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Advice about Eczema

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Advice about Health > Eczema



April 2005

Hi, I lived in Oakland for many years (I would probably still be living there except for a series of unfortunate events starting with the firestorm), and still feel connected with the area. Although I don't qualify to join this group, I would like to share a link to a web site I put up to help other parents of children with eczema.

It is a completely non-commercial site that I support out of my own pocket. The solution is not going to help everyone with eczema, but for someone with the same problem, it is a complete solution that should allow total resolution of the eczema. I have read many posts to the Berkeley Parents Network that I felt fit this description.

The site is http://www.solveeczema.org -- please post if you think appropriate.

Kind Regards, A.J. Lumsdaine


Calendula cream for toddler's eczema?

June 2004

My 21 month old son has mild eczema. We've used Aquaphor and Eucerin in an effort to keep it under control. When it gets bad, we use the creams which contain some steroid. I read an article in Parents magazine about Calendula cream. I bought some and used it over the weekend. Lo and behold, his eczema got significantly better within a week. I was wondering if anyone knows of any side effects of Calendula cream. It seems too good to be true. Thanks. Looking for safe eczema solution


Calendula is great isn't it! We use it for everything- diaper rash, minor cuts, little rashs that kids just seem to get from time to time. I like it because it seems more natural than hydrocortisone etc and therefore if my son winds up with a little in his mouth from touching the tub or whatever I don't worry. I am interested to hear if anyone has seen anything negative about it as I have had great success with it and often recommend it to folks. Juliette
Because calendula is a homeopathic medicine, there is no drug or drug reaction involved. There is no toxicity and there are no side-effects. Homeopathy works energetically, stimulating your son's own body to heal the eczema. Unlike steroids, it does not supress the rash but actually brings on healing. Maybe some things are not too good to be true! fan of homeopathy

Eczema on cheeks of 3-month-old

May 2004

My 3 month old has a mild case of eczema on his cheeks which I thought was drooling rash or something that would pass. It lasted longer so we checked it out with the peditrician. He recommended using Dove soap and Eucerin cream or Auqaphor ointment for the areas. Anyone use the same type of soaps and creams to get rid of eczema? I'm hoping it will go away. I'm thinking the towels that I use to wash his face are too rough. Any suggestions on where to buy really soft face towels for washing baby's face? It's hard to tell from the package if it is really soft. Has anyone had the similar problem to help ease a first time parent's concern? Angela


I have suffered with eczema since I was a child, and your doctor's recommendations of Dove soap and Eucerin cream are similar to the recommendations that I have received over the years. Other creams that get recommended a lot are Nivea and Lubriderm. I have found that none of these creams keeps my skin from drying out for more than a couple hours, so I actually put Vaseline petroleum jelly on my skin after bathing (even on my face!). You could try using a little bit, either over the other creams or on its own after washing his face, to see if it helps. Another thing that I have discovered relatively recently, through the excema experiences of a friend's baby, is that the internal allergies that cause my eczema are not the only cause of it -- if I touch my face after handling fruit or peppers, it also causes a breakout. Since your son is only three months old, I'm assuming that he is not getting his own fruit or vegetables on his face, but you may want to do an extra careful job of washing your own hands after touching food before you touch his face. You may be passing some of the oils from your fingertips to his skin. If you are breastfeeding, you could try washing your breasts beforehand to see if whatever you are sweating may be passing to his cheeks and exacerbating it. As far as towels, clothing, etc. cotton has much less affect than wool or blends, and make sure you are extra gentle when drying him (patting him dry versus rubbing) if you are not doing so already. If your son is one of the very small percentage of unlucky people who continues to suffer from eczema past infancy, there are good cream medications that can keep it under control, but prevention is always preferable to treatment. Good luck, Itchy skin
My son's eczema first appeared at around 2 years, and the doctor initially suggested three things: Aquafor on the rash, Cetaphil soap instead of baby soap in the bath and Dreft laundry detergent. Those three things helped quite a bit, although we eventually saw a dermatologist and had to go to stronger, prescription medications. His younger sister hasn't shown signs of eczema per se but when much, much younger did have an occasional blemish around her mouth plus a bad case of cradle cap. I used Aquafor for both things, and it did the trick in no time. Gwynne
My baby also had eczema or a rash on her face from about 3-6 months. The only soaps and creams I've found that don't irritate her skin are Aveno body wash and lotion and Kiehls lotion for her face. Make sure to apply lots of lotion several times a day. I don't use a cloth for washing her face, I just use my hand. It also helped when I removed the sheet protector that I had on her bed (the one that catches all the drools). Also I changed the body soap that I was using since I'm breastfeeding and hold her close to my skin. Good luck, and remember the rash is only temporary! Anon
our pediatrician also gave Elidel for our then 3 month old (which I hesitate to use--though it is very effective for the bleeding eczema behind the baby's ears--I won't use it anywhere else unless the condition is really serious because the packaging said for 2 year old and up). for the part of the neck we're able to find, we use Aquaphor, and the redness has really dissipated. for the rest of the torso, he recommended Cetaphil Lotion (Costco has best bargain $15 for two 20 oz. bottles) which we apply liberally twice a day, and immediately after the bath (without drying first) and it's worked great. the pediatrician also told us to cut the bath back to just once a week to prevent drying the baby's skin out and exacerbating the eczema. to keep the baby clean, he says to apply the lotion, then wipe the dirt off, then reapply. for the baby's face, we've been using Cetaphil moisturizing cream -- which gets rid of the redness immediately but makes the skin look kind of taut so you might just want to stick w/ the lotion. Cetaphil also makes a cleanser that might work for your baby. the softest towels I've found were actually the ones that look like there's not much to them, not the thick ones. you can also use the thick cotton balls made especially for babies. hope that helps shedragon713
Hello, I am currently studying at a Nutrition school in Berkeley and we've been talking about the role of essential fatty acids in skin conditions like excema. Are you breastfeeding? What you eat definitely can affect the content of your milk and can consequently affect your baby. The most important vitamins & minerals for skin health are Vitamins A, C, E ,Selenium, and Zinc. Essential fatty acids found in deep sea fish (salmon and sardines are great souces), or in flax seeds and flax seed oil help to reduce inflammation and have been proven to reduce excema. You might want to consider suplementing your own diet to see an improvement in your baby's skin condition. Sylvie
Hi, My son has also had mild ezcema and our ped recommended using Cetaphil for bathing, instead of soap. He also suggested giving a bath every other day and using Aquaphor on slightly damp skin. It has helped quite a bit. holycowgal
When our son's baby acne cleared, he was left with red, patchy areas on his cheeks. I stopped using soap on his face, and just gently cleaned it with warm water and a soft cloth. I put aquaphor on it, thanks to parents' suggestions on the list, and after a week or so, it went away. I just bought at babies-r-us an 8 or 10 pack of washcloths made by Gerber- they come in packs of pinks, blues or the gender-neutral yellows/greens and have kind of a crocheted edge. They were on the cheaper side, but are very, very soft- some of his others are too rough like you said. And I don't wipe his face with paper towels or napkins now that he has started to eat- I use the soft cloths. Hope this helps. lou lou@seralat.com
Our 10 month old son started developing eczema at about 3 months and had a major flare-up at 6 months, involving his face, torso, and arms and legs. Now it pretty stable but we recognize that this is a chronic condition; my husband has lived with eczema all his life.

