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To sum it all up:
moisturize, nourish, and avoid known or suspected triggers.
"Before you go to an allergist, please follow these four steps... #1 - I've been going to an amazing chinese doctor in chinatown, #2 - flax seed oil. 1 table spoon a day, everyday, I have mine in the am mixed w/ whole milk yogurt, fruit or a drop of maple syrup.
#3 - also, avoid all white sugar (i use only honey and maple syrup as sweeteners), processed food, spicy food, hot sauce, caffeine, and alcohol. organic makes a huge difference too. again, ask the doc as to what might be your daughters allergies. chi is a VERY powerful thing in the human body and the doc can dial right in on what's not right for you. eastern medicine has been around for 1000's of years for a reason... because it works! #4 - wash and bath w/ plain and simple olive oil, aloe-vera and/or tea tree oil
soap (and tea tree oil shampoo if your scalp is dry). this all makes a huge difference! no perfumes."
"My son had eczema (as part of the asthma-allergy-eczema triad) and his allergist recommended Vanicream. It was developed at a clinic and is totally free of allergens. You have to order it mail order – most allergy supply companies have it.) Try google. More important than the type of cream though (she said Eucerin and Lubriderm were fine for a lot of kids) was that it be applied within 3 minutes of the bath. In fact, she said they encourage a long soak in the bathfor kids with eczema as long as its followed by the application of moisturizer within that 3 minute window. She was an allergist with the pediatric food allergy institute at Mt. Sinai (the Jaffe Institute)."
"The symptoms you describe sound like infant dermatitis also known as Atopic Dermatitis (AD or topic or infantile eczema) which usually appears on the face, bends of elbow and behind the kneesand is very itchy, usually appears in the first year of life. Most get better after about age 18 months. Triggers vary but tend to include cold or hot weather, a dry atmosphere, exposure to allergens 9see below), stress, infections such as colds. If other family members have a history of hay fever, asthma or atopic dermatitis, that the child will have it, too. Usually dermatitis or eczema (pretty much same thing although eczema describing a certain kind of dermatitis) are allergic reactions to either external substances and/or food allergens. The most common ones are dairy (pasteurized cow's milk products) and wheat. Also often soy, eggs, peanuts and other nuts. A common skin reaction culprit is gluten.
Try cutting out one or all three of these for at least two weeks, and then re-introduce one after the other for a week to see the reaction. With gluten leave out for at least six weeks.
Also, some children are very sensitive to preservatives and additives - you have to become a food detective and check all labels - just because it says organic or natural does not mean a thing. There is more research available online as this is a broad subject, particularly with processed foods.
Contact allergens include rubber, latex, cosmetics, perfumes, medicated ointments and creams (sometimes the very ones used to treat it! Read the possible side effects - you will be surprised!), metal or metal alloys such as gold, silver and particularly nickel (any ear piercing?) some people are sensitive to sunlight! Try using unscented, all natural oil or lotion 9if possible even without the common paraben and other preservatives. You can find all natural raw shea butter at a store like Median on Atlantic Ave (just off Flatbush Ave)
Ok, one other, and depending on the sugar content of your and her diet (apples and other fruit juices plus sweets, etc.), is candidiasis (an overgrowth of yeast in the system)
On a more somber note: so-called leaky gut syndrome or Hypochloridya (low levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach) in which the intestines become porous and allow tiny particles of undigested food to enter the bloodstream, provoking allergic reactions.
Check with your doctor to rule out the later two,and take it from there."
"Some natural or supplement remedies are * supplementing Betaine HCl - a form of hydrochloric acid * OptiMSM -a patented form of MSM (methylsulfonaylmethane which reduces inflammation and contains a natural analgesic * Vitamin B complex (a dose of each major B
vitamin 3x day plus extra B3 (niacin) and B6 (pyridozine, b12 and biotin - please check with a professional about the dosages as overdose of vitamins can not only be contra-indicatory but harmful!!!!! * EFA -essential fatty acid often help with skin problems, and a lack of them can cause skin and other health problems - found in black currant seed oil, flaxseed oil, primrose oil and salmon or cod liver oil (there is a tasty flavored variety like orange and else sold at good health food stores) Make sure you buy a high quality oil, with fish oils preferably micro distilled or similar
which takes out the heavy metals. God oils are usually cooled and expire quickly.
* Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol version only) 400 IU daily and up - relives itching and dryness
* zinc ointment heals skin * maybe helpful is Aller Bee-Gone from CC protein for allergic dermatitis, (combination of herbs,enzymes and nutrients designed to fight allergic flare ups).
Food and herbal help is available as:
* goldenseal root powder with Vitamin E oil, add a little honey until it becomes a loose paste, apply to affected area to relieve itching and promote healing
*teas: blackthorn, blueberry leaf, hawthorn berry and rue contain flavonoids that reduce inflammation
* tea or capsules: dandelion (bitter as tea!), myrrh, pau d'arco (bitter as tea) and red clover
*chamomile external and internal
Also consider homeopathic treatments, the sessions are not covered by insurance, but the medication is cheap (usually less than $5) and considered safe for infants and children.
For all these supplements: please check with a health care provider for suitability for infants. This advice is not meant to be used in lieu of licensed medical advice and I am not liable. :)
On a more spiritual note, dermatitis is caused by emotional stress (which can also be brought into this life and be karmic and not necessarily always cause by what has been happening here and now) Surround your child with golden light, and affirm for it that there is harmony and peace, love & joy that surround it and indwell it. Let it know that it is safe and secure."
