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Eczema - any advice?

(166 Posts)
HouseOfBears Wed 23-Jan-13 07:21:37

My DD (5 months) has terrible eczema on her face - it's like an open wound, all raw and weepy, with crusty and flaky patches. It's so sore poor baby. We have had antibiotics, steroid cream, use emollient in the bath and apply Aveeno moisturiser often throughout the day but nothing has helped. We've been referred to a dermatologist, but in the meantime does anyone have any advice or suggestions for how to help?

rockinhippy Wed 23-Jan-13 10:22:26

Muslin bag - bloody autocorrect

coorong Wed 23-Jan-13 10:34:23


In boots and super drug - great for eczema and moisturiser for grow ups too.
My sister and I both use it on our children from babyhood

rockinhippy Wed 23-Jan-13 10:41:16

I should have added, if this sounds a possible cause - I'd recommend finding out which of you local chemists can send off for additive free medicines ASAP as we hit a big problem with that as when DD needed antibiotics, the kids stuff made her very ill indeed, so ad she ended up in hospital with what turned out to be colitis - turned out the additives in the medicine were causing a skin flare up inside her colon, so trying to cure a chest infection made her very ill indeed & don't get me started on when she had pneumonia, the stuff they gave her to save her little life made her very very ill in other ways sad - so I wish I'd known ack then & was better prepared, but IME the doctors & hospitals just aren't -

now DD is older its easier, in that she gets the adult antibiotic capsules if she needs antiBs & we take the powder out & mix it with honey, she finds this easy to take & we avoid the colours in the capsule shells

tempnameswap Wed 23-Jan-13 10:43:32

Feel quite cross on your behalf OP! Your doc is WRONG in suggesting it is very unlikely to be food intolerance/allergy. This is very outdated advice. Eczema is commonly the only sign at this age of intolerance or allergy, and even the NICE guidelines advise doing a trial food exclusion for bf mothers.

I am a medic and mother of a child whose eczema was exactly like that at 5 months. I was also bf and had no idea it could be food related. We battled on with her not sleeping and clearly distressed (plus creams, antibiotics etc etc) until she was given a bottle of formula (to help her sleep ironically) and she had a full blown anaphylactic reaction. Back to exclusive bf and I cut dairy out of my diet.

But the eczema remained, always worse on a Monday which seemed inexplicable except that I only had eggs at the weekend. So I cut out eggs from my diet, and got a grip on her scratching with rigorous use of socks on hands up to elbows etc - within 2 weeks her eczema had completely gone. And when I say completely I mean completely! And as further proof, age 8 she has just passed a food challenge for egg and we have reintroduced it slowly. Cue the return of eczema for the first time in 7 years......

There are no reliable tests at this age, but I would 100% suggest you cut dairy and eggs out of your diet for 2 weeks and see if it improves at all.

Eczema is utterly miserable for everyone and I really hope you find a solution.

mefisto Wed 23-Jan-13 10:48:37

You have my sympathy, poor DD, I hope you find something that works for you. My experience is similar to girloutnumbered - DS (now 2) had terrible eczema from birth and we treated with emollients, bath additives, hydrocortizone etc which controlled it to some extent. He was EBF until six months so I didn't detect his allergies until he had an immediate severe allergic reaction at 6 months to food containing milk. His allergies (milk and egg) have since been confirmed by skin prick testing at St Thomas's paed allergy team. As I was (am still am) breastfeeding him I was advised by St Thomas's to exclude dairy and eggs from my diet and was given calcium supplementation for myself. His allergies are pretty severe (potential anaphylaxis) and he reacts on skin contact to anything containing milk or egg. Although it is impossible to know for sure if it is due to my diet or if he would have improved anyway, his eczema is much better now. In terms of emollients we tried loads of different ones but found Epaderm to be the best for DS - we used a combination of the cream and the ointment (ointment first and then a layer of cream on top) - after every nappy change.

guineapiglet Wed 23-Jan-13 10:48:45

Hi, when my son was born, he developed eczema and suffered terribly from it as a baby - we tried everything, including many homeopathic remedies, like many others in this thread. We have tried many prescription creams, diprobase etc, - I know it is hard, but I would definitely recommend allergy testing and you should push for it if the eczema doesnt clear up with the treatments you try - eventually we found out my son had a severe nut allergy, but was also chronically allergic to animal fur ( we had to have our beloved dog rehomed because she made him so itchy, terrible) - and house dust. ( Symptoms also included asthma, wheeziness etc). Food intolerance is another indicator, and specific food allergy tests are very helpful.

