Eczema is a form of chronic skin inflammation which is believed to be caused by hereditary and environmental factors. The dermatologist mainly mentioned that it was hereditary maybe suppressed; when I highlighted that the parents do not get eczema.
My son has eczema since 2 months old and it flares on and off; depending on environmental or perhaps coincidentally after immunisation or some events. In the process of searching for the "miracle" cream to help soother and manage his eczema, I have bought whatever lotion/cream/supplements/medication which a slight possibility of soothing his rashes and flare. We have brought him to 2 pediatricians and 1 dermatologist in this process too.
Infant eczema prone areas.
Initially, I wanted to blog out stage by stage of the process of healing and discovery but then realised time is a luxury these days. Hence, here is the conclusion for 10-11 months dealing with infant eczema.
Step-by-step of Dealing with Infant Eczema
1. Understand what eczema is and what type your baby has.
This will help you to understand how to manage it.
2. Look for triggers
- Environment: Dust? Allergy to dog? Mites? Etc... In my case, we tried to remove dust by cleaning more often and also controlling temperature by always making sure my son is never too hot and sweaty. When he sweats, it will trigger his rash and eczema; making the condition worse. The dermatologist said that eczema makes it seem like the baby is even allergic to his own sweat. In fact, with the haze, we even invested in a good air purifier and humidifier to be used in the air-condition bedroom. Yes, we also ensure wherever we go, there is always air-con. Sharp has a good range of air purifier/humidifier.
- Food: My baby is fully breastfeed. So I had to cut down all the "highly allergic" food and control my diet. Keeping a food diary is a must to eliminate the triggers. I started by cutting down on all seafood especially prawns. Once, I tried a piece of lamb and his eczema flared. So do keep a diary to find out the effect. I also cut down on all fried stuff as once, I ate the delicious spicy sambal of ayam penyet and my son had flares. Sigh...
- Emotional: Yes, it does worsen the symptoms. When my son gets annoy and cries, he will continue with scratching his inner elbows, necks... and IF you didn't always keep his nails short, you will get scratch marks and worse, bleeding wounds.
3. Maintain a disciplined skincare regime
- Atopic eczema means the skin is unable to retain its own moisture. So it will start with dryness which will trigger itching, then flare-ups. Hence, looking for the right moisturiser is essential.
a) Bath time:
- Do not use harsh products with synthetic ingredients and preservative. I've tried Baby Organics, Sebamed, Cetaphil Restoraderm, etc. At the moment, Baby Sebamed Body Wash and Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Body Wash seems to work. But we use sparingly.
- Water has to be luke warm - not too hot which will aggravate eczema.
- Bath time has to be limited to 10-15 minutes to prevent drying of skin.
- After bath, do not rub skin with towel; instead pat dry as rubbing will aggravate the skin.
The creams and lotion we have tried on our son from Baby Sebamed, Cetaphil, E45 cream, Four cow skin calendula remedy, Aveeno, Lucas Paw Paw Cream, Lanoline, Ezzera, Ceradan, Salcura, Dermalex, Malaleuca Renew Intensive Skin Therapy, Buds Super Soothing Rescue Lotion, Atopiclair, Moogoo Irritable Balm, Sudocream, Egyptian's Magic.... etc..
- Apply moisturisers within 3 minutes after bath to ensure effectiveness of absorption.
- Use creams, ointments and thicker cream. Lotion is too diluted for eczema skin. Again, look at the ingredients and find out which are the triggers.
- My son's regime is: Face - Baby Sebamed Protective Facial Cream, body - Baby Sebamed Lotion which will be layered with cetapil restoraderm skin restoring lotion at the flare areas (inner arms, necks, back of knees, legs). Layering the creams will help retain the moisture. Some sites do recommend letting the skin breathe and work on its own but I have yet to let that happen except for short duration.
- Rash and itchiness: Use selected creams for itchiness i.e. Ezzera, Bud's Super Soothing Rescue Lotion, etc. These two works for my son at the moment. My son's nanny even applies chilled fresh aloe vera to his problematic part and it does calm down the itchiness.
- Dry thicken skin: So far only Cetapil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Lotion works to remove the thicken skin.
- Try to use 100% cotton loose fitting clothing. I think this is important because it might cause the skin irritants. In fact, there are some specially designed clothing for eczema prone condition which I have yet to look into and hope I don't need to.
- Prevent scratching: Try getting something like the scratch-me-not mittens to prevent further scratching. Or alternatively, I bought from Scratch No More who is based in Malaysia. I let my son wear scratch no more mittens only to sleep when he unconsciously scratch himself during sleep. It seems to work at the moment.
4. Try supplements to boost immune system
- Probiotics: Some research says that eczema could be caused by leaky gut and taking probiotics like LactoGG and BioGaia probiotics drops will help with eczema. I add in probiotics to his breakfast cereal.
- Supplements like Olivenol (olive oil) to boost immune system. I add in the liquid form to his dinner daily.
5. Wet wrapping: This is something I have read briefly about and hope I don't have to use it. It is for severe itching and discomfort when the eczema gets really bad.
In a nut shell,
We learned about the importance of bathing in the right temperature and duration.
We learn to impose a bathing routine which incorporates slathering a bunch of lotion and ointment quickly on my son.
We learn about his trigger foods.
We learned that even toothpaste can contain dairy and eggs! Gosh, I only noticed that recently and eliminate the toothpaste. Then the redness subsided from my son's cheeks. (Suspecting egg at the moment - I need to do an egg allergy test next)
We learn that a little antihistamine helps to soothe itchiness and help my son to sleep. (Even though I didn't really want to give any oral medication to my son... sigh)
This is what my family had to go through to help my son deal with eczema.