"We're grappling with this again. All winter, generous applications of shea butter, unprocessed kind found at African stores on Atlantic Ave., kept my daughter's eczema in check. I like it because it's natural and just one ingredient so there's no chance of allergies to other ingredients. I put it on 3 times a day, plus after any time my daughter gets wet. But now that the heat has set in, I need to step up my efforts. Here's what I've found most helpful:
Keep cool and dry. This is our biggest issue right now. Eczema most often occurs in places where sweat accumulates - elbow creases, behind the knees, wrists. A new ceiling fan in my daughter's room is working wonders. And hanging out at the pool (we're now in Westchester, but even back in the Slope, there's always Red Hook and the other free pools) is helping dry out the red patches. Must be something about the sun and chlorine - but I hear the beach is equally therapeutic.
Essential Fatty Acids/Omega 3 oil, sold in children's form. Some kids take it straight from a teaspoon, others take a pill. We like Peachy Keen, which is naturally flavored and in oil form. I also add flax seed oil to my daughter's yogurt and granola.
Acidophilous. Sold in chewable tablets for kids. We also love yogurt, which is a good source, and have been filling freezer pop molds with organic vanilla yogurt and frozen blueberries - the kids love it.
No soap. Use a gentle cleanser, like Dove, African black soap, a tar-based soap like Grandpa's pine tar soap. Adding oil to the bath is a great way to moisturize the skin and prevent moisture loss in the first place. Limit baths to 10-15 minutes (before fingers get wrinkly) and keep the water tepid.
Be careful with sunscreens, there are so many ingredients and my daughter has had trouble with many. We like Jason products and are doing o.k. with a chemical free kids sunscreen right now.
There's a link between eczema, allergies and asthma. I took my daughter to an allergist and found she is allergic to some very basic foods that I was giving her all the time, like apples and tomatoes. These are some of her eczema triggers. By avoiding these foods as much as possible, in a few years when we reintroduce them, it's possible my daughter will no longer be allergic. Some of the most common triggers are dairy, wheat, eggs, dust, mold, pets, soy and beans. If you suspect a food allergy, try to keep your child's diet simple and keep a food diary, noting what
her eczema looks like throughout the day. This will be helpful to your doctor too. I find with my kids that I need to eliminate unnecessary food additives, coloring, sweeteners. Seemingly benign Goldfish crackers make my daughter red and itchy all over.
Strengthen you child's body and immune system. I can't seem to get my daughter to eat her recommended servings of veggies, so I sneak them in. When I make smoothies, I add a teaspoon of spirulina and I add a big pinch of dulse (seaweed) to black beans, soups and scrambled eggs.
If you try this, start with small amounts, because the taste grows on you slowly. We have come to love Aloe juice and when my daughter's eczema gets bad I add liberal amounts to special eczema smoothies. Here's the basic recipe, which varies each time:
Sarah's Eczema Smoothie
frozen organic blueberries, 1/2 cup to 1 cup
glug of Aloe Vera juice, maybe 1-2 ounces
1 teaspoon spirulina
1-2 ounces flax oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
water to make it smooth, also can use POM, cranberry juice or cooled
milk thistle tea.
If you want it sweet, go heavy on the bananas. If you like tart, add some cranberry or lemon. If you like creamy, add plain or vanilla yogurt, about 1/2 cup. You can also freeze this to make pops. A word to the wise, aloe and the flax oil may send your child running to the toilet if he isn't used to them, so start small.
Blueberries have anti-inflamatory properties. Aloe is a great skin healer, also works from the inside out. Lemon juice changes from an acid to a base once it's in your stomach - not sure how - and is supposed to be a great internal cleanser, gentle enough in small amounts for children. Milk thistle is a liver detoxifier. Homeopaths link eczema to the liver not functioning well. You can give a young child milk thistle in tea form, or consult a homeopath for tincture dosage.
Oatmeal in the bath is lovely for the skin, but a mess to clean up. A good friend has had success adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to her daughter's bath.
I've heard promising things about NAET therapy, but do not fully understand how it works or how long the therapy is needed – maybe several months before results. I'm interested to hear of any
experiences with this.
I feel it's important to give my kids organic foods, especially since we're grappling with this. But if that's not an option, consider that some foods absorb more pesticides than others. Pesticide sponges, so to speak, include: potatoes, berries, grapes and peaches. I absolutely will not buy these foods unless they are organic. There doesn't seem to be any natural remedy that works fast. It takes me about 2 weeks after making any of these changes before I notice a dramatic difference in my daughter's skin."
"We use cetaphil for washing and their lotion after bath. Keeping the skin hydrated is crucial. Pools can be really hard on the skin. so if they are swimming grease them up good before hand and don't use sunscreen with fragrance."
"My two and a half year old has excema and I have not been comfortable with Elidel or any prescription given her age. I find with short baths, the mildest baby soap only on the truly soiled parts of her body and Lubriderm lotion with a spot of over the couner 1% hydrocortisone cream mixed in and appplied within a minute or two of drying her off we can usually keep ahead of the flare ups. We are also splurging for air conditioning at nap time and at night when she sleeps. Her pediatrician says there is another prescription we can try if things worsen which she feels is safer than Elidel."
"My daughter had a case of eczema last year, although not severe. I actually bathed her in lukewarm water only, and used Dove soap just for sudsing her hair at the very end, sometimes I'd use soap for her feet and hands as well. Make sure to really dry all the nooks and crannies after baths and to make sure they wear loose, comfortable clothing that lets the skin breathe. My Pediatrician recommended Palmer's Cocoa Butter lotion to keep her skin hydrated. I didn't like the sticks or super thick creams, but I found the bottle lotion without fragrance to work really well. My daughter has pretty sensitive skin and it worked well. For whatever your doc suggests topically, please make sure to spot test it on them both first on the inner arm area. I didn't do that once and it was really heartbreaking, she broke out even worse!"
