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Eczema - looks like sunburn?

(30 Posts)
goandshowdaddy Sat 20-Nov-10 12:59:44

My 9 week old DS2 was diagnosed with eczema at 4 weeks and it has steadily got worse. It started with red spots on his face which then spread as a rash down his neck, chest and stomach and has now ended up on his back and all skin creases (back of knees, elbows etc) as well.

He has terrible cradle cap which is also appearing behind his ears. His scalp is also dry, flaky and red (presume it's the eczema) as well as scaly.

We were prescribed Cetraben cream and doublebase for the bath as well as Sudocreme for the nappy area.

As it has got worse, his neck area and under the arms and round his back/sides, where the nappy fastens, have turned an angry red - looking like sunburn - and feels constantly damp.

The creams didn't seem to be doing much, in fact it almost seemed to get worse (the 'sunburn' appeared after I started using the creams).

I tried using the Sudocreme on his neck and it did seem to dry out the 'wet' skin - the next day his skin was all flaking/peeling off hmm. Not sure if this is a good thing?

I took him back to the docs and, typically, his 'sunburn' wasn't as angry and his skin looked better that day. The doc prescribed E45 for us to try and Oilatum for the bath. She also prescribed a mild steroid cream for the worst areas.

I have been using all of these since then but can't really see any improvement. I'm finding it so frustrating and distressing to see him upset whilst I'm trying to clean, dry and cream the really red bits. It's hard to get his neck dry and when I rub the cream in it seems to just slide off. Doesn't help that he's got a bit of a fat neck so hard to get into the creases!

Just wondered if anyone had any advice and what the 'sunburn' might be if not part of the eczema.

Should I go back to the doc or persist with the creams/bath stuff. How long should it take before I see any effect? My poor baby sad.

Igglybuff Sat 20-Nov-10 19:16:58

Sorry to hear your baby is going through this.

My DS only has mild eczema and I find that baths and central heating make it worse. So can you forget the baths for now?

I'd ask for another cream - try the e45 for a couple of days but doubt it'll work that well.

Also how are you feeding your DS? some babies can react to cows milk protein causing ezcema. Could be via formula or BM. Its a long shot but if no creams work well enough it's worth investigating.

goandshowdaddy Sat 20-Nov-10 19:51:58

Thanks Igglybuff.

I'm BF and had wondered about dairy allergies. Not sure when I start looking into testing for that though.

I'll keep trying the creams and perhaps go back and ask for a different one if no joy with the E45. So painful to see him crying and in pain though sad.

LadyInPink Sat 20-Nov-10 20:04:03

I have never heard of breast milk causing allergies - i BF my DD who suffered terribly from eczema until 13 mths. I would ask your HV to refer you to a skin specialist as they were my DD life saver in the end.
Sudocream does dry out the skin hence why his skin seems to be peeling - it is a nappy rash cream primarily and so it's job is to dry up the wet nappy rash.

Poor little boy and poor you as his mum to see him in such distress, i can totally empathise with you. I was at my wits end tho my DD eczema was the infected sort so i can't advise you on creams but definitely see your GP or HV to refer you as 9 wks is very young (same as my DD when she started) and hopefully you can nip it in the bud and treat it quickly. Touch wood my DD now 6 is practically clear tho i bath her every other day in special oils and soaps and even shampoo so as not to iritate her and cream her all over with diprobase like a snowman but it is worth it to see how her skin has improved.

I wish you all the very best and please let us know how you both get on smile

goandshowdaddy Sat 20-Nov-10 21:18:34

Thank you Lady, so heartening to hear that your DD is so much better smile.

I think one of the docs at our surgery is a skin specialist so will make an appt with him. Just need some guidance and help with DS skincare routine. I need reassurance that I'll be able to get it under control at least, if not get rid of it!

conkertree Sat 20-Nov-10 21:28:02

Definitely go back to try different creams. Ds1 (3) has had it since about 8 weeks old, and what we have learned so far is that it's all about trying different creams till you find the ones that work for you (and they may not work forever so it's a constant battle I'm afraid at times) but you will hopefully find something soon that works,

And a dose of steroids is not a bad thing if it clears up the skin quickly, and you can then find a moisturiser that works.

