Eczema Tips

Does your baby have eczema and cradle cap

Cradle cap

My baby Marcie does. The cradle cap developed the same time as her eczema rash, at about 2 weeks old. It’s greasy, yellow, crusty and difficult to scrape off. I applied olive oil onto the cradle cap, and combed it off when the crust soften. Cradle cap can develop above eyebrows and inside the ears too!

Cradle cap is caused by overactive oil glands and usually occur in infants. I was told by doctors that it’s related to eczema and can last up to 2 years old. Marcie still has it but it is no longer as pervasive. It’s itchy for her though and I do apply 0.05% steroid lotion when the scratching is really intense.

A few ways you can manage the cradle cap:

1. Use a cradle cap shampoo. I use it once a day for Marcie and realised that you have to massage the scalp quite firmly in order for it to be effective.

2. Brush baby’s hair and keep it short. I find that once Marcie’s hair is longer, she gets warm and somehow starts scratching. I’m not sure if it has anything to do with cradle cap, but I’m not choosing beauty hair over comfort.

3. The yellow flakes must be removed early. I learnt that the hard way by letting the cradle cap/flakes build up and when I wanted to remove the thick crust, lots of hair got removed along it. There’s some damage done and even after half a year, some parts of scalp still can’t grow hair. 🙁

4. Don’t forget to wash off the olive oil on baby’s scalp. I did that once cos I was too tired to shampoo Marcie after removing the cradle cap crust. It was a huge mistake cos somehow it got so itchy that she scratched her scalp so bad that night. (Update on 8 Jun – just read that olive oil contains oleic acid which some babies may be allergic to, may want to consider using virgin coconut oil)

Lastly, know that cradle cap will eventually go away in a few months time. So take a deep breath and not let the crust ruin your day.

Eczema Tips

The One Advice from Specialist

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize

That’s the advice that I received during the first specialist consultation for my baby’s eczema in 2010, and I’m still sticking to it after ten years.

What should I do? What moisturizer to use?

I suppose we all started our journey of parenting eczema kids asking these questions. And the advice from my daughter’s doctor (Prof Hugo, who later co-authored with me Living with Eczema: Mom Asks, Doc Answers) is ‘Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize’. Followed by, ‘You Can’t Moisturize too Much’.

Our Selection of Moisturizers

So, what moisturizer to use?

I did ask this question, and Prof Hugo’s answer was the one that your child likes, and you can afford to use it generously.

And, my child does have preferences. Here’s the timeline of the moisturizers which we have tried, and honestly, we haven’t tried that many because we are the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kind of person.

Qv cream

Frequent, almost daily use. From 2010 to date. The main plus point is its price point! I don’t think it’s the best moisturizer in terms of ingredients but it does its work of keeping moisture in and skin hydrated. For the past ten years, we have used it for at least 5 years and there was once when it didn’t seem to work as rashes appeared and skin seemed dry. We then switched to a more expensive cream like Physiogel but has since re-incorporated QV cream back into our staple of creams. We do not use QV lotion though as its effect is not long lasting enough for our dry skin > Read full review

physiogel ai cream

Soon after, at the advice of a GP (who still is our GP!), we tried Physiogel AI. It contains ingredients that can replenish skin lipids, therefore, more effective in hydrating dry skin. The only negative about it is its price. At $35 for 100ml, it may not be a cream which you can generously use twice a day for your whole body. I think we use it more frequently when our daughter was a baby, since her surface area was smaller then! However, we use Physiogel AI lotion daily – typically as a first layer over dry skin, and then ‘seal’ with a thicker less expensive cream > Read full review

QV lotion

physiogel ai lotion

physiogel cream

Since Physiogel AI worked well but was too costly for frequent use, we tried ‘downgrading’ to Physiogel cream. It still contains lipids such as triglyceride, and long lasting enough. We used this for quite a few years, in particular, when using the cheaper QV cream alone didn’t work so well after continued use > Read full review

california baby eczema cream

Given all the marketing on organic and natural product, we tried California Baby. It didn’t seem to be long lasting and felt a little itchy after use. We stopped just after using once and threw the bottle away. Some of the reviews on Amazon were positive, while others feedback caused rashes.

Burt’s Bees moisturizing cream

We tried another natural cream that was a gift from friends. It could be that the product was expiring, and therefore had bacteria growth (or she was sensitive to one of the natural ingredients), my daughter’s skin looked more inflamed and itchy after a single use on her leg. As with California Baby, we threw it away. Some of the Amazon reviews also mentioned skin irritation.

Curel japan intensive moisture

I was actually asked to review this cream when it was first launched in Singapore. However, I was kind of averse to doing product review and declined. Subsequently, free samples of it was given out during an eczema patient session and I tried it out on my daughter. It was very smooth and creamy feel, but given the cost of $24 for 120ml, we decided to continue using cheaper alternatives that also worked.

bioderma atoderm pp baume

My daughter had fungal infection, and around the same time, the eczema rashes started to flare up, with thickened skin and dark scabs. We decided to re-visit a dermatologist (something that we hadn’t required since 1-year old!). The dermatologist recommended Bioderma, the dermatologist’s range. While that worked well, it was not available at regular pharmacy and we tried the Atoderm normal range which also worked.

However, half a year later (at around the start of fourth grade), my daughter’s skin started to rash. It could be that her classroom was at the top floor and sun-facing. In any case, we stopped Bioderma for a while to switch back to Physiogel AI, and currently re-incorporated Bioderma Creme to our staple of creams > Read full review

aveeno eczema therapy

We decided to try out Aveeno because its sunscreen is value-for-money and really sun protective. Personally, Aveeno’s eczema therapy moisturising cream feels very moisturizing. However, my daughter doesn’t like it as it feels greasy to her. > Read full review

The above completes our ten-year experimentation and use of moisturizers. There are some others like Ceradan and probiotic skincare lotion which are not available outside of Asia. There are a lot of posts that cover moisturizers – key ones are:

Selecting a right moisturizer can be tricky and confusing! Here are 10 selection tips, suited for those with eczema or sensitive skin
The moisturizer selection tips shared by the nation’s leading dermatologist– I believe in #2 Fewer Ingredients. For skincare company, it’s the technology to get the ingredients delivered to the skin and not just piling one ingredient on another.
Moisturizer and Skincare Skin pH)
If I had known that my baby has high eczema risk, I would have moisturized from birth (why didn’t anyone tell me?) Another interesting insight from dermatologist is that it’s the sweat residue that tend to trigger eczema flare-up, so wipe sweat off before it crystallized.
Skincare Moisturizer as Eczema Support
It’s possible that rotating products can reduce the chance of your skin being sensitive to it. To some extent, I do think it’s true – when we kept using QV (only), rashes appeared after 2 years. We then have a few products, which we alternate use.
List of Ingredients that could Irritate in skincare product
List of Ingredients that could Irritate Skin – this is a must read. Do you know that there is much difference between lauryl sulphate and laureth sulphate?

You know what will be really useful? For you to share your moisturizer journey in the comments or in the forum post that I’ve created for this. Another parent reading this can be spared from trying a cream that didn’t work.