"If it is eczema (and not a heat-related rash) it could be a little more serious. A cream that would suppress eczema could be potentially dangerous (i.e: studies have shown link between suppressed eczema and asthma) My daughter broke out in eczema all over her arms and upper thighs last month and we took her to see a homeopath. Within a few days it receded and within 2 weeks it was gone completely.
"Olive oil works better than anything else I've tried on my boys."
"I have had bouts w/ it myself. try all natural olive oil and/or aloe vera soap. the coop has them. that seems to help keep my hands/body moisturized.
My sons had periodic eczema during the winter - mostly due to heat, I think - and we used Aquaphor constantly. It's a wonder-substance. It comes in tubes, both little and big, and tubs. It seems like it's just glorified vaseline, but it has really worked wonders for my kids. I also use it on diaper rash (but only when the skin has dried out completely after being wiped or washed), and it is at least as effective as Triple Paste, if not better."
"My sister had really bad eczema when she was a baby. I remember my mom taking us to Mount Sinai hospital for treatments. They did all sorts of allergy tests on her and gave my mom a list of foods and things she was allergic to. With careful dieting she got better and no longer suffers from eczema. I remember this bc we have picture of her when she was in the hospital . Perhaps try MSH."
"As a lifelong sufferer and mother of an eczema-plagued child, I'd like to offer the following advice. The best lotion for all dry skin conditions is Neutrogena's Intensive Moisture Wrap Body Treatment. But lotion and limited bathing (definitely don't use soap) alone will not help: you have to use the cortisone cream. The key is to use as little as possible (a tiny dab, only on the affected spot) and to use it regularly (twice a day), even after the patch has cleared up. I know cortisone has a bad rap but it is the only solution. The worst it can do is thin out the skin, but thin skin is better than eczema! It's helpful to know that eczema travels with asthma and respiratory allergies. I developed the latter at age 18; my sister got the former around the same age. All three are caused by a low tolerance to itching. I now take an antihistamine every day in order to control my eczema (and incidentally the respiratory allergies). This strategy has worked beautifully. I don't know if a little Pediatric Benadryl would help your child but you might ask your pediatrician if it would be OK to try it."
"Just a quick note along these lines. Hopefully, it doesn't come to this for anyone...but if anyone has eczema that can't be "solved" by local doctors, by far the best place in the world for asthma, eczema, etc., is NJH in Denver. When I was around 15, I was so sick with asthma that I couldn't even attend school (had home instruction). Went to the best docs here, at Mass General...no one could help. I went to NJH in Denver and they totally changed my life. NJH has been ranked as the #1 respitory hospital in the country for 13-years in a row. And they are just as amazing with eczema. Anyway, hope it is never needed...but if it is, don't wait and assume that if docs here can't help there is nothing else that can be done..."
"California baby Calendula first aid cream, amazing for O.'s mild eczema.
look into cutting out dairy. there is often a dietary/food allergy component (and your pediatrician might LAUGH at this, be prepared!)
"It's a lot of trial and error, but you should try not to go down the road of cortisone cream, if you can. My daughter is dairy free during allergy season and uses Botanical Skinworks Eczema Salve, they have a baby version too. She doesn't get irriation at all now since using this cream. I haven't experienced this but if you haven't already I'd encourage you to go to a pediatric dermatologist. I have found that GPs aren't always that great with skin issues that don't have any risk factors beyond discomfort, even if that discomfort is severe. And there are so many hydrocortisone variations out there that are only available by prescription - maybe there's one that's better for a baby to use?
I don't know how common pediatric dermatologists are but I know there's one at Beth Israel. I had to see her a few years ago when I came down with this crazy viral rash that "only" happens in children. (I have LOTS of experience with harmless but annoying skin issues. And I don't know what I'd do without hydrocortisone.)"
"I know how hard it is, our baby had bad eczema too. Like you, dietary changes made no difference. We FINALLY figured out that she was allergic to certain fabrics, particularly synthetic fabrics. Once we started dressing her in 100% cotton, it got much much better. It didn't go away completely, but it was much improved. Also, make sure your baby's sheets are 100% cotton on his crib. I also don't wear synthetic fabrics anymore because I've noticed her skin will react if I am holding her in the Ergo while wearing lycra or polyester. Some babies are even allergic to the synthetic material in disposable diapers! (luckily, our baby doesn't seem to be sensitive to that) Good luck."
"Sorry to hear your baby is suffering from eczema. My daughter too, has had chronic eczema from birth. Hers is very much related to food allergies, but also flares more in winter, and when she has a virus. If you haven't already, I would look to food. If you're nursing try giving up dairy (and possibly other common allergens) for a month or two, and see if that has any effect. If your baby is formula fed, perhaps try changing to another type like a soy based one. Good luck."
"All my kids, too, had/have eczema. What is seeming to work right now with the baby is baking soda baths every evening, plus a medicated cream (not hydrocortizone. I can get you the name when I get home) plus Cereve (which I saw you tried.) I think the combination of the three is working. The baking soda bath, I find, is an important element.
One thing I did with my older boys was use olive oil instead of lotion. There is a new company, BK Soap, and I just bought their soap and laundry detergent. I'm not yet sure if it helps, but they said they developed this line of olive oil based soap because the male counterpart of the company has severe eczema.
Also, for the laundry, Charlies Soap is gentle but cleans well.
