Eczema Update

My twelve year old son has had an extreme eczema flareup over the past year in which we’ve seen an allergist and dermatologist, in addition to his regular pediatrician. I have been trying everything that I could get my hands on to get it under control. They have all had different ideas on how to treat it with the treatment of choice being steroids. The dermatologist prescribed a couple of different lotions: one for his body, one for his face and neck. We would go in for a visit once a month, each time with hopes that the next prescription would be the magic one that would get it under control. It only seemed to get worse instead of better. Whatever lotions he prescribed were causing horrible flaking. It looked like he had a bad sunburn all over his body.

On the last visit, the dermatologist decided to change his diagnosis to seborrheic dermatitis on his face. He prescribed an anti-fungal cream, advised me to put him in light therapy three times a week (bad part: increased chance of skin cancer) or to get him started on a six month round of immune suppressing drugs (bad part: way increased chance of cancer). Opting out of these medical options that would increase my child’s risk of cancer, I set off on a quest to find something not as harmful to help him. Strange how these drugs that are supposed to help can only cause such problems.

And so I Googled. I found message boards where people left all kinds of advice for dealing with and treating eczema. Simple things that I hadn’t thought of before like sleeping with gloves on so that the “night scratching” doesn’t harm his skin. Or when it gets really itchy, get a cold washcloth and place that on the skin instead of scratching. Cool showers were recommended as well.

I also found some homemade recipes for healing eczema: turmeric, honey and olive oil, coconut oil. What’s worked and what hasn’t been a hit? A few readers and friends have asked about what we’ve been doing to clear it up, so I thought I would lay it out for anyone who struggles with these skin conditions. Here are a few of the things that have worked and one that has not.

Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil- I bought a large container at Sprouts for about $10. It’s specifically made for use on the body– you can find it in the same aisle as the lotions. It’s pure, unrefined and helped clear up a large part of the outbreak. It really helped to keep his skin moist, as he would rub it in three to four times a day. Downside: it’s oily. I have had to do lots of washing of the bed sheets and blankets over the past couple of months. It also smells like coconuts so he had a friend who told him to stop using it cause it makes him “smell funky.” Oh well, we think the benefits far outweigh the negatives!
AdvertisementSkin MD- Knowing that my son was suffering from eczema, Skin MD sent us a sample bottle to try out. It’s a natural shielding lotion that helps to prevent dry skin. The first two ingredients are water and aloe vera. The other things are all foreign words to me. But I imagine the aloe in it really does make his skin feel less itchy as he claims. He uses this lotion on his face after his shower. It comes in a small bottle but advises to only use a small amount. The 4 oz. bottle is $18 but will last for 1-2 months. You can order it online.  Downside: It burns his skin a minute or so when he first puts it on.

Lotions with Zinc Oxide- You know, like the stuff you use on diaper rash. Shockingly, this has worked the best! We had some left over Penaten Cream from a trip that we took in Germany when my daughter was a baby. This stuff is strong. It’s pasty and makes his skin turn really white when he uses it. But he would slather it on and smooth skin would surface on the other side! It was amazing. I’ve since stocked up on diaper rash ointments for him. I’ve even found some at the Dollar Tree for $1! Impressive since those lotions can be pricey. Are you wondering what his reaction was when he found out that he was using diaper ointment? He didn’t care. He just wants normal skin again. Poor boy.

And the most shocking of all: Chlorine! A friend of mine told me that she had a flareup as a kid and was told to swim because the chlorine helps. We tried this a couple of weeks ago when he had been outside skateboarding all day. His skin was starting to get all red and irritated. He jumped in the pool for ten minutes and it was cleared up almost completely! Now we make him go to the pool at least three times a week.

One product that he claimed did not help at all is All Terrain Kids Eczema Cream. I really had high hopes for this one that I bought at Sprouts. It’s specifically made for kids with eczema. Totally thought it would help but all I heard were complaints when he used it.

Have you found any natural remedies to help skin problems? Please share!

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded LiveMom.com out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

11 Comments on Eczema Update

  1. I don’t have personal experience w/ eczema (poor baby), but the only thing that ever helps my 2.5 yr old’s dry skin was Skin Free products (http://www.skinfree.net/). I use them on myself as well and its the only thing we use on him. I’ve heard of people with worse skin conditions having success with them, but can’t vouch for it myself. I do love their products though and they do blog reviews, so you may be able to score some for free. Best of luck!

  2. Missy, I hope some of those things help with your husband’s skin!

    Simone, I will definitely try out the Skin Free products. Scoring some for free is always good since I seem to spend so much money on his lotions every week!

  3. Evening primrose oil, taken internally and applied externally, really seemed to help my recent breakout. I don’t know if there’s a downside for boys, though, since it’s also what I used to soften my cervix before birth, per the midwife! I hear a lot of good stuff about CeraVe lotion, but haven’t tried it myself … I’m glad to hear he’s had some improvement lately. It’s miserable.

  4. Not really a treatment suggestion, but my newborn son recently had some respitory issues, and after an examination and xray, a doctor at the urgent care clinic said he may have asthmatic tendencies (whatever that may mean). One of the factors causing him to make this diagnosis was the sudden onset of an eczema type rash on his chest and face. I did not know there was such a link with asthma and eczema. I am probably late to the party and this is a known factor, but I had not heard of this link before, and in looking into it more, I found a great deal of info about it. The doctor said it is not unusual for flare ups in kids with eczema to be linked to asthma related issues and that a flare up with one can trigger the other. My boy is fine now, and his breathing has improved greatly. The rash has completely disappeared. I am curious to see if this happens again.

  5. This is such an inspiring read for moms like me who have children with eczema! Eczema in babies or children is no laughing matter for parents considering how much it puts our little ones into. I’ll definitely give these products a try whenever my little boy has another eczema outbreak although he hasn’t had one for months already :)

  6. Sandra, the same thing would happen to R when he would have a severe asthma attack– the eczema usually would follow. But, strange thing for him is that he’s outgrowing asthma and now struggling with eczema. Can’t figure that one out! Poor little boy! Hope he’s feeling better now.

    I should have mentioned in there that we’ve also tried to eliminate as much dairy as possible. He drinks almond milk now. I think that’s helped out a lot to keep it under control.

  7. I had eczema my whole life and my oldest daughter has battled it as well. It wasn’t until I turned 40 that I linked it to food allergies. I didn’t have any other symptoms until then. Sure enough I am gluten intolerant and my daughter has an issue with corn. Neither of us have had eczema since we changed our diet.

  8. Awww, poor thing. Sorry to hear that. Our son had severe eczema too which seemed to be caused by all kinds of foods. I wanted to share that once we heard about probiotics helping so many people with this, we tried it. He has been taking Belly Boost for kids and not only loves the taste (it’s a chewable) but his skin cleared up so much within just a few weeks. We were then able to give him many more foods too! We also use olive oil in the tub – works great!

  9. I will have to try the Belly Boost probiotics! He’s only got a few spots left now so maybe that will do the trick. Thanks for the recommendation.

  10. Elaina, did you guys get tested for food allergies? We have had my son tested for all other allergies other than food. I’m wondering if that will help. The allergist told us that many times those tests for food allergies aren’t very accurate….

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