Friday, October 21, 2011

Homemade Jojoba Shea Butter Lotion: for dry skin and eczema

When my son Ethan was 5 months old he developed eczema all over his body.  It wasn’t entirely a surprise.  My husband develops terrible eczema on his hands during the summer/winter months.  So when it started showing up on Ethan it was all about holistic healing and comfort…and time.   
I started with food. I was nursing Ethan so I would systematically cut out foods from my diet that I suspected might be aggravating his skin.  Food didn’t seem to change his skin much.  Already 100% dairy free, sugar free, soy free, etc, I cut out eggs for a while.  I also experimented with wheat and nuts.  We noticed that during the cold months his skin was dry and susceptible and during the hot months his skin was dry and susceptible.  I would say that staying on a allergy free diet helped his skin from becoming worse than it already was, and allowed time and other natural remedies to work and heal the inflammation. 
Our pediatrician, like most pediatricians, suggested the steroid cream.  Scott never had much success with this sort of cream and he also didn’t particularly like the ingredients – very intense stuff.  So we both knew this just wasn’t an option…or for us a very last resort option.  For the most part Ethan was smiley, happy and easy going.  He appeared comfortable.  He wasn’t distressed or preoccupied with itching his skin.  So that being said, we continued with holistic/homeopathic remedies including:
1.  Keeping his nails trimmed 
2.  Always covering the weepy patches of skin, but also allowing the skin time to breathe now and then
3.  Dressing in only 100% cotton or organic cotton clothes
4.  Gentle soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) to wash his clothes
5.  We did not bathe him every night
6.  During baths I would often put chamomile tea in with his bath water (steap about 8 cups of water with 8 tablespoons loose chamomile flowers )
7.  Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize!  We kept his skin very lubricated, especially during the winter months.
Side note: I’m not kidding when I tell you we used just about every organic, natural cream on the market.  We found these at our local Coop and I also found products on-line from small organic companies (this is a great blog for such a purpose).  I was very picky about what I put on his skin, obviously.  We did not use lotions filled with preservatives, parabens, SLS, phthalates, glycols, petroleum, artificial fragrances, PEGS, PGG, MEA, TEA, DEA, etc…the list goes on and on…and so the list of what you can use gets smaller and smaller.
I didn’t think about making my own lotion at the time.  I wish I had because we all know those organic creams are EXPENSIVE!  
In time his eczema decreased, starting with his face.  By his first birthday his face looked great.  Next his arms improved to zero areas of inflammation much like his face, his back and stomach followed.  His legs improved greatly but this is still the area of concern.
Last summer I purchased my last store-bought cream/oil.  I was determined to make my own dry skin/eczema remedy and found three ingredients that target inflammation 
(and ingredients I frequently saw in the store-bought brands):
So here is what I did…
1: Purchased 16 oz. of raw, organic shea butter ($10).
2: Purchased 8 oz. of organic jojoba oil 
(from bulk at our Coop – $5)
3: Purchased 1/2 cup dried chamomile flowers 
(from bulk at our Coop – $1.50)
4: Infused jojoba with chamomile for 2 weeks
5: Strained through cheese cloth and TADA…chamomile infused jojoba oil! 
6: Raw shea butter is super hard so I placed it in a glass bowl and let it sit in the sun for a few hours to soften.  Worked great.  Above picture is a few hand stirs with a spoon after the sun bath
7: I added the strained oil to the shea butter and whipped with a hand mixer until well incorporated
1.  This lotion is oily.  Take caution when applying it around fabric you love, as oil may transfer
2.  It soaks into skin after a bit and should be noted it’s much less oily than just applying straight oil
2.  This would be a terrific hand treatment at night with cotton gloves
3.  Apply immediately after shower/bath to affected areas
4.  This mixture of ingredients has a fantastic shelf life
5.  Experiment with other healing herbs/oil 
Here are some pictures of Ethan’s skin.  I never took any of his body because it was usually covered.  I look back at these and smile ear to ear.  He was such a chubby little thing! To give you an idea, he weighed 17 lbs. at 4 months old! And I’m not kidding when I tell you he was a happy little thing too – always a smile on that red little face.  Mommy kept him very comfortable!
Overall, his legs were the worst.  He had many patches of skin that were weepy, he also had these patches on his arms.  Keeping these patches covered prevented itching and aided in healing.
And, here he is in 2010:
This face looks so much better.  His cheeks healed with time, as did his arms, back and stomach.  We are happy about declining the steroid cream.  This this was a personal choice and every parent should decide what will be best for their child and what they are comfortable administering.  I would say he outgrew the worst of it. Keeping him on an allergy-free diet is very important despite the little change we noticed in his symptoms early on.  He is currently dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, soy free, chocolate free and nightshade free.  And we keep that skin super-duper moisturized with our awesome new lotion.  

Still a very smiley little guy!!  

See HERE for a list of all my homemade lotions 
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Labels: beauty, eczema, Holistic healing, homemade remedies, how to.


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