For the past few months my daughter has been dealing with what we now know is Eczema. She had a flare up right after her first birthday party and we thought maybe it had something to do with her teething. All the drooling she was doing was probably irritating her face since the dry patch was on her cheek and chin area. We took her to the doctor in May and they concurred and blamed it on the teething. Fast forward another month and the dry patches had now spread to her wrists and ankles. We immediately took her in to get told she had a viral infection in the hand, foot, mouth family, since that had been going around a lot of schools in the area. They let us know it would disappear in 3-5 days. Two weeks later it's still there. We phoned the pediatrician who told us to moisturize it for 3 days then to get back to her. It still didn't disappear or fade a little so back into the office we went where she was finally diagnosed with having Eczema. Finally something that made sense.
I learned that eczema is hereditary and my husband did suffer from it on his hands when we first started dating so all the pieces were coming together. Eczema flares up when the skin is irritated and dry. She has been drooling a lot because of her teething and the weather has been causing her skin to be drier than normal. All reasons that the eczema may have hit her now.
I spoke with the doctor at length about treatment and care and did some research on my own and wanted to share what has been working for us. We are still dealing with breakouts here and there, but as it is with eczema there is no cure, just a way to control it and controlling what we are doing right now.
A good bathing routine is essential in helping fight your child's eczema since you need to keep your child's skin as moisturized as possible. When bathing use lukewarm water, not hot. Do not use a lot of soaps, scrubs or bubble bath because any additives can irritate the skin even more. Keep it simple and soak your babies skin for about 10 minutes before taking them out, but keyword is SOAK the affected areas.
A topical steroid like hydrocortisone cream 1% can be applied to the skin to help with the inflammation. It's important to apply the steroid as soon as you get the baby out of the bath to lock in the moisture. Part of the battle with eczema is not only fighting the dryness, but treating the inflammation and a steroid is key in minimizing the inflammation.
Once you apply the steroid, immediately seal it in with a thick moisturizer. Creams or ointments are recommended since lotions are mostly water based. I layer the hydrocortisone cream with a thick layer of Aquaphor. I've read some moms have had better luck with Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. I apply the steroid and moisturizer twice daily - morning and at night after her bath.
We are working on avoiding the sun and have noticed that the less time she spends in the sun the better her skin is looking. Unfortunately, she is an outdoor baby and loves the park so we wear big floppy hats and tons of sunblock if we are outside.
KEEP SKIN CLEAN
Because the skin irritation can cause a flare up, you need to keep your kids skin as clean as possible. As soon as we are back from the park, I was the sunscreen off her face so it doesn't cause any more irritation. Same with after she eats or try to keep the face dry from drool.
ORGANIC COCONUT OIL
Oil based moisturizers are more effective in treating dry skin then lotions so I sometimes incorporate coconut oil into our moisturizing routine and alternate between the Aquaphor and Coconut Oil. For those moms who want a more natural option, Coconut oil is the way to go.
Chamomile / Calendula Cream / Witch Hazel
For those who are concerned about the side effects of hydrocortisone cream, there are some natural alternatives that can help with the inflammation. Chamomile and Witch Hazel have been known to sooth skin and relieve the inflammation like hydrocortisone.
You can also make a Calendula based cream that really helps sooth the skin. Grow Forage Cook Ferment has a great step by step guide on how to make the cream.
Overall, what I've learned is CONSISTENCY is the key. You need to keep up the routine to clear up the skin or else it's just a bad merry go round that you can't get off of. It will clear for a few days, then come right back. I'm guilty of this, because I ain't going to lie, all this moisturizing can get very tedious. I don't even moisturize myself this much, LOL, but anything for our kids, right?
Do you have any tricks that have helped your fight against eczema? Sound off in the comments...we are open to anything and everything!