Some suggestions from a mom who has been there:

- We don't use any soap at all when bathing. Soap tends to dry the skin and isn't necessary, especially at age 3 months when they're not crawling through the dirt yet!

- We don't use any towel at all, just gently use our hands in water to wash his face/body. This is the gentlest approach. Washing with a washcloth can be abrasive, especially if you rub with any pressure. The baby will love a face towel because it will scratch the itch, but it can end up making it worse.

- We lube him up with aquaphor on the face and eucerin on his body with every diaper change. You can not do too much moisturizing! This is the best preventative approach. You should moisturize right after bathing (within 2 minutes), locking the moisture in (while baby is still damp). We tend to use aquaphor on the face and eucerin on the body. Just our preference--Eucerin on the face makes his face white.

- For minor flare ups, your pediatrician may recommend 1% hydrocortisone for a week or so. I think this is fine for run- of-the-mill limited eczema. In our case, because our baby has severe eczema (open weeping areas on the face for weeks, rash involving much of his body, etc., came right back when stopped hydrocortisone), we have opted to use a prescription medicine called elidil which is an ''immunomodulator'' prescription non- steroid eczema cream. It is not approved by the FDA for use in babies under the age of 2, but does not have the side effects of long-term topical steroid use.

- If things get worse, you may want to ask about allergy testing for your baby. They have to draw blood (called RAST testing), but especially if there is a history of eczema/food allergy in family, they are often related. Our baby turned out to be allergic to wheat, oat, peanut, apple, and egg white. And, I should mention, he was tested when he was still exclusively breast-fed, so I was sensitizing him through MY diet. You may want to consider limiting allergenic foods from your diet if you are breastfeeding.

- Count yourself lucky that your baby is too young to scratch! He may rub his face against your shoulder but boy is a lot harder when they're older-- the rubbing/scratching is what makes the rash worse.

It sounds like your baby has just a small patch, and hopefully it will go away soon. A little eczema is very common for many babies. Good luck! DebC


After reading about it in the newspapers I searched Pub Med and found out it is true, they found that probiotic supplements (like you find in yogout) help with baby eczema. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=11069570 Tikva

Eczema in 4 year old - natural remedies not working

April 2004

My daughter, now 4, has had eczema since infancy. Eczema outbreaks as a reaction to a food allergy, and thus far we have not fingered the culprit.

I've unsuccessfully tried the elimination diet, both when I was breastfeeding as well as every year since in her own diet, (inflames more often in the summer/warmer months) It seems to be worse this year, and she is loosing sleep itching every night this week. I want to stay clear of conventional medicines such as cortisones and benedryl, as I don't want to injure her already lowered immune system.

I have read every natural medicine book on treatment at home, and although I have learned a lot and am able to lessen her discomfort slightly, nothing seems to be really helping. What I want to do is (a) figure out exactly what she is allergic to and (b) get her immune system stronger to fight off these allergies.

Has anyone else been through this successfully and have any suggestions of practitioners we can talk to? Acupuncturist, homoeopathist (I actually have an appointment scheduled at the Hahnaman Clinic next week), allergists, anyone who specifically works with kids and allergies? Any input would help. Thank You. Anna


Anna, Hi! Your daughter sounds EXACTLY like mine. I also am very against the whole steroid cream scenario. We actually have been to see Dr. Jim Nickelson (allergist) and we discovered that she was severely allergic to egg and dust mites. It would be the best to get that skin test done. It is quick and almost painless and you rule out a lot of the major factors. If it is itching at night, I suspect that it will turn out to be dust mites in the matteress. For which, go to missionallergy.com and order the matteress covers etc.

My daugter is going through a particularly bad patch right now for some reason. And I was up again last night moisturizing her little body (4.6 yrs). We are also starting homeopathy today - again. We did not have very good results last time, homeopathy is very hit and miss. If you find the right remedy then you will be cured within a week, if not then you have to have the patience to keep testing out new remedies till the right one hits. The acupuncture did not work for us because she shrieked herself crazy at the sight of the needles. I am all for homeopathy because my chilhood ecxcema got eliminated through homeopathy. I am also trying something else these days, which seems to be working, however, I want to to be sure before I start suggesting that to anyone else. Empathetic mom.


For alternative treatments for eczema: I am someone who has suffered from it all her life, I wanted to help out with some ideas if I could: First, you might try burrows solution -- available at your pharmacy. You soak the eczema in it and that helps relieve suffereing. Also, be aware that eczema does not always appear in response to food allergies -- it could be other allergens (e.g., plants, pollens, etc.). You should also understand that allergies are better conceptualized as the response of a HEIGHTENED immune function than a lowered immune system -- although perhaps I misunderstood and there is osme other reason why her immune function is reduced. Finally, although I applaud your efforts to find alternative approaches to dealing with it, I'm wondering if you would consider a more mixed approach. I can understand your desire to limit the use of benadryl and topical steroids. HOwever, when your daughter is so uncomfortable that she can't sleep, it might really be better for her if you give her some. Eczema can be extremely painful and difficult to deal with (i.e., not to scratch) and the available medications do greatly help this rather extreme discomfort. sabrina
Hi, eczema runs in my family - lots of the little girls (including my own 21month old has severe patches of redness, itching, scaling and crusting, especially in the arm pits and back of the legs. I tried Dreft, cortisone cream which clearly thins the skin over time, A&D ointment, Aquaphor, etc. with only minimal improvement. Why don't you talk to your physician about Elidel which has recently be approved for use in kids over 2 years. It works via very targeted method - it reduces the activity of T lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell that is responsible for inflammatory reactions). It appears very safe, and the incidences of infections is no higher than for those patients receiving no active treatment (placebo). uding upper respiratory tract infections appears to be no different than patients receiving no treatment (placebo). You only start to see a slight increase in URIs in kids under 2, therefore the FDA has restricted its use to kids over 2 years (although pediatricians are prescribing off label for these younger kids). I think it's worth a trial, and right now while they are in their promotional phase, you can probably get a free initial prescription to see if it works. Good luck! Lorianne

