064: Alternative Eczema Tips To Be More Comfortable During A Flare w/ Jennifer Roberge

Eczema can cause hopelessness, especially when conventional treatments do not work. After years of stress and pain dealing with her son's eczema, my guest was able to not only put her son into remission, but also went on to create natural products specifically designed to soothe eczema flares.

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My guest today is Jennifer Roberge, the founder of The Eczema Company and the award-winning blog, It's An Itchy Little World.

Propelled to find a solution for her son’s struggles with eczema, Jennifer has established herself as the go-to resource on holistic healing methods for eczema.

After years researching the best products for eczema, Jennifer created YoRo Naturals: products for sensitive skin, including the best selling Manuka Skin Soothing Cream. She is also the creator of the highly anticipated NEW line of clothing for eczema: Remedywear with soothing zinc.

Join us as we talk about some tips to be more comfortable during eczema flares.

Has dry or wet wrapping made it easier to deal with your eczema? Tell me about it in the comments!

In this episode:

  • Jennifer's journey with managing her son's eczema
  • Dry wrapping vs. wet wrapping and how they can help eczema
  • How did Jennifer get into the world of natural creams and salves?
  • YoRo Naturals and Remedywear

Quotes

“With wet wrapping, you take a bath for about 20 minutes. Then you lightly pat dry your skin. You put on a layer of cream. Then you take a layer of damp clothing—clothing you put in warm water and then wrung out really well, so it's moist but not dripping wet. And then you put it on the skin and then you wear a dry layer on top of it. And you sit for at least two hours this way.” [11:18]

“Baking soda baths, apple cider vinegar baths…they're really good alternatives to the bleach bath that a lot of the physicians recommend, which is pretty toxic.” [13:02]

“I started the Eczema Company with carefully curated, natural, very safe products that I knew that worked for my son.” [15:39]

“I wanted to be able to provide options…We know that there's not one miracle cream out there, right? You'll see people talking about, oh, this miracle product, and people have called some of our products miracles. But it was a miracle for that person; it doesn't mean it's going to be a miracle for the next person.” [16:12]

Links

Find Jennifer online

Use code 4NATURALSKIN to get 15% off your purchase at the Eczema Company

Yoro Naturals website and Facebook page

It's an Itchy Little World blog

YoRo Naturals Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream

Remedywear

Follow Jennifer on Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube | Twitter

4 Skin Baths For Rash Relief (including Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis)

Jen's Favorite Water Filtration System

 

064: Alternative Eczema Tips To Be More Comfortable During A Flare w/ Jennifer Roberge FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jen: Hi everyone and welcome back to the Healthy Skin Show. Today we have a very special guest with us, someone who has dealt very personally with the struggles of Eczema and found a way to turn it into something that can actually help other people, which is awesome, powerful and amazing. I also want to share her story because I believe that oftentimes where we can get so caught up in our own frustrations and daily just not feeling well, that it's hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. And so I'm really excited to have this guest with me today. Her name is Jennifer Roberge. She's the founder of the Eczema Company and the award winning blog called It's an Itchy Little World, which by the way, is a fantastic blog. It's a great resource if you have not checked it out yet. Propelled to find a solution for her son's struggles with Eczema, Jennifer has established herself as the go-to resource on holistic, holistic healing methods for Eczema. After years researching the best products for Eczema, Jennifer created YoRo naturals: products for sensitive skin, including the bestselling Manuka skin soothing cream. And now, and this is the coolest part, she has launched a highly anticipated new line of clothing for Eczema called Remedywear, which includes zinc woven into the fabric. Jennifer, thank you for joining us.

Jennifer R.: Thank you. It's good to be here. Thank you for having me.

Jen: You're welcome. I'm glad this is a real treat because I think it's great. The more we get to tell our stories that it is possible to overcome this type of issue. I mean, skin issues I consider to be hell to live through now that was for me, but you were looking at your son who, I don't have children, but I can imagine the pain and the frustration and the anxiety and just how generally upset you must have felt as a parent being like, I want to help him. He's suffering. So would you mind sharing some of that journey with the listeners so that they can, you know, get a sense of like how bad was it for your son?

