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Used anything that has helped severe eczema?

(52 Posts)
mummy2oneboy Tue 25-Jun-13 15:09:58

My DS developed eczema at about 8 weeks. It started as just small patches which gradually spread over his entire body. He is now 7 months old and after months of waiting to be referred to the hospital we have now finally seen the dermatology nurse specialist for what it was worth! We have tried E45, Aveeno, Diprobase, Epaderm, Dermol 500, Oilatum Cream, Doublebase, 100% unrefined shea butter, Lush dream cream, Vasaline, the list goes on you name it we have tried it. None of these used so far seem to have made any difference. The only thing which seems to make the eczema disappear is Betnovate cream but as this is a potent steroid we have been advised to only use it for 5 days at a time, dropping down onto Betnovate RD for a further 5 days and in theory then reduce the steroid strength again to hydrocortisone, but his skin is never good enough to be able to do this.
We were advised to put him on a dairy free diet and from 5 months (was BF until then) we have given him Nutramigen milk formula on prescription but again this has made no improvement.
Has anyone else been in a similar situation and been referred to an allergy specialist or found anything that works for severe eczema? I am considering going private as I hate to see my little boy in so much distress.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 25-Jun-13 15:14:09

I use the paraban and sulphate free body products from

Recommend the a'kin fragrance free replenishing body moist. Use the steroid cream to clear up the eczema and apply this cream
Twice a day it's a lovely moisturiser that had helped dd1 stop having legs like sand paper. I would keep asking for that referral to the allergy specialist.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 25-Jun-13 15:17:40

However sounds like the eczema is a symptom of allergies possibly so you may not clear it up or reduce it until you find out what it is. If he's allergic to milk it's likely soya is a problem too but could be anything.

It's miserable though isn't it sad I always hate it when dd1 scratches herself stupid sad

Ilisten2theradio Tue 25-Jun-13 15:23:32

Ds's excema wasn't that bad but it disappeared when we found out what his allergies were (all were types of food) and removed them from his diet. Soya was the last one and once that was removed his excema disappeared ( I hadn't realised there was soya flour in bread blush).
I too would suggest allergy tests.
Vasaline intensive care was pretty good on his skin though as was diprobase - but I see you have tried the latter.
Have you also changed soap, shampoo and washing powder? - one at a time of course.

mummy2oneboy Tue 25-Jun-13 15:33:59

We use surcare to wash clothes as its meant to be free from all chemicals etc but again no improvement (tried various non bio powders first). I don't think he does have a milk allergy as the prescription milk formula is meant for those with cows milk allergy but this hasn't improved is skin. His diet is free from eggs as well. We don't use anything in the bath other than dermol 500 to wash him (have used numerous other bathoils on prescription - Balneum, Oilatum, Oats etc)

I think I am going to have to keep pushing to see the allergy specialist but the eczema nurse seemed very dismissive of it being an allergy to something and that we should just learn to live with it. Easy for her to say but we are the ones that have to live with a very itchy boy who has to have gloves on for all his naps, has to have 2 people to bath him (1 to wash, 1 to hold hands so he does scratch and make himself bleed) and at times gets completely overwhelmed by the itching.

tacal Tue 25-Jun-13 15:35:45

for my DS, nannycare goats milk formula(he was 12 months by the time I tried this), boots (the chemist) washing powder, no soap or shampoo. The eczema got a bit better initially but took 4 months to completely disappear. After four months his skin was completely better. Any flare ups since then also tend to take four months to disappear and it is usually too many things with cows milk or perfume which have caused it. Or he has been too hot (winter jumpers, heating etc). I know how tiring and upsetting it is to have your child covered in eczema. I hope you find out what is causing it soon. Best wishes x

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Tue 25-Jun-13 15:40:45

I would definitely keep pushing. This isn't something you should just have to "live with" soya would be the next logical step but as that eliminates three foods then that really should be done under a dietitian or dr. It could be multiple allergies and it could take time to find all of them.

I've heard if wet wraps on here so hopefully someone can come and tell you about those. Holland and batter sell a lovely bath oil. Dr organics ( it says scar and stretch marks) but worked better for dd than oilatum

tacal Tue 25-Jun-13 15:43:26

I just read your second post and see you dont think it is cows milk. It sounds you are doing everything you can. If I were you I would go private. I went to a practitioner who deals with natural medicine and that is what helped me. I think my ds was allergic to Surcare and have seen other people say on here that there dc's have been allergic to it. Good luck.

