Friday, May 15, 2009

Itchy and Scratchy

My son has had eczema since he was a few months old. It started out as a couple of small dry patches on his back and the backs of his armpits that I noticed when bathing him. He didn't seem bothered by them, but when they cleared up two patches appeared on his chest. As he was older by this time and he could reach them, he scratched, which meant they took much longer to heal. When one patch cleared up, another appeared. He had a patch on his cheek, one on each of his lower legs and most recently has begun scratching the insides of his elbows, his neck and the corners of his mouth.

Our pediatrician recommends Dove moisturising soap from birth, so this is what Little A used until he was one. Since then, we've also tried a wonderfully gentle virgin coconut oil-based natural bar soap and three types baby body wash, one of which smelt lovely but dried his skin out terribly. Because of the nature of eczema though, post-bath moisturiser is a necessity.

When I showed our pediatrician the dry patches, she just said to keep them moisturised but didn't specify which cream to use. We tried a cream my sister gave me that her daughters had used, and when that ran out, switched to a colloidal oatmeal-based lotion for extra-dry skin. My mum gave me some hydrocortisone cream, but I was hesitant to use that as the label did not recommend the use of steroid creams of children below two. While the lotions do keep his skin from getting too dry, the eczema patches still need something stronger.

I tried an organic honey and olive oil-based salve that works wonderfully on cuts and scratches, but not so well in clearing up eczema, though it does seem to soothe the itching and stop the dry patches from getting any worse. This has found a permanent place on my nightstand and goes with us everywhere we travel as the pot is so tiny, and the salve is antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial and seems to promote quick healing for most skin ailments.

Most recently, based on a catalogue filled with testimonials extolling the efficacy of this product, I purchased a pot of what seems to be the real deal when it comes to battling infant eczema. Since we've started using this cream, (which is also antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral, plus hypoallergenic and fragrance free) Little A's dry patches have not gotten any worse, but haven't magically disappeared either. 

As far as the battle against the itchies goes, we've yet to find the Holy Grail of bath and body products that will make the eczema go away forever. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that, as with my nephews and nieces' conditions, it disappears by itself by the time Little A is 3 or 4 years old. Eczema, begone!

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