Ya know, social media can get a bad name and there are people out there that go out of their way to deceive or just be plain nasty, but for every one of those people, there are 10 looking to help. I found this out first hand recently when I posted a few stories on my Instagram asking for help with Oscar’s eczema.
a medical condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed with blisters which cause itching and bleeding.
Oscar has suffered with his skin to varying degrees since he was quite small, maybe about six months. There are weeks of improvement followed by weeks of flare ups with no rhyme, reason or obvious triggers. We’d been to the doctors numerous times and left with so many creams & bath treatments, and we’d invested in other lotions and potions recommended by friends and family with varying levels of success. We’d try anything.
However, upon returning from Italy we noticed the eczema on Oscar’s legs in particular was getting worse and after him waking up in the morning with blood on his PJ’s from scratching, we were both at our wits end with it. SO I took to Instagram – what was there to lose?
The response I had was amazing, and within an hour I’d had so many messages offering advice and some different things to try as well as endless reassurance that it would get better. I was overwhelmed and maybe even a little emotional.
Disclaimer: I know that Oscar’s eczema isn’t the worst case, in comparison to a lot of poor little kids, his is mild, but, it was enough to be causing him discomfort and no one wants that for their child. Nor is it very nice when people, often complete strangers, point it out to you *eye roll*.
Anyway, I have put together a list of ALL the messages I have receieved and I want to share it, because there’s bound to be more people out there in the same situation and worrying the same as I have. A lot of the products we had tried before and they had either made little to no difference or they’d worked for a while and then stopped working. However, from speaking to people I’ve come to realise that everyone’s eczema is SO different so what hasn’t worked for Oscar might work for you or your little one – so let’s not rule anything out.
So here goes, I’m going to start with products, I have not tried all of these, but I have tried where possible to add a link to where to find them (I am not affiliated with any of these companies of course – they are just suggestions from the lovely people that got in touch!) –
- Child’s Farm – this is one that, no joke, I’ve had about 10 people message me again about today because it’s been featured on Lad Bible and in papers as a ‘miracle cure’. We have been using it recently in conjunction with a new regime prescribed by Edinburgh Sick Kids hospital (mentioned further on) and so far so good, however, it may be the other products making the difference, it’s hard to tell, but for £3.99 it’s worth a shot, no?
- Doublebase GEL – We’d had Doublebase cream from the doctor, but hadn’t heard of this. It’s apparently a lot more soothing and really helps when layered on.
- Aveeno – this one was suggested a LOT. It was one of the first creams that we had tried early on, but it had very little effect on Oscar. However, other people have had a lot of success with it and swear by it. It’s definitely something we’d try again as I use it myself and love it!
- Nettle soap – my mum got us this to try from a farmers market and I’d say it made a difference. I’ve heard the shampoo and conditioner is great for adults too…
- Dermatique Recuperating Cream – this one was recommended by a family friend who used it for years on her sons eczema prone skin and my mother-in-law purchased it at £30 a tub (lasted around a fortnight) – sorry to say it made no difference, but like I say, it helped someone else. We were at the stage that if this helped we would have bought it every two weeks, but alas…
- LUSH Dream Cream – this was another that came highly recommended by a fair few instagrammers and it was one we had tried and it had worked! We used this for a good few months over Christmas and it definitely made an improvement, however, on a bad flare up, it wouldn’t cut it. I’d buy it again though!
- The Body Shop Hemp Cream – came recommended by a mama that had suffered with eczema herself in pregnancy and found this to be a huge help!
- Mama Nature of London Tiny Troubles Intensive Healing Salve – this is another pricier one, but has amazing reviews. In the event of Oscar’s skin relapsing a bit, I think this might be my next port of call for some heavy duty rescue.
- Aaglo Seaweed Powder – this is something I’m keen to give a try, apparently it has quite a ‘unique’ smell, but I’ve heard great things. Recommended by a lovely colleague and you just add it to the bath water.
