Witnessing a baby scratching frantically at already red and raw skin is awful.
As a parent eczema makes you feel completely powerless, like you’re doing something wrong.
I’ve been so frustrated these last eight months as the bottles of cream on the shelf of the nursery have steadily increased but none have made an impact.
There are so so many creams on market. When I posted about my daughter’s problem on Instagram I was met with multiple suggestions of products I hadn’t even heard of!
My GP told me it’s a matter of trial and error. It certainly isn’t bad eczema but she is frequently scratching herself so hard she’s breaking the skin. This can’t continue.
I have written before about my struggles to treat my baby’s eczema. I found Dermalex applied twice a day made it marginally better but it’s never cleared.
This week we have finally had a bit of success. I finally got to see a consultant dermatologist at the children’s clinic of our local hospital.
She was brilliant. Sympathetic, to the point and knew her stuff. GPs and nurses with eczema training are ok, but having had loads of appointments to try and crack this problem, the consultant really was the best.
She went through all the things we have tried, which I will summarise:
- Moisturising creams including Epaderm, Diprobase and Cetraben to name just a few.
- Epaderm ointment, which is like Vaseline, seriously greasy stuff.
- Using Epaderm ointment in the bath as an emollient.
- Coconut oil.
- Hydrocortisone cream.
- A combined hydrocortisone and antibiotic cream.
- Oral antibiotics.
- Cutting out dairy from my diet for three weeks.
After checking my baby’s eczema, which currently appears on top of her feet, behind her knees, in the creases of her wrists and elbows, under her arms and around her neck, the doctor said my baby would be likely to grow out of this.
She also, reassuringly, said she could tell my baby was being moisturised enough by me as the rest of her skin looked great.
However we are being referred for allergy testing. She mentioned they may suggest my daughter starts eating peanut butter regularly, a topic I posted on earlier this week.
In the meantime we have been prescribed a stronger hydrocortisone cream called Clobavate 0.05% w/w Ointment. It contains clobetasone butyrate.
I don’t know what those long words mean but I’ve been using it on her eczema for less than 24 hours and the redness and dryness is 90 per cent vanished everywhere.
She’s never been this eczema-free before! I want to emphasise that this is a prescription medication and should only be used with guidance from a doctor, I’m just letting you know what has worked for me. Every case is different.
We’ve been given the following advice as a plan of action while we wait for allergy testing.
I had read bathing too frequently was bad for the skin and would dry it out more. Also I don’t see the point in bathing a baby that doesn’t play in the mud every single day! I don’t even bathe my toddler every day, sometimes we just wash her hands and face.
The consultant told me actually daily bathing was recommended for eczema, as long as you use the right methods to lock all the moisture in to the skin.
We are to keep using the Epaderm ointment instead of any bubble baths or any other bath product.
I get some really hot tap water in a bowl, scoop a huge handful of the ointment into the water, then give it a good stir to melt the ointment. I then add this to the bath.
Another option, which works a treat, is to get some oats and put them in the toe of a pair of old tights. Tie a good knot in it and then add this to the bath water, giving it a good squeeze. It makes the water very creamy and soft. The doctor also said this was a good option for the bath.
When it comes to washing her skin, I get another dollop of Epaderm and rub it hard between my hands which makes it go a bit foamy. I then rub this into her skin, paying particular attention to the dry bits.
If it gathers in clumps I don’t bother rinsing it off, it will soak in.
After the bath
I’m always careful lifting her out of the bath as with all these products in her she is seriously slippery.
I pat her down with a soft towel and then cover her with loads and loads of Epaderm cream, and I do mean loads.
It’s harder to do now she’s grabbing at everything and sticking her hands in her mouth but I try to do it really quickly and keep her hands away from it. Easier said than done some days! Worth having a tissue to hand just in case.
I’m putting the Clobavate on her eczema twice a day for seven days. After that it’s only to be used if she has a bad flare up.
If she has more minor flare-ups I can use hydrocortisone cream to help ease those.
Sunshine is apparently really good for eczema so I’m trying to get her out in the fresh air every day as much as possible.
I like to give her about five minutes of suncream free time or out of the shade. Suncream does really irritate the eczema but I don’t really see a way around this as sunburn is much worse.
I use non-bio washing liquid and a sensitive skin fabric conditioner.
I’m hoping that this new cream is the answer! I will update on how the daily bathing works out next week.
Have you had trouble treating eczema? What worked for you in the end?
There are some fab tips on treating eczema from my friend Hayley at Hayley’s Little Things.
I am not a doctor and this medical advice was given for my baby. It may not be suitable for all. Please always consult your doctor or health visitor.