13-month-old scratching ears till they bleed

Jan 2004

Hi, my 13 months old baby daughter scratched her ears so badly that it bleed and oozes. During night time when it is impossible for us to look over her, she scratched, pulled, and we saw blood on her gloves, pillow and pajama every morning after wake up. Putting gloves doesn't work. As the dermatologies said that her ears much be very itchy due to eczema, we have kept applying protopics to her ears and sometimes it work sometimes it doesn't. 2.5% hydrycortisone did prevent the itchiness but I don't like to go that route. This has gone on for several months and I am very mad at myself of not being able to help her. Lately I heard that homeopathy may cure eczema for good in young babies and like to ask whether someone has any experience on this and whether there is any temorary solution that we can use now to prevent the itchy and terrible scrataching. Thanks. anxious and worried mom


The following treatment helped my 20 month old daughter's eczema completely disappear. Bathe every night in luke warm water. Do not use any soap on her body. Wash hair every other night with a tiny bit of shampoo and rinse hair while letting the water out of the tub so that he/she doesn't sit in the soapy water. After the bath each night, rub the entire body with Aquaphor. My daughter likes to help rub it on her legs. This treatment has eliminated the need for cortisone cream. DRichards
Your daughter could have food allergies or environmental allergies that are causing the eczema. Wheat is a common food allergen that can cause eczema. You might try to elimate wheat from her diet/your diet if you are breast feeding. You can also take her to an NAET specialist. Check the website www.naet.com for a specialist near you. Hope this helps anon
Go back to the dermatologist and tell him/her the course of treatment is not working. If that does not work, go to a different dermatologist. As you can tell, I do not believe in suffering. Why should you or your daughter? Why have a miserable existence if it can be corrected? Ask about MYCOLOG OINTMENT. I do not know if it is right for eczema, or for infants, but I have chronic itching in sensitive areas, and this medicine has saved my life. I cannot tell you how horrible chronic itching is. It can be fixed. leslie
My 18 mos son has had eczema since he was two months old. A little before his first birthday, the doctors gave us the go-ahead to start using Benedryl (generally just at night, but half a dose during the day if the itching is really bad). He sees a pediatriac dermotologist at UCSF. She doesn't want us to use hydrocortisone on the delicate parts of his body (face and groin) and gave us Elidel, a non-steriod to use there (including his ears). Also, you should have some Bactraban (sp?), which we use when he actually breaks the skin. It prevents skin infections. So, if you aren't giving your child Benedryl, I'd talk to your doctor about it. Benedryl doesn't have any bad side effects (liver damage and such), just that it makes them drowsy so it's best for bedtime and o! nly when needed. I'd also talk to your doc about Elidel and Bactraban. Elidel is not FDA approved for kids under 2, but my doc assures me that they have done LOTS of testing on little kids and she has no worries about using this non-steriod. Finally, I'm assuming you are moisturizing her skin on top of the medicine. I swear by Aquaphor (you can get it at Longs). It's slimy but it does work for us. Hope this helps! Jennifer

Homeopathy for 20-month-old's itchy skin?

Jan. 2004

Hi. I just heard about homeopathy and wanted to know if anyone has tried this. Does this actually work? I'm curious to find out if there are any doctor's out there that can help my 20 month old daughter with her skin. She's been having extremely itchy skin (doesn't quite seem like eczema) but the doctor has prescribed hydrocortisone for her and she’s been using it since she was born. Sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night and scratch herself everywhere for about an hour before falling back to sleep. The cortisone doesn't seem to help much and I've heard that cortisone is really bad for babies. We have used sooo much cortisone and hydrocortisone on her that I really want to find an alternative. We have tried everything! Changed from cow's milk to goat's milk, bath only couple of times a week with 100% collidal oatmeal, she wears cotton clothing only, etc... Please help! Thank you in advance. Jane


Homeopathy usually works very well, especially for children. After years of using homeopathy myself, I now use it for my 2 children with great success, (although we have never treated itching like that you describe). I would strongly urge you to give it a try for your daughters condition. Please contact me if you would like a referral in SF (Noe Valley). shana
Hi- I was never really into alternative medicine etc. but tried homeopathy for my seven year old. We see a wonderful woman who is by trade a Nurse Practitioner and also does homeopathy. She is really wonderful with children and I think quite good. Her name is Kristine Servirella(sp) at the Hanneman Homeopathy clinic in Albany located in the El Cerrito Plaza her number is 524-3117. It has really worked for my son and and I would think it would be worth a try for you. Good luck! heather
The archives have an excellent discussion on homeopathy, but if you are interested in more information on homeopathy and other topics, Voodoo Science is an excellent book on the subject. It talks about the science (! or lack of) behind homeopathy, different from acupuncture and herbal medicines. I was interested to know more about homeopathy when it was recommended for teething pain for my child. After reading this book and other accounts of what exactly homeopathy is supposed to do and how, I was convinced that it is not for me. The tiny amounts of the 'active' ingredient (often less than one molecule) mean that most of the homeopathic medicines are basically water, and I prefer not to pay all that money for something that does nothing. a skeptic
I've been seeing a homeopath since my (now four-year-old) son was born. I absolutely adore her - she's in San Francisco and I'm happy to give a referral if you e-mail me. I have had very mixed results, both for my son and myself, but the times when the remedies have worked have sometimes seemed close to miraculous. When my son was about your child's age, he was diagnosed by his regular physician as having mild pnemonia (how do you spell that?) We consulted our homeopath, used remedies, and within two days my son's lungs were clear. I myself have often gotten relief from allergies and have gone from having chronic asthsma to having only occasional need for my inhaler. My son loves to take the remedies, too! Nanu
the best guide to Homopathy for parents is the yellow book caled EVERYONES GUIDE TO HOMOAPATHY pema
I'm not sure about homeopathy, but I had itchy skin most of my life, and both of my son's have had it (one much worse than the other). What works best for my sons and I is! to apply oil while we are still wet after a bath or shower. I use Neutrogena light sesame oil without fragrance, and the kids use an oil from the health food store called Sunflower Petal oil. Don't use lotions because they have alcohol type products that really make you itch. We just rub the oil on our wet skin and dry ourselves off, and it seems like we almost never need the hydrocortisone anymore. Learned from a lifetime of itchy skin

Treatment for eczema in baby?

October 2003

Hi, My daughter has had eczema since she was 3 months old. We have tried Hydrocortizone, Elidel, protopic. Hydrocortizone works best but eczema never completely goes away and we cannot use that cream for a long time anyway. We use Aquaphor 3 times a day. Give a bath once in 3 days.

Since all the posts on eczema are pretty old, I was wondering if there is any new treatment for eczema in babies?

Does homeopathy really work? A friend took her daughter to a homeopath. He asked her to not put any medicine or ointment on her while the treatment was going on. She has now gotton so bad because of dry skin that she cannot even walk and as scratched herself to draw blood all over. That scared me. Any recent good experiences? Does anyone know of any harmful side effects of homeopathy?

