the potential co-reaction with peanut allergy? 

Lupine (or Lupin) bean is a legume related to peanuts and soybeans as it is in the same botanical family, Fabaceae. It can be ground into a flour, and this flour has started to be widely used in Australia for baking, biscuits, pasta and sauces. Lupin allergy is reported in people who also have peanut allergies as both the beans and the flour made from the legumes are known to cause reactions in about 20% of individuals who have an allergy to peanuts.

A study conducted among 47 children with peanut allergy in the United Kingdom found that 16 had positive skin or blood tests to lupine.  

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is currently working on a proposal which is considering the mandatory requirement of allergen labelling for lupin because although the ingredient is labelled on packages, consumers may not be aware that lupine is a legume that belongs to the same plant family as peanut.  

How common is lupin food allergy? 

There is no evidence that Lupin is a more potent an allergen than other foods. The range of severity of reaction to Lupin is similar to other food allergens. The prevalence of Lupin food allergy is hard to set because there are not many studies in Australia, but it seems to be low in the general population. In South Australia, there were 8 cases of acute Lupin allergy between 2004 and 2009. 

 How do I know if my child has a food allergy to lupin or other food proteins? 

Talking to your doctor about allergy testing is an important conversation to have if your child has been diagnosed with eczema. Skin prick tests or allergy blood tests can help to identify food allergies.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.


how do I manage eczema without a cure? need eczema cure

What is the best eczema cure for my child?

There is no eczema cure yet. The emotional burden eczema causes and the impact it has on the quality of your family life sometimes goes unrecognised and unsupported. Unfortunately, there is no eczema cure and the effect eczema can have on the life of your child and family can be ongoing indefinitely. Although there is no eczema cure, there are many products available which can help to manage eczema. On your eczema journey it is important to remember that what is effective for one child or eczema sufferer might not be as effective for another.

Is allergy testing an eczema cure?

Many eczema children also have food allergies and environmental allergies like house dust mite. Finding out what your child is specifically allergic to will allow you to avoid these triggers and therefore better control eczema flare ups. However, avoiding what your child is allergic to is not an eczema cure as these allergies are not the cause of eczema.

The most common type of allergy testing is skin prick testing, where the skin is pricked with a small needle that contains a little bit of the allergen on it. If the doctor sees an itchy, red lump appearing within 15-20 minutes, it means your child is allergic to that particular allergen. This is generally a safe procedure as the red lump usually goes away within a couple of hours. Another, less common type of allergy testing are blood tests, which are usually done if your child is taking other medications that could interfere with the results of skin prick testing.

Managing your child’s skin without an eczema cure

Without an eczema cure, the key to maintaining healthy skin and and managing eczema is to keep the skin well hydrated and nourished. This will not only help stop dryness, itchiness and irritation but it can also strengthen the skin’s natural barrier to avoid environmental triggers and bacteria from sitting on the skin’s surface and causing inflammation. Without an eczema cure the best way we can manage eczema is by sticking to a skin care routine of bathing and moisturising to hydrate, nourish and protect our children’s skin.

Regular moisturising and bath time

Since dry skin leads to itchiness and inflammation, it is essential to find a moisturiser that works best on your little one to keep their skin soft and hydrated. Generally ointments, work best for eczema as they contain no water, making them effective in hydrating and moisturising the skin. These moisturisers take a long time to evaporate from the skin’s surface, holding in moisture for a much longer time.

Regular bathing in lukewarm water for about 10 minutes helps manage eczema because it washes away any irritants that may be sitting on the skin’s surface, and hydrates eczema skin. Our itchy baby co. natural oatmeal bath soak with marshmallow root contain natural properties that soothe, nourish and hydrate all types of skin, especially eczema skin, without stripping it off its natural barrier, which can often happen using soaps and bubble baths.

Is coconut oil an eczema cure?

Coconut oil in a natural oil taken from the edible flesh of a coconut, and contains many properties that can help to treat eczema, such as:

  • Vitamin E – needed for healthy skin to grow and repair itself
  • Lauric acid – contains antibacterial properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties that help control the growth of bacteria on dry skin.
  • Saturated Fats – softens the skin by adding a natural barrier to retain moisture
  • Polyphenols – have antioxidant properties to fight skin cell damage.

Our itchy baby co. natural moisturiser contains organic coconut oil as a main ingredient, which helps to hydrate, soothe and moisturise eczema skin. Minimising the risk of flare ups.

Remember with every product you try, it is important to patch test first to check if your child has an allergic reaction.

This blog post was brought to you and your family with love from Julia and the itchy baby co. team x.

Disclaimer: Information provided is of a general nature only, and you should always consult your medical professional.