Eczema Tips

Marcie’s Mom Top 10 Eczema Tips

People often ask me how I manage Marcie’s eczema. Marcie has eczema from 2 weeks old and she still gets rashes/scratches on and off. So I can’t profess to have ‘cured’ her eczema, just able to manage to the level that our family is enjoying our time together (as opposed to constantly stopping her scratch/ losing sleep). What I do profess is that I believe in my heart that I am doing what is right for her, being confident rather than guilty or fearful.

1. Most important, Moisturize. Moisturizing keeps the skin from being dry, which leads to scratching, which in turn leads to inflammation, scars and more. I apply for Marcie about every alternate diaper change and definitely within 3 minutes after shower. Be generous with it, slather it on.

2. Apply steroid sparingly, but apply. Steroid cream/lotion causes skin thinning thus it’s not recommended for heavy use. Marcie is prescribed a 0.1% Elomet cream for application twice a day. I use it only when the eczema rash doesn’t go away after 2 days. Usually, after applying 2-3 times, the rash will disappear.

3. Know the triggers in order to control them. I strongly urge you to bring your child for an allergy test. Knowing what are/are not the triggers will remove a great deal of stress and unnecessary treatment. Marcie was given a skin prick test at 7 month old as I got paranoid guessing what food triggered her eczema. Turned out she isn’t allergic to anything – not dust mites, dog’s hair, egg or milk. Her condition is intrinsic and the trigger is mainly hot weather, whenever she starts to sweat.

4. See a specialist and stick to one you can trust. Tell someone of your kid’s eczema condition and chances are they will recommend you a doctor they know or that their friend knows. It is very tempting to switch doctors to find a quick solution especially when taking care of your kid is so stressful.  I brought Marcie to see 4 doctors who are not specialist and then decided to find a specialist in a child clinic and stuck with the same doctor.

5. Follow through on the treatment from that specialist. Marcie’s condition is intrinsic and severe; at 7 month old, she was prescribed oral steroid course which I worried about the side effects. The steroid course was one time for 3 weeks with reducing dosage. Her specialist reassured me that it’s 100% safe and I am thankful that I have followed through rather than given up halfway (It is easy to give up due to fear of all that it is written on steroids and also rashes started appearing once the dosage was reduced). The oral steroid course really helped her skin and subsequent rashes became manageable.

Next 5 tips on daily care

6. Use bath oil, not soap. Marcie uses oatmeal bath oil and soaked in it for about 10-15 minutes while playing with her bath toys! Bath oil leaves a layer of oil that keeps the skin from drying. Do not shower with hot water.

7. Pat dry, not rub after shower. Again, to retain moisture and keep the skin from drying.

8. Wear light cotton clothes. Think cool. Baby doesn’t need to wear more or thicker clothes compared to adults.

9. Wash off detergent thoroughly from the clothes. It is good to invest in a washing machine. We spent S$1300 to buy a washing machine with steam wash and allergy cycle. Baby’s clothes are washed separately from adult’s and the allergy+steam function gives me comfort that my baby clothes are rid of dust mites and has no chemical residue.

10. Keep nails smooth and short. Jagged nails cause the most damage when scratching, wear mittens if your baby is willing.

Taking care of a child with eczema takes lots of efforts. I sleep with my baby so that she doesn’t get to scratch at night, which also means that I don’t get to sleep well. It is all worth it though when I see how beautiful my baby is and that her eczema is under control.

Update 2017: The above was written when I first started this blog in 2011, but the principles of skincare for eczema kids remained unchanged. Do refer to the drop-down list on menu bar, Eczema Tips, the interviews done with various Featured Guests, the search box (at top right) and keyword tags (at bottom right) to find what you need.

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  1. Have you tried using enriched hydrogen water ? A few companies sell them. You can google them for more information.

    1. Thanks for dropping by my blog and haven’t tried any “specialty” water.
      I looked up at Pubmed and there was no research of hydrogen water and eczema –
      Only found this article in 1997 that soaking the feet in carbon dioxide-enriched water improves blood circulation, but not sure how that would improve eczema since its condition does not relate to lack of oxygen/ blood circulation.

      I’d think regularly cleaning the skin of staph bacteria would be a more direct and medically proven measure for eczema skin.
      More on staph bacteria here
      http://eczemablues.com/2012/11/staph-bacteria-series-with-dr-clay-cockerell-prevention-of-staph-infection/

      Take care and keep us posted if you’ve found something that works!
      Mei

  2. Hi

    This is my experience and the most recent triump with my 6month old eczema, before this I was using Ceradan, prescribed by her PD, there were days it seemed to get better and days it got worse and of course clear days. The worse times were when I stayed awake at night to hold her hands so she would not scratch her self. Mittens were helpless she would somehow manage to take them off. There were nights and days I would wet her skin n moisturise every 2-3 hours.

    I avoided sugar and sweet stuffs, beef, diary and eggs. And slowly eliminate to see if it’s food allergy.

    Her most recent flare up had her scratching till red patches and small puncture wounds and a girlfriend shared an ointment with me that she used for her own daughter when she had eczema. I started to use it and her skin very quickly looked less red. Land in a week it was looking almost clear. The improvement was a huge relief for me.

    The ointment is from Young Living USA. It’s been about 6 days. And her skin is looking clearer everyday.

    I will post updates again on the results.
    Fingers crossed. That it will keep her skin clear.

    1. Thanks Adrina for the share! Yes, been seeing quite a few have success with essential oils – which is the ointment that you’re using? And yes, do keep us updated. Maybe also consider the possibility that your child may actually be sensitive to one of the ingredients of common skincare products.. that may be a reason why switching to something else works.

      My fingers crossed for you too!
      Mei

  3. Dear Mei,
    Thank God I found your blog that helped me a lot with my boy’s battle with eczema.. 3 weeks of desperation.. I cant imagine to go on with this for months.. Is it really necessary to apply the steroid? After I applied to my 3 mon old son, his skin became red and looked like the meds s quite strong for him.. Im interested to try wet wrap but how to do it?

    1. Hi Pinkshadow,
      For eczema flare-up, I do think steroid helps. But you have to check that it is the right potency, and frequency + duration of use. Click on the tag ‘steroid’ to learn more 🙂
      For wet wrap, you can refer to post
      http://eczemablues.com/2013/04/eczema-support-group-for-children-6th-sharing-on-wet-wraps/
      http://eczemablues.com/2011/12/easy-to-use-wet-wrapping-to-keep-childs-skin-hydrated/
      Are you in Singapore? RSVP for 22 Feb, Sat, event
      http://eczemablues.com/2014/02/eczema-support-group-feb-2014-session-on-wet-wrap/
      Take care!
      Mei

  4. Have you had any allergy testing? Your baby’s history sounds exactly like my baby!!! I finally thought to bring him to an allergist and he tested positive to many foods. As soon as I removed his allergens from my diet ( I was breastfeeding) and his diet, his skin was completely clear!!!! I went from crying in the nights from all the scratching to crying of happiness staring at his perfect skin!!! The creams only treat the immediate problem but don’t address the cause. Find an allergist and I bet you will have answers!!!! Hugs

    1. Thanks Barbara! And yes, I agree to go for allergy testing. Not 100% accurate, but gives a good direction as to what to avoid.
      Happy to hear that removing foods help with your child’s eczema!
      Good weekend!
      Mei