In the end, the saviour of his skin was epaderm, brilliant stuff, you can get it in ointment or creme form, also aveeno cream is a brilliant emollient. Recommend showering your child rather than bathing them if that makes sense. Do keep pressing for a dermatology/allergy check up though. Good luck.

rockinhippy Wed 23-Jan-13 10:51:04

It makes me very mad too temp but in my experience not uncommon - I had 3 different GPs tell me the same, even when I went back & told them that my own DDs problems were urticaria, as a result of chemical intolerance, they insisted it was Exzema & I was wrong, wouldn't even try sorting out medicines for her, I had to see the NHS nutritional therapist & she agreed & wrote & told them so, before they took it seriously - complete waste of an appointment someone more needy could have had, as I had b then already worked out the cause, but the GPs at our surgery would have none of it - very interesting to know its NICE guidelines now, as I still ave problems with our main GP - thanks smile

Sonotkylie Wed 23-Jan-13 11:27:12

DS started to have eczema at 4 months. All over face, looked dreadful, became infected etc etc etc. we were referred to an eczema specialist nurse who was fantastic and worked with us to work out how best to treat him. You have lots of great advice here but the things I would add are :
1. It is trial and error. For DS NOT bathing every day makes it much worse. I know for others reducing baths helps.
2. Again, Aveeno was our saviour but it doesn't work for everyone. Try some of the others on here. If you find one that works GPs are helpful about prescribing it.
3. Pay attention too to what you wear and anyone else holding her. I had to avoid wool of all sorts and fleece type things which made it worse. Pure cotton fine (so enjoy the rest of the winter!). Muslins are good as a barrier if you are worried.
4. After about age 7 months the eczema moved off his face to back and chest. Only later about age 2 to arms and legs. He now only has it on his elbows and its mainly under control. This apparently is pretty normal, so the good news is, odds on it will come off her face soon.
5. Allergies are worth looking at - when I moved DS to semi skimmed milk at 2 his eczema reduced. BUT the key is to stop the itch scratch itch cycle. Keep her nails as short as possible and try to get wrap mittens (like tubigrip with just a gap for the thumb) which prevents them scratching themselves and go wild with the mosituriser. I endorse every nappy change as a good way to remember.
Remember, grim though it is, this too shall pass. You will get it sorted. Honest

Sonotkylie Wed 23-Jan-13 11:29:56

Oh I got the mittens from GP on advice of eczema nurse. They may have to trawl the available products but they are SO SO worth it. If it moves to body or arms you can get vests and tights for them to wear at night under PJs which trap in the mosituriser and stop them being able to scratch.

madoldbird Wed 23-Jan-13 11:40:06

Would agree with the suggestions to eliminate dairy from your / her diet. My son has excema from 6 weeks old, kept more or less under control with cream, hydricortisone, etc, but always visible on face, arms, legs. Saw the gp about digestive problems when he was 2.5 . I asked about dairy intolerance and she said his problems (foul, acidic, loose stools) were just an indication that he was ready for potty training hmm . I decided to eliminate dairy anyhow, and the problems went away. A side effect of this was that his skin improved hugely. He still needs double base twice a day, but the difference is amazing. Try eliminating it for a couple of weeks, you have nothing to lose, and at worst, you'll know it's not that.

ShiftyFades Wed 23-Jan-13 11:42:20

My DS had eczema as a baby and gets the occasional flare up in the winter.
First he was given Double Base, it was rubbish.
After much trial and error we found cetraben (sp?) bath emollient and Diprobase cream to be the best combination.
Good luck grin

ShiftyFades Wed 23-Jan-13 11:43:10

Oh, and hydrocortisone cream when it was bleeding / broken.

ppeatfruit Wed 23-Jan-13 11:50:00

I've just been reading Liz Earle's book called Vital Oils and she talks about taking Linseed oil, or Oil of evening promrose for adult females (she cured her own bad eczema with it.)

