This is a 13-part series focused on understanding and using products for sensitive skin, an important topic given the generous amount of moisturizers that go onto the skin of a child with eczema. Marcie Mom met Laura Verallo Rowell Bertotto, the CEO of VMVGroup, on twitter and learnt that her company is the only hypoallergenic brand that validates its hypoallergenicity. VMV Hypoallergenics is founded in 1979 by Dr. Vermén Verallo-Rowell who is a world renowned dermatologist. Dr. Vermén created the VH Rating System which is the only validated hypoallergenic rating system in the world and is used across all the products at VMV. In this interview, Dr. Verallo-Rowell and Laura answer Marcie Mom’s questions on managing our baby’s skin around the diaper area.
Marcie Mom: I note with interest that your product Grandma Minnie’s Oil’s Well Nurturing Do-It-Oil can prevent diaper rash. What is the ingredient that prevents this rash and how it is different from the off-the-shelf diaper rash cream?
Dr. Verallo-Rowell: The USDA- certified Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Monolaurin
Both ingredients – no reported allergies, irritations from either one.
1. Virgin coconut oil prevents the diaper rash by its giving an additional barrier film of protection on top of the skin to help protect the skin from irritating chemicals: urine, feces, sweat, preservatives, possibly antiseptics that may be used by manufacturers of diapers. Paper / tissue products are often preserved, some even with formaldehyde or formaldehyde-like chemicals. In addition, virgin coconut oil under the influence of natural skin bacteria that contain lipases (the same lipase enzymes that break down the sebum/fats produced by our skin glands to produce fatty acids that give the skin is acidity or acid mantle – an innate antiseptic function from the skin) – produce monoglycerides of its lauric, capric and caprylic fatty acids. These are well studied to have broad-spectrum antiseptic properties.
2. The purified monolaurin produced in the laboratory of Dr. John Kabara wrote and worked on this ingredient since the 1960s… is added for additional protection of the skin.
Laura: Most diaper rash creams primarily contain just zinc oxide and petroleum jelly.
One dermatological (prescriptive) diaper rash ointment contains an antifungal drug (many diaper rashes are actually a fungal condition) and cannot be obtained without a prescription (it also costs around US$300).
We mimic both the effects of the above in Oil’s Well in that the Virgin Coconut Oil provides a bit of the barrier function of zinc oxide and petroleum jelly, and the monolaurin provides an antiseptic, antibiotic and antifungal action. Note that monolaurin is also present in breast milk as another innate or natural antibiotic provided by nature from breastfeeding infants.
Marcie Mom: For prevention of diaper rash, your recommendation is to apply where the skin comes into contact with wetness. However, for eczema rash, I read that it’s least likely to be where the skin is wet.
Dr. Verallo-Rowell: Need to know the context of this statement because wetting the skin in those with eczema does make the skin more moisturized (water is the best moisturizer) but that wetness must not be chronic to macerate it such as in the diaper and around the mouth areas from saliva, mucus, sweat, food, etc.
Marcie Mom: My baby often gets rashes and scratches around the diaper waist band and the upper thigh joint areas. How can a parent differentiate between diaper rash and eczema rash? And would applying moisturizer on the rash area that’s covered by the diaper makes the rash worse?
Dr. Verallo-Rowell: Yes. Can be from pressure (a form of dermographism) or actual irritation (rarely at that age, allergy), by the chemicals in the elastic material of the waist and thigh band or even the chemicals in laundry soap.
How can a parent differentiate between diaper rash and eczema rash? By the presence of the rash in other areas more commonly involved by atopic eczema rash in babies: outer areas of the upper and lower extremities, the face.
And would applying moisturizer on the rash area that’s covered by the diaper makes the rash worse? Yes if the moisturizer has ingredients that are irritating to the skin usually by virtue of its scent, preservatives, antibiotics, dyes, non-medical grade lanolin, etc. Note that vitamin E and tea tree oil, propolis, and some other natural ingredients are top allergens in the allergens list.
Marcie Mom: A BIG THANK YOU to Dr. Verallo-Rowell and Laura for helping us in this series on sensitive skin products. We’ve learnt SO much from you and SO much more confident on how to choose and manage the sensitive skin of our children.
For previous posts in this series, see