Good luck. We are going through the same thing and thus far, this is the only thing that seems to keep the eczema under control. Not a cure...but makes it tolerable."
"Once a week I gave her a bath and added a quarter cup of bleach per Dr. Gordon. It is the equivalent of being in a pool. She said it helps kill the bacteria that causes the eczema and it really did work. And the Lush "Dream Cream" works wonders."
"Sorry to hear about your baby's eczema problems. Our baby was the same way up until about 4 months when we switched pediatricians who prescribed hydrocortisone. We limit application to just once a day and only on her face when the flareups are bad. And that's really helped a lot. It used to be so bad that she couldn't concentrate for more than 2 or three seconds without breaking into a bout of scratching.
Our baby is allergic to caledula, but that is known to help some children. California Baby has a cream with calendula. I also like Motherlove, but it's a bit greasy since it's olive oil based. Have you tried Vanicream? It doesn't contain any lanolin, which is another ingredient that babies may be allergic to, which i think is in all the other creams you listed. If you want to try it, I can give you some since the tub is HUGE and you probably don't want to buy a whole huge container if it doesn't help.
There is also a plant called Neem which is known to help with eczema and infections. I have some you can try to see if it works for you. It is again an oil so a little messy. Youd use it sparingly. I think it helped somewhat. But once we started with the hydrocortisone we haven't gone back. Maybe I'll try again...
Our pediatrician also said that putting on zinc oxide will help skin heal. It won't stop the eczema from happening, but will quicken healing. You can find zinc oxide in products like desitin. But desitin also has lanolin. I haven't done my due diligence in finding a good zinc oxide product yet.
Another thing is getting more omega 3 fatty acids in your baby's diet. Our pediatrician said that is also good. I gather that you're formula feeding. Is that exclusive? Because if you are also breastfeeding, alterations to your diet may help. Or they may not - they didn't in our case and I had eliminated everything down to brown rice, some vegetables, and water - no joke - for over a month without any improvement.
Finally, I was told that about 70% of babies of Asian ethnicity are prone to eczema. It may just be something he has to outgrow until the water barrier on his skin is more mature. I think thats really what we're doing with our baby.
Anyway, hope this is somewhat helpful. Eczema is terrible. It's awful seeing your baby suffer that way I'm sure. Good luck and let me know if you want to try out any of these things or talk more."
"It sounds to me like maybe you need a second opinion from a pediatric allergist. What you describe seems like it is uncomfortable for your baby, and none of the conventional/readily available remedies seem to be working. There might be prescription creams or formulas that your pediatrician is not aware of because they are rarely needed.
My son had food allergies and we waited quite a while before consulting an allergist because the pediatrician was 'not worried.' In retrospect I wish we had taken care of it earlier - it would have made life easier/more comfortable for him. (He outgrew it all so that is something to hopefully look forward to - he is not allergy free but it got much better)."
"Our baby girl (also 6 mos) has been suffering from eczema as well. An acupuncturist recommended I tried taking dairy and any food with white flour out of my diet the last couple of weeks to see if it will help (she's taking breastmilk). I have seen a little improvement but it still comes back. I know how you feel -- it's painful watching her scratch.
If you receive any other recommendations from others, could you kindly share and post the list? Many thanks."
"I totally understand your frustration. My first son had the worst case eczema / atopic dermatisis. My pediatrican precribed Dermatop, topical cortisteroid cream and it worked like magic. In a matter of weeks his skin was as soft as can be. I only used it when his skin was really bad, other times I used the Aveeno cream. I found that Aquaphor just clogged up his pores and made it worst.
My second son had a mild case of eczema, but at times when it flared up it was bad. My doctor ( not the same Pediatrician as with my first son) prescribed furoate mometasone, another cortisteroid cream. I breast fed both my boys so I'm not sure if food has any affect on their flare ups. I can suggest maybe washing his clothes, your clothes, sheets, blankets, etc. anything he comes in contact with a really mild and fragance free detergent. If you have any pets, keep them away from the baby.
I am not a huge fan of prescription medication, but the cortisteroids really help. It passes. Good luck."
"My now 18 month old had terrible eczema on his face from about 2 months to 10 months. In our case we tried everything you listed (although in our case the dermatologist recommended bathing every day and then applying a moisture locking cream (like aquaphor). If you haven't done so already, I recommend switching all your products to fragrance free (even your detergent/fabric softener, soaps you use, etc.). That still didn't do the trick for us, but I think it helped because my son has very sensitive skin in general. We also use California Baby Super Sensitive bath products and cetaphil sensitive wash for our son's face. The Aquaphor bath wash also worked well on his skin but dried out his hair too much.
The only thing that remotely worked on my son eczema was the cortisone and, as you said, I knew I wasn't supposed to use that frequently. Also, at some point the cortisone didn't really do the trick anymore either. Our pediatritian ultimately prescribed a steroid cream, which I was nervous about at first, but we actually only had to use it a few times and my son's skin cleared up. Then we continued to use Cerave (the kind in the tub that they sell at Neergard Pharmacy on 7th Ave) all over his body as his primary lotion and it really seems to be doing the trick. We basically just had to get his skin under control and now he only has flare ups occassionally and we use the steroid cream for a few days. If you'd like, I'm happy to look at the name of the steroid cream when we get home tonight since I did try one or two before we found the right one for our son.
Good luck, I know this can be stressful and so hard to watch your little one scratching all the time."
