Did you know October is National Eczema Awareness Month? Yeah, didn’t think so. I didn’t either until a few days ago. It really gets lost in the hoopla surrounding Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Halloween and Oktoberfest. In my house though, eczema is always top of mind. My son has it (so does one of my sisters), and we’ve been trying to figure out a miracle combo to tame his red, itchy, sometimes cracked and bleeding skin since the day he was born. I thought I’d share what’s worked for us in honor of Eczema Awareness Month. I can’t say it’s eliminated the issue completely, but we’ve got it so much more under control.
Here’s what’s worked:
- Daily baths. Short ones using lukewarm water. I can’t stress how much this has helped. We used to bath him every other day until we learned how effective this can be.
- This soap. We’ve tried a ton, and while it’s not the all-natural stuff I’d like to be slathering all over my 2-year-old, it does the trick. We use it religiously. I only wish it came in pump form.
- This shampoo. It does come in an awesome pump bottle and is made by an natural, California brand. It’s fragrance- and sulfate-free and uses vegetable glucoside cleansers. While it’s designed for use on body and hair, I use it only on my little guy’s hair. I read somewhere in the mom blogosphere to use this only as shampoo on kiddos with eczema. We agree, so we’re sticking with it.
- Use Vaseline instead of Aquaphor. We always, always used Aquaphor on our son and we never thought it might be too irritating to his skin. We were wrong. Not kidding, the day we switched to using only Vaseline on his diaper area, we saw serious improvement. They are very similar products, but Aquaphor does contain additional ingredients (mineral oil, ceresin, lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin, bisabolol) that may be irritating to certain sensitive skin types (it was in our experience, anyway). I love Aquaphor personally, it’s just (obviously) not for everyone.
- This body lotion for use immediately following every bath. We actually applied it twice daily when his skin was really bad, but now we’re down to just once a day.
- Neosporin ointment. This is used for emergencies only. When he has broken skin or pustules from an eczema flare-up. Our doctor urged us to use this in place of hydrocortisone when the skin is broken or has pustules.
- Hydrocortisone cream. We pretty much never have to use this anymore, but again, when a flare-up happens, this is the only thing that’ll calm that really red, inflamed skin. As much as I’d like to avoid using it — and some of the other items on this list — for their inclusion of petrolatum, steroids and the like, there’s just no substitute for them. Believe me, we’ve tried them all.
I’m definitely not suggesting that this combo of products and suggestions will work for you or your kids, but they did work for us. If you have other eczema-fighting tricks you want to share, please do! I’m all ears.