LadyInPink Sat 20-Nov-10 21:49:43

Our GP was a skin specialist and he was useless as only wanted to give E45 and diprobase so once i was referred to one whose job was solely skin specially (not a GP) I found results. Steroids were the only thing that worked and i was told if i had waited any longer she would have gotten scepicemia so boy was i glad i sought help early on. Thing with GP's is they don't want to give babies steroids as they are strong and so use mild things first and then try a bit stronger, then bit more strong until LO's skin gets used to upping creams gently and it never clears. we went straight in with a strong one and nipped it in the bud before the skin got used to developing bad skin cells so stay strong and demand a steroid if you think that would help and i wish you all the very best.

Even when his skin clears be diligent about hydrating him with lots of water (from sippy cup) and keep on Bfeeding, lots of oily baths in things that suit. We found some oils had lanolin in that irritated our DD so changed to something different. Creaming is the key too to hydrate skin even when clear and keep clothes cotton and baby away from heat e'g not to have baths too hot etc.

Take care smile

Lusi Sat 20-Nov-10 22:29:46

I'd add try to reduce the number of baths (1-2 per week) and don't use anything like soap (oilatum/E45 are ok) - this made a real difference to DD1s skin...
Diprobase every day worked well - and then moved onto aveeno (not as messy)- also plain aqueous cream (when DD2 got a chapped face everything 'stung' except aqueous cream and Sudocreme)
Thinking about the nappies - are they cloth or disposable - could something in them be irritating his skin (the sunburn) or in his baby wipes (try just water or if it is really sore just cream for cleaning)
Finally what washing powder are you using? Try using a different one/ use less than the minimum - my HV told me to use less than a third of the minimum dose...and use the extra rinse/rinse plus on your washing machine - modern washing machines use minimum water (energy efficiency) so often aren't good at rinsing the soap out. If reducing the washing powder works - just ignore the odd stain/mark...

Pacita Sat 20-Nov-10 22:43:33

I feel for you goandshowdaddy because I've been there with my little boy. If it's any consolation, he's now 2 and definitely growing out of it now, although still flares up every now and again. It is very often immature skin, and may be combined with allergies (my son is allergic to nuts and eggs, but luckily, not to diary, although i find that oats milk reduces flare ups).

I also was prescribed oilatum and diprobase by doctor. It made it worse. The worst ever, though, was aqueous cream. This is a list of the things that worked for me, for what it's worth:

- hydrating skin every morning, night, and nappy changes with a good emollient. I used Aveeno (great), but you probably need to rotate them, as atopic skin gets used to creams and they stop working so effectively. If you go to the continent or can get it online, I have found that Xeramance Plus, Leti AT4 and Lutsine were pretty good. I can't seem to find them in Britain.

- You will notice that anything that compromises his immune system will make eczema worse. From a simple cold to immunisations

- Reduce the number of baths to two a week, as water dehydrates. Use a temperature of 36-37 degrees max, as hot water dehydrates more. I used Welleda calendula oil in the water and never used soap on him till after 18 month, except for he had atrocious cradle cap and I occasionally used Dentinox shampoo. It went, eventually. I also used a handful of oats in a muslin cloth closed with an elastic band and put in the bath water on occasions. It reduces itchyness and helped him sleep better

- When his eczema became particularly bad, red and weeping, he was prescribed antibiotics to avoid the fungal infections that can happen with it. I don't know whether this was overkill, but he improved. I was very anxious to be giving antibiotics to such a young baby.

- I tried homeopathy and osteopathy. I can't say whether they helped or not, as the nature of eczema is cyclical, but sometimes just talking to someone helps. I am otherwise quite sceptical about non scientific remedies.

- Weaning will probably require care. Introduce things one at a time, and see how he reacts. I did not introduce things like fish, meat or egg till 12 months, and pretty innocuous things such as tomato or aubergine caused a rash (not any more).

-Steroids will get rid of it when a flare up is particularly bad, but I don't remember what age I started using them. The latest prescribed are BY FAR the best: Eumovate.

- put on pyjamas with folding mitts to stop him scratching

Best of luck. It is very distressing to see them suffer when they are so little. I am 7 months pregnant with my second, and have been taking omega 3,6 and 9 because they are supposed to help reduce the changes of LOs getting it. Fingers crossed, and keep us posted.

thefirstMrsDeVere Sat 20-Nov-10 22:44:20

E45 can make eczema much worse because it contains lanolin. Unfortunately its ususally the first thing GPs prescribe. That and aqueous cream which has now been found to make eczema worse as well. Research has shown it shouldnt be used at all now.