Jennifer R.: Oh, it was horrific. He was head to toe covered by the time he was three years old. So it was very difficult. Yeah. And you feel really helpless as a parent, really helpless. You kind of feel like you're grabbing at straws and trying all these different things and everyone has suggestions for you. And you know, in our case we tried physicians and then more natural approaches and it's just, you spend a lot of money, you spend a lot of time, there's a lot of sleepless nights. It was definitely tough. I at one point hit rock bottom. That's kind of when I hit my rock bottom that things started to turn around for us. So it was really, it was difficult. It was difficult, but we finally got there. But my son, he started pretty much from birth. He had the rough skin. He was my first child and I expected to have the baby soft skin that everybody talks about and you never really had that. And I didn't think that much of it. And three months in he started develop more scaly patches and he had baby acne and he had full on cradle cap. He had all the skin stuff going on and Eczema wasn't too bad, but as worried first-time parents, we asked the pediatrician and they diagnosed him with Eczema and so we were sent home with some steroid cream and we used it at first and then he just, he got it here and there, and so we didn't worry too much about it. , and we found some, some creams that we were trying nothing really natural at the time and, you know, helped a little bit, but over the years things got worse. By the time he was three years old, he was head to toe covered in Eczema and he looked like he had third degree burns. And like I said, we just felt so hopeless and didn't really know what to do because we kept going to see the pediatric dermatologist at the children's hospital and they keep prescribing or they kept prescribing stronger steroids each time we went. And, you know, at three, it's tough. The alarm bells started to go off in my head and I didn't think that seemed right. I knew it in general at that time that steroids weren't specifically healthy, obviously, orally, topically. But you know, we didn't really know what to do. And you're told by your doctor that that's the only thing that's gonna work. In fact, I remember specifically asking my doctor, cause I was starting to do some research around that time. I was starting to lose hope, you know, and I asked the doctor if they thought there could be some food triggers, you know, or I don't remember that. I didn't know about necessarily triggers at the time, but I asked if food could be related to my son's Eczema. And they said, absolutely not. I could look at your son's skin and tell you his is not a food reaction. Like it has nothing to do with food. And I was like, hmm, I wonder what about my son's specific skin makes him know that it's not a food reaction. Anyway, it was very bizarre and later after we did remove food and saw results, I went back and told the doctor it's pretty much what we did was eliminate certain foods and you know, his skin's great now, look at him! And they're like, oh well coincidence.

Jen: They blew it off as a coincidence?

Jennifer R.: And this is a very well known children's hospital. Yeah. So it was really tough. And now, you know, science is changing and they're starting to have studies that are linking for sure food to Eczema. So it's good to see that now. But back then, and that was seven years ago.

Jen: And that's the frustrating part is that even now, because as I see clients, one very frustrating thing is they will go to the dermatologist and they're prescribed increasingly strong steroids. They're not getting better. They're noticing this thinning of the skin cracking of the skin, whitening, and they're just not feeling well. It almost makes it worse. They become dependent on this medication. For some people it kind of works or doesn't work all the time. And the dermatologists don't seem to be looking at a lot of the research that's coming out, which is equally frustrating. And so some of that is not even trickling down yet to the practices. And that's one reason why I'm so passionate about doing this. And like, we have researchers on this show that are releasing studies. And I'm like, I don't care if nobody knows who they are. I want them to come talk about whatever they found because now we can't say that nobody knows about it. We all know about it and help educate, having more educated conversation. I'm curious, at any point, and this is just me asking you a question, just to ask, did your dermatologist ever run any labs on your son aside from maybe a biopsy?

Jennifer R.: No, not even a biopsy. It was all very visual.

Jen: Wow.

Jennifer R.: Yep. All visual. Yep. And you know, it's funny doing what I've been doing for, you know, I guess seven or eight years now. I have spoken to a lot of doctors and it's really sad because there's no common I guess educational tool now for physicians. So like anyone trying to prescribe or diagnose for Eczema. So like what happens is people will go and see their pediatrician or their primary care physician and they're gonna say like one thing and half the time they're prescribing steroids, but they're not following the indications and the directions because what's happening now with a lot of people are becoming addicted to steroids is becoming more popular. I'm sure you're aware, because they're being misused and sure, sometimes I think maybe maybe the patient is misusing them, but the majority of the case, they're not told the correct way to use it. And there's no general standard on educating their position on how long to give those steroids and at what doses and all that. So it's really kind of scary, like at the dermatology level, yes, they're more educated on that. But at general physician level, a lot of them don't know. And so they're prescribing them incorrectly and people are just, instead of taking like the two week breaks, if they're required to do, they'll just take it forever.

Jen: As you say that right now. I was never told to take two week breaks. They just said use the steroids.

Jennifer R.: Yeah. The National Eczema Association is trying to promote the awareness on that because yeah, there's a lot of misuse. There's a trend towards people having this topical steroid addiction or withdrawal and part of it is because of the misuse of the steroids. So it's tricky. It's tricky.

Jen: It definitely is. Well I wanted to ask you a couple of things because having a child can be tricky enough because children are children and even as adults, like you know, I would wake up in the middle of the night and sometimes I had actually like ripped kind of my skin open scratching, not knowing what I was doing because I was asleep. And it's hard sometimes to stop itching. So you had mentioned to me this concept of like wet wrapping is a way to help. Like dry wrapping versus wet wrapping. So can you talk a little bit about what those are and what your experience has been using them?

