When I say that I know a thing or two about childhood eczema, I REALLY mean that I know a thing or two about childhood eczema. We aren’t talking about just a small patch or a persistent area of skin that became a problem. We are talking about an entire body oozing and weeping and skin falling off and screaming until all hours of the morning because my son was in extreme pain…from eczema.
This is his story.
When Gabriel was born, he had beautiful, olive colored skin. I can actually remember thinking how soft and perfect his skin was in the hospital, as he lay on my chest. Little did I know the painful story and sleepless nights that would unfold because of that very same skin.
Around one month, we started to see signs of what is traditionally known as “baby acne” on his face. Having had a child before, I remembered what that was like and while it wasn’t the prettiest thing to look at, it certainly wasn’t painful to see either. But with Gabe, his started to turn into that deep red color, where all of the little pimples started to mesh into one giant area of raw skin.
We started trying all the regular in-store products from oatmeal lotions to special bath salts to oils and powders that we thought for sure would work. Not only did any of these work, most of them actually made his skin worse.
But month three, it was now completely all over his little body. What had started with just some red cheeks had now turned into full blown oozing, raw exposed skin. His skin was so thin in certain areas that it would literally just peel right off. And then in other areas, where his skin was trying to heal was super tight and creased.
He looked like he had been burned. Badly.
It was fall-turning-winter-time and so he was wearing long sleeves, but soon, his wounds were “weeping” so much that it looked like he was sweating because his shirt was getting “wet.”
Throughout those few months, I had taken him to at least six different doctors, all of whom prescribed something different. More products that wouldn’t work, more money out the window. The eczema was so bad on his head that we ended up having to shave all his hair off at three months to be able to lather his head every day with creams.
After countless nights of staying up with Gabe from his screaming (he was actually in so much pain from his skin and we didn’t even know it), I finally took him in one last time to see our family doctor. I packed up EVERY SINGLE ITEM we had tried that failed to work and brought it with me to the doctors. I had cut the sleeves off of his shirts because as his wounds were oozing, they would dry onto his shirt and when I would go to change him, it would tear them back open. This caused a few of his open wounds to be infected.
AWFUL. JUST AWFUL.
Side note: I actually spent about an hour last night searching my computer, hard drives and Facebook for any pictures of Gabriel at that time and I really have VERY few. It was honestly so hard to look at his skin at that time, so we weren’t taking any pictures of it. The few that I do have, I’m sharing here.
Placing Gabriel onto the patient bed in the doctor’s office and dumping out all of the items that I had tried on him, the doctor crossed his arms, shook his head and said in disbelief, “I actually don’t know what to do for him anymore.” Definitely NOT the words you want to hear from you doctor.
But luckily, those very words meant that he was FINALLY being referred to the dermatologist for an EMERGENCY appointment.
We went to see the dermatologist one week later and let me tell you this: since that day, we have NEVER looked back. The tips and tools that she gave us and the medications that she prescribed for him absolutely changed the course of Gabe’s eczema.
I wanted to share those tips + tricks with you, along with a list of creams that we used and continue to use to this day, for any of those who have kids who suffer from childhood eczema. While Gabe’s eczema is completely under control now, he still has dry, itchy patches that flare up, particularly in the heat. My hope and prayer is that he will grow out of this one day, but in the meantime, we have some of the best tools at our finger tips that help us keep his eczema under control.
Four Tips to Combatting Eczema in Children:
1. 100% Cotton Clothing
Because their skin is so sensitive, the clothing that they wear needs to be 100% cotton. Cotton is easier on the skin as it is a more breathable fabric, in comparison to a synthetic. You have no idea how many fleece sleepers Gabe never wore.
2. Bleach Baths
I know, this sounds CRAZY but stick with me. If the skin has broken on their body, there is a chance for a bacterial infection. Fill a bath tub with lukewarm water and a cap full of bleach and let them soak for no longer than five minutes. Think of it similarly to swimming in a public pool: there are tons of chemicals in there to keep bacteria from growing. Same idea. Keep the bleach amount small and the bath time short and it will help keep those open wounds clean.
