Nothing really prepared me for the overwhelming protectiveness I’d feel for my sons when they arrived. If they were in pain or uncomfortable it was more upsetting than I had ever imagined it would be. I still remember cutting my eldest son’s nails with those little safety scissors when he was a few weeks old, and clipping a teeny bit of skin. I think I cried more than him!
Both my boys have struggled with various health issues, including allergies and intolerances, since they were newborns. As with many allergy-prone kids, both also suffered quite badly with eczema. Seeing them scratch their little skin until it was raw and bleeding was heart wrenching and like all parents, all I wanted to do was make it better.
Over the years I’ve tried lots of different approaches to help manage their eczema, some more successfully than others. For us the biggest thing that has helped is trying to prevent eczema flare ups in the first place. Once the eczema gets bad it is really hard to treat and we often end up needing to resort to prescription medications to get it back under control. When we keep on top of any irritated or dry skin, we have a better chance of preventing flare ups.
These are some of the things that have helped my boys with both preventing eczema flare ups and dealing with the discomfort of eczema in general.
My tips for dealing with eczema
Both my boys have dairy and soy intolerances, and my older son’s reactions are quite pronounced. While the research on whether diet affects eczema seems mixed , it certainly has a big impact for us. Eczema is just one symptom of a more generalised reaction to dairy in my boys, and when we eliminated it their symptoms improved. Remember to always talk to your child’s doctor before making major changes to your child’s diet, but it certainly may be something worth discussing.
Keep the skin well hydrated
Moisturiser is the best friend of anyone with eczema prone skin. The better hydrated the skin is, the less likely major flare ups are. We’ve tried many different creams over the years but lately we’ve been trialling the Aveeno Baby Dermexa cream on my youngest son. It’s specifically suited to babies and children with eczema prone skin.
I’ve found that it’s a very moisturising cream and it’s really helping to reduce that tight, scaly feeling skin. I apply it immediately after he gets out of the bath or shower so that his skin absorbs it quickly. It took me a while to realise the importance of moisturiser for my boys’ skin, but I’ve really found it makes a huge difference to their comfort.
Keep nails short
I’ve unfortunately found out the hard way the damage that fingernails can do to delicate, irritated skin. My youngest has ripped up his skin more than once and it’s horrible to see. We now try to keep his fingernails really short so that when he does scratch he doesn’t do as much damage.
Be careful with what you put on their skin
When my older son’s eczema first got really bad, I eliminated every cream and oil I had been putting on his skin or in his bath. I also stopped washing his clothes in our regular detergent and changed to using just simple Lux flakes dissolved in water and added to the wash. It made quite a big difference and I am now very careful about what I use on him. I’ve also found that the perfumes and lotions that I wear can affect him, so I use these sparingly and not at all when his eczema is bad.
Eczema-prone skin is often very sensitive to soaps and creams. I don’t use soap at all in the bath or shower and even that simple change has made a big difference. It’s really important to keep their skin moisturised, but choose a cream that is suitable for eczema prone skin and try to avoid extra oils or soaps.
See your doctor
I didn’t realise the dry, scaly skin my son suffered with could cause eczema to flare, and it wasn’t until his little elbows and neck were cracking and bleeding that I saw our doctor. By that point he needed some pretty full-on prescription creams to get it under control and I felt like a very crappy mummy. Our GP and paediatrician have been great with helping to keep the boys eczema under control and I wish I’d seen them earlier.
Dry, irritated, eczema-affected skin is no fun for babies, and watching your child uncomfortable and in pain is also pretty horrible. So if your baby is showing signs of eczema, see the doctor sooner rather than later!
– by Michelle Thompson-Laing from Keep Calm Get Organised
1.Eczema: Can eliminating particular foods help? www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
This blog post is sponsored by Aveeno Baby