Jennifer R.: Yeah, so dry wrapping is probably the easiest solution. And either dry wrapping or wet wrapping you can do with your own clothing, But there are special garments that you can buy to make it easier and more effective. So for dry wrapping, it's essentially you just apply, you can either take a shower before, pat dry your skin and put a layer of cream and then a layer of clothing right over kinda to lock in a little bit of the moisture.That works really well, especially for hand and foot Eczema. So if you put on some good moisturizer and put on some gloves overnight, it's amazing. It really works well, especially with a good cream. And then for feet as well with socks. And then you can do the same during the day, with socks it's easier than gloves, obviously. So that can work really well. You can do it on the other parts of your body. It's really nice, but the wet wrapping kind of takes it a step farther. And with wet wrapping, it's really best to speak with a physician before you try it because it is a bit of a medical treatment I suppose. You could do it with natural products, which is what we do, but it's best because you can, if you have a risk of infection or open wounds, you have to proceed with caution. And definitely with wet wrapping, you would never use a steroid cream with it, which I don't promote anyway, but be very careful because it will amplify the effects of whatever you put on your skin. So especially with medication, it can be dangerous if you're not being seen by a physician for sure. So with wet wrapping, you take a bath for about 20 minutes. Then you lightly pat dry your skin. You put on a layer of cream. Then you take a layer of damp clothing. So clothing you put in warm water and then rung out really well, so it's moist but not dripping wet. And then you put it on the skin and then you wear a dry layer on top of it. And you sit for at least two hours this way. Some people wear it overnight and that can work really well. The key is you don't want the wet wraps to dry out before you're able to take them off and put on another layer of cream. If you do that, it can kind of the opposite effect. So it's not good. And if you do it overnight, what people do is they'll keep a spray bottle by their bed and kinda like spray. Like if it's their child, they'll go in in the night and just spray the wraps to make sure they stay damp. For me personally, my son, it was too hard over night. He couldn't fall asleep with the wet wraps. And we had a hard time. We live up north and in the winter it's very dry and so the wraps would dry out. It just was impossible to keep them wet. So we did just two hours and we would pop in a movie as a distraction cause it was desperate times. He would watch a movie, I'd wrap him up and then he'd watch it and then at the end of the movie we'd take it off. And that worked really well for us. It's a really good way to boost the moisturization of the skin, like it traps in the moisture and it keeps it longer. It helps to relieve the itching. It's a really, really good tool for immediate relief when you're kind of at your wit's end and you just need a break. It's not the long-term answer.

Jen: And were you using them in conjunction with things like oatmeal baths or baking soda? I think on your site I saw something about baking soda baths.

Jennifer R.: Yeah. Baking Soda Baths, apple cider vinegar baths. They're really good alternatives to the bleach bath that a lot of the physicians recommend, which is pretty toxic. So yes you could do it in conjunction with that. Generally you don't really need to. I find that when you're wet wrapping, there's really not much else you need. Some people like to put oil in the bath, but it's not really necessary. I think the apple cider vinegar baths and the Baking Soda Baths and the Epsom salt bath, those are kind of good at other times. I don't think you necessarily need to do them together. So we didn't do that. You don't really need to, but wet wraps work really, really well. Like I said, desperate times and you need a little break, just keep in mind it's not a long-term thing and it's better not to do it for more than a week at a time because again, it can reverse the effects and your skin will kind of develop a dependency on it. You want to take a break.

Jen: And so with that, you then launched into this whole world of developing creams, salves essentially to put on the skin to help it feel calmer, relaxed, what have you. So how did you get into that? Was it this interest in natural healing and health that drove you to look for these alternatives?

