Eczema is a pretty common skin disorder, especially among babies and children. Children usually outgrow their eczema, but it can be extremely frustrating for parents and uncomfortable for children while it lasts. My husband has suffered from eczema, particularly on his hands, throughout his life. After several years of "going green gradually," switching to more natural cleaning and personal products, my husband announced that his eczema seemed to be gone for good. Then recently we stayed with some friends, who use conventional cleaning and personal products. In less than a week, my husband's hands were dry and beginning to peel again. When we returned home, the eczema cleared up again. We'll probably never know what the exact trigger was, but it was a dramatic illustration of how the environment could affect his condition.
My children both had eczema as babies. I now am surprised that pediatricians almost universally suggest slathering kids with lotion, without addressing the ingredients of the lotion. Or prescribe topical steroid creams, without eliminating some common triggers (like personal products or food allergens) first. Although I have friends who have switched to all or mostly non-toxic products, and still their babies have horrible eczema, I would definitely suggest making these easy changes first before anything else.
On a related note, my sister called me today to tell me that her chronic sinus and ear congestion was diagnosed (via CAT scan) as probably due to an allergy. The ENT specialist told her this type of allergy was seeing an exponential rise. When she asked why, he said 1) overuse of antibiotics during her generation's childhood, 2) exposure to plastic chemicals in the air and everywhere else, 3) processed food. Given the dramatic increases in asthma, allergies, and other problems, it seems that in a generation or two, nearly every person will have some kind of problem related to pollutants in our bodies that were never meant to be there.
Skin Deep Cosmetic Database (check the "hazard score" of your family's personal products)
Natural Ways to Relieve Eczema
How to Make Your Own Baby Lotions and Potions
Photo credit: Care_SMC