Sunday, May 15, 2011

Treating Infant Eczema

Finally, my post about treating Astroboy's eczema. After a few weeks of trial and some repeated flair-ups, I think I've finally got it down.

So background again, but in very short format. Astroboy has had eczema since 2 months. Silly mama didn't know it was that bad and got it infected. By month 7, it was so bad, it had spread from 1 check to both cheeks, both lower legs, and started on the body. I went to see allergist James Nickelsen, read some books, and saw Vivia Kushner. Tried a few things.

What finally worked
A combination of an eczema salve from Momma Jen's blog, CeraVe, and antibiotics cream.

The eczema salve is made from one quarter size Shea Radiance Shea Butter, and one capsule Evening Primrose oil. It needs some warmth for the butter to become creamy. What I ended up doing was measuring out a few quarter sizes, and mixed the several capsules in (had to cut it open) and then put it in a glass container. I would use the baby's body to warm up the cream and rub it on. It really only takes a very tiny bit for each area. I was having trouble mixing and applying on the spot because a quarter size was kind of too much for a baby and I would get too lazy to do it.

The first week, I tried just the eczema salve but things got bad again and I thought it was not buttery enough. So I went back to CeraVe for a few days. But now I think it's actually because it's infected.

Because of our overseas trip and humidity, the only persistent spot are the cheeks. So if it's just read, I apply the shea butter after a bath. Then after every nap or before every nap, I re-apply the butter or CeraVe. I also re-apply whenever the skin gets "chappy". When the skin is bumpy, it means it's gotten infected again, so I apply the antibiotics cream when I know he won't eat it or smear it (so not before nap time because he starts rubbing his face).

What I've noticed is that the shea butter needs to be applied only once a day because it's so oily. It keeps the skin moisturized. AND the primrose oil supposedly has anti-fungal properties? Anyways, his skin usually looks less inflamed over night. The CeraVe works as well. But I see chappy skin more often and so I'd have to reapply 2-3 times aday.

Also, I have to be very diligent about the anti-biotics cream. Otherwise, once the skin is infected the shea butter doesn't work as well and that's when I have to go back to CeraVe. BUT, if the infection is kept under control, the shea butter seems to work on the "root causes" more. By that I mean it makes is red splotchy area shrink in size. And it's also made his skin softer. His legs used to look like the texture of alligator or rhino skin. And now it's gone. The CeraVe moisturizes, but the problem doesn't really go away.

And I also have to be diligent about cutting nails. It's really hard because sometimes it doesn't look like there is nail to cut. But when I see scratches or raised skin, I know it's because he scratched and an infection is starting.

Now that I've read Boys Adrift, I'm more concerned with phthalates (CeraVe doesn't have it, but has parabens which have the same effect), so I'm going to see if the shea butter will do the trick and toss the CeraVe. But until I can be sure that the shea butter will do the trick, I can't toss it yet. Parabens are bed but right now his eczema is worse evil I have to deal with.

The other thing I did was to be diary, gluten, egg-free. I think it helped but the boy has some slow food allergy because his eczema is still there w/o the cream....

What didn't work
  • antibiotics
  • Still mad at my pedi for making me take that
  • Cetaphil
  • Didn't work as well as CeraVe
  • Zinc creams
  • Read somewhere that it could be zinc or vitamin-c deficiency so I thought I'd try that. It didn't work
  • Other brand "natural" eczema cream and oil
  • It didn't really work. I now realize that it's because it's not creamy enough. Eczema is about keeping the skin moisturized. Also the infection got in the way of healing. But it didn't really work on the parts that were infected either.

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