Any home remedies or any other alternate for of treatment? I am desperate and it breaks my heart every day to see my lillt baby red and itchy. mom


I had a very similar experience with my son. He had excema from birth and nothing ever completely took it away. I was completely baffled and my pediatrician and a dermatologist didn't quite know what to do. We finally figured out the cause when he had an anaphylactic reaction. His excema was the result of a milk allergy that had been building since birth. Now that we know that, I've cut dairy out of my diet so he won't get any exposure through breastfeeding, and I now supplement with a soy based formula when needed. Problem solved, excema gone! It might be worth checking this out for your son too. If it's not milk, you might investigate other allergies. Good luck! Anon
We have been using a prescription cream called Cutivate (or something like that) along with aquaphor, lubriderm and daily baths with mild soap for our six month old boy. At first we used the Cutivate twice a day until the eczema cleared up. Now we just use it twice a week to keep it from coming back. We still use the aquaphor and lubriderm twice a day. Gen
I clipped an article from a magazine that I will quote here. ''Now a new class of non-steroid medicines called calcineurin inhibitors turn off the inflammatory cells that cause eczema's characteristic redness and broken skin.'' It recommeds using the new medicine at the onset or ongoing and to only use topical steroids for severe flare ups. There are over the counter baby eczema creams available at places like Longs. We took our daughter to a homeopath in El Cerrito, Christine Ciavarella, 524-3117, we found very helpful. She recommended we only use Dove soap (no bubble bath) and to keep bath water cool and to put ezcema cream on right after baths. Our daughters eczema wasn't that bad but these tips helped a lot. Betsy
My son is about 2.5 years old and has pretty bad eczema. Have you seen a doctor about it? They prescribed an ointment for him. I can't remember the whole long name, but it is Trichlo...something. It comes in a tube. They also prescribed an oral antihistamine for the itching. This clears it up pretty quickly, but if we get lax about applying it, the eczema comes back.

Giving baths every 3 days is good. The doctor told us that you have to treat it in 3 ways ... 1) put medicine on it to clear it up, 2) keep it hydrated (lots of heavy cream right after bath) and 3) take something for the itching (also, keep her nails very short so if she does itch, it won't be so harsh on her skin). Definitely see a doctor about it as soon as possible! Jenny


Have you had your baby tested for allergies? We also had a problem with eczema in our then-6 month old son and discovered that he was allergic to both dairy and eggs. He was getting trace amounts of the dairy & egg proteins through my breastmilk. (My husband had these allergies as a child, and they are evidently not uncommon.) Once I eliminated dairy and eggs from my diet, the problem was gone. Our wonderful allergist, Dr. James Nickelsen (based in Berkeley), diagnosed the problem. I recall that he said that 90% of eczema in children is due to allergies. He also said that he will most likely outgrow them between 2 and 4 yrs of age. Good luck! constance_g
My 3 1/2 year old son also has severe eczema, and we too have used all of the remedies (prescribed and over-the-counter) that you describe, with not a whole lot of success. I was also never happy with the potential side effects of steroid creams. And then one day my mother-in-law gave a bunch of women in the family some tubes of moisturizing cream called Lannine. My son discovered my tube for himself. I came in the room one day and he had opened the tube and was rubbing it on his neck (thank God it wasn't anything else). I could not believe how soft his rough, itchy skin became, almost instantly, and stayed that way for the whole day (not my experience with Eucerin or Aquaphor). And so, we now use Lannine religiously - turns out, it is highly recommended for eczema. It comes in different fragrances, which turn out to be the only drawback. My son HATES the citrus fragrance - it is quite strong. It also comes in an avocado oil fragrance that is bearable. It is pretty expensive - $12/tube but very worth it (cheaper if you shop online - we use riteaid.com). I have also bought it at Pure Beauty in El Cerrito Plaza Lisa
my 8mo had eczema as a baby and we tried a lot of different things . . . then my pediatrician (Kaiser, if you believe it!) suggested that I try not eating meat or dairy because it might be the antibiotics/hormones causing the eczema. sure enough, after only a week or two, it had disappeared! now i mostly only eat organic meats/dairy - the times i've gone out and had meat or indulged in non-organic ice cream, small patches come back in the next day or two, then disappear again.

and as additional confirmation, i told a friend about this, so she tried going organic meats/dairy too, and her daughter's very bad eczema cleared up too! amy


I can feel with you. My daughter, now 11 months old, had terrible eczema when she was 6 months old. I mean really bad, she was red, itchy, her scalp was even weeping. She had to wear gloves day and night. You can imagine the sleepless nights we had since the itch just did not go away instead got worse and worse.

We found a wonderful Holistic Doctor, with traditional background, in Carmel, Dr. Wyker. (I know he is not around the corner). Since no traditional doctor could help we gave him a try. His treatment worked wonders. We had to cut out all solids and she went through (and is still going through) a treatment called LDA (Low Dose Allergen Therapy). Now she is eating almost normally (except milk, wheat and meat) and has no more itchy spots. This treatment was a miracle for us. If you want to get more details, please don't hesitate to email me. Good luck. pondheule


I missed your original post so forgive me if anything is irrelevant.

My baby had the worst exema starting at 4 weeks old (cradle crap too). We tried everything including cetaphil cleanser (didn't work) and cortizone cream (it did work, but I had issues with the steroids). We literally did not bathe him for 2-1/2 months. This went on till he was 5 months old.

Finally I took my MILs advice and did the following.... liberally apply cornstarch to all of the effected areas and then cover with Bag Balm (that cow udder stuff that comes in a green tin available in most drugstores). We did this at every changing and before naps and bed time. The difference was noticeable within a couple of days.

What happens is the cornstarch dries up all the moisture and then the Bag Balm prevents any more from reaching his skin. If you omit the cornstarchstep the moisture is trapped and things get worse.

He was cleared up completely with a month and then we substituted bag balm with A&D ointment (bag balm is stinky and stains). I don't know if A&D would have worked from the beginning.

This was truly a miracle for us. Our son now has the most glowing skin. I hope you have the same success. Susannah


My infant had excema and one of the first things I tried was All Free laundry detergent instead of Dreft. Within a few days my sons skin cleared up. He is now 15 months old and I have tried to reintroduce Dreft twice. Both times, his excema circles came back and cleared up when I rewashed with a perfume, dye free detergent. Dreft is labeled as hypoallergenic prior to the fragrance being added. Frangrance in products is a very high allergen inducer in infants. LogicalMama
If your child has eczema that severe you should consider two things. First, there may be a secondary bacterial infection of the eczema from the scratching and subsequent bleeding. This needs to be treated with an oral antibiotic. Most pediatricians will either culture first and then put the child on a medicine such as keflex or if it is wheepy and cracked, just start the antibiotic. Second, ask your doctor to do a blood RAST testing for allergies. It could be anything from allergy to soy, cows milk protein, wheat, oat etc. Also, go see a Pediatric Dermatologist.

