Following on from my own story for National Eczema Week, I wanted to share my babies eczema story too because it’s something we’ve lived with since he was four months old. We’ve been on a long journey but think we finally have it under control by removing milk from his diet. This has been our story…
My Babies Eczema Story:
My babies eczema started on his cheeks when he was around 4 months old, with a rash gradually developing all over his body (see first image). We had no idea what caused the rash but when we spoke to the Health Visitor she said it sometimes happened in young babies and that it would gradually fade (which it did.)
However it never disappeared completely and unfortunately he’s had really sensitive skin ever since, especially on his chest and in the creases of his arms and legs. His chest has always been the worst area, I think possibly because his eczema was irritated by his teething dribble and in turn it’s really weakened his skin barrier. He used to keep himself awake all night scratching and the sound still haunts my ears 😢
When we visited the Dr we were prescribed a steroid cream, but I was reluctant to use it until I understood the root cause of the problem (at that time his eczema was constant and so because of my own experience I didn’t want the steroid cream to be masking an underlying issue. I also didn’t want to use it all over too much of his body… I did however use it on his chest and cheeks when his rash got really bad because I didn’t want it to become infected.
For the next 12 months we managed to limit our use of the steroid cream, keeping his flare ups under control using Tamanu Cream most evenings and the steroid cream only when we absolutely had too. We found that the Tamanu cream kept his skin nourished and repaired any cellular damage caused by the eczema meaning we could really space out when we had to use the steroid cream. Sometimes if could be as little as once a month. Not having to rely on the steroid cream stopped me panicking about TSW when he was older which was good. However I still didn’t know the root cause of his eczema.
I noticed his skin got particularly bad at Christmas time, which I initially put down to him having later nights and eating sugar… (both big eczema triggers) however when his skin improved and then got worse again at Easter… I had a lightbulb moment and it dawned on me that it must be chocolate … (and therefore dairy) that he was allergic to and so we’ve had him on a dairy free diet ever since! He’s been soo good about it. When the other kids have ice cream and chocolate, he knows he can’t have it and will say thinks like ‘ice cream hurts my skin Mammy’ 😢💔. I think he’s suffered with itchy skin for so long he’s happy to forgo ice cream so he can finally stop scratching!
His skin is soooo much better now! Being dairy free is much easier to control than when we had Ettie because there are lots of vegan alternatives (inlciding vegan ice cream!) but we do still get caught out and his eczema will return briefly when we do. Now I only have to use the Tamanu Cream for a days when it does and I find the rash heals up just as quickly as it came. There’s no doubt his skin barrier is still very weak in this area, so I’m using the Tamanu Cream to strengthen it and replace the waxy lipids that have been lost causing his skin to dry out. You can follow his progress on my Instagram account @skincarewithemma_x
For those not in the know, Tamanu Cream is an organic, natural cream by Tropic Skincare specifically designed to soothe skin and ease the effects of dryness, Its key ingredient is the Tamanu nut which is know as ‘green gold’ by the French Polynesians due to its healing properties. Its works on everything from calming dryness to improving the appearance of scars.
We use the Balm and the Cream for everything in our house and if you aren’t sure which product is going to be the best for you, please get in touch and i’ll be able to advise. We always joke that there isn’t anything a bit of Tamanu cant fix.
In our experience, my babies eczema has been triggered by an underlying allergy. Unfortunately discovering what that allergy is can often feels like looking for a needle in a haystack 😩 Having piriton handy is useful, I sometimes give Dougie this if he has a particularly bad reaction and I take it as soon as I feel the skin under my eyes begin to tingle.
This is only our experience and I’m sharing in case it resonates with someone! If you can’t find a solution please visit your doctor or a dermatologist to get some relief as eczema causes lack of sleep which in turn aggravates eczema! It’s a viscous circle.
My view on topical steroid creams might seem negative, but it’s not, I think they have their place and thank heavens we have them to relieve discomfort. However I think the advice on when and how often to use them needs to be clearer. They are a short term solution because they can mask underlying issues and if used for too long they can actually stop working.
Topical Steroid Withdrawal is a whole conversation for another day but if you or your child have eczema, then I think it’s something to be aware of 🤍
Things you can do to help your children with flare ups
- Take a Pre and ProBiotic supplement (Optibac have a really good one that you can sprinkle in a water bottle)
- encourage them to drink lots of water
- Make sure they get lots of sleep
- Try to stop them scratching, this will damage the skin barrier even more
- Stop using perfumed products on them
- Use products with only gentle, hydrating ingredients
- Try to find the underlying cause – this is often a case of a process of elimination. Perhaps book an allergy test. If you cant get one on the NHS, there are many private allergy specialists which may be local to you