NeverQuiteSure Tue 25-Jun-13 15:46:43

My DS's isn't nearly as bad as your poor DS, but 3 things that may help...

Firstly, have you ever been taught how to apply the emollients properly? There are some tricks to make it more effective (e.g. Applying whilst skin is still damp from bath or in a humid room and sort of smooth then pat it on). Try eczema websites for more coherent descriptions!!

Secondly, as others have said, investigate allergies. My DS has developed hay fever this year and his has seriously flared with it. Interestingly, when I look back at photos of last hay fever season I can see that his skin was already reacting to the pollen a whole year before the hay fever symptoms appeared.

Finally, I have heard that room humidifiers can be very useful (I think people put them in their bedrooms at night?) We haven't used them, but worth a look perhaps.

Good luck. It's miserable to watch them suffer. DS had a rather nasty case of chickenpox last year but barely scratched or complained. I guess he was used to feeling itchy and horrid sad

mummy2oneboy Tue 25-Jun-13 15:47:51

Think I will try yet another wash powder as there is no harm in trying. I don't know if he should see a dietician anyway as we have eliminated dairy. Its just so frustrating as the expectation seems to be on the parent to find things out and ask for it, rather than the doctor suggesting things to help. The battle continues!

Smudging Tue 25-Jun-13 15:54:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tacal Tue 25-Jun-13 16:05:46

Boots sensitive skin washing powder says suitable for eczema sufferers on the box. Maybe worth a try. I also agree with smudg about less baths. My ds has showers most of the time and plenty of coconut oil in his bath when he has one. Sometimes coconut oil seems to help as an emolient on skin but if it is really bad and bleeding/cracker a big thick layer of epaderm. On his wrists I put the epaderm on under wrist bands and that is the only thing that helped but I know advice from doctors is not to cover it.

MiaowTheCat Tue 25-Jun-13 16:30:38

Only real things that made a difference with my brother's (his consultant described it as the worst case of childhood eczema he'd ever seen in his entire career)...

Soap powder - finding one that worked and sticking to it religiously (then sobbing if the formulation was changed)
Sunlamp treatment - was working but he found it very claustrophobic and it upset him so they stopped
Reducing stress - it was a massive trigger in his (it is with my much milder case as well)
In the end he ended up on immunosupressants for a short time to give his body a chance to heal a bit and family nerves a chance to unshred

Diprobase was about the best of the emollients we found (he developed sensitivities to E45 and aqueous) but we did have long periods running up and down the steroid cream strengths and then things getting infected... we had a bathroom shelf that actually bent in the middle under the weight of all the creams and ointments.

He has grown out of the worst of it as an adult btw - the remaining bits are hidden under the endless designer stubble, perpetual hoodie and tattoos.

BewitchedBotheredandBewildered Tue 25-Jun-13 16:52:35

Telling you to live with it is not acceptable, sorry you're getting that reaction.
2 of my 3 DC had mild eczema and we managed to keep it at bay with the steroid cream occasionally, and then maintain with different stuff that always worked for a while and then stopped.
Things that worked were anything with camomile, calendula, honey. A horrible Chinese herbal product like tar! Olive oil.
A friend of mine had to remove all furry pets and all carpets from her house which really helped her son, but rather drastic.
My 2 grew out of it but not till their teens.
Good luck.

HelloBear Tue 25-Jun-13 22:19:01

mummy sympathies to you, it sucks big time.

Have you got scratch sleeves? Seriously google them they are the best. Also get some wraps on prescription when my DS ezcema flares up we slaver emoluant on him with these.

Push for allergy testing, we initially cut out dairy, no result so thought it was not dairy. However unfortunately it us dairy with a whole host of other food stuffs, cut these out and thou its not gone 100% he no longer itches constantly and I would say 60% has gone.

Gps are shit with ezcema (in my experience) push for someone who knows more.

Good luck

Oh and sorry not given you any 'magic' creams. Don't think they excist sad

ClaireOB Wed 26-Jun-13 10:02:33

NICE child eczema indications for referral - including where:

" has not controlled the atopic eczema satisfactorily based on a subjective assessment by the child, parent or carer (for example, the child is having 1–2 weeks of flares per month or is reacting adversely to many emollients) ..."