"I don't have any great suggestions in terms of treatments, but I remember being just as distraught as you sound -- my son's eczema was really bad and his scratching at night would wake me up from the other room. I also tried everything, including eliminating foods, switching to goat milk, etc. Our pediatrician kept saying that he would almost certainly grow out of it, and, at about 16 months or so, he did, and has been completely eczema-free since (he's now 2). So I just wanted to say that there probably is an end in sight. Also, I just used the hydrocortizone cream pretty regularly when it got bad, on the bad spots only. Yes, it isn't great; but it's a lot better than bleeding and not being able to sleep because everyone is so uncomfortable.
I hope that is somewhat helpful...."
"My son, who is 6 months, 3 weeks has bad eczema also. He has had it since birth. He scratches the inside of his ears, his head & scalp, his face, his thighs and stomach. Sometime we will wake in the morning and there will be large gash on his forehead from scratching.
Our pediatrician is Dr. Gordon. She has prescribed 2% hydrocortisone cream and told us to use it sparingly. HOWEVER, she told us to use over-the-counter hydrocortisone 1% and slather it all over his body. I know this is the opposite of what you heard from your pediatrician, but it hss worked very well. When we use it, he definitely scratches less. And when we stop for a few days, the itchiness comes back. Maybe you need to see a pediatric dermatologist or seek a second opinion. Dr. Gordon is well-respected and if she says it's OK to use the 1% hydrocortison, I tend to believe her.
I'm interested to find out if others post anything about change in diet or using wet washcloths and laying it on the baby's body for 10 minuts then slathering on vaseline. These were some other suggestions I have heard that work. Would you mind posting any responses you get to the list or send them directly to me?"
"I have never experienced eczema before this allergy season where my daughter, 9 years, just flared up all over her body, front and back, neck, arms and knees. It was a shock as it literally happened over night. It's horrid to see them so incredibly irritated. My 9 year old having tantrums out of sheer frustration.
What I can say is that the past 6 weeks I have done a lot of research and talking with my sister who has a baby who is allergic to everything and gets eczema at the drop of a hat. She uses Aveeno Oatmeal baby moisturiser and is on the dairy free formula. SHe is in the UK so the stuff is different, but I know it's incredibly expensive but health insurance might cover it.
Aveeno didn't work for my daughter at all. Eucerin is ok, it does relieve itchy ness. But an olive oil bath was the cure for itchiness, it calmed her right down. We did this every day for a week and it really helped with the irriation. Then rubbing Eurcerin on. We used the hydrocortisone cream for a couple of weeks, but then stopped and haven't used it again. I just don't want to put steroids on her. Then I discovered Botanical Skinworks Eczema Salve, it is like a miracle. The texture is a bit like Vaseline and her skin loves it. Within two weeks and two pots of this stuff she is nearly back to normal. Alongside a two week dairy free diet, she just has just got a few dry patches on her back and shoulders. Her arms, legs and front are completely free of eczema. The salve is totally natural and the only cream I can find that doesn't have parabens in. It took a day of researching to find it.I think you can't use the salve under 2 years but they do a baby version It's mainly olive oil and avocado oil. http://www.botanicalworks.com/categories/Natural-Eczema-Treatments/
The long story is you might need to experiment a bit but certainly dairy is a huge issue. I myself have sinus issues and have given up dairy and am suddenly getting better.
I hope this helps as it must be a stressful time for you. I really feel for you as at least my 9 year old can express herself. Best wishes."
"A good friend of mine's daughter had baby eczema and they were able to control it with diet - There was a whole list of items their daughter couldnt eat (ranging from sweet potatoes to corn to tomatoes, etc). Her daughter was so sensitive that while she was breastfeeding, the mom couldnt eat these foods either or they'd cause a reaction. Many skin problems are related to diet - I have psoriasis that has been mostly cured through diet as well. Specifically, be sure the baby's diet is gluten free - there is a skin response that is caused by gluten that is similar to eczema and can easily be mistaken. Good luck!"
"So sorry to hear about your baby's eczema! That sounds awful. I struggle with eczema on my hands - it has been there for almost two years. Like your baby, it seems to flare at times. When it gets bad (with sores), I use hydrocortisone ointment 1% on it and it calms down within a day. Perhaps you should check with your doctor before using it on your baby. It probably won't cure the eczema, but it helps immensely with the itching and the appearance."
DISCUSSION FROM 2018 (PSP Allergy Group)
I am dealing with eczema with my son. He's had it since he was 3
months old and he's now 1 year and it's not going away. It's severe
enough that it can not be controlled with natural methods and he's
been on a steroid cream. Our dermatologist insists that it's not
connected to food (he said that usually presents as a full body rash
and his is patches, but really itchy patches all over his body).
I hate seeing him so itchy and uncomfortable and am just wondering if
anyone has gone through anything similar and has any advice: On foods
that may be triggering, pediatric derms you love, a child who had
something similar and outgrew it, suggesting for allergy testing, etc.
I'm just down google rabbit holes and not sure what to trust, but
really hoping for something to help him stop the itch!
Thank you so much in advance for your wisdom!
Hi, our daughter went through this when she was about that age. We did a lot of research and tests and found out it was a Gluten sensitivity.
One of the things that helped a lot clear and and prevent it from coming back as often was the “bleach baths” (sounds much worse than it is : a couple of tablespoons of bleach in the bath water.
I vaguely remember an article explaining it in a professional dermatologist magazine : as their eczema flares, it itches > they scratch > it bleeds > Staph population grows on the skin (sometimes from 2% to 90%+ I seem to recall) > eczema grows...
The bleach kills most of the staph population.
Another option with similar results : swimming pool (bleach...)
Hope this helps. It changed her and our lives!
Maybe check on both parents family history for allergies, sensitivities, etc...
