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Children and eczema – What worked for us

Eczema is never a nice thing to suffer from, especially for babies and young children. Living with skin that is constantly red, itchy and dry can really drive you crazy and make you willing to try just about anything to get rid of it. Fortunatly though, there are things that can help, it all just takes a little bit of time and experimentation to see what works for you.

Our story

Cupar has had eczema since he was born, and it started to become a problem when he was around 6 months old. His skin would get so red and dry, and he’d scratch it until it bled, often ending up with scratch marks all over his arms, feet and the back of his neck. It was awful to see, and even worse that we couldn’t seem to do anything that would help him. He’d often wake himself up scratching, which would then wake us up too, and it would take us ages to get him comfortable and back to sleep again. It was like he could never get any relief from it.

When the eczema first started becoming noticeable, we’d use baby oil on him to try and soften his skin. We used to do baby massage classes, so we got into the habit of doing the massage techniques after a bath and before bed. After a little while, we noticed that it wasn’t actually doing anything for his dry skin, and if anything, it was getting worse, so we decided the best idea was to take him to the doctors to get it checked out. We ended up coming away with some moisturiser and bath ointment to try and were told to avoid bubble baths and soaps, as that can make it worse.

Bubbles in a bath
Image by Rebecca Matthews from Pixabay

I gave the lotions and potions a go, but found that the moisturiser was horribly sticky and the bath ointment made Cupar so slippery it was scary. Trying to pick him up to get him out of the bath was like trying to catch an eel!! After a couple of weeks I couldnt really see much difference, if any, in his skin, so I went back to the doctors to try again. This time it resulted in some steroid cream to try. The steroid cream worked quite well and cleared up a few of the really bad patches on his feet and arms, but as it’s not something you can use every day for long periods of time, we slowly lessened the amount we used until we were hardly using it at all.

I spent a bit of time trying a few different things I’d read and heard about, and slowly but surely, the eczema started to clear up. Now at 18 months old, Cupar’s eczema is getting a lot better, and his skin isn’t so dry and itchy. He still has flare ups, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was.

Have a read below to see what worked for us:

Moisturise

Moisturising regularly is essential if you have eczema. Skin can get very dry, scaly and leathery looking, so you need to keep as much moisture in there as you can to prevent cracking and bleeding.

I use a mixture of the prescription cream from the doctors and Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser. I use the prescription cream a couple of times a week, and Childs Farm the rest of the time.

Childs farm moisturiser for eczema
Click above to buy Childs Farm moisuriser on Amazon

So far, I’ve been really impressed with this cream. It’s got a lovely texture, smells nice and seems to have made a difference to Cupar’s skin. We use it as part of our bedtime routine at night and Cupar has now started to put it on himself.

Bath time

Bubble bath, soaps, and hot water can all cause eczema to flare up as they can dry out the skin even more. Although it makes bath time a bit boring, cutting out the bubbles is one of the best things you can do.

Now that Cupar’s eczema is getting better, I’ve started to slowly introduce bath products again to see how he gets on. I use Johnson’s baby shampoo and so far his skin has been fine. I put a small splash in the bathwater, and then use a bit on his hair when I wash it. Once I’m sure he’s ok with the shampoo I’ll try adding a bit of bubble bath too.

Food

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on what foods your child has been eating when they have a flare up. We noticed that cupar would get red around his chin and wrists when he had oranges or tomatoes, so we’re cutting them out of his diet. Citrus and tomatoes can be a common flare up food, so it’s a good idea to limit the amount they have anyway.

Laundry

My friend and her son both suffer from eczema, and after seeing Cupar’s skin, she suggested changing the laudry products I was using. Liquid, liquid tablets and softner can all stick to the clothes and make eczema worse, so it’s best to use a powder instead.

I now use a simple sensitive, non bio washing powder from Asda, and it’s really made a difference.

When you switch washing powders, remember to use it for everything your children come into contact with, and not just their clothes. Toys, bedsheets, blankets and towels are all worth treating the same way. Also, if you have your children in bed with you at night or in the morning, you may want to wash your bedsheets with just powder too.

Since we started following the above, we’ve noticed a real difference. The eczema is still there, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. Cupar’s skin is softer, and he’s not as itchy as he was. He only seems to scratch during a flare up now, whereas before he’d be scratching constantly.

A lot of it is trial and error, and just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for someone else too. A good idea is to experiment a bit with different products and see what works for you. Keep a note of how their skin reacts with different moisturisers and laundry detergents, and you’ll know what to avoid in the future.

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