Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Baby (6-12 months)

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Hopefully the past half year hasn’t been so rough and you’ve ‘enjoyed’ baby milestones like the baby sitting up, crawling and soon, learning to swallow! Thinking back of parenting Marcie from 6-12 months old, I recalled that starting solids was a time that drove me paranoid. Some of you who have been following my blog know that I’m supportive of allergy test as I believe that it can really help to pinpoint what to avoid. More importantly, what we DON’T HAVE TO AVOID. Without allergy testing, I even thought at one point that Marcie was allergic to the high chair as that was made of latex! Especially at a time of starting solids, it can be very frustrating to write in a food journal and try to observe when the rashes appear when there is no discernible pattern. 

It was when Marcie was 7 months old that we brought her to the skin prick test – it’s not scary at all! For Marcie, likely the itch was normally so bad that the prick didn’t seem to bother her. She merely winced when her skin was pricked but otherwise, was not distressed by the test. It turned out that she was not allergic and it gave us a peace of mind as to what she can eat – finally, we can feed her without trying to link the foods she’s taking to the rashes. Moving to solids then became easier than feeding milk – something we struggled so much with in the first six months due to reflux. 

This period I felt was a tough time as the baby really starts to have strength to scratch and can be quite hard to put back to sleep at night. Half a year of sleepless nights can also ‘break’ someone and the thought that it’s never getting better but worse is terrifying and trying. It is also the time when the mom gets back to work from her maternity leave and not finding someone to take care of an eczema baby can make getting back to work difficult. 

I’m glad that I stayed at home for my baby’s first year. I could take care of her the way I like – feeding (she’s a good eater now, used to foods of many textures and fruits and vegetables, i.e. not the traditional asian porridge with fish diet), co-sleeping and caring for her skin. The baby’s skin has not yet matured and research has pointed to that a defective skin barrier can sensitize a baby to allergens where contact to allergens via skin lead to food allergy. Although it was difficult, I felt that being one on one with my baby helped with her skin and her development. There were fun moments when we learnt sign language to distract her from scratching and sing songs together. Even with eczema, I felt that I had a pleasant time with her especially when it’s leisure time when I don’t have to feed, cook or do chores.

At about 7+ months old when Marcie started on her one-time oral steroid course (prednisolone), I really cried anguish tears. Her eczema improved during the first few days of the reducing dosage course but came back after a week into the course when the dosage was reduced. I was so scared and wanted to stop the course but continued. I’m grateful that her eczema was under control after the two weeks’ course when towards the end of the course, the eczema improved again and was limited to certain areas. It was a scary time especially when you know the same medicine at higher dosage is for treating cancer and the wrong dosage can have serious side effects. To this day, I know that it is a blessing that Marcie recovered after the course as many other children whose eczema worsened – we don’t know how the body will react after the course and knowing that we’ve been blessed keeps my work for this blog going.

If you are seeing a doctor, make sure that you see one who you can trust. Eczema is a chronic condition and seeing a doctor who you don’t trust and don’t have time to answer your questions or dismiss your worries can be the catalyst for much negativity – blame between the parents, fear motivating you to try an alternative treatment and distrust of doctors. 

Parenting Eczema Baby

Psalm 9:9-10

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you

AAD A:Z Videos with Dr Thomas Rohrer – How to Treat Sunburn

In 2013, I’ve featured American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)’s Dermatology A: Z Videos (here). Since then, AAD has added several other videos which are informative and practical. AAD’s public relations team has once again been most helpful in introducing me to the dermatologists who assisted with my questions, making it possible to bring this special AAD Dermatology A:Z video series to you!

The video covered today is “How to Treat Sunburn”. For this video, I interviewed Dr. Thomas E. Rohrer, M.D., who is a dermatologic surgeon at SkinCare Physicians, and previously served as the Chief of Dermatologic Surgery at Boston University Medical Center and Boston Veterans Administration Hospital for eight years and as the Director of the Boston University Center for Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. Dr Rohrer is passionate about education and is the editor of six cosmetic and laser surgery textbooks and guest editor of numerous journals.

MarcieMom: Thank you Dr Rohrer for helping us with how to shave last week. This week, we are learning about how to treat sunburn and at the same time, learn about how sunburn affects eczema skin.