My son had bad eczema on his cheeks as a baby, and a few milder patches on his body around the time we started giving him solid food. We eventually noticed it seemed to get worse whenever he ate hummus, so at his one year visit we mentioned it to his pediatrician, who then recommended allergy testing. Turns out it was sesame, and his eczema cleared up when we stopped feeding him hummus! (Now we make our own “safe” hummus.)
My advice would be to definitely see an allergist, or at least have your pediatrician run some blood work. The tricky part is you can get false positives even if you do both skin and blood tests. In our case, we had to avoid peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, mustard, shellfish, and unbaked egg for a year, until we could start to food challenge them when he turned 2. (Turns out he’s allergic to cashew/pistachio too, so that was good to know!)
We go to Dr. Cox at Jaffe/Mt. Sinai, but if you want to start out local, Dr. Moreau in Carroll Gardens is well regarded and very nice.
Hi Alex, we are in a similar situation except my son’s eczema since three months is primarily restricted to his face. We too have had to use steroid cream. We were so much at our wits end with his discomfort that we saw a dermatologist and an allergist the same week. At that time he was sensitive to so much. I would warn about allergy testing unless you see a food reaction. We did allergy tests and discovered many possible allergies. Are going through the process of allergy testing and I very frequently grow upset because Alden cannot try foods that I love and want to share with him. And he loves to eat right now. Sigh. But we are at least happy that he is eating peanut protein three times a week. He’s had one reaction so far - hummus, we think the tahini. It is all very confusing and stressful especially when Alden is distressed.
We’ve not figured anything out yet but am currently trying a string steroid cream on a specific cycle to see if we can use it less frequently than the weaker. Breaks my heart but Alden was scratching his cheeks until then bled. We just started using CA baby products and think they are helping too but do not know for sure as we are also using steroid cream.
So I guess this email is sending you support and letting you know you are not alone.
If you ever need moral support, I am here. It is so hard to see our LOs distressed especially when we can’t figure it out.
If anyone has suggestions for specialists who have helped their child with severe eczema, please let me know too. If this steroid cream doesn’t work my husband and I are interested in alternative methods. We are actually interested even if this cream does work. It is so scary to have to use it on him
We are already offering lots of foods that might potentially help : salmon, avocado, chicken broth.
I’m sorry your LO is going through this. Please share any details you may uncover.
We too use bleach baths for just his face. This has helped us too.
I would recommend testing for food allergies or an elimination of certain high suspect foods. My son had horrible eczema (oozing cheeks and a few other patches here and there but really just cheeks) at 3 months - the docs told me it definitely wasn't food (my food going to him via nursing) but I was convinced it was food related. I eliminated all high allergy foods from my own diet around 4 or 5 months and his skin cleared up. I slowly introduced some things, noticed a flare, and would do something else. He is 5 now and thankfully outgrew all of his allergies except nuts. Patchy eczema is definitely a sign of food related eczema - at least it was in my son.
Is the steroid cream not working? My son had bad eczema (and we tested for allergies which we learned he had but not to anything he had already eaten at that point). No OTC cream had any affect but steroid cream works like magic. The doc prescribed a regimen of 2x per day for a week then 1x a day for a week etc but often times just 1 application would almost clear it up. I’m thinking if the steroid cream is not helping then it may be a food allergy but I would think Must be something he eats regularly. Good luck.
When my son turned 12 months we tested for food allergies because of a skin rash that developed on his cheeks, legs and arms. It wasn’t patchy, but rather redness on his cheeks and around his eyes. While the rash on his arms and legs was more tiny bumpy spots. Our pediatrician suggested testing for food allergies and they performed the blood test. They tested for a number of foods; things he was having a lot of the week the rash flared up. And the test came out positive for wheat and avocado. We then saw Dr. Moreau and she performed a skin test, which then came out negative. She suggested to continue eliminating these two foods and then reintroduce one at a time and see if he reacts again. After almost 2 months, we reintroduced wheat and he seemed completely fine after. He never had that same rash flare up and he is now 15 months. His arms and legs still have a few tiny bumpy spots and we will take him to a dermatologist to get that checked out. Since the skin test came out negative and you never know 100% , I am not fully convinced it’s food related. I do think it’s worth testing for allergies though, especially if the eczema has been on going.
I am in search of a pediatric dermatologist and could use some of your recommendations.
I am very sorry you are going through this. My daughter started to have eczema when she was four months old. We tried everything from changing formula to the one with broken protein to creams. Nothing really worked.
I learned to manage eczema better with years. Also it was getting better every year. My daughter is almost five now and we are pretty much eczema free. First the neck cleared up, next year hands and now we are almost done with our legs under the knees.
I never gave her any sugar, chocolate or red berries. I was careful with eggs, even though she did not have egg allergy. Basically, I tried to manage the most healthy diet I could. Home cooked, organic, veggies, fruits and meets. I tried limiting gluten and milk organic in glass bottles with low temperature pastoralization process. I also convinced myself that she had more excema when she had oats but I am not that sure anymore.
As of skin care from all the forums I read I got the following:
Bathe almost every day, but the water has to be not hot, likewarm for 10 minutes, so the skin does get some moisture in but does not loose it due to long/hot exposure. I used bleach baths, but our main bath was with dead sea salt and colloidal oats.
Put cream imidiatelly after bathing ( I used Shikai Borage blue bottle, and lanolin on top of that after Borage sets in to lock in the moisture)
We constantly ran humidifiers during winter.
And give more drinking water when older.
It was rough I admit it. But I managed to use steroid cream only once or twice. I guess I am an extreme as well, but we are through with eczema now with the natural formula that worked for is.