I know a lot of my friend's babies seem to react badly to Huggies for some reason.

Try and keep Ds nappy free for as long as you can and only use cotton wool and warm water not wipes

You really need to see a dermatologist asap. Even good GPs just dont have the knowledge to really help.

My DS has had severe eczema since birth. He is now 7 and we have managed to get it under some sort of control but it took a long time. The sooner you see a dermatologist the better.

I saw the sunburn type on my DS for the first time this summer. We were staying in a caravan which was less than clean (allergic to house dust mites). His feet went bright red, even after all these years his skin can still catch me out!

Pacita Sat 20-Nov-10 22:46:45

Oh, and lusi makes an excellent point about mild detergents, no conditioner and an extra rinse.

rockinhippy Sat 20-Nov-10 22:56:00

Sorry I'm too tired to read all replies, so hopefully I'm not repeating anything ;)

but I went through this with my own DD, so I really feel for you, its so distressing when they are so tiny & helpless & nothing you do works .....She got an exzema diagnosis too....but it was never Excema hmm like you the GP stuff never worked

I was lucky in that I have an old & dear friend who now works in Alternative healthcare, she told me to look into MY diet, as I was breastfeeding,.....turnned out she was right, DD turned out to be intolerant to a lot of food additives, Azo Dyes & Benzoate Preservatives, MSG, & Artificial Sweetners....some affect her skin......once I stopped eating anything with additives (my hormonal weakness was kids jelly sweetsblush ) her skin cleared up ....

she's now 8 & only ever has very minor flare-ups if she eats the wrong sweets or coloured cake at parties etc.......she will get patches behind her knees/creases of her arms/groin et within 20 minutes of eating anything.

What worked for my DD....

I had to stop eating anything with additives until I'd finished BF, & then not give her ANYTHING.

Bath only once a week (though more with oats etc if bad)

Epsom Salts, Oats & Lavender oil in her Bath, this soothes & heals & gives her plenty of magnesium, which amongst other things sooths frayed nerves & helped her cope with the pain & sleep better, all of which help it heal

Zambesie Botanicus or Sausage Tree Cream, from a good healthfood or herbalist, is a good natural cream to sooth it

& METANIUM Cream, was the only barrier cream that helped at all

Good luck

rockinhippy Sat 20-Nov-10 22:56:43

PS....the colours can be in soaps ^ shampoos too, & take cae with wash powder, we found persil non bio ok

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 20-Nov-10 22:57:51

Glad you got more help here! grin

(I posted on another thread but couldn't help much.)

MerryMarigold Sat 20-Nov-10 23:06:36

My ds1 had a similar type of eczema, very red and 'oozy'. His was diagnosed as discoid eczema, as it makes discs, when it's less 'all over'. Aveeno worked really well for us, twice a day, and quite a strong steroid cream. The consultant said we should zap the eczema quickly every time it was a tiny patch and this has worked well for us. We have only used 1 tube of the steroid in 4 years, but we do always use it at the beginning. It took a long time of experimenting with things. Some things made it worse, the creams that were very slimy didn't help. Aveeno really soaks into the skin.

Few baths. Only bath in water. No shampoo for 4 years!

Washed clothes in 'soap nuts'. Clothes never look v clean, but it did help. He is 5 now and it's a bit better, but I try and clean his school shirts with something whitening every so often and then it flares up. Even Persil Non Bio isn't good for him, though he can tolerate Fairy. It's all experimenting I'm afraid for a few months...

Hope some things work for you and it will get a lot better for him soon.

MegBusset Sat 20-Nov-10 23:28:59

Lots of good advice here but the main thing is to go back to your GP and insist on a referral to a specialist. They will be much better informed than the GP and can inform you on techniques like wet wrapping as well as helping to spot triggers (may involve allergy testing, possibly exclusion diet while you are BF).

The other points that always seem to need making are:

- Avoid E45 and aqueous cream, they are unsuitable for eczema sufferers. Use a specialist emollient and keep trying different ones til you find the one that helps most.

- Use steroids when you need to, far better to use steroids than leave skin untreated and end up with infected eczema.

- Current advice is to bathe at least once a day, using a specialist bath oil like Oilatum/Aveeno and applying emollient straight after. This will help replace the skin's oils and get rid of bacteria that can infect the eczema.

Good luck with it, DS1 was awful as a baby but has improved hugely and now (age 3) he only has a few little patches.