The reason being that there is some GLA (gamma linoleic acid) in Breast milk but because our bodies don't manufacture it we sometimes don't have enough hence the eczema. So houseof bears you could start taking it and maybe put a little on yr L.O's face and or mix a some in with his food.

rockinhippy I totally agree about the additives that are in EVERYTHING; I was eating the odd so called healthy herbal sweet and getting large red spots on my legs and as I follow a very careful WOE I traced it to the aspartame in the ricola sweet and sure enough I was right . Yet they bung it in everything including non sugar squashes for DCs. shock

AwkwardAnnie Wed 23-Jan-13 11:50:03

Agree with it being hit and miss. We've all got sensitive skin to some varying degrees and different things work for us all.
We only use either surcare or Ecover wash powder/liquid for clothes and the Ecover washing up liquid (although that still causes problems.) I used to be a support worker, they used other detergents and I'd have to wear gloves to fold the washing. No softener as the whole point of that is it stays on the clothes.

My son is 15mo and he gets eczema everywhere, but we've recently been smothering him in almond oil and it's made a huge difference. His skin is still dry in patches, but it's not getting as sore as it was. My husband and I both get eczema on our hands and as a result our eczema is better too. We don't have nut allergies, but obviously you'd need to be wary if you do.

Keep trying different things until you find something that works. We were prescribed diprobase at first by one GP. When applying it to my son he SCREAMED I thought he just didn't like having cream applied, but I had to wash my hands as they stung afterwards so it was obviously affecting him the same. We switch to Emulsifying Ointment and he was happy to have the cream on.... in fact he puts it on himself... liberally if he gets chance.

EspressoMonkey Wed 23-Jan-13 11:53:36

I second MrsLionHeart Salcura Gentle Spray worked wonders for both my DCs who had terrible eczema.

Both DCs eczema has gone completly. I use the Salcura spray once a day, if i stop using it after a couple of weeks the eczema comes back.

And i second a second rinse cycle on your washing machine.

ShadyLadyT Wed 23-Jan-13 12:00:06

I am a bit dismayed at some of the advice on this thread. My DD2 had eczema from when she was a small baby and we too were fobbed off by the GP. However, when she finally had an anaphylactic reaction aged 11 months, we saw a specialist and her allergies to nuts and egg were diagnosed (incidentally, they can do scratch tests on babies. It takes minutes!) However, just cutting items from your or her diet and seeing what happens is not always the best advice - according to our allergy consultant - and keep her moisturised with Diprobase at all times. You can get it prescribed.

Piffpaffpoff Wed 23-Jan-13 12:02:53

Hi, my DS had similar, red weeping cheeks. As other have said, it's trial and error. At one point I had enough lotions and potions in my cupboard to open my own pharmacy.

I'd also second pushing for a dermatology referral ASAP, they were very supportive and we had really good results under their care. Ds's cleared up by the time he was about 1 and we've been clear since then.

tempnameswap Wed 23-Jan-13 12:26:39

Yes ShadyLadyT skin prick tests are quick but are not considered reliable at this age. Most allergy specialists would do bloods at this age for IgE antibodies instead - that is what the evidence suggests.

Not sure why you are dismayed? It is perfectly sensible advice for a bfing mother to cut out dairy and eggs from her diet for 2 weeks, as a trial.

We are not suggesting cutting out food groups from a child (although that may be necessary later under the advice of a dietician), but from an adult who can replace them with other sources of calcium and protein.

yumskimumski Wed 23-Jan-13 12:51:16

My DS had terrible eczema as a baby. A friend asked me if we used a certain well-known brand of eco-washing powder. We did, and she told me to stop immediately and switch to something else. We did, in fact we started using the hypoallergenic stuff from Boots, and the eczema cleared up. Completely. Never returned. This was after trying hydrocortisone cream, Diprobase, and various other prescribed creams and medications. Very recently I mentioned this to a friend with 3 children, all of whom have had eczema since they were babies - the oldest is now 10. She also used the eco-product, but now she's switched to the Boots liquid (honestly, I don't work for or have any connection with Boots and I am normally very pro anything eco!) and she says that for the first time ever her kids' eczema is diminishing.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 23-Jan-13 12:56:07

Sadly aveeno started making DS's eczema worse so I would use something else. Apologies if this had already been said.

