When did you notice that eczema started to form?
Petra: My daughter has had dry skin since she was a little girl, with occasional rashes. It was often worse after bathing. When she was one year old, I started to care about it more. I found out from my sister, who has a child of a similar age, that it might be atopic eczema.
Did you take your daughter to the doctor?
Petra: I did. Not specifically because of this, but during a regular visit, of which a small child has many, I mentioned and showed him the spots that I didn’t like.
What did the doctor advise you to do?
Petra: Well, the doctor confirmed it is an atopic eczema and said that almost every baby suffers from it and to try using bath products made specially for atopic eczema. He recommended some creams and shower gels from the pharmacy (A-derma) and gave us a cream – Lucoid (which has a small percentage of corticoids in it).
Corticosteroids for such a young child? Corticosteroids which only control (suppress) the symptoms. Did you listen to the doctor’s advice?
Petra: Yeah, my daughter was little, she could have been a year old. Changing cosmetic and bath products didn’t help and I was worried about using the cream for a long time because of the corticosteroids, which I was afraid of. Still, it wasn’t getting better, so I ended up using it. It worked like a charm, the eczema disappeared in a few days. However… as soon as I stopped using it, the eczema came back quickly.
So you were using the corticosteroid cream all the time? Did you read how long you can use the cream?
Petra: I didn’t. I trusted the doctor. He said until it got better. Not as a preventative, but for the acute? condition. In the end I decided to take a different approach anyway.
Petra: I changed the laundry detergent and stopped using fabric softener. I only bathed my daughter in clean water, no cosmetics. Such bathing without anything was making the dry skin worse, so I tried more natural shower gels.
Great, it’s recommended to do that. Too bad the doctor didn’t tell you. Anyway, did you find the information yourself?
Petra: I searched online and asked around to see if anyone had any recommendations.
So what kind of cosmetics and products are you using now, and how old is the baby? We interviewed a pharmacist who has thrown herself into lactation counselling and eco counselling and in the interview she mentions not using anything at all just a few drops of bath oil at most. Eco powders or laundry soaps and no fabric softener. What all have you tried?
Petra: My daughter is 5 years old now. We are using more natural shower gels in the bath and shower at the moment. Other than that she just uses shampoo and sunscreen in the summer. I bought a bar of soap for hand washing. I haven’t used fabric softener for a long time. It’s not only bad for the skin or the clothes, but also for the dryer.
Does the food your daughter eats affect it as well?
Petra: I didn’t notice anything like that. However, like I said, my sister’s little boy had eczema too. The doctor recommended a gluten-free diet for him. They didn’t end up practicing it. The nurse noticed that chocolate or more sugar made it worse. No doctor who dealt with eczema asked about the composition of the diet, and no one made any recommendations about what we could change or what might provoke it.
You need to take an interest, seek information yourself. You know what it’s like to search online though. You find so much information and, in the end, you don’t even know where the truth is? Citruses, dairy, gluten, sugar… how long to limit it for to see a difference?
Now as you mention the chocolate, I also have a friend and his son has the same problem. However, he can’t seem to deny himself chocolate and chocolate products. Respectively, parental pressure is not always worth it unfortunately. How does the sister deal with it?
Petra: It’s difficult. At the worst case they restricted chocolate, he was about 3 years old. Although it didn’t last long. Now (he is 5 years old) he eats sweets.
Does anyone else in the family suffer from it?
Petra: Not in our family. By my sister they do, her son’s uncle has atopic eczema even in adulthood.
What’s the situation with your daughter like now?
Petra: It’s been better this year, the eczema has even disappeared by the sea. Unfortunately, when we came back, a few pimples appeared in her elbow socket, which she scratched. The doctor has recommended a new cream – Fucidin H. After the worst of the condition has subsided, we are supposed to apply Lipobase cream. We’ll see.
The main ingredients are petroleum derivatives (Paraffin, petrolatum….) these are not the active ingredients of drugs. For example, have you tried 100% oil or a mix of oils like myrrh, apricot, frankincense, hemp or calendula oil? Everything suits everyone differently, have you tried anything? (Note: if you are applying pure oil, add a little warm water, then smaller amount will be enough, and it will absorb better).
Petra: I tried different oils when she had dry patches of skin as a child. It didn’t have any effect on easing the eczema though.
Can you please point out to parents, what can they try?
Petra: I would recommend starting with the basics. I think it’s a good idea to start with the washing. The baby spends all day in the clothes and if they are washed inappropriately it can show. Changing products or limiting them is definitely a good idea too.
Thank you very much. Anything else you want to add?
Petra: I thank you, and I guess I would just like to add: let everyone find their own way. Not all children are the same and something different can help everyone. Changing laundry detergents may be enough for some, changing their food may be enough for others, and some may not even be able to avoid using corticosteroid cream for a short period of time. So don’t worry about it, and when the worst of the symptoms pass, focus on the basics?