LeonardNimoy Sat 20-Nov-10 23:37:19

Sudocrem is also full of lanolin, I really wouldn't use it on anyone with eczema.

goandshowdaddy Sun 21-Nov-10 09:02:58

Wow, thank you all for your replies, makes me feel much more positive that I can tackle this successfully!

I've got Cetraben cream so will switch back to that instead of the E45. The steroid cream does seem to be working a bit - we're on day 5 of using it so fingers crossed it's doing its job! Will also buy some Aveeno - lots of recommendations for that I see.

With reducing the number of baths, I take it it's still OK to wash/sponge him twice a day and then moisturise? He gets very smelly with the creams and grime collecting in the creases - poor little boy sad.

Pacita, interesting about the cold/immunisations making things worse - he's had both in the past 2 weeks and it's definitely got worse. BTW best of luck with DC2!

thefirstMrsDeVere, I did wonder about house dust mites. This time last year I suffered terribly from allergy (hayfever type symptoms) which I think was to house dust mites. Wonder if it's a family tendency?!

Thanks again for all the advice - I was so down yesterday about it all - you have made me feel so much better smile.

beachavendrea Sun 21-Nov-10 09:18:10

we just went through this with ds1 who is 7 months the eczema looked like sunburn and was weeping, we sent a photo to our paedtrician who said it was definitely infected (although I thought it was just particularly bad eczema)

Might be something you want to check and double check with your GP, we have been on antibiotics for 5 days and have used 1% hydrocrotisone on his whole body and eczema has almost completely gone. Although there is still some red patches on his face where the infection is.

goandshowdaddy Sun 21-Nov-10 09:43:38

Will do beachavendrea - also, good idea to take a photo when it's particularly bad so the doc can see what I'm talking about!

Glad your DS is on the mend smile

elephantshavebigtrunks Sun 21-Nov-10 10:02:02

My nine month dd also has a similar sounding eczema. The only thing I would add to what everyone else has said is that I use Waitrose Baby Bottom Butter in the creases which is the only thing that really helps. It seals the weepy patches where other things just slide over them. I use cetraban on her tummy, back, legs and arms and oilatum in the bath. She is in washable nappies which I always put through an extra rinse to make sure they are clear of detergent, her eczema seems to flare up when I put her in certain brands of disposable.

rockinhippy Sun 21-Nov-10 10:17:18

very interesting about the immunisation timing here too, with DD it also all started just after hers hmm

though she ended up in hospital & on antibiotics & oxygen with a"Bronchiolitis "like" illness, I didn't find out until years later, that too could of been a known if rare reaction to her early jabs hmm, so I've always blamed the antibiotics for starting off her problems, I do wonder now confused

I realised that I forgot to say - DDs turned out not to be Excema, but "Urticaria" which can look & act similar, but it is a histamine reaction, so will have an actual cause, food additives in her case, but can be dust mites, or any other allergen

its awful what you are dealing with now, but you will get on top of it, & he will be well again soon - honestly

Igglybuff Sun 21-Nov-10 11:33:59

elephant which brands made it flare up? DS has bad ezcema on his bum which I've suspected might be the nappies. We use pampers. Might switch to reusable nappies - we tried them when he was little but tricky when he pooed all the time! Easier now he's more predictable grin

Igglybuff Sun 21-Nov-10 11:36:00

Also forgot to add, my DS is dairy and soya intolerant - his ezcema flares up if I have either (I BF). He also has acid reflux.

frozenfeline Sun 21-Nov-10 12:12:46

I have suffered severe eczema my whole life. I was not lucky enough to grow out of it, which alot do. I often suffer with the 'sunburn' type and it hurts like sunburn too. Everyone is different but dos and don'ts for me are. Oilatum is fab for soothing it. I onlt ever pat or air dry,.... no rubbing. And then moisturize well. Central heating is terrible for me. Sun is great, but not heat iyswim. I find that my skin must be dry or soaking wet as damp skin like when you wash with a sponge makes it worse. Washin powder is always non bio. Perfume and colour free shampoo etc is a must. I never use soap! The steroids are brilliant especially the stronge ones, however, a word of warning.... i now suffer with thinning of the skin due to over use of steroids. So i would say only use them if you really have to. When it starts to flake it's getting better so e45 is a must for me. Maybe a patch test would be a good idea for you. Hope some of this
may help..

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