Treatment of Sunburn

In the video, the key points on the treatment of sunburn were covered:

  1. Get out of the sun
  2. Take cool baths
  3. Pat dry, moisturize while there’s still a layer of water on the skin
  4. Choose creams with aloe vera
  5. Apply hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation but do not treat with benzocaine
  6. Take aspirin and ibuprofen
  7. Drink extra water as the sunburn draws water from the skin and rest of the body
  8. If there’re blisters from the sunburn, do not pop them but let them heal
  9. Watch for signs of infection

The way to shower and moisturize looks the same for both sunburned skin and eczema skin – not hot bath, not rubbing dry (but pat dry), trapping more moisture on the skin after shower and moisturizing right after.

In a previous interview with Dr Robin Schaffran, we learnt that ultraviolet light rays penetrate through the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin and damage the DNA in skin cells, collagen and elastin in the dermis.

How to treat sunburn AAD Video with Dr Thomas Rohrer

How to treat sunburn AAD Video with Dr Thomas Rohrer

MarcieMom: Dr Rohrer, what is it about the sunburned skin that makes it important to maximize the retention of skin moisture? What are the factors that affect the recovery of sunburned skin? (for instance, do certain conditions like eczema and psoriasis take longer to recover? Or whether skincare measures are taken after the sunburn?)

Dr Thomas: It is a good idea to try to maximize retention of skin moisture in everyone’s skin.  When the skin is burnt it becomes even more important as there is increased loss of water through the damaged skin. Similarly, with eczema or other conditions that result in dry scaling skin, the increased permeability of the skin makes it more important to keep the skin well moisturized. Keeping the skin moisturized will allow it to function more normally and recover more quickly.

In the video, it seemed that hydrocortisone is applied liberally on the sunburned skin to reduce inflammation. A few questions to provide some guidelines to patients who have access to mild hydrocortisone cream and want to self-treat at home.

Potency – What % of hydrocortisone should the lotion/cream be?

Frequency – How frequent (in a day) can it be applied onto sunburned skin?

Duration – What would be the duration and is there a decreasing frequency of application during this period?

Amount – How much of hydrocortisone can be applied? What is the sunburned skin covers a large skin area?

Dr Rohrer: Hydrocortisone can help reduce inflammation. On the face, no more than the over the counter 1% hydrocortisone should be used.  On other parts of the body a slightly stronger 2.5% formulation may be used.  It is best not to use either more than twice a day and only for a short period of time.  Most of the time only a couple of days are necessary before the burn feels much better.    

MarcieMom: Benzocaine is mentioned not to be used. However, I read on Mayoclinic that benzocaine is used for sunburn and on Pubmed that benzocaine is effective for treating the pain (but not the itch) on sunburned skin. What are the reasons why benzocaine should not be used for sunburn treatment?

Dr Rohrer: While benzocaine preparations do help reduce pain, many people are or become sensitive to it.  We frequently see allergic skin reactions to benzocaine and therefore do not recommend it for use with the majority of patients. 

MarcieMom: Lastly for those with eczema, sun exposure is not recommended during eczema flare-ups.

How does sun exposure affect eczema skin?

Dr Rohrer: Sun exposure and sunburn are not recommended for anyone.  While some people do find that mild sun exposure improves their eczema, it is not recommended as it adds to the cumulative radiation effect of the sun and can lead to skin cancers. 

Thank you Dr Thomas for helping us with treatment of sunburn and clarifying questions we have on self-treating at home. Sun protection is important (see AAD Video on How to Apply Sunscreen with Dr Sonia Badreshia-Bansal MD on this blog).

Confessions of a Mom Caring for Eczema Newborn

Caring for any baby, your baby especially, is an unique experience. Mothers do have shared experience though, being mom and going through pregnancy, child birth and caring for a baby who goes through the development milestones. Mothers of eczema children have even more in common, as the struggles of caring for a baby who has rashes all over, experience constant discomfort and itch can only be understood by those who’ve been through them. This series by MarcieMom, are letters to you, with words of encouragement and sharing of her own parenting struggles.