Jennifer R.: Sure. Yeah. To back up, when I hit my rock bottom and I cried every night and it was just miserable because I couldn't help my child with medication, we started to look at natural healing. We found dietary changes really helped him. We found some homeopathy really helped him, immune balance versus the supplements. We tried all kinds of other diets too and in the end we saw that yes, the answer for us was in natural care and there were a lot of good solutions out there. I'd spent a fortune basically a small fortune on products and I spent so much time and I researched and I bought from companies all over the world. Sometimes they didn't even speak English on the website and I had to call and like get things translated. I am telling you I bought like almost everything, especially as we went into natural products. I had to go pretty far to find things. And in the end I had a closet full of things that didn't work. I had a handful of things that did work and I knew that I wanted to make it easier for parents because when you're dealing with this, you feel helpless and you just are looking for answers. And I didn't want everybody to have to spend fortunes like I did on product. And so I started the Eczema Company with carefully curated, natural, very safe products that I knew that worked for my son. And then I started reaching out and finding more products that worked really well for other people. And so I wanted to create this place where you could come. First of all, skincare is not the long-term answer. We know that it's healing from within, but you need relief sometimes and you just need it now. It's a bit of a band-aid approach, but it can really work wonders in the short term. And I wanted to be able to provide options. And so since we know that there's not one miracle cream out there, right? Like you'll see people talking about, oh, this miracle product and this and that, and people have called some of our products miracles. But it was a miracle for that person, but it doesn't mean it's going to be a miracle for the next person. I wish there was a solution that works for everybody. We would all be out of jobs, but like it would be great. Nobody would be suffering. Anyway, so because of that, we've curated this collection of products that we know work really well for different people. So the idea was when you come to the Eczema company, you can try a few different things and we hope that out of those things you try that are really natural, really safe for babies to adults, you're going to find something that works for you. At least for now, while you're healing your gut, while you're eliminating dietary triggers and all of that. So that's the answer. That's what we're trying to do. So for the Eczema Company I have found things that they were kind of some I guess some places where the product didn't exist exactly how I want it or I had some new ideas cause I knew what people were looking for and they just couldn't find. So then it led to YoRo Naturals, which is now my brand of skincare. One cream, we're building on it, and there's something else we're hoping to come out this year. And then clothing and Remedywear, and that's kind of where we are now. And it's really exciting because we're filling this void that I know exists and we're trying to help more people. So it's really exciting. And so yeah, there's our Manuka cream, which is like every single member of my family and my friends have creams at home and my husband has jars at work and we use it for like everything. We love it. And then the Remedywear clothing that you talked about before. We use that for dry wrapping, because you don't need to dampen it. So it's really nice when you apply a layer of cream that you put the Remedywear over it and wear it overnight or during the day. And it has zinc embedded at the fiber level so it doesn't wash out easily and works really well. It's really nice. We've got like babies to adults products and tops, bottoms, hats.

Jen: And I will also share too, the reason that the zinc is so critical is that zinc is involved at the layer of DNA, like a very subtle layer of the body and the DNA synthesis. It's required at that point to help regenerate healthy skin or actually anything in the body. Zinc is a really critical mineral. And it's not uncommon to see people who have different deficiencies when their body's really been struggling. And I know when I've run labs or recommended labs with clients, one thing I'll look for is the magnesium level. Zinc for sure. And typically both of those come up insufficient in some respect. Oftentimes it has to do with diet, what they were eating currently. So your diet does matter. And we've touched on that very briefly, but the other issue is if your gut, as you were saying, if you've got a state of leaky gut and put that in air quotes, you may not be absorbing the nutrition from your food, especially if you're not breaking it down. If you don't have enough stomach acid, it's very difficult for your body to pull those critical minerals and vitamins and other nutrients into the body. So it's nice in that the zinc on the surface can really help. It is inside out and outside in. And I love, I honestly think, oh, as soon as I saw that, I was like, that is brilliant. So I'm so glad that we can add that and we'll definitely put links to all of this stuff in the show notes because I think for people who are, like you said, there is no one like really generally speaking, a miracle cream. You have to do other work. Because a lot of times, like for me and with a lot of my clients, I found that the skin issue, sometimes it's connected to a lot of other issues that underlie it. And we're not looking because they're only looking at the skin and we don't see, oh, the thyroid's off. Oh, the gut's a mess. You know, we're not digesting things properly. Our hormones are out of balance, like all these different things. But I love the fact that you're allowing people this pathway for support in the process of getting back to that better place. I think that's so powerful and I'm glad that we connected so that we can get people to this type of solution who are really looking for it. That is exciting.

Jennifer R.: That's what we're trying to do. Like you said, offer support, you know, and while they're healing, while they're healing internally, which takes a good bit of time and patience and it's hard, it's not easy. We're just trying to help provide some relief in the interim. Really.

Jen: Well, Jennifer, I want to thank you for sharing your story. I hope sometime I can have you come back. I feel like there's a lot more we could talk about. You know, 20 minutes isn't quite enough. The other thing is you've been wonderfully generous in offering the listeners a 15% off discount at the Eczema company. They can use a coupon, 4naturalskin. I'll put all the details and the links and everything in our show notes for this episode, but I want to thank you so much for your generosity, for your time of making these products accessible, being, I want to say courageous and brave enough to fallow through because it is hard to be in business and you like really had this vision to help people and you're offering them something that can help make them more comfortable on their journey is amazing. And I just love your willingness to share.

Jennifer R.: Thank you. That's so kind. I really appreciate it and thank you so much for having me. It was really fun. And I'm happy to be a part of it.

"With wet wrapping, you take a bath for about 20 minutes. Then you lightly pat dry your skin. You put on a layer of cream. Then you take a layer of damp clothing—clothing you put in warm water and then wrung out really well, so it's moist but not dripping wet. And then you put it on the skin and then you wear a dry layer on top of it. And you sit for at least two hours this way."