Ava had terrible eczema when she was little, and spent much of her first six months covered in cream, with her hands in little mittens. We couldn’t avoid getting it in her hair, so she always looked like she was using wet-look gel.
It took an awful lot of trial and error and many tears (on my part that I couldn’t help her) before we found solutions. I’m certainly not an eczema expert, but I am (now) an expert on Ava’s eczema.
If your little one is suffering with their skin, hopefully some of these ideas may work for you too. Even they don’t, it might reassure you that there is hope and you may crack it one day.
My brother (another red head) had the worst eczema when we was little, and is still plagued by it now. He used to be allergic to milk, so he used to have Soya milk on his Weetabix. In those days, you couldn’t get pre-mixed milk, so my mum had to mix it up like formula. One day, probably when she was desperately trying to get me and my sister to school, she had enough. She chucked a few scoops of powder onto his cereal, and pouring hot water over it. It looked disgusting but Pete still gobbled it all up. Well done to mum for finding a much-needed shortcut!
Anyway, I had been forced to give up breastfeeding after a very bad bout of mastitis landed me in hospital. The doctor prescribed Nutramigen powder for us to try instead , in case she had a milk allergy. It smelled pretty bad. I don’t know how we managed to get her to drink it. But it made no difference, so we went back to normal formula and tried bath additives and creams.
Bath Additives to Battle Eczema
We started by using Oilatum in her bath. Then we got some great advice:
Tie a handful of oats in a quarter of a muslin cloth. Hold it under the tap when running the bath. Keep squeezing it, to get all the oaty-goodness out. We tied up the muslin with a hairband (with no metal fastening), and used it to wash her, instead of a washcloth.
It works brilliantly, and was no where near as greasy. We still do that if she ever gets another bout of eczema. If you try this, do a little test on a small area of their skin, in case your child has a reaction.
Shampoo That Won’t Make Eczema Worse
Like many new babies, Ava also had cradle cap, so I (with some trepidation due to her sensitive skin) used Dentinox shampoo. It worked well, and didn’t seem to make her skin any worse. It also smells of roses. We used that for about three years, and also used it on Thea. Then I thought I’d try a new brand that I spotted in Boots. It seemed like the Childs Farm products were more natural, and had fewer ingredients. The lack of an apostrophe in the name does upset me though! Fortunately, they work brilliantly, and we’ve had no flair ups since we started using the shampoo. Now Ava’s hair is so long, we need to use conditioner to give us a fighting chance of dragging a comb through it! The Childs Farm one also works well, and now we’re on to the bubble bath as well.
Creams to Sooth The Effects of Eczema
We tried an endless supply of emollients and prescribed steroid cream, with no luck. We finally hit on a particularly greasy cream called Epaderm which we used for quite a few months. But then, spurred on by the success with the oats, and at the suggestion of a fellow eczema mummy, I tried Aveeno. It’s brilliant, and so much lighter than the greasy creams we’d been using before.
Sun Creams That Don’t Cause Eczema Flare Ups
The one good thing about eczema is that having sun cream put on has never bothered Ava – she’s so used to being slathered in lotion! We haven’t hit on the perfect sun cream yet, but Nivea Sun Kids Pure and Sensitive Spray SPF50 is the best one we’ve tried.
If you’re having problems with eczema, take a look at this NHS page and talk to your Health Visitor or Doctor. We were referred to the dermatologist and they were very helpful. Many different creams can be prescribed, so start with these, as buying all these lotions can get expensive! In our experience, it’s a case of trying different things until you hit on something that works. Oh, and a note on baby wipes, we only use Huggies Pure wipes as they are fragrance-free and don’t irritate sensitive skin, unlike some other brands. We get them from Asda though, as they are normally cheapest there. Good luck and if you have any other tips, please let me know!