There is nothing more heartbreaking as parents than seeing your child uncomfortable because of a problem you can’t figure out how to solve. Imagine your child itching all of the time, tearing away at their skin and feeling like you’ve tried everything, yet nothing works.
That was the beginning of our journey with baby eczema. We had tried all the things, but, as I’ll share in this post, there was only one thing that actually worked to bring us peace of mind, itch relief, and helped our daughter’s skin to clear up completely. (Hint: It wasn’t to just moisturize.)
What is eczema?
Eczema is a medical condition that causes patches of the skin to be dry, inflamed, and itching or bleeding. Sometimes it’s caused by a reaction to an irritant. In most cases, there is no external cause although it is more common in people who have a family history of the condition.
Our baby’s eczema journey
Starting at around two months of age, we noticed our girl started developing eczema on her cheeks, the back of her neck, the back of her hands, and in the creases of her arms and legs. You’ll know it’s eczema when you see dry skin and severe itching.
The dry skin came in patches that were hardened and looked reddish on her cheeks and hyperpigmented in other places. The severe itching was the worst and the most heartbreaking part of eczema. When our girl was around four or six months of age, we noticed she was constantly scratching her arms and even breaking the skin. We had been focused on treating the dry skin, but once we noticed the itching, we tried everything.
- Said bye-bye to Johnson and Johnson. It was recommended by our pediatrician who first pointed out the eczema that we should stick with dye-free and fragrance-free soaps and lotions. That meant all the lavender Johnson and Johnson bath and body products we previously purchased had to be tossed.
- Said bye-bye to dairy. In many cases, eczema and food allergies go hand-in-hand. At around the four-month-old mark, we discovered that our daughter had a milk protein allergy. Since I was breastfeeding, I had to eliminate dairy from my diet. Sometimes food allergies can cause eczema to flare up. This was a tough decision to make, but if it was going to offer relief, I was all for it. So that’s what we did.
- Said hello to eczema relief creams. Because there were patches of her skin that were extremely dry, our pediatrician kept recommending that we moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, so we kept trying different lotions. We were given samples of lotions and soaps (Aveeno Baby, Eucerin eczema relief, and Aquaphor healing ointment, etc.) to help combat the itching. We also tried the Aveeno oatmeal baths, but we didn’t see much of a difference while giving them. I also had some Curel, which according to the label was safe for babies starting at six-months-old, but none of the relief creams and soaps seemed to get rid of the itching problem.
Ultimately, the only thing that helped my baby’s eczema was…
Seeing a dermatologist. After several attempts (and months) at trying to get the itching under control, we made a decision (thanks to my mom’s suggestion) to book an appointment with a dermatologist. That was the best decision we could’ve made. I wish we had done so sooner and feel badly that I didn’t think to do so from the start.
Our dermatologist suggested that everyone in the household use free and clear laundry detergent, not just the baby. We were recommended to switch to Cerave products from the blue and green collection. We were also prescribed a topical oil called Fluocinolone Acetonide, which is safe for babies three months and older. You can apply it daily to the affected area when your skin is freshly washed. We were instructed to use this three times a week until we saw relief and then only use it as needed for spot treatments.
This was the only thing that worked for us to resolve the itching. Once my daughter stopped scratching so much, her skin began to clear up. In fact, the very first night we used the topical oil, she slept through the entire night! It was amazing and also heartbreaking at the same time because we realized this whole time she had been waking up in the middle of the night because of the itching. Thank God we figured it out when we did.
We saw immediate relief with the itching and over time, the dry skin patches began to fade away, and her skin began to clear up. At her six-month follow-up with the dermatologist, the dry skin patches were mostly clear, however she did have a flare-up that was attributed to her milk protein allergy. At the one-year check-up, there were no dry skin patches and the eczema was all clear.
Seeing your baby deal with eczema is tough, which is why I’m sharing this information. I want to help other parents who may be distressed like we were to find relief, especially if they feel like they’ve tried everything from the drug stores or followed the recommendations of their pediatrician to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
The best advice I can give is to go to the dermatologist as they are the experts and can prescribe exactly what your child needs. So rather than googling everything or trying different lotions and soaps, go see a dermatologist right away.
I am here to share with you what life is like on the other side. We haven’t had to use anything to deal with the eczema problem for a while now. In fact, I no longer consider it a problem. Since we’ve gotten it under control, we now know that if there is a flare-up, it can usually be attributed to her diet.