Gentle skin care includes no soap (or unscented dove, Basis, Aveeno, Neutrogena) or non soap cleanser (cetaphil or Aveeno), only, showers instead of baths, cool water not hot, absolutely no bubble baths,moisturize (with Vaseline, Nutraderm, DML, Moisturel, Aquaphor). Wash clothes and bedding in mild detergeant and rinse at least twice. Do not use fabric softener if it is irritating. good luck parent


A reply to the mom asking for help w/ treatment of eczema in her baby (baby's had it since 3 mos. old).

My daughter had the same thing, and I used all manner of lotions, special bath products, etc. The best thing I did was to eliminate all dairy products and eggs from her diet. I had suspected the dairy products, though not the eggs, from reading in A. Weill that the first thing to do for eczema is get rid of dairy. So, since I'm breastfeeding, I eliminated dairy from my own diet as well as from my daughter's. The difference in my daughter's skin was amazing! Shortly after this, we had some skin-tests done by a pediatric allergist, and these confirmed that my daughter's skin was quite reactive to dairy, and also to eggs (in particular egg whites). The allergist recommended to continue breasfeeding, doing my best to keep these foods out of my own diet, and being sure not to give any to my daughter. Since then--it's been six months--the eczema is hardly a problem at all. It flares up if I've eaten something ''forbidden'' (once in a while at a special dinner or what-have-you)--but in a much milder form than before. My recommendation is to try eliminating dairy products right away, then see if you need to check for any other food allergens. Good luck! Amanda


Eczema: Nothing stops 3-year-old's itching

June 2003

My son, who is three at present, developed dry skin and ezcema last year, with the most severe outbreak being in spring-early summer. When we went to the allergist, he determined that my son was allergic to cats, dogs, dust mites and mold. No allergies to plants, though. Also, the doctor prescribed him Elidel. Soon after that we left the country, and his condition improved drastically. So I do not know if the drug worked (I only used it few times), or it was the change in environment. This spring eczema came back. It was very bad at the beginning: uncontrollable scratching, bloody bed sheets. Nothing would stop itching, Elidel did not work. Last thing I found that giving him oatmeal baths followed by greasing the bad areas with tea tree and lavender oil mixture would reduce, but not eliminate the itching. At least, I could sleep with fewer interuptions. It seems that the itching is the strongest after he is in bed for several hours, although he scratches during the day, too. I wash the bedding at least once a week, the mattress is protected, our house is dry, I believe there is no mold, we do not have pets and carpets, we use hypoallergenic detergent with double rinsing, but his allergy just goes on. I would appreciate any advice/response on how to find the allergen, how to ease the condition, how to make sense of the obviously seasonal character of the allergy, and the absense of allergy to mixed pollen in the last year test. Thanks


Our daughter had terrible eczema in the spring from the time she was a baby until age 3 (she's 5 now and still has an occasional patch). We did the oatmeal baths and eucerin, tried some prescription cortisone treatements. These helped somewhat but only thing that actually worked was stopping the baths completely----basically limiting baths to once or twice a month with no soap, and just ''spot cleaning'' as necessary in key places (face, neck, etc). We realized this during travelling when it was hard bathe her.....eczema cleared right up! Did you bathe while you were away? Maybe it's the baths! Karen
My Son has eczema the day too. He's had it since the day he was born. He's almost three years old now. Believe me, I can totally relate. From your posting, it sounds like your son might be allergic to something in the air during this time of the year or it could be from the heat due to the warmer days that we are getting. Heat will iritate the skin, drying it out and flaring up into a rashy reaction.

It sound like what you are going through is the exact thing that my husband and I are trying to deal with on a daily basis for our son.

When he was about 4 months old that was the worst. The skin at anytime of the day it would flare up into small bed bumps and eventually it would leak puss which lead to a skin infection. We got our son on antibiotics which took care of the infection but the eczema came right back. It gets worse when the skin has been sitting on sweat for longer than a few minutes. We had to continously monitor the skin so that it doesn't get too sweaty. We would keep our son dry and away from any heat that might flare up his skin. It also was very bad at night. I remember we would wake up at 2 am and wipe him down and reapply lotions or any medications. We had tried all types of creams that was recommended by our pediatrican at the time. Nothing seemed to help. We eventually found out that if we keep his room on the cool side, he slept a bit better with less interuptions in the night, but there were days where he would scratch himself until it bleed. Finally we insisted that the pediatrician refer us to a dermatologist that also worked with babies. Our dermatologist placed our son on a very strict skin treatment. He prescribed to us Desonide, which is a very low steroid cream and ointment. He also insisted that we bath our son at least once or twice a day and apply AquaPhor the moment we take our son out of the bath. The pediatrican also said that any types of oatmeal baths, oil based lotions or anything that was not 100% pure and free of scents or lanolin based lotions which would also iritate the skin.

Our daily routine was anytime he skin flared up we would give him a luke warm bath that lasted at least 15 minutes so that the skin in throughly moisurized by water. The dermatologist also recommend that we use Cetaphil wash instead of soap. I would use this sparingly on to the buttucks area. I dared not use it on any other part of his body, knowing anything besides water can dry out the skin. After the Cetaphil is rinsed off and while his skin is still wet I would apply Desonide ointment to only the affected areas. Only a small amount of Desonide ointment goes a long way. On top of that I would apply AquaPhor to his skin. I apply a generous amount on the skin. The AquaPhor helps to seal in the moisture so that his skin does not get dry out, which causes the itching to start. During night time he would occasionally wake up crying and scratching, at that point I would apply Desonide cream to the affected area and sometimes if the skin starts to dry out I would also apply Cetaphil cream all over his body to add some moisture to this skin.

Our son's skin still fares up now and again, but is greatly decreased in intensity of the rash. The daily bath and the regimate as mentioned above really saved us. We also keep his room free of dust, and his bed sheets are clean and replace about once a week. It also helps that we don't have any carpet in our house and we don't have any pets.

I hope this helps. You can try doing what we did for our son, but it's always good to see a dermatologist that works with kids, so that you get more specialized attention and professional opinion that targets your son's needs.