My daughter turned out to be allergic to nuts now and I am trying to find a way, but I am not there yet.
We also tried these hydra onesies for $100 ( did not really work for us), different creams ( mustela, cera ve....). Shikai Borage and lanolin combo worked the best for us. I also liked Elta c
ream. Dead sea mud worked, but it was very traumatic for my daughter, so I used it only couple of times.
I think that was it. I wish you all the best! And I do hope it clears out for you completely!
We use prescription Eucrisa for my son’s eczema when he has breakouts. It’s newly released, steroid-free but works VERY well (unlike the other Rx steroid-less options I’ve tried). So you can use a good amount of it as often as needed without worry.
My daughter started having horrific, oozing, infected eczema when she was 2 months old. Her cheeks, neck, and the insides of her elbows and knees were the worst. I saw three different pediatricians who absolutely insisted it was not food related. One even yelled at me to start drinking milk at once when I tried eliminating dairy from my diet for a few days. I insisted on allergy testing, and while the skin test showed hardly any allergies, the blood tests screamed very high numbers: she was allergic to dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, and cashews. Once I eliminated those from my diet, her eczema miraculously vanished. Funnily enough, even after I told this story to my current dermatologist, she still said she doubted her eczema was food related.
Oh well ...
Anyway, my daughter outgrew her wheat allergy by the time she turned 2, but all the other allergies are unfortunately still with us (she's almost 7). I hope your turns out better!
Hi Alex, and all parents - this string has been so helpful for me as well as my son, 6 months, has been battling horrible eczema since 3 months. Red, itchy, oozing all over his chest, limbs, face. Poor guy can’t sleep and scratches himself raw in spots - actually going through a flare up now.
We’ve been to Dr. Moreau for a skin and blood test - nothing showing direct causes (tested environmental and food even though he’s still on hypoallergenic formula mainly and just starting solids). And also been to the dermatologist, and have been prescribed steroid cream as well which we HATE using but they work :(
Sorry to go on about our story but hoping there’s some miracle solution out there and also here to commiserate if you need to and learn more!
Here are things I’ve been doing so far/learned:
- latest research is skeptical on bleach baths, may be more of the process of sitting in water and moisture for extended periods rather than the actual bleach
- bathe everyday, lukewarm water
- lotion immediately after and our nanny lotions him up frequently throughout the day which is helpful
- we keep him naked a lot but have to cover his chest when he scratches
- sleeps only in a sack (one layer only)
- humidifier always
- using cortisone 1% OTC to manage flare ups also, has helped a little
- staying indoors during hot hot days
- have Rx antibiotic ointment for oozing areas
It’s a lot to manage and be creative to stay one step ahead! Good luck and reach out if needed!
Your email reminded me so much of my son as a baby. People were constantly asking me if I had thought to put cream on him - sometimes they would ask even as I was buying more at Duane Reade. Ugh! His sheets would be bloody in the mornings from the eczema on his cheeks. And he was a terrible sleeper because he was so itchy. Dr Moreau was wonderful.
Turned out to be a food allergy for him and once we eliminated that his eczema wasn’t quite as bad but at 6 years old it’s still around. We spend a lot of time rubbing vanicreme and aquaphor on him at night.
He’s decided to be a scientist when he’s older so he can come up with a cure for it, of course he also plans to invent hover boards and to mine for diamonds - so he has big plans and “might” end up in a different field! ??
I know you said your son doesn’t have an identified cause, but I hope he and you find relief soon. Those days were the worst, but it did slowly get better.
I’ve been reading this chain with a lot of interest. I’m sorry for all your kids, it is not fun!
My son has been dealing with similar issues since he was young. And now all of his flared seem to be related to viruses. I just wanted to give some other inside that we have.
I myself responded horribly to lots of bathing and thick creams like aquaphor. It would aggravate the eczema so much.
Knowing this we went a different route with our son. We only bathe him 2-3x a week, never warm and put a light lotion or oil on him. Only in really bad flares we use steroid cream.
But most importantly we have come to realize that laundry detergent is a huge problem for both of us.
I now rinse every load of laundry with white vinegar and use the extra rinse cycle etc. it helps a lot.
His skin has never been baby soft and probably never will be but we seem to be able to manage most flares like this.
I second the limited bathing! At 5 months, at Xmas, my son got eczema all over his body. He was receptive to 1% cortisone cream + Aquaphor 3-5x/day for a few days to get the rash to go away. Then, I cut his baths to 1/week for the rest of the winter and used California Baby super-sensitive everyday lotion 2x/day and only used cortisone/aquaphor when it looked bad.
It worked like a charm!
Some of these cases sound more extreme than his, but may be worth trying.
Also, considering eliminating dairy or other allergens to see if that helps.
Our son had pretty bad eczema with oozing and impetigo for the first six months and we also had to resort to steroids. Luckily we would only have to use for a few days before the flare would settle. For maintenance we tried every single cream I could possibly find until we finally found a combo that worked. We do daily baths using Dove soap (apparently dove is not soap so it is not harsh on the skin) immediately followed by a full body lather of good old vaseline. It's absolutely disgusting but has worked wonders on his skin and is so cheap. He tends to flare in the extreme heat so we just have to be careful about our time spent outside on those very hot muggy days.
Try your best to keep the nails as short as possible and little mittens at night if need be.
Usually they do outgrow it but my doc told us to keep up this routine until he is at least three. Good luck!