Dear Daddy & Mommy,

Big hugs to you for your newborn and I know if your baby has developed eczema in the first month, you’d have barely recovered and adjusted to your new mom role. Being a new mom is difficult – our own body recovering (I had some problems recovering as my baby was above 90% in birthweight), adjusting to feeding baby every few hours and heck, even figuring out how to breastfeed (not all things come natural to all moms!). Before we even figured out and settled into a routine, we realized that our baby Marcie is definitely not sleeping like a baby. For some of us, our baby is also not feeding well (reflux seems to occur more often in eczema babies). We also found out that the rashes on our baby is not baby acne, heat rash but rash that itches so much that our baby doesn’t sleep nor rest well.

I shared about a particular incident when Marcie (two months old) was sitting quietly in her netted chair (over metal frame) while I was cooking. I was thinking it was an amazing evening that she didn’t need attention every 2-3 minutes and I could at least get some cooking done without the stress. When I looked at her after the cooking, I saw that she had blood all over her neck and the reason for her ‘peace’ was that she had the metal frame to rub against her neck (to ease the itch). Another incident was when I dozed off for five minutes when Marcie was napping and I opened my eyes to the sound of scratching to see that her hands have escaped from the swaddling and scratching till blood dripped from behind her ears to her face. I did feel guilty but I also know it’s impossible to not cook, not feed my baby, not pee, not brush my teeth and I’ve really done what I could do.

It was especially tough starting from about four months old, where Marcie was too big to be swaddled and it was getting so difficult to stop her from scratching. Sometimes her swaddle had to be modified to around her hands and it did look like we’re tying her up. Usually it’s only for no more than five minutes so that I can rush off to prepare milk or go to the loo. I remembered the part-time cleaner for our home seeing that Marcie was being restrained and looked horrified. No mom would want to do that but it’s impossible to be holding her hands every minute – most times, she’s already being carried or in a sling or within close reach to keep her from scratching. 

Night time was tough – we co-slept so that we can hold her hands when she’s scratching. When even that become impossible, we’d all wake up, moisturize and freshen up, re-start the bedtime routine for another 2-3 hours of sleep. Life sometimes seem to be on hold when caring for an eczema baby, yet it doesn’t – there are still chores to be done, day job to go to and the stress can really get to first-time parents who already struggle with coping with parenthood. 

Be united with your spouse, seek help and don’t blame each other. Many family members or friends won’t understand what you’re going through and some would have more than a few words of ‘wisdom’ (even when they are not familiar with what eczema is). Shut off those noise, concentrate on your family – that’s what got me through and faith. Having a bible study group to provide support and having a God I can turn to (even if it is just to vent and to cry out) helps. The first few months of caring for a newborn is never easy and if you’re a first-time parent, you’d be learning loads and figuring how to care for your newborn (differently!) from month to month. Caring for a newborn with eczema is so much more difficult, don’t give up hope and let negativity takes over your heart and your family. 

Parenting Eczema Newborn

Encourage the faint hearted

1 Thessalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all

MarcieMom’s note:

I’ve been working on this blog for five years, and what keeps me going is that Marcie’s eczema has a purpose and her recovering (now localized eczema with occasional flare-ups) is a blessing and that I can help share this blessing by keeping this blog going – encouraging parents all over the world who are at lost and feel alone in caring for their eczema baby.

AAD A:Z Videos with Dr Thomas Rohrer – How to Shave

In 2013, I’ve featured American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)’s Dermatology A: Z Videos (here). Since then, AAD has added several other videos which are informative and practical. AAD’s public relations team has once again been most helpful in introducing me to the dermatologists who assisted with my questions, making it possible to bring this special AAD Dermatology A:Z video series to you!

The video covered today is “How to Shave”. For this video, I interviewed Dr. Thomas E. Rohrer, M.D., who is a dermatologic surgeon at SkinCare Physicians, and previously served as the Chief of Dermatologic Surgery at Boston University Medical Center and Boston Veterans Administration Hospital for eight years and as the Director of the Boston University Center for Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. Dr Rohrer is passionate about education and is the editor of six cosmetic and laser surgery textbooks and guest editor of numerous journals.

MarcieMom: Dr Rohrer, thank you for helping out in this AAD video series. Shaving is something most men and women have to do regularly and it is not as simple as it looks – complications can arise from shaving and shaving can be complicated for those with existing skin conditions. We’d first cover how to shave safely and what those with eczema have to pay attention to when shaving.