Good luck. anon


Does your son eat a lot of dairy? I've had eczema in various forms since my teen years and it became very problematic when I was both pregnant and nursing my two kids. Mine also itched and bled horribly. I researched it on the web and several homeopathic sites suggested that dairy could be an underlying cause of eczema. I realized that during my pregnancies, the only major dietary change I had made was my dairy intake. I could not get enough yogurt, milk or cottage cheese. Well, the minute I stopped eating dairy, my eczema cleared up! It's been gone for over a year. I do eat some dairy, but I've cut back tremendously. Whole Foods has some great books on alternative and homeopathic treatments. good luck! Angela
My 4 year old son has eczema and only breaks out in hot weather. He also scratches untill he bleeds when it's really bad. I've found that hydrocortizone works for the bad break outs. The key is preventative care. I make sure that I put plenty of lotion on him after he takes a shower or bath. He also breaks out when his skin is too dry. Cetaphil really works well. When he has a bad break out I slather on the hydrocortizone, leave his shirt off and turn on a fan. He says it stings; but after a day the rash is completely gone. Mom
Hello: sounds pretty bad. For what it's worth: my daughter had really bad exzeme in the summertime ( i think it was heat-related) on her chest, arms and behind the knees. We went to Mexico last summer and she had no problem there. I have no idea why, however. The exzeme came back upon our return, but not as bad. We apply Vaseline. I would love to figure out what triggers it/what helps! Good luck! Barbara
I hear your pain re: your child's eczema. Some alternatives to the state-of-the-art medicine, Elidel, which is new and not a ''known entity'' in terms of its effects on the immune system are: putting Neutrogena's UNSCENTED sesame seed oil, a liberal squirt or two, into the not-too-hot bath water; eliminating dairy may or may not help. Cetaphil applied to the afflicted areas and, then, largely, but not totally, wiped off may help--it helps to do this almost constantly to a small patch of relentless, severe eczema that I have on my body. A very thin coating of Vaseline intensive care may help, as well.

Finally, flaxseed oil or seeds (tasteless) may help. Some people swear by it; others say that is is ineffective. Some seeds sprinkled on cereal or the oil in a smoothis might help.

Eczema seems to flare up hugely, nocturnally. One of my children suffers from it, moderately, around her mouth and occasionally around her ears; my other child gets faint exzema along the forearms if he is not dry there, wet from playing in water, etc. Also, try applying a coating of Cetaphil before submersion in a chlorinated pool. Never allow your child to sit in a tubful of bathwater that has shampoo in it. We use soap rarely, but when we do it is only unscented ''Oilatum,'' not the scented Oilatum.


My son who is seven now has had eczema from the time he was 2. It has been a long road to feeling comfortable and we have learnt many things on the way. Eczema flares for a wide variety of reasons ranging from sensitivity to certain foods to emotional distress. Also, patches with really severe eczema somehow responded better to corticosteroids for my son and the not so bad patches did better with Protopic. The itch-scratch cycle really makes things worse, putting thin cotton socks on hands at night helped us to prevent a lot of night time itching. It seems you follow all the other rules that you are supposed to given the fact that your son has dust mite allergy (which my son does too). For my son too going away to a different country has helped on several occasions, possibly because of the weather and also because we were on vacation and he was with us all the time so we could keep his skin in good condition. Drinking lots of water will help, a great natural product that has worked for us like a charm is shea butter. And eventually, many children outgrow their eczema, and if not it becomes much milder as has happened with my son. I would highly recommend Dr. James Nickelsen , the allergist who worked with us to make my son's eczema almost go away. He is amazing, he has a long waiting list but it is worth waiting for him. Bipasha
My eldest daughter suffered quite severley from various food allergies though it sounds like your child has it worse. After seeing all the doctors, skin specialists and homeopaths we could afford (who all had pretty much the same answer '' sorry but your stuck with a lifetime of hydrocortizone treatement....or drink 6 pints of this expensive herbal tea 12 times a day to help bring relief bla bla bla ...) we just stopped believing.

We felt strongly that there was a way to deal with this properly and so we just went wandering around oakland's chinatown and eventually by some stroke of good fortune came across a tiny storefront on 8th and harrison run by a father and daughter. we showed her our itching scrating baby and she immediately handed us a bag of nasty looking herbs full of grasshopper carcasses, twigs, bits of grass and god only knows what else!

She managed to tell us to brew the herbs and mix it with the baby's milk. She also handed us a tiny tube of menthol based cream ($1.45) to rub in to the most inflamed areas.

To cut a long story short my daughters skin cleared up within a week and everytime she had a breakout afterwards we'd go down there and buy a bag of herbs ($1.75) and always with the same result. When our second daughter was born with the same issues we went back and you can guess the rest.... this may not work for your child but it convinced us that when your regular doc can't find a solution don't give up. Good luck to you.. anon.


I was just reading a book called ALLERGY FREE NATURALLY by Rick Ansorge and Eric Metcalf the day I read your post. It presented some new (to me) info about natural ways to help take care of eczema and other allergies. I was particularly interested in the eczema section because a friend of mine has a son with eczema from dairy.

It suggested Omega-3 fatty acids as they are naturally anti- inflammatory- sources of this are flaxseed oil, salmon, haddock and cod. It also recommended another essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which comes from evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant seed oil. It said that the outcome was most successful when both were taken. Amounts to take were for adults (500-1,500mg and 300- 600 mg respectively) so I don't know what it would be for children.

Another suggestion was to take probiotics (acidopholus supplements)to help balance the natural bacteria in the gut of those having eczema related to a food allergy. This book was very interesting and had lots of reading on eczema as well as other allergies. It is published by Rodale books. I bought it for my sister who has asthma but plan to buy one for myself. good luck interested reader


I did not see the original post but saw some of the advice given and just wanted to add my two cents from my experience with a 4- 5 year-old with Eczema

From our experience with chronic eczema diagnosis and treatment is an ongoing struggle... one must deal with the symptoms and the cause. I have found that most traditonal doctors like to treat just the symptoms. Any primary care doctor that simply prescribes cortisones and/or sends a child to a dermatologist when dealing with eczema is only (IMHO) only dealing with the symptoms. It's an allergy they need to see an allergist.

Cortisone and Elidel (an immunosuppressant) deals with resolving the consequence of eczema. In cases of extreme itching and flare ups both are useful tools. However, neither resolves the cause of the problem.

In our case we found that

1. Our daughter's body simply does not create the bodily oils that keep her skin protected and lubricated like the rest of us. She could easily go without washing her hair for two weeks without it getting oily. In fact it gets drier and drier without conditioning. Consequently, like other posters we bathe her less frequently, i.e., possibly 2 times per week in the winter and quick showers in the summer time. We don't use soaps unless there is an extreme need, i.e., to wash off sunscreen or other strong dirt. We lubricate her body with a lotion that works for her at least morning and night. We also give her a flax seed oil mix three times per day that we got from whole foods. We also use a chlorine neutralizing wash when she swims in public pools (works great to neutralize the drying effects of chlorine).

2. Some lotions and sunscreens have chemicals in them that are drying or irritating. We exprerimented with lots of different lotions to find the right one. Whole Foods has a vitamin E cream that works wonder for my daughter. Lubriderm works for her but Keri lotion does not. It's a trial and error proposition. Sunscreen is a huge no-no for my daughter. For some reason it is extremely aggravating to her skin. Sweat also seems to aggravate it and I will give her a quick rinse off on really hot days to remove the sweat from her skin.