3. Absolutely ZERO scented detergent and/or fabric softeners
This one was hard for me because I absolutely LOVED my Downy Lavender Vanilla fabric softener. And it wasn’t only Gabe’s clothing that needed the hypo-allergenic detergent, all of ours did too because we were regularly holding him. I could always tell when someone else had held him at church because his cheeks would flare up after the fact.
4. Keep Nails Trimmed
The tendency for all of us is to scratch when something is itchy. Gabriel’s body was in a constant state of ITCH. If you keep their nails trimmed down, they can do less damage when they do go to scratch.
Treatment of Childhood Eczema:
1, Do Not Use Soap to Wash in the Bath
Our natural instinct is to use shampoo to wash our hair and soap to wash our bodies. With kids, especially babies who are struggling with eczema, these things just aggravate the skin even more. Your baby is actually not THAT dirty and a good rinse and wipe down with just water will do the trick. Once they are a bit older, you may start using a very mild and hypo-allergenic body wash. I would recommend trying the protective bath gel from the amazing line of ISDIN Nutratopic Pro-AMP. These guys know what they are doing when it comes to bringing hydration back into the skin and protecting it from future itchy outbreaks, while using the gentlest formulas out there.
2. Derma-Smooth Antibiotic Scalp Oil
I can’t say enough good about this prescription product and although it’s called a scalp oil, we use it on his entire body. It is actually nicknamed in the pharmaceutical world as “Liquid Gold” and that’s exactly what it is. Although we made major changes to Gabriel’s overall routine, I give most of the credit to his complete 180 degree turnaround to THIS product. We still keep some on hand for whenever he has a flair up because we know that it will do the trick.
3. A REALLY Good Barrier Cream
It is ESSENTIAL that you invest into a REALLY good barrier cream to help combat eczema and apply it daily (sometimes even twice daily, depending how bad the skin is). This is what will help hold all the moisture in the skin and keep it protected from itching and inflammation.
This has been a bit of trial and error for us, as we figure out what creams work BEST for our son. One of our favorite ones to date, that we recently started using is called Nutratopic Pro-AMP Emollient Cream by ISDIN. We have been trying both their Emollient Cream and their Facial cream for kids, on our son, for the last four weeks and I have been really pleased with the results. Again, with summer being a season that seems to activate his eczema, we seem to struggle somewhat to remain on top of of the flare ups.
The only complaint I have about this product is that I didn’t have ENOUGH of it! I could tell how much his skin was loving it and responding well. Now, I will say, Gabe didn’t love the smell of the emollient cream, although I found it to be quite nice. It has a bit of a floral smell to it and I think he just wasn’t used to it, but eventually, he got over it when he realized his skin was happy!
Nutratopic Pro-AMP Emollient and Facial creams provide extended relief for reactive, dry skin by moisturizing and restoring the skin’s moisture barrier. What these creams do is truly help break the cycle of dry and itchy skin, which is KEY to combatting eczema. It contains ceramides, omega-6, and L-isoleucine while it’s free of perfume, paraben, lanolin and colourants.
You can find out more information about Nutratopic Pro-AMP Creams on their site and see where they can be found in your city for purchase! I know my next order is going to be a double batch so I don’t run out (as you can see in the pictures, I took this shot AFTER we used the cream and tried to squeeze every last drop out of the emollient cream).
4. Oral Antihistamine
While we don’t always love the idea of having to give our kids oral antibiotics, sometimes, it is necessary to help combat whatever they are going through. And with skin allergies, this is no different. Gabriel was on an oral antihistamine for almost a year to help relieve the itching. Now, we just keep some Benadryl on hand for any time that his skin is really reactive, which honestly, is almost never, thanks to all the above steps we are taking.
Having lived the last four years with a child who has had to battle severe eczema, I know how hard it can be on both the child and the parents trying to offer care and comfort. By using these tried and true tips and treatments, I almost guarantee that your child will find the much needed relief that they need and truly deserve.
Thanks for listening to Gabriel’s story. If you know someone who is struggling with a child that has severe eczema, why not pass this along in hopes that they can find some useful tips and treatments.
Love & Blessings,
Note: I am part of the Intega Influencer Program and received some perks in exchange to try their products and review them. As you’ve read, this has been a four year struggle with our son and I would never endorse a product that I don’t believe in or that didn’t work on my son. These opinions are 100% my own.