There’s a party later and your skin is inflamed and falling to pieces—literally—as flakiness seems to be the eyeshadow du jour. What’s a girl to do?!
Unfortunately, heading to the dermatologist is not a long-term solution. Most conventionally trained doctors are confounded by rashes and treat them by prescribing steroid creams. I was recently explaining to my son what actually happens when a rash is cured topically: it vanishes temporarily so that it seems to be healed, but it isn’t. It becomes suppressed internally instead, and then may hide until it flares up as something more serious later on. The actual cause of the rash has not been dealt with at all.
The medical profession is still lagging far behind the holistic world when it comes to treating external inflammation like acne and rashes. Doctors still don’t put two and two together that these topical symptoms signal internal strife. Eczema is a prime example. This now ubiquitous skin rash is a sign of inflammation in the body and often presents as redness, itchiness, irritation, and flaky skin, and sometimes as weeping scabs. It is the body’s way of eliminating toxins that are accumulating in the system.
Eczema seems to be a weak spot for my daughter, so whenever her body becomes imbalanced, it presents as dry, flaky skin near her eyes and on her neck. To say that it’s a pain in the neck is not cliche in this case because it really is! As soon as she starts drinking more water, removing allergens from her diet (wheat and most dairy are biggies), and using the right creams, her healthy skin is restored.
So when I had a chance to interview someone who got to know—and resolve eczema—through trial, error, and research, I was on it. Jennifer Roberge founded The Eczema Company after overcoming her son’s difficult case of eczema. Now she has helped hundreds of other families suffering with this condition too. If you’ve been searching for solutions, definitely bookmark this helpful resource.
Here’s what she had to share with The Hub in our interview over email.
Q: I’d love to know what led you to launch The Eczema Company?
A: My son was my inspiration. He developed eczema around 3 months of age. And it progressed until he was three years old and covered head to toe in itchy, red. Those were the hardest times of my life. Seeing your child suffer and feel so helpless and not be able to protect them from the pain—it tears at your soul. In the early days, I didn’t know anything about eczema and so I simply filled the prescription from our pediatrician and applied topical cortisone along with a drug store brand moisturizer. His skin just kept getting worse and we were told to keep increasing the strength of his topical medication. It didn’t sit right with me, so I started looking into alternative healing methods. We went through a lot, but in the end dietary changes, homeopathy, gut healing and natural skin care were the natural eczema treatments that worked best for my son, which you can read more about in this post.
I had searched quite literally around the globe for the most natural and effective products for eczema—some worked and some didn’t. I spent a small fortune on these things and in the end I had a handful of products that worked wonders for my son and a closet full of things that didn’t. The idea behind The Eczema Company was to help other families going through the daily challenges of eczema by providing them a hand-picked selection of the best products for eczema so they can spend their time caring for their little ones rather than spending countless hours researching and shopping.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned about skin in your research that most people need to know but don’t?
A: So many things! And I find there is a big disconnect between those that follow conventional medicine and those that turn to holistic and alternative medicine, which I find so sad. If only those two worlds could work together in harmony – oh, the things they could accomplish! Back to the question, what I think not everyone realizes is that the skin is the body’s largest organ. If it’s not functioning properly, you see things like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, etc. Applying topical products to the skin can help provide much needed relief, sure, but it’s usually temporary – especially in more moderate to severe cases. When you rely solely on skincare to control your skin issues, then you’re not addressing the root issue at hand. I wish everyone with a skin condition would look at both their external triggers like environmental/seasonal/pet allergies and detergents/cleaning products as well as what may be going on inside the body to cause your largest organ to essentially break down. Internal triggers are what conventional and western medicine usually overlook unfortunately. For so many people suffering from eczema and other skin conditions, their gut flora is out of balance and certain foods are triggering inflammation manifesting in the skin and sometimes systemically. And this all can be healed, but it takes time, but less so for children.
Q: What are three questions you get asked the most about skin/eczema and how do you answer them?
1) My skin is ____(fill in the blank: dry, itchy, oozing, thick). Do you have a product to help me?
Yes! I get asked this so often that I have created three different categories at The Eczema Company to list the specific products that work best for different types of eczema.
2) Are your products safe for babies?
Yes! I created this company as a mother concerned about her own child’s eczema, so yes, everything is completely safe for babies and effective for adults. All the ingredients are so natural and simple, so you can have peace of mind while helping your little ones to heal.
3) I’ve had eczema for years and I’ve tried everything. Do you have anything that will help me?
Usually in these cases the person has relied only on conventional medicine and has never thought about internal triggers. I introduce them to the idea that food sensitivities, not true allergies, could be a trigger and to consider an elimination diet. I also recommend they consider healing their gut through protocols like those found in The Eczema Cure. The same things apply for adults and children, but make sure to work with a holistic practitioner before modifying a child’s or nursing mother’s diet in any way.
Q: Tell me about some of your most popular products and different ways to use them.
A: Our best seller and my family’s favorite is our Organic Manuka Honey Skin Cream. The texture is really unique—it’s not greasy like a balm, it’s thicker than a cream and it’s so soft and absorbs really well into the skin and holds the moisture in place for a long time. It’s amazing for all types of eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and so much more! I use it as a face cream and spot moisturizer on my body. Love it just after shaving as it prevents rash burn in the most delicate of places. And it prevents peeling after sunburn— my dad gave that one a very unintentional test on our trip down south last winter. He was burned like a lobster and applied the cream once a day and never peeled. It’s great for bug bites, cuts/scrapes (the honey is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory). It’s really a very versatile cream. My husband steals jars for work where he uses it on his hands. He loves that the smell is very light and soft and not too feminine.. It’s a little miracle in a jar to be quite honest. I count my blessings every day that I happened to find this cream several years ago. It has been my greatest discovery since starting this company. I have very devout customers who are just in love with it. They buy up to eight jars at a time!
Our eczema clothing, bamboo gloves for children or adults, and wet wraps are also hugely popular. ScratchMeNot mittens for little ones only were a lifesaver for us when my son’s eczema was at its worst. They prevented him from scratching his skin during the night and allowed time for his wounds to heal. I highly recommend wet wrapping for quick relief, there really is nothing else like it. Learn more about wet wrap therapy here. Our wet wrapping garments are really easy to use and provide a cooling effect on the skin.
Q: You also founded the blog It’s an Itchy Little World and your new brand YoRo Naturals as well. How do you manage running both as a mother, wife, and business woman?
A: Some days are easier than others, ha! Sometimes I feel like I have it all together and I sit back and think about what I’ve accomplished, but most the time I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water and I can never quite remember how I managed to get dinner on the table. But for me the secret to keeping my sanity is by reminding myself that I cannot run at 100% all the time, which I really used to try to do. But I came to realize that I cannot be perfect and I don’t want to be because perfection is exhausting. But I can be a good mother, good wife, good business woman. And when I realized that being FULL ON all the time just was draining my mind, body and soul, I cut back on my daily tasks and let things slide a little more that I had before and was relieved when the world didn’t come to an end and my family didn’t protest or even really notice. I settled for being good enough and it feels amazing and liberating!
Q: We’d love to hear one random fact about you.
A: I once ran away with the circus. I met my future husband at a traveling Cirque du Soleil show, fell madly in love and quit my job at the time to join him on tour.
Got any questions for Jennifer? Let us know in the comments and definitely check out The Eczema Company here and on social:
**artwork by Joy Steinberg