I use epaderm ointment on him and it is now managed well in that we only use steroid about once every two weeks instead of daily. I will try the linseed oil now as well thanks to this thread.

IHeartKingThistle Wed 23-Jan-13 13:00:07

Poor you and poor Dd. Steroids and epaderm work on Ds but the best advice I can give you is ScratchSleeves - Google them - they're so simple but they break the scratching cycle. Really helped Ds as a baby.

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 13:05:16

dd manages her eczema quite well now but every child is different and some children will react worse than others.

What I can say is that usually child eczema does ease off as they grow older. There are exceptions but the chances are that your child will grow out of it.

dd is now 12 and we've been managing her eczema since she was a baby. These are our rules:

No soap. We use Sanex.
No baths. She showers instead. The water is hard down here and that's bad for skin.
If you do give baths, put a drop of olive oil in the bath. That's all the moisturiser you need.
No perfumed body lotion or powder. Aqueous cream works best.
Don't shampoo their hair every time you wash. It can aggrevate matters. Try a non-silicone based shampoo and conditioner such as Tresemme or the Boots Naked Range.
Use non-bio washing powder and try not to use a conditioner as these are perfumed.

Often eczema can be controlled just by changing the environment in which you live.
It is a pita though.

ppeatfruit Wed 23-Jan-13 13:06:26

I just remembered what helped DS's eczema completely (before I knew about the linseed and evening primrose oil) grin It was chickweed cream and taking the homeopathic remedy of sulphur also bathing in quite warm water softened with sea salt.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 23-Jan-13 13:14:19

Aqueous cream has a perfume - I am glad it works for your DD THERhubarb, but it is awful for lots of people including my DS.

goldiehorn Wed 23-Jan-13 13:14:29

Oh I really feel for you, DS had terrible eczema from about 3 months to about 9 months, but since then it has mostly cleared up, apart from a few patches. It was all over him and he had massive raw patches on his face sad The doctor did say that he would grow out of it and fortunately for us, he did.

Every child is different but these are the things that worked for us:
-Emulsifying ointment. I hardly ever see this recommended but it really is great sutff, my mum who is a nurse recommended it. It is what most most eczema creams are based on, but it is just the paraffin in a more pure form I think so less liely to irritate (DS reacted to other creams). And its only 4 quid for a massive pot.
-Not bathing every day. I used to religiously bath DS every day and wash his hair, mostly because it was so greasy from all the ointment and I wanted bathtime to be part of his routine. But then we couldnt bath him for a few days because we went away and noticed that his skin was a bit better so we dropped some baths and noticed an improvement. Now he only gets bathed twice a week.
-Oilatum in the bath. We still get it on presecription.
-Hydrocortisone cream. This was amazing for when his eczema was at its absoulte worst, really cleared it, but you can only use it for a few days (we used it once before he was having some professional pictures taken grin )
-Sudocrem. Worked a bit when he had very raw bits, but is quite drying.
-Surcare washing powder and doing an extra rinse of his clothes. Surcare isnt the greatest at actually washing stuff but its very gentle. Also always ensuring that new clothes are washed before they are worn.

What didnt work:

-Aveeno. DS reacted horribly to this, he had what looked like burns on his body and it actually made me cry! Oats in the bath were not great either for his skin (although funnily he can wolf down porridge with no reaction at all!)
-Oilatum cream. It just wasnt thick enough.
-E45 cream. Again he reacted badly to it.
-Aqueous cream. I dont think you are actually supposed to use it as a moisturiser , although you can use it for washing.
-We didnt bother going down the route of cutting out any foods or anything as he started to grow out of it, although we do think he may have a slight reaction to raw or only sligghtly cooked egg.

Gosh that really is a lot I have written there! I hope that you find what works for you soon, I think a lot of it is just trial and error as others have said. I know how you feel though.

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