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Natural Solutions to Dry Winter Skin

Suzanne Price

As the weather turned colder this winter, my daughter’s skin has become very dry. She developed pretty bad eczema on her arms and legs. It itches her a lot and is really sad to see. Being very conscious of what products I rub on my children’s skin, I was hesitant to try some of the solutions that friends suggested. I reached out to San Francisco pediatrician, Dr. Julia Getzelman, who founded GetzWell Pediatrics to bring integrative pediatrics to San Francisco.

Dr. Getzelman suggested the following natural remedies to help heal my daughter's skin from the inside out.

  • Bone Broth – 2-3 oz in the morning on an empty stomach. It should come from a butcher that uses sustainably grown meat or can be made at home (lots of slow cooking recipes are online).
  • Vitamin D3 – There are a number of gummies at the grocery store, but we chose to mix this powder-based vitamin into her morning oatmeal or yogurt.
  • Fish Oil – We use capsules instead of a liquid. She agrees to eat the capsules if she can chase them with a little bit of juice.
  • Probiotics – We found a chewable that my daughter actually really enjoys.
  • Eat a Rainbow – Dr. Getzelman told my daughter to eat as much of a "food rainbow" as possible, and especially to eat as much BROCCOLI as possible.

Dr. Getzelman also made some suggestions for moisturizing her skin from the outside:

  • Coconut Oil – Apply it to the skin as often as possible (2 or 3 times a day is ideal), and definitely after a bath to “seal in” the moisture from the bath.
  • Wet Wraps – If you don’t want to do a bath every day, try “wet wraps”. Put on WET organic cotton tights (with something warm over them, like “sweat pants”). Do this twice a week for an hour, then slather on the coconut oil afterward. Arms are more challenging with this approach, but you can wet the sleeves of snug-fitting long underwear.
  • Zinc – Some kids with eczema don’t have high enough zinc levels, so she suggested applying a zinc-based cream to her worst areas at night.

GetzWell Pediatrics (a neighbor to our San Francisco Union St. location) is also a great resource for high quality supplements.

Napinol

Many friends suggested using Aquaphor on my daughter’s skin. Since I prefer not to use petroleum-based products, I instead turned to a product we have at Sprout with a similar consistency, Napinol's "Booty Balm & Beyond" (it comes in either a jar or a tube). It is made of only 5 ingredients that are all plant-based and organic, like beeswax and olive oil. I have used it interspersed with rounds of applying coconut oil, as it seems to feel less gloppy under her clothes than the coconut oil. Also, she loves having the Napinol massaged into her skin. It smells and feels good to her and temporarily eases the itching.

I don’t know if any of the above has been a magic bullet, but it does seem that her eczema is better. It is probably a routine that we’ll have to keep up for a while, but I am grateful to have found some natural solutions that seem to be helping.

What other topics would you like to hear about from a pediatrician? Add your comments below!

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