Eczema is the devil. Okay ‘deveil’ is a strong word but it is absolutely horrendous. The end. Even if it’s not extreme enough for baby to be scratching and crying about it we as parents and carers have to look at it every day and wonder ‘How do I fix this’ then feel absolutely powerless when everything you seem to try either makes it worse or yields no improvement at all.
Bubs got struck on a hot afternoon in June. The skin on the back of his neck came up in little bumps which we initially thought was a heat rash but heat rash is supposed to clear within a week. This one did not so we, both of us, lol, took him to his first Doctor’s visit. Doctor took a look and immediately named Infantile eczema as the culprit saying it usually clears up in its own but use this moisturizer to help it along…
Eczema?! I honestly took that with a grain of salt becasue it looked nothing like the eczema I’d seen in my life but hey, he was the Doc.
We got prescribed Diprobase to rub in 2x daily and he might have as well have said, rub in some butter daily cause that’s about all Diprobase did for us. It moisturized the skin a minute amount but the moisture didn’t last 2hrs! Getting increasingly frustrated and blaming myself and my food intake I gave up dairy, I later gave up soy but there wasn’t much change. I tried the holy grail oat bath everyone raves about only to be left with a red baby and a defeated soul. We nixed the oats straight away, stopped using a wash rag and took the bath water temperature down a notch to a safe lukewarm-ish rather than WARM as I started to understand that eczema skin needs not only gentle products but you physically need to be extra gentle because the skin is really just THAT sensitive in structure. As for body wash, we decided it was best not to use one everyday but when we did use one, we went with the Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture head to Toe Wash.
After the oats did more harm than good we started adding oilve oil to his bath which made the biggest difference we’d seen so far but still didn’t ‘get rid of it’. Determined to ‘fix’ this and be a ‘good mum’ I kept researching and came a cross a blogpost that mentioned breastmilk. Well, I had that and it was free so expressing I went. We started adding breastmilk to his bath and hallelujah!! The breastmilk gods smiled brightly upon us and I cold see a change in his skin the very next day. His little face had started getting a bit crusty and that was all but gone! The patches on his tummy were a lot less angry and the skin generally felt smoother. After baths, we used a the Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Fragrance Free Lotion and when his skin seemed to get used to that I added this Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion to the routine for a one-two punch of moisture.
This routine kept us going for a few weeks. The breastmilk worked wonders and though his face cleared up nicely, his tummy, legs and back were still slightly affected but I decided not to beat myself up or put his skin through the ringer and try too many products too soon. Through all of this, thankfully, he never seemed bothered. Never scratched or cried about any of it. Somedays that was the only thing that made me feel better about the whole situation because nothing was actually getting rid of the eczema completely.
Fast forward to his 8 week check, where a different doctor recommend using Oilatum Junior Bath Additive in his bath and using the Diprobase as many times a day as needed. If there was a nappy change, we were to take a few more minutes and slather on the Diprobase. She advised against the Dove Baby Lotion saying it won’t harm him but it won’t do much good.
With the Oilatum + Lukewarm-ish short bath + breastmilk + multiple Diprobase applications the skin finally started to ‘heal’ but it got to a point where everything stopped. It got to an ‘okay’ stage and went no further for almost a month and I started to get frustrated again. I was recommended Cetraben by a family member and was actually in store to buy it but walked away after noticing that it has an almost identical ingredient list as Diprobase and I was not in any mood to waste more money and make my baby a guinea pig that day. I was in a mood!
A trip to Boots soon after to restock our Oilatum Additive saw me doing research in the isle on La Roche-Posay’s baby line. Who knew they had a baby line!? I’m not sure they did either to be honest because the products on the shelves had a ‘Baby’ graphic sticker label stuck onto the box/bottle like it was an after thought! Now there are times one product made for one thing will do even better on another so I stuck around did some reading and accepted their ‘lipid replenishing’ theory and actually felt quite informed in that Boots isle, lol.
Through some more isle research I understood that that eczema prone skin is actually deficient in some lipids which make it susceptible to breakdown and this lotion would replenish the missing lipids and make it all better essentially. I was sold! Every other product just either said ‘moisturizing’ or ‘for eczema-prone skin on the label but nothing explained why, like it was some big secret or I was supposed to just ‘take their word for it’, you know? La Roche-Posay showed me their cards so to speak, explained a little more and had me and my £10 in a heartbeat. I applied the Baby Lipikar Baume AP+ to bubs as soon as we got home that afternoon trying not to expect too much because I had been disappointed so many times before I wasn’t sure I could take it! I needn’t have been quite so anxious. Within three days the patches on his tummy were ‘drying’ up and the dead skin falling off to reveal healthy skin underneath!!! What?! Within a week his skin was looking more like regular skin, just dry. It looked like he just had a case of dry skin overall. By the end of week two his skin was looking normal again for them most part. There were a few stragglers on this thighs but the worst patches on this tummy and back were gone. Amen!!
At time of writing, Bubs is turning 6 months in about a week’s time, the eczema first came on at about 5weeks old and though he has a few flareups every now and again on his hands, toes and a little on his thighs, we have never gone back to the early days and for that I am immensely grateful.
Useful Sites for understanding more about Eczema and its treatment:
Eczema Blues – Lipids explanation