3. My daughter also has a milk protein allergy. I emphasize the milk protein because some people will buy lactose-free products for my daughter because they know that she has an allergy... but a lot of lactose-free products contain milk proteins!!! Anyway, there are a lot of 'theories' about candida yeast and leaky gut syndrome and how they're related to eczema. I don't know if it is true or not, but we are giving my daughter digestive enzymes and probiotics to help her digestion. As a five-year old in a preschool it is very hard to 'eliminate' dairy from her diet. By giving her the supplements she is able to ingest a fair amount of dairy (the usual yogurt and ice creams that five year-olds usually ingest) without major flare ups.

YMMV, these are the things that we do to try to keep her skin rash free. In general they work. It's a pain sometimes, but way better than dealing with the itching and possible infections. Interestingly enough when we were in Italy for two weeks my daughter ate ice cream/gelato nearly everyday, a fair amount of eggs and cream and spaghetti with butter and cheese almost everyday and barely had a problem. Don't know what it is about their dairy that is different from ours....

Good luck to you. Mom of 5-year old eczema kid


I can relate to you and your son’s problem. I had eczema as a baby and still as an adult. The itchy skin is unbearable and you can’t help but scratch. My grandmother took a cotton ball with Vaseline and rubbed over my skin to get rid of the dead skin. That helped. But what was really instrumental for me was prescription medicine. The over the counter stuff nowadays only helps with the itching, the main goal is to get rid of the rash completely and that is possible. (Over the counter meds didn't exist in the 60's.)

When I was a child, my pediatrician prescribed hydrocortisone cream and it worked. My suggestion to you is to really take care of your child’s skin because children will tease. You also don’t want your child to have that “eczema look”.I can spot a person very easily who has it. I had it all over my body and it was especially bad in the creases of my skin. If you were to look at me, you wouldn’t be able to tell that I still suffer from it. Even as an adult in my 40’s, at this very minute I’m working very diligently to get rid of patches on my legs. Hydrocortisone doesn’t work for me anymore and new medicine usually comes out that’s better. I like the strong stuff and I can see results very quickly (sometimes within a week or two). I prefer Lidex ointment (ointment is easier to spread than cream, but it all works the same). Not sure if strong ointments/creams (0.5%) can be given to a child. Don’t eliminate baths. The water should be warm and not hot.

Good luck. Cheryl


Peeling skin on daughter's fingers & feet

Nov 2002

I need some advice because the doctors that I have asked have not helped! My daughter's skin around her nails started peeling on her fingers, then toes, then heel of her feet. About three layers of skin have peeled off, sometimes revealing very red/pink tender skin underneath. It seemed to have gotten better, then has started to peel again. The doctor said this happens after a bad infection, such as strep but my daughter never had that. He advised to moisturize it and doesn't think it is fungal. Has this happened to anyone? How did you solve it? Felicia


Sometimes this can be the sign of some vitamin/mineral deficiency. Maybe your daughter lacks vitamin A, E or Bs. Please talk to your pediatrician and decide, if this is the case, what supplements you need to give her. Simona
My mother-in-law has had this condition on her hands and feet for decades. In her case, it's eczema and it tends to flare up whenever she's stressed out. They do have her moisterize with doctor recommended creams. She puts on the cream, puts on plastic gloves, then cotten gloves on top of those, and then wears this overnight to sleep. Other than that, she has gotten cortizone injections when it has been really bad. I'm sure treatments are better now as she hasn't had an outbreak in a long time. Good luck!

Eczema & battles with 4-y-o's treatment

Feb 2003

Our 4.5-year-old daughter was recently diagnosed with eczema. I have read the website, but our particular issue was not addressed, which is her complete non-cooperation with the treatment prescribed. We were given a prescription for topical cortisone treatment, which we are loathe to use too much. The pharmacist recommended Eucerin as well as Aquaphor as the creams to use. We got both. Our daughter refuses to let us put any cream on her. She has let us put the cortisone on her a few times. Her hands and back of her legs are in bad shape, particularly the latter right now. I've been able to sneak into her room after she's asleep to surreptitiously put cream on her hands while she's sleeping and that has been good, but otherwise we're struggling with a girl who is very itchy and whose legs hurt when she sits, yet refuses treatment. Any advice would be appreciated.
Mom desperate to help her daughter


My 7 year old son also has eczema. He is getting better with each passing year but had it really bad when he was your daughter's age and he too hated it when we put cream. The fact is that maintaining moisturization of the skin by applying Eucerin/ Aquaphor is absolutely key for things to get better. Actually when the condition of the skin is really bad it hurts when you put cream .Shea butter ( it is kind of expensive though ) is really good because it is thinner and you do not have to rub it in as hard as Eucerin . Try changing the cream she might like that. The following things worked for us a) letting him put the cream and then you kind of sneak in and work from the sides b) look at a favorite book, listen to a favorite song when the time comes to apply cream c) let him put some Eucerin on us and make a game out of it . Trust me, you will find out something that works for you. And eventually as she gets older she will understand that this is necessary for her skin to get better. Good luck. You can email me and talk more about this if you want. Bipasha
Our daughter (and me as a child, too) has eczema, and it was most severe on the back of her legs. We too had battles about creams and finally had to make something else desirable contigent on putting the cream on, and we also let her put cream on us, we made it into sort of a game. But I was concerned about long-term use of cortisone cream, and the leg eczema kept coming back after we stopped it, and the Eucerin didn't keep it from itching.

So the reason I write is to suggest that you try to control the problem at the other end, and figure out what is causing the eczema. Is there an obvious allergen? In our daughter's case it turned out that the problem was taking baths - either the soaking or the soap or the occasional bubble baths, we never found out. So we started just washing her by the sink, using soap only in the areas that absolutely need daily washing, and using a mild soap or an oatmeal soap. We reduced baths to once every 1-2 weeks. The parts of her that get the eczema are the parts that rarely get dirty anyway. The eczema completely disappeared. I don't know if this is related to your situation, but it's worth a try. - mom of daughter who's no longer itchy!


I have a soon to be 5-year old girl who suffers from eczema on her neck, arm and leg (I also had it from age 8 until 14-so I am well aware of the discomfort). I've been told that eczema can be genetic. We've been struggling with this for about six months. It got very bad during the late fall but we seem to have it under control now. My goal was to minimize the use of topical cortisones. So take these comments as what worked for us. YMMV

1. Lotions: What works for some people feels awful to others. I use Keri lotion. It does nothing for my daughter. She likes the feel of Lubriderm. I hate the way Lubriderm feels on my skin. Aquaphor may be good to use to keep skin moisturized but when the skin is broken already it may exacerbate the eczema and bring on an infection. For a bad outbreak we use a vitamin e and aloe cream that you can get at Whole Foods.

