What is eczema anyway? Basically it is irritated, inflamed skin. Causes can vary from irritants to food allergies to simple heredity. My family is cursed with it and after 7 years of struggle, I’m ready to share what I’ve learned.
Micah’s eczema story
My sweet baby was 5 months old when the redness started. It came on quickly and with a vengeance, covering his entire chubby little body within a couple of days. I was baffled and alarmed. Our pediatrician began a topical treatment which did nothing. As we tried various strengths of creams and I spent hours worrying about his face scaring, it grew worse. Patches became raw and infected and antibiotics were next on the list of treatments.
Finally, our pediatrician sent us to a dermatologist who took one look at Micah and said, “which side of the family did the eczema come from?” I blamed my dad (sorry dad, but its true!). The dermatologist’s next words caused me to cry the second I reached the safety of the car. “Don’t worry, cases like this usually clear up by the time they are 14”.
14!?!? My baby is going to look like this until he’s 14?!
Fortunately, we managed to get the correct combination and strengths of topical and oral meds and the eczema did clear up. However, it didn’t stay away and returns every fall.
Micah, by far had the worst break out, but all of us struggle with ezcema in one degree or another. Joshua’s gets quite bad in the fall as well and has to be managed like his brother.
Prevention is key
Seek out if you are reacting to an irritant. This can be laundry detergent, soap, fabric softner etc. We only use Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap, Tide free laundry detergent and dye and perfume free dryer sheets. Ya, we don’t have that lovely clean smell here.
Food allergies, especially eggs, dairy, and gluten will show itself with eczema. We did try removing allergens from Micah’s diet and sometimes it appeared that we had hit on the right problem and then we were wrong. Diet changes are tricky and didn’t seem to help us. It could be that I didn’t go at it 100% so don’t rule it out.
What works the best for us is to begin our moisturizing treatment BEFORE the fall breakout. This means moisturize after EVERY shower. Lotions can aggravate eczema and I have found that natural oils work the best.
I make our own lotion with coconut oil, olive oil, and bees wax which works wonderfully for us. I will post the recipe at the end.
The cold makes eczema worse
Whenever the kids are playing outside for any length of time or if the wind is bad, they will be red by the end of the day. Previously, I’d lotion them up as soon as they came into the house, but found it works best to grease them up BEFORE going out. This includes hands-even if they are in gloves because, well, gloves fall off!
Stay covered! My eczema rears its ugliness in the winter months on my legs. Last year I bought a full length coat-which I LOVE and it went a long ways in preventing my red chapped skin.
Heat can make eczema worse too
Goodness! I’m starting to sound like you have to abide by a crazy number of dos and don’ts, but this is all simple stuff.
NO long, hot showers! A quick in and out is all that is allowed in the winter, I know, steaming up the bathroom feels nice and relaxing, but you will pay for it later.
Soak up the rays
As soon as the weather is warm enough in the spring, expose those red patches to the sun. When Micah was a baby, I stripped him down to his diaper and set him in front of a sunny window. I don’t think my pediatrician believed me when I told him that it helped or perhaps he was worried about sun exposure. In any case, 20 minutes of warm sunshine can make a big difference.
I’ve heard of people tanning through the winter months to help with their eczema. I’ve never tried that myself and I have questions about the safety of tanning beds, but hey, as an adult it might be worth a try.
I hope this helps! Does anyone have any other helpful tips for controling eczema?
Here is the recipe for the lotion that I make. It is great for sunburn and diaper rash also! https://www.deilataylor.com/homemade-beeswax-body-butter/