Proper Way to Shave

In the video, the key steps in shaving are covered:

  1. Wet your skin and hair before shaving
  2. Apply shaving cream or gel
  3. Shave in the direction of hair growth
  4. Change blades after 5 to 7 shaves to minimize skin irritation
  5. Use shaver with sharp blades
  6. Not to try to shave off acne

I read that wetting the facial hair will allow it to absorb the moisture and a swollen hair is softer and easier to cut. It appears that warm water is best, either a few minutes from a moistened towel or after shower. I also come across that showering will open up the hair follicle and makes it easier to shave. The idea is that the easier it is to shave, the more likely a one-time pass is sufficient and thus, less likely to irritate the skin. Conversely, showering too long will cause the skin to wrinkle and harder to shave.

Questions answered by dermatologist Dr Thomas Rohrer on Shaving

Questions answered by dermatologist Dr Thomas Rohrer on Shaving, including that for eczema and sensitive skin

MarcieMom: Dr Rohrer, it seems to get quite ‘technical’ if one starts thinking about temperature and timing of wetting skin and hair before shaving. Can you explain

What happens to the skin, hair and hair follicles when they are wet

Why wet skin, hair and follicle makes shaving easier

Whether there is an optimal wetness and how important it is to get this right

Dr Rohrer: You are correct; when hair is wet, it absorbs a little water and becomes softer. This allows the razor to cut the hair more easily.  In general, things expand when they are warmed.  So using warm water will expand the hair, skin, and pores more than cold water. This allows more water to be absorbed into the skin and hair and makes the hair softer than if cold water was used. In addition, water in and of itself is a slight lubricant so it helps the razor glide over skin better than dry skin. It is difficult to wet the skin on the face, underarms, or legs too much.  These areas do not tend to get bloated like the fingers may after long water exposure.    

MarcieMom: Likewise for the application of shaving cream or gel, there appears to be ‘good practices’ such as leaving the shaving cream on the skin for 3 minutes, brushing the cream into the hair with a shaving brush to lift the hairs and to ensure that the hairs get coated with the cream.

Is a shaving cream necessary for all parts of the body or only facial hair for men? If lubricating is the main purpose of shaving cream, will showering with bath oil achieve the same purpose? Is there an issue of too much shaving cream?

Dr Rohrer: I don’t think one can use too much shaving cream.  The point of a shaving cream is to soften the skin and hair and act as a lubricant and barrier between the razor and the skin. If someone does not experience discomfort when using bath oils in the shower then that would be fine to use.  If they do have some irritation then they could add a shaving cream or gel.

Shaving for those with Sensitive Skin

Throughout the shaving process, there are quite a few steps that may lead to irritation for those with sensitive skin. For instance,

Shaving cream – using a shaving cream that contain irritants (for instance, fragrance and Triethanolamine) or having surfactants that are common allergens

Act of shaving – irritation from friction, damage to epidermis, or repeated shaving?

MarcieMom: Dr Rohrer, what should someone with sensitive skin take note of when shaving?

Dr Rohrer: Shaving foams out of a store bought can contain a great deal of alcohol and can dry the skin out.  If someone has sensitive skin it makes sense to use a shaving gel, cream, or soap. These products contain more glycerin than alcohol and do not dry the skin out.  It is also important to moisturize the skin right after shaving.  Men should use a moisturizer that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or 30 in it.  This will give a good base coat on the face every morning.      

Shaving for those with Dry Skin and Eczema

One issue with dry shaving is that the razor may get clogged up with dead skin cells. A clogged razor doesn’t give a close shave and there is a risk of nicks. For those with dry skin or eczema, there may be more dead skin cells. Also shaving can cause micro-tears in the skin and eczema patients may get the micro-tears more easily or more prone to infection at the micro-tears.

MarcieMom: Dr Rohrer, should shaving over skin that has active eczema flare-up be avoided? What should an eczema sufferer take note of during shaving?

Dr Rohrer: If someone has eczema or any other skin condition, it should be treated and controlled medically.  There are great treatments for these diseases that can get them under control. The AAD is a wonderful resource for people to use to get more information about their particular condition. If there is a flare-up, then caution should be used when shaving over these areas. An electric razor is less likely to cut skin than a typical blade razor.  These devices can be used in areas that have been compromised by a dermatologic condition.  Moisturizing after shaving will also help.