Also watch out for certain lotions especially those with sunscreen and preservatives. Those can be very harsh on skin damaged by eczema.

2. Minimize bathing to minimize skin oil loss. We try to keep it down to about twice per week with additional washing of the private areas as needed.

3. Eczema for my daughter is a manifestation of a dairy allergy! Milk, ice cream, butter, and yogurt all cause eczema in my daughter. Eczema should be treated by an allergist and not a dermatologist. If a docter simply prescribes cortisones for chronic eczema then I would seek help from an allergist.

We rarely need any cortisone anymore. Every now and again we will use it to knock back a flare up after my daughter has induldged herself to some dairy product, i.e., hot chocolate or ice cream. Lucky for us she's pretty good at self-regulating her diet.

Good luck. Feel free to email me. I've spent a lot of time researching solutions and would be happy to share. Eva


I have a 4 year old daughter with eczema. She, too, is often reluctant to let us put on her medicine (either Elidel, cortizone, or ''tac'') and lotion (Eucerin). She'll sometimes let me put Eucerin on her after she puts it on me. I make it a point to compliment her on her application, and I make sure I tell/show her how soft my skin will be (not only when she's applying it but at other times, too). Right now she loves it when I place dots of Eucerin all over her body or draw pictures with the Eucerin and then rub it in. It's very sticky and you can draw lines, happy faces, flowers, etc. She has also become very fond of the ''massage'' she gets when I rub in the Eucerin using long and short strokes, dancing fingers, etc. holly
I have not dealt with eczema on the hands, but an idea came to me that perhaps is worth a try? What if you got ''glamorous'' elbow-length gloves and told your daughter when she allows you to apply the cream she gets to wear these beautiful gloves? Perhaps it would even help soften the skin more! If they don't sell these for children perhaps you could alter adult ones or even sew some up yourself. Just my 2 cents. Good luck! anon
The first thing I would do is buy allergy covers for the mattress and pillows. My friend did this for her son's bed at the recommendation of the allergist and the eczema cleared up, no medication. anon
My son had eczema like you are describing. The lotions helped, but it never went away until I started feeding him ground flax seed in his oatmeal every morning (about one heaping teaspoon). We skip a day or 2 a week, but when we go away on vacation and forget the flaxseed for several days, the rash comes right back. You can buy it already ground at Trader Joes in the cereal section. Good luck. Natasha H
My daughter had eczema when she was about 2. She was treated successfully using homeopathy by Christine Ciaveralla at the Hahnemann Clinic in Albany (524-3117). Christine is an amazing practitioner. It's fairly expensive but really worth it. shalva
Whenever I have to put any kind of lotion on my 3 yr. old, I find it helps if we just first sit and talk about it - 'I've got this lotion, it's to help your skin stop itching...', let him check it out (within reason), and have him apply it to me first, then himself, if possible. I keep talking -'see, it's kinda cold, isn't it? is it smelly? sticky? etc.' and finish up the application. Doesn't *always* work (hey, he's 3...), but does enough of the time. Ellen
I have a friend that uses tacrolimus ointment for ezcema. I understand that it's a relatively new drug and it seems to work miracles for my friend. There are several web sites that discuss its merits and its kid-friendliness. A google search will get you to most of them. clevergirl
I wanted to relate my experience of how flax seed oil healed my son. My 18 month old son has severe food allergies but even when I had eliminated all the allergens from his diet his skin was awful--red and chapped behind his knees and at his neck and even scabbed in places from his scratching. I was putting lotions on several times a day and giving him infrequent, short baths as well. I started adding about 4-5 drops of flax seed oil to his oatmeal about 10 days ago and his skin is transformed. It is soft all over, barely red and even the worst patches are almost healed. He's sleeping better too because he's not so itchy. I really hope this works for other children with excema as well. karen
I did not read the original post but saw that another parent mentioned that the eczema was caused by a dairy allergy. My 4 y.o. daughter suffers from the same cause. She is very good about staying away from milk and such but I do allow it once in awhile and if she gets a really bad flare up we just use the prescription steroid lotion. She had a horrible, painful problem and within a week of figuring out the problem, her eczema was completely gone. Good Luck. Bridget
Regarding your child's eczema, here is what we have experimented with and found helpful.

Soap (and then only unscented OILATUM--sold at Long's) only when your child is remarkably dirty/soiled

Cetaphil Lotion for the face--you put it on and then wipe it off, partially, with a soft washcloth. Leaving a residue behind protects the skin and minimizes the eczema.

Unscented! Neutrogena Sesame Seed Oil in the bath--very prophylactic and not provocative, allergically-speaking

NO DIAPER WIPES, EVER--better to use unscented toilet paper and water

DREFT detergent for washing clothes and then using two rinse cycles

Aquaphor for excema around the lips, ears, and for chapped lips

VASELINE is wonderful for chapping on or around the lips or any small area on the body--be careful not to macerate the eczematic area, which can make it worse. Just a thin smattering of Vaseline over the afflicted area.

Protopic is a newer topical alternative (not a steroid) for bad, unremitting eczema, but you would need to consult your dermatolog Sympathetic scratcher


Eczema can also be helped with acupuncture. I have a son who had extreme eczema on his face from 5 months old to 12months. Even covering his hands with socks failed because the fabric actually caused his face to bleed. I read how traditional Chinese Medicine views eczema in some cases: a poor or unbalanced digestive function (e.g., constipation, not pooping regularly enough, as in my son's case) leads to toxins accumulating in the body, and the body's solution for eliminating the toxins is through the skin, hence, eczema. I decided to seek treatment for my son with a Chinese herbalist and acupunturist, Portia Lee, and saw improvement within 2 days. She is very ethical, and is networked with many others who can also help. Her number is 510-932-4456, you can email me if you need other info. My son is virtually eczema-less. By the way, the use of hydrocortisone was considered very unwise in my son's case from the Chinese medical point of vew. I believe it suppresses the body from being able to rid itself of toxins. onesmartjap

Eczema in 10-month-old

March 1999

My now ten month old daughter has suffered from eczema since she was born. She has rough skin all over and ongoing red patches in certain areas such as the hands, ankles and behind the knees. I am looking for any pearls of wisdom from anyone who has dealt with this issue especially with babies. Here's what we have tried to alleviate it: breastfeeding with a very basic diet of solid food (no dairy); evaluation by a dermatologist (not so good); various topical corticosteroid creams from M.D.'s; very limited bathing using Aquanil cleanser (no soap or shampoo); 100% cotton clothing, diapers, and bedding; All or Fab Free detergent including a double rinse during laundry; basic moisturizer such as Vaseline or Nutraderm (skin gets very dry); heat turned down low...... Needless to say it has been frustrