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Eczema and salt therapy... Worth a try?

(22 Posts)
Loudeelou Fri 19-Apr-13 16:03:14

Hi there,
My DD is now 4.5 months and has been suffering with eczema since about 6 weeks old.

I was wondering if anyone has tried salt therapy?

sorry for the long post but here is some back ground on what we've been going through:

We started off with cetraben on the red patches, the yellow crusts (what we thought was like cradle cap) on her forehead spread through her scalp and then when they fell out it took all her hair too :-(

The red and rough skin spread from chest and thighs until it covered most of her little body, we tried diprobase, hydramol and oilatum in the bath. A week of hydrocortisonne also had no effect. Red and weepy we also had a week of antibiotics for the skin infection. We tried no baths for 3 days but that was worse.

We now use 50/50 which is working and her skin is no longer dry, just red and itchy. And oilatum in the bath each night and for top n toe in the mornings.

The dermatologist gave us a week of Eumovate steroid cream and just like that the skin cleared up, but soon as we stopped using it, the red and sore skin returned. We now use it every other day which keeps her comfortable.

The eczema is atopic as we have family members that have small patches of eczema.

We tried some aveeno but our GP is not able to prescribe it, TBH it didn't really help the dryness for us.

Anyway, there is a salt therapy clinic nearby and they have just published an article about a toddler who was cured of his eczema, has any one tried this? Or can recommend it?

eragon Fri 19-Apr-13 17:47:45

dont know much about salt therapy.

however, ezcema before 3 months of age is an indicator of food allergy, has this been questioned by you or doctor?

also enviro allergies, such as pollen/dustmite.etc.

Loudeelou Sat 20-Apr-13 07:42:45

Hi eragon

As we have eczema, hayfever and asthma allergies in the family, the dr and dematologist both say that it is likely to be just a hereditary thing that eventually she will grow out of.

we started 1 formula feed a day from 3 weeks old to supplement BF. When the eczema was really bad, at about 3 months old, I exclusively BF for 2 weeks and gave up dairy too but no improvement so we've been able to rule out a food allergy (for now)

We do have a dog, but hes been around for years :-)

EmilyAlice Sat 20-Apr-13 07:48:56

Not sure if it helps, but I had eczema from six months until adulthood. I still get the odd patch and am now in my sixties. We did not have any creams that worked in my childhood and my arms and legs were constantly bleeding from severe eczema. The one thing that worked was sea bathing on our annual holiday. I am not sure anyone made the connection with salt though.

eragon Sat 20-Apr-13 11:48:36

am glad you have ruled out milk allergy.

if eczema is caused (or part of the problem) by enviromental allergies, then thats worth finding out.
having a dog around all the time doesnt mean that your child isnt allergic, its less likely but can still happen.

most common cause of ezcema is dustmite, and that can be controlled or lesson high exposure by using dustmite bedding, and changing home and the way you clean and vacum.
also clothing can not be hung on radiators.

also if your child has tree pollen or hay fever , clothes can not be hung outside.

I suggest you contact your derm doc, and ask for more support. I would also ask that allergies be ruled out.
also review your ezcema daily routine, and ask doc to review treatment.

Personally I got my gp or imunologist to give the go ahead before using over the counter creams, etc. for instance sun blocks, in case they werent suitable or safe for our son when he was small.

good luck!

neversaydie Sat 20-Apr-13 12:06:24

Sea swimming cleared up my son's ezcema and we did make the connection - admittedly only the second time. He had sea salt in his baths for a while, and once it was clear it stayed clear.

This was about 5 years ago now, and when I googled it, there was loads of info - some more measured, some pretty odd.

You can buy sea salt for baths at supermarkets, which will probably be a good deal cheaper than a sea salt therapy clinic!

CabbageHead Sat 20-Apr-13 12:54:30

Hi, I also have eczema much worse when i was a kid, and always found when I bathed in the sea at my grandmas placeit would clear up. (I also have pollen allergy too). It was common knowledge back then that salt helps...

Also try oatmeal bath or use as a poultice for healing raw areas... ? I have used oatmeal for itchy skin esp when I has shingles, calms the skin down... U could try a little patch. I only used non perfumed soap growing up and still do and only cotton clothes. (apologies of any of this is obvious!)

Last year was actually the first year I didn't have any ezcema... presuming its related to me being pregnant? Hormones or maybe because I was so hot all the time I didn't need as many layersof clothes on? Also when I lived in the tropics I never has eczema.. Humidity and salt water?

Anything natural has got to be better than steroids IMO, as I used to have to use hydrocortisone at home all winter... So basically air skin out as much as possible too, as I only had it really bad in winter, dry air and being wrapped up in close fitting non breathing clothes...

Does anyone know if olive oil works? I used it for cradle cap and other skin ailments.. Also check fedup.com.au website re allergies, lots of parents stories on there about food allergies ezcema links etc..

Loudeelou Sat 20-Apr-13 14:29:42

Thanks for all the help and advice everyone! :-)

We haven't tried dust mite bedding so will try that, We have changed from non bio washing powder to eco balls (no affect - but I think its probably still good to be clear of detergents) i'll just have to hoover more too i guess!

We will give salt baths a try (definitely a cheaper alternative than the salt cave as we just want to try it out)

Ive read that oats are a good natural cure, thats what aveeno is, maybe we'll give oats in the bath a go next, need to try one thing at a time for a few weeks and monitor the skin.

In terms of olive oil, there is this article
www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1315728/How-gentle-skin-creams-baby-eczema.html

That doesn't recommend it, we did use olive oil in the early days though as the HV and midwives said to use it rather than johnsons. TBH looking back I wish we hadn't used all the johnsons stuff, oil, bath wash, lotions etc etc on our newborn, i don't know if it was the trigger but its so highly perfumed that if we ever have more children I would stay clear of it!

eragon Sat 20-Apr-13 15:35:24

johnsons stuff is like battery acid on most of my families skin! as an adult i cant use it.

I have advised my local gps not to recommend at all!

MistyB Sun 21-Apr-13 21:07:02

Aargh, lost my post.

Epsom salts could be worth looking in to.

The link between food and early onset of eczema is compelling so I would be tempted to get an allergy / immunologist referral. My DS did not show an improvement on two week exclusion until I had identified all triggers (wheat, dairy and sugar) and got worse at first and took longer than two weeks for things to get better but time and again it is food, food, food that causes reactions in our house.

We also identified petroleum / paraffin which is in lots of emollients and sesame which is in lots of alternative creams as triggers. I would have been wary of seed / nut oils in the early days but often use almond oil now and rose hip oil is my go to for difficult itchy red patches.

Sadly, it seems no two cases of eczema seem the same and there is no one size fits all so I hope you find the things that you need to exclude and things that you need to use to help your DD.

AnnaDL Sun 21-Apr-13 21:12:50

I have had eczema in varying degrees since I was a child - the most effective way to clear it up has always been sea water. I think it's as much to do with the properties of sea weed as well as salt. When it was bad we used to bring home a bucket of seaweed each weekend and put it in a net bag in the bath with me. Worked wonders.

AnnaDL Sun 21-Apr-13 21:14:01

Be careful of the steroids, I was prescribed them as a teen and have many fine lines and scarring from using them on neck etc.

BedHanger Sun 21-Apr-13 21:19:28

I'm nosing here because my DH has severe eczema, but I just wanted to reassure you OP that it's really common for babies' newborn hair to come out with the cradle cap. DS1 looked like a balding middle aged man for a while grin. It will grow back!

rootypig Mon 22-Apr-13 08:58:41

I'm not sure that two weeks' non dairy is enough time to rule out the allergy. According to most of what I've read, it takes that long to clear YOUR system. Most advice says give it at least a month.

Johnsons is dreadful stuff, incredibly harsh. I only use water on my almost 6mo DD's skin, and oils afterwards, and she still tends towards eczema. We have asthma, hayfever and eczema in the family too.

Recommendations - only bath every other day, or less, as water itself is drying and babies really don't need it. Top and tail her with cotton wool on non bath days. Don't use ANY detergent at all, no baby needs it. Most eczema creams inc good old aqueous cream can be used as an emollient when she's older. Use an organic vegetable oil all over her every day (anything but nut - olive, grapeseed, sunflower all fine, you can add some vitamin E), I have replaced our DD's bath with an oil massage in her bedtime routine because of her dry skin. She loves it! Aveeno creams are good. So is Epaderm, on prescription from the doctor. Wash her clothes at 60 degrees every other wash or so, to kill dustmites. Make sure she has 100% cotton next to her skin (this is relatively easy, cheap M&S long sleeved vests and little trousers from M&S and H&M are all cotton and not expensive at all). Stay away from steroids as much as you can - they thin the skin and make it more likely for the problem to recur. But you might need some judicious use of hydrocortisone cream to clear up existing severe problems, then get into a maintenance routine of cream and oils (I do cream in morning and oils at night). Eczema can lead to secondary infections that need antibiotics to clear them up, so have your doctor rule this out.