- Udder Cream – Literally for use on cows there’s also a ‘human version’ which, surprise surprise, is more expensive and actually not that different to the OG. Great first hand recommendation on this one.
- Arran Aromatics Baby Lotion – couldn’t find this online, but if you’re ever in Arran…
- Kokoso – well, if you’re on instagram and have eyes then you’ll be familiar with this. Maybe not great for a flare up, but good for moisturising when under control. If in doubt, coconut oil!
- Skin Salvation – another one I’ve not tried, yet.
- Aloe Gel – This stuff is great when you’re burnt so I can imagine it being very soothing! This worked wonders for a little boy where aveeno had failed.
- Good old porridge oats tied in a muslin in the bath – we did this for months and it definitely kept his skin soft and moisturised. Oats are known to be great for eczema so it’s no real surprise, but it’s also very cost effective!
- Humidifier – we are quite lucky that Oscar doesn’t tend to suffer with his eczema on his face, however, over the winter we noticed it got a bit worse, probably just due to the cold weather and having the heating on. We bought this humidifier for his bedroom and I can honestly say it makes a difference to the dry skin. It’s also great for when he gets a tickly cough. A full tank of water in it lasts well over and above a full 13 hour sleep.
- Scratchsleeves – as Oscar’s issue is mostly on his legs and he sleeps in a sleeping bag we’ve not really needed these, however, I’ve heard they’re great if your little one is scratching their wee arms in the night.
In addition to all these wonderful product suggestions, the same thing cropped up time and time again – diet. The big offender seemed to be dairy. Of everyone I spoke with probably half sited dairy as being an issue either with their skin of with their baby’s eczema. We have also found triggers ourselves, such as tomato, upon eating spaghetti for example we find Oscar’s face will become very red, so we’ve tried to eliminate them, fairly successfully. As far as dairy goes, I am reluctant. I’m very aware that when it comes to making a change like this you have to be fully committed, and right now, we’re not. You have to go all in, remove it completely and find replacements and substitutes and it can take many weeks to see an improvement – then after all that you can find no change and that in fact dairy isn’t a trigger. The eczema diet is worth looking into though, and it’s very interesting. Turns out foods that help include banana, papaya, tatties (that’s potato to non Scots), beetroot, brussel sprouts (good luck getting an 18 month old to eat them…), oats, seeds and oranges (due to the VitC) – so even if you’re like me and feel wary about elimination, maybe you could add some bits instead?!
Upon speaking with doctors at Sick Kids we were advised to wait and see if other methods got it under control first. We actually ended up at Sick Kids due to a completely unrelated incident – Oscar had fallen and banged his head a corker at swimming and we were advised to get him checked out. He was fine, however, while there we asked about his eczema – this was just 2 days after my online plea and he was still looking very sore and raw. We were prescribed a new routine that we hadn’t had from the doctors and it consisted of a Dermol 500 Lotion which we use on a sponge in the bath instead of soap, a Dermol 600 Emollient for the bath that is antibacterial, a medium strength steroid (eumovate) and good old Zerobase (that admittedly we’ve been prescribed around 400 times previously). This combination has made a huge difference though, Oscar often had an issue with his eczema getting infected so the antimicrobial emollient has been a huge help and although I’m not mad on the idea of using a steroid, within 3 days his legs were almost completely clear and now we are just using a combination of the Child’s Farm and Zerobase. I know we’re not out of the woods as we’ve been here before and then out of nowhere it’s flared back up and creams have become useless but I do feel a lot more positive.
I feel positive due to all the amazing people that took time out of their Friday night to mail me their advice, wisdom and support. The countless people that reassured me that they’d been there but their little ones had grown out of it and it was all temporary. I am so grateful for every single message, so if you’re reading this – THANK YOU!
And if you’re reading this while struggling with your own eczema issue, whether it’s you or the little person in your life, I hope you’re ok, and there will be something out there to help, just persevere (even if it means begging your GP on the reg. However I wouldn’t recommend waiting for your kid to get a concussion and having to go to the hospital…)
Either way, I’d love to hear about your experience with eczema in the comments!