As all the responses on this thread have indicated, there is no one way to treat eczema and it’s a trial and error process where each parent discovers what works best for their child . Emollient creams , especially after the bath, with the step-up to anti inflammatory creams when necessary are the mainstays of treatment as well as antihistamine to quell the itching so the child can sleep and so that scratching does not delay healing. I can also forward a review of the role of allergy testing in eczema as I saw a few different versions cited in this thread .
We have had some luck with aveeno eczema which we put on him twice a day (morning and night) and making sure he wears cotton and using a humidifier. Also giving less baths. Hope that helps!
Another vote for Aveeno Eczema! I tried every natural-y thing on the market but Aveeno is the only thing that ever worked.
We're now using the CeraVe cream which is totally fragrance free. We've been using the steroid when he has a bad flare-up and then easing up on it and just going back to the creams otherwise.
DISCUSSION FROM 2020 (Fall 2019 Babies Group)
Anyone breastfeeding try an elimination diet for baby eczema? [My son's] eczema is particularly bad on his face and he scratches at himself constantly. I've been to the dermatologist and pediatrician several times. (I know eczema is common, but his got to where it was oozing and crusty and anything I tried only seemed to make it worse.) I started eliminating foods from my diet as a last resort. My first kid had perfect skin - I think she had cradle cap and baby acne for about two weeks, which all disappeared with a little coconut oil! I don't know what I'm doing wrong this time around.
I have a similar situation where my second has eczema and my first had no problems. My doctor recommended hydrocortisone cream (1%) 2-3x a day on the bad spots until the rash goes away and that actually really helped. After the bad rash goes away, I use coconut oil and lotion to maintain.
I had the same for our 5.5 month old, blotchy patches on the back, arms, some on face. Some were oozing. I eliminated dairy for 3 weeks but it didn't help. We made an appt with dr and got prescribed the hydrocortizone 1%. Really helped, did it for 2 weeks. We now also moisturize him with vanicream (non petroleum cream, I hated rubbing my baby in the petroleum of aquaphor) multiple times a day. He still is getting a few small patches, so I'm about to try a soy elimination diet.
I think the food elimination can help, but once you've got oozing spots, I would suggest showing it to a dr, and zapping it with something (hydrocortizone worked for us) to prevent it from getting infected or spreading.
Both of my kids had/has eczema. Believe it’s just genetics and not food related. Anyways, both times, I had to get prescription (ecolon 0.1%) from pediatrician. Our ped also said that we could also use OTC hydrocortisone (like from aveeno) instead for flair ups. I highly recommend aveeno baby eczema nighttime balm instead of any petroleum topical cream. You can mix the balm with wet hands to water it down during summer.
Has your pediatrician recommended a steroid treatment yet? That’s the only thing that works for us when it got really bad. It (elocon 0.1%) works like magic when OTC stuff failed.
While yes, eczema is genetic, it can be made exacerbated by food sensitivities. I've found tomatoes and sugar to be particularly triggering for me and avoiding those foods help me avoid having to go on prescription steroid creams which tend to thin skin and you can build up a tolerance to. That said once you're in serious flare up territory, steroids just work.
Our pediatrician recommended Aveeno Eczema Therepy which we apply after his bath. It has been great and keeping things calm. We use coconut oil on his head which he tends to scratch at. She also recommended adding Vaseline or Aquaphor on top of Aveeno (or any cream moisturizer) when his eczema starts to flare up. The idea is that the cream moisturizes the skin and the more oily ointments lock it in. The ointments alone just prevent the skin from drying out, it doesn't allow moisture to penetrate. Hydrocortisones are great to calm the itchiness any buy the skin time to heal.
There are loads of things you can put in bathwater to help as well. Oatmeal and coconut oil are great and our doula recommended saving any left over breast milk to use in baths as well.
Lastly, get a humidifier and an air purifier if you don't already have them. The worst my eczema ever got as a kid was a result of a mold problem in my bedroom. I'm definitely not suggesting that's your issue, its just to say that the air in your child's room is also part of what can contribute to eczema.
For what it’s worth, our pediatrician mentioned that he was seeing more eczema cases, he thinks due to people spending less time outside and advised that we should be sure to continue vitamin d supplementation for the first year.
not quite sure how it worked since it’s just lotion, but we tried a lot of things and earth mama calming lavender baby lotion did wonders for our babe.
we massaged it on after a bath. sometimes we also lathered a little coconut oil 20 minutes before bath.
I can definitely attest that elimination diets work and that high acidity/citrus foods are inflammatory and contribute to skin issues.
I manage my psoriasis with my diet & sunshine. I usually don’t eat gluten, dairy or citrus. We evacuated New York to stay with my in laws and needless to say I had to be a little bit more forgiving because my diet is extremely hard to accommodate although my mother in law tries. I’ve stuck to no gluten and dairy, but have been eating more acidic foods than I even realized not cooking for myself. After a week here, my son who had beautiful, totally clear healthy skin erupted in spots. First on his face then all over his torso. My in laws use a lot of tomatoes/tomato based products and have orange juice with breakfast. I had to just politely say I wasn’t eating any more tomatoes/citrus and my son‘s skin has been clearing up but it does take some time. Citrus is inflammatory and while it’s quick to trigger an outbreak, it can take time to clear up the skin.
I would recommend eliminating high acidity foods (tomatoes/tomato based products, oranges, lemon, lime).
Also, I agree with the comments about treating bad spots with a steroid! It does help to zap bad outbreaks that are bothersome. However, to prevent over reliance on/constant use of the steroid, I recommend eliminating acidity. That’s why I say I “manage” my psoriasis with diet. When an inflammatory food sneaks into my diet and I get a flare up, I usually use my prescription steroid to treat it.