Thank you Dr Thomas for helping us to understand shaving and how preparation is important. For those of us with eczema or sensitive skin, it is also most helpful to understand how shaving affects our skin.

#SkinishMom Letters for Eczema Back to School – Air-Conditioning

Inspired by my back to school eczema tips, I wondered what letter a parent would write to inform the school of the child’s eczema and skincare.This is the final of a series of four #SkinishMom letters written to different schools (conjured up by my imagination and all schools are fictitious!).

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Air-Conditioning

Back to School Eczema Letter to School on Air-Conditioning

Dear Principal,

I love fresh air and I know the school encourages your students to head outdoors and put in great effort in landscaping. The classrooms are not air-conditioned, allowing the children to appreciate the fresh air and be ‘closer’ to the greenery. I don’t use much air-conditioning at home too, given that it is a breeding ground for mold and bacteria as well as the much-feared ‘sick building syndrome’. It is also drying for the skin (an aspect that is bad for my child’s eczema) and potentially traps much dust.

But, in these hot summer months, my child with eczema literally can’t live without air-conditioning. His eczema is triggered by heat and sweat – the exact reason for why sweat irritates isn’t clear; it could be the minerals in the sweat, the crystallized sweat crystal or the changing skin pH. However, he really needs to be kept cool, I can offer the following solutions:

  1. I will get a portable air-conditioner for my child’s class (though I can’t possibly buy one for every class)
  2. Arrange for afternoon classes in an air-conditioned room like the computer room
  3. Seat my child under the fan where it is most cooling
  4. Allow him time to freshen up in between classes

I’m not a parent who sweat over the small stuff and this matter is certainly not small. I can have my child’s dermatologist write you a letter to justify the exceptions made for my child.

Thank you

#SkinishMom Disclaimer : A little tongue-in-cheek, don’t cut and paste and send to your child’s school!

Selection of Moisturizer (II) – Moisturizer and Ingredients

Last week, we’ve covered the 10 Moisturizer Selection Tips. This week, (as promised!), I’ve compiled ingredient listing for common moisturizers found in pharmacy (in Singapore/Asia as some brands are marketed under different brand names in the US/UK).

There are broadly 3 generations of moisturizers:

1st, 2nd and 3rd generation moisturizers - Pros and Cons

1st, 2nd and 3rd generation moisturizers – Pros and Cons

1st generation moisturizers are occlusive – these act as a layer to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). These ingredients are petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin and triglycerides. Creams/ointments with higher concentration of these are sometimes termed ‘intensive’, ‘suitable for very dry skin’ as the ointment does not evaporate as quickly as lotion but it often leaves a stain on clothing or doesn’t feel as comfortable as lotion.

2nd generation moisturizers are humectant – these are sometimes referred to having natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) as they can pull moisture from the environment to the upper layer of skin (and also from inner layer of skin to the upper layer). These ingredients include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sodium salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, sorbitol, lecithin, panthenol, salicornia extract, amino acids and urea.

3rd generation moisturizers have skin repair properties – often a combination of both occlusive and humectant, these moisturizers include ingredients that help to repair the skin barrier, either by replacing lost skin components (ceramides and skin lipids) or reduce inflammation, itch and bacterial activity.

A moisturizer’s quality is also dependent on how well it delivers these properties (stability and structure) and what ingredients it does not have (which are allergens). Safety and product quality control are also important considerations.

Let’s zoom into the ingredient list of the below common moisturizers and see what we can understand they contain!