Worth bearing in mind that allergic triggers are often airborne rather than food - dustmites, furry pets, pollens, moulds - so would be worth finding out if this is the case and, if so, seeing if anything can be done to minimise exposure.

Good luck, eczema can be pure misery. A dermatologist I know once remarked to me that she finds the amount of poorly managed eczema in children she eventually gets to see very depressing, given the impact it will have been having on the child and the whole family.

nosoupforyou Wed 26-Jun-13 10:25:43

you said you were thinking of going private. we went private when my son was 6 months. i really wished we had done it sooner, he was so much better within days of the appointment. for us it was about being prescribed the right strength steroid with a clear plan for how much to use and for how long. only a specialist doctor can do this. then being given the right emollients. for us it was really worth it - seeing that doctor just once changed everything.

Wolfiefan Wed 26-Jun-13 10:32:36

Awful. Just awful.
My DD had eczema that flared up and became infected within hours. Dreadful.
The right emollient means we very rarely have to use steroid cream. (For us it was Dermol. Anti itch ingredient included!)
Bathe rarely.
Watch washing powder etc. use extra rinse.
Avoid smelly stuff on you to.
Emollient on vvvv frequently. Like every hour or more during the day.
Don't be afraid of steroids to get it under control.
Cotton clothes and we grobag so she can't scratch at night.
Try and avoid them getting overheated.
Consider other allergies. Dust? Damp dust. Certain fruit? Keep a diary of food, activity and eczema.

chocoluvva Wed 26-Jun-13 10:42:24

Poor little baby and poor you too.

One of the difficulties of finding out which, if of the things in his diet are triggering the eczema is that if there is more than one trigger - cutting out one thing will not have a noticeable effect on it.

I'd second the advice to push for testing - it's an efficient way of testing several things at the same time.

ChutesTooNarrow Wed 26-Jun-13 11:00:56

My DS had shocking eczema as a baby, it was awful. I did a radical plan of attack and changed loads of things at once so I don't know if any one thing made a difference.

He was RAST tested at six months (on nhs) and found to be intolerant to egg and diary. We cut this all out of his diet (and mine, was breastfeeding). Now, at nearly four he is ok with egg and diary with the exception of ice cream and yogurts which result in an all night long scratch fest. He won't touch cows milk but is fine with cheese and egg cooked in food.

I got him scratch sleeves which were excellent.

I used steroid cream when necessary.

I use a capful of almond oil and some drops of tea oil in a bath once a week. I don't bath him more than once a week. I also use almond oil direct on his skin to moisturise. Obviously no good for nut allergies.

Other than almond oil I have found a cheap tub of sainsburys aqueous cream does a good job, we must have tried everything!

Hand washing was a problem when he had a bad flare up on his hands, I used aqueous cream rather than soap or hand wash. He is ok with certain hand washes now.

I use soap nuts to wash our clothes.

I'm still trying to find a sun cream that doesn't irritate him so I tend to keep him out of hot sun and keep him covered up instead.

ClaireOB Wed 26-Jun-13 12:13:44

A word of caution re nut oils, there is some concern in the research community that putting nut or peanut oils (or preparations containing same) on infant eczematous skin might actually cause sensitisation to nuts in some children/prevent tolerance. The Anaphylaxis Campaign has a page linking to the research peanut oil in skin preparations

LesserOfTwoWeevils Wed 26-Jun-13 12:18:03

Try salt-water baths.

mummy2oneboy Thu 27-Jun-13 15:50:30

Thank you for all your recommendations. I have decided to see a private doctor who specialises in eczema at Great Ormond street hospital. Being private I can get to see him next week so fingers crossed it will be worth the money. I have seen the doctors name mentioned a few times on here all with positive recommendations so keeping everything crossed.

Lovethesea Sat 03-Aug-13 22:48:14

Any joy with the private doctor? A friend's DS is in a very similar situation at 8 months and they are trying everything.

JazzAnnNonMouse Sat 03-Aug-13 22:54:22

Coconut oil worked better than anything the dr gave.
Magic cream!! Google the benefits!

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