To answer your post specifically, what I understand salt therapy to be would not be easy or suitable for a baby? ie being in salt caves? I use Tidmans bath salts in my own baths and would be happy to try it for a baby - it is basically evaporated sea water. I would start by doing it every other day, and on the second day no bath at all. Make it quite concentrated.

The other thing that is going to help is summer. Sunlight is great for skin, with all the usual caveats about safe sun exposure - but I think it's helpful for a baby to have ten minutes a couple of times a day, with no suncream (this for our British sun - stronger suns will burn delicate skins in less than ten mins, in which case keep her in the shade).

rootypig Mon 22-Apr-13 09:08:34

Just read your DM article - interesting. I feel we have had good results with oils but it might be other things in the routine, so do feel free to ignore! I might research alternatives eg sweet almond oil, as*Misty( says. The other thing I meant to say is I've used breastmilk on her skin when sore, that's really good too. Paint some on and let it dry smile

rootypig Mon 22-Apr-13 09:09:52

Oh and last thing, I promise! we use this stuff to wash our clothes: www.simplywashing.com/, we get it from Sainsburys.

CharlotteCraig Wed 24-Apr-13 13:12:54

Hi. Hope this helps. If you research thoroughly you will find that very often ecezema, sinus problems, ear blockages, headaches, asthma etc all go back to leaky gut when can then cause candida. If this is not kept in check you get worse and worse. Unfortunately many doctors in the UK do not recognise candida and take it seriously because they are there to patch you up rather than prevent or use natural means to be well. It is a naturopath, herbalist etc who understands these things.

Many use salt (it has to be the right kind) to improve their sinuses, ear blockages etc. It is a cheap way to improve your health yourself with no side effects. The best way is to use a neti pot or one of those salt pipes, which are easier in my opinion. If you get the right type of salt pipe,
which is ceramic rather than plastic, then you can use it every day for five years before you need to replace it, this works out about £5 a year.
The plastic ones need you to keep buying more salt so they can work out much more expensive. Ecezema is often a side effect of leaky gut and/or candida. It is a symptom not an illness in itself. Just as ME is.

Others have great help from the right solution of hydrogen peroxide, others from colloidal silver, others from trace minerals. But when you think about it colloidal silver is a mineral and salt is full of minerals.
Much of our food is so refined that the minerals have been removed.
So eating a healthier diet with less refined food helps too. Sugar makes all of these conditions worse and that includes honey.

Feel free to contact me if it helps. Have a nice day.

CharlotteCraig Wed 24-Apr-13 13:15:26

Olive oil is good for you, it is a natural anti biotic, but it is high in calories. It is best raw and uncooked, cooking it kills much of the goodness.

lollygil Thu 03-Oct-13 15:48:50

Yes go for salt therapy, it really worked on my eczema on my wrists and inner side of my forearms. also great for respiratory problems as i I learned. first you might get itchy and red etc. on the affected area but it calms down beautifully. the salt cave I have been going to is in earlsfield, sw London.

apple21 Wed 16-Oct-13 10:56:07

Hey Everybody,
I read a few new (really useful smile ) information here about eczema. I read two which I tried as well.
neversaydie mentioned the seawater. I think its the best way seriously! I spend 10 days in Greece, been in the sea every second day for like 20-40 minutes. I had a bad eczema on my legs. I'm not gonna lie, the first two 'experience' was quite painful. But I didnt want to let this thing ruin my first seaside holiday. After the holiday at home I just realized that the eczema is gone completely its happened 5 years ago, it didn't come back!!
Then lollygil said the salt therapy. We have been tried that one as well, as I have asthma and my daughter has eczema. Its almost the same thing happening in the salt room as in the sea, just in a dry version smile Her skin been cleared beautifully! We ve been in the Tunbridge Wells Cave. The staff was really kind and helpful. Definitely a good, and NATURAL way to treat eczema.
http://www.saltcave.co.uk/

babybarrister Mon 21-Oct-13 10:02:28

I would ask for allergy testing as we were always told that most ex ema at that age is connected to allergies ...

AylaFriendly Sat 02-Nov-13 20:57:52

I've tried so many things over the past 3 years with my daughter. I started a blog last year which charts most things...A Little Bit Itchy! Living with eczema and allergies in children.
My daughter is now wheat and dairy free however the absolute best for her is sun and sea! Works miracles x

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