Brands Ingredients Irritants Free from Irritants/ pH
Aqueous cream

Functions: Occlusive

Number of ingredients: 7

Liquid Paraffin 6% w/w, White Soft Paraffin 15% w/w, purified water, emulsifying wax (containing cetostearyl alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate), chlorocresol 0.1% w/w Sodium lauryl sulfate, Cetostearyl alcohol, Paraffin may irritate Free from perfume, propylene glycol, lanolin, colorpH 6.5 to 7.5
QV cream

Functions: Occlusive, Humectant

Number of ingredients: 14

Aqua (Water), Paraffinum Liquidum, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Squalane, Dimethicone, Ceteth-20, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Laureth-3, Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, Dichlorobenzyl Alcohol Parabens, Dichlorobenzyl alcohol (preservatives that kill microbes so that product won’t spoil before expiry), Paraffin, petrolatum, Cetearyl alcohol may irritate Free from perfume, propylene glycol, lanolin, color

pH 6

QV Intensive Moisturiser

Functions: Occlusive, Humectant

Number of ingredients: 7

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Functions: Occlusive, Humectant (bisabolol enhance healing)

Number of ingredients: 7

QV Intensive MoisturizerLight Liquid Paraffin (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Isopropyl Myristate, Polyethylene, Cetearyl Alcohol, Silica, DimethiconeAquaphor Healing Ointment

Petrolatum (41%), Mineral Oil, Ceresin, Lanolin Alcohol, Panthenol, Glycerin, Bisabolol

Polyethylene, silica (mineral oil) may irritateLanolin QVFree from perfume, propylene glycol, lanolin, lanolin, paraben, colorpH not disclosed


Free from perfume, propylene glycol, paraben, color

pH not disclosed

Physiogel AI cream

Functions: Occlusive, humectant, repair

Number of ingredients: 16

Aqua, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Olus Oil, Elaeis Guineensis Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Squalane, Betaine, Palmitamide MEA (PEA), Sarcosine, Acetamide MEA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Sodium Carbomer, Xanthan Gum Free from perfume, propylene glycol, lanolin, paraben, colorpH not disclosed
Physiogel Daily Moisture Therapy Cream

Functions: Occlusive, humectant, repair

Number of ingredients: 13






Cerave Moisturizing Cream

Functions: Occlusive, humectant, repair

Number of ingredients: 25

PhysogelAqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Squalane, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Carbomer, Ceramide 3


Purified Water, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20 and Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Petrolatum, Dimethicone, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Phytosphingosine, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

Cetearyl Alcohol, petrolatum, parabens PhysogelFree from perfume, propylene glycol, lanolin, paraben, color

pH not disclosed


Free from perfume, propylene glycol, lanolin, color

pH not disclosed

Cetaphil moisturizing cream

Functions: Occlusive, humectant

Number of ingredients: 20

Water, glycerin, petrolatum, dicaprylyl ether, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate, Cetearyl alcohol, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, PEG-30 stearate, tocopheryl acetate, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, dimethiconol, benzyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, propylparaben, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid copolymer, propylene glycol, disodium EDTA, sodium hydroxide Parabens, propylene glycol, Benzyl alcohol is a natural grape preservative and scent, Petrolatum, cetearyl alcohol may irritate, Sodium hydroxide is to modulate pH of product and can be an irritant Free from lanolin, colorpH not disclosed
Cetaphil intensive moisturizing cream

Functions: Occlusive, humectant, repair

Shea butter is a plant lipid, Chlorhexidine to reduce bacteria

Number of ingredients: 15


Water, glycerin, PEG-2 stearate, cetearyl alcohol, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, oleth-12, dimethicone, stearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, PEG-100 stearate, methylparaben, tocopherol, arginine PCA, chlorhexidine digluconate Parabens, Cetearyl alcohol may irritate Free from lanolin, propylene glycol, fragrancepH not disclosed
Cetaphil RestoraDerm Eczema Calming Body Lotion

Functions: Occlusive, humectant, repair

Number of ingredients: 28

Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Sorbitol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine, Niacinamide, Allantoin, Panthenol, Arginine, Disodium Ethylene Dicocamide PEG-15 Disulfate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Sodium PCA, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetyl Alcohol Cetearyl alcohol may irritate Free from perfume, lanolin, propylene glycol, paraben, colorpH not disclosed
Ezerra cream

Functions: Occlusive, humectant, repair (contain antihistamine for itch relief)

Number of ingredients: 17

Water, Oleic/Linoleic Triglyceride, Saccharide Isomerate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Pentaerythrityl Distearate, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Spent Grain Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Stearyl Glutamate, Acrylates/ C10-C30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Octadecyl Di-t-butyl-4-hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Disodium EDTA Cetearyl Alcohol may irritate Free from perfume, lanolin, paraben, propylene glycol, colorpH not disclosed

MarcieMom’s take:

On 1st generation moisturizer – The low cost emollient tend to perform mainly occlusive function, with ingredients such as petrolatum, paraffin and emulsifying agent to thicken the moisturizer. If you don’t have sensitive skin, or patch tested not to be affected by these ingredients, basic creams can help prevent moisture loss. However, if you have eczema skin, it is not suitable as these mosturizers tend to be more alkaline than our skin pH and the ingredients may irritate your skin. There is also no ingredient in these creams to help repair your skin barrier.

Pros: Low cost, perform basic occlusive function

Cons: Irritate sensitive skin, drying for skin for alkaline products, no skin barrier repair function

On 2nd generation moisturizer – If water is the first ingredient, it is likely that preservatives have to be used to keep the product from spoiling. Paraben is the ingredient that has received a lot of negative press due to its linkage with cancer. This is not proven but paraben is one of the more common irritants. Other names for parabens from (Derm Net NZ) are:

Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoate (p-hydroxybenzoate)
Methyl-parahydroxybenzoate (p-hydroxybenzate)
Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoate (p-hydroxybenzoate)
Propyl-parahydroxybenzoate (p-hydroxybenzoate)
Butyl-parahydroxybenzoate (p-hydroxybenzoate)
Parahydroxybenzoate (p-hydroxybenzoate)

I like to look at the number of ingredients and the absence of common irritants when comparing second generation moisturizer. For the same price range, I’d prefer to choose one with fewer ingredients and less irritants to reduce likelihood of irritating my eczema child’s skin. Another way is to rotate your moisturizer (in the hope!) to reduce the duration which your skin is exposed to the irritant.

Pros: Hydrate skin, some brands are affordable

Cons: Granted for the price range, you may not get ingredients like ceramides, lipids that repair your skin. But don’t choose one with many ingredients or irritants.

On 3rd generation moisturizer – These more costly moisturizers are less likely to have irritants (still check though, don’t take for granted!) but whether it is worth the price is another matter. % of ingredients is not listed and the stability of how long the reparative function last is not known. Personally, I use these on weeks where my child’s skin tend to be persistently dry or itchy despite moisturizing regularly with 1st & 2nd generation moisturizer.

Pros: Repair skin

Cons: Cost prohibitive + paying so much means you want to be sure that ingredients are not common irritants

I have to admit that this post is a very amateur attempt to analyse skincare products. Many websites that specialize in skincare products do a much better job, such as Paula’s Choice and EWG’s Skin Deep. What I hope to have helped is a way for lay(mom and dad) to make sense of products’ ingredient list and choose a better product for your child. I’d be contacting the brands mentioned in this post and see if they have more to add on their products. (If you don’t see updates or comments in this post, it means the brands mentioned have not responded.)

Eczema Support Group – Support for Parents

This October, the Eczema Support Group will hold the first session, just for parents. We aim to bring parents who are facing similar issues together, to share about their experiences and learn effective coping methods.

Main focus : Emotional support and shared experiences among parents with eczema children

October 10, Saturday10am session will  have a dermatologist to share with the parents and the support group sharing by parents will be facilitated by a medical social worker from National Skin Centre.

Supporting Parents with #Eczema Kids

Supporting Parents with #Eczema Kids

10 a.m. – Meet at Staff Lounge at National Skin Centre Level 4

1st Half till 10.45am – Dermatologist’s talk

2nd Half till 11.45am – Parents’ sharing

Light refreshments will be provided and for parents who bring their children, the children will have art activity in a separate room on the same floor.

Do RSVP (email [email protected]) so that we can prepare the refreshment and art materials. We love to hear from you and your response will help determine future support group’s session, see you!

Note: This session is open to eczema support group members (can sign up upon registration), past and present National Skin Centre’s patients

Mom NeedyZz Cartoon – Eczema Frontload Deadweight

Mom Need Sleep cartoon Eczema Deadweight Front load

This is the start of many ‘eczema’ deadweight front-load for Kate!

Who shares this experience? Fearing that our eczema babies will scratch, we ended up carrying them to sleep, nap, cook, work and what else? Share in the comments and it’d be put into a cartoon for other moms to lol :) We all need some light-hearted moments… I know I do! For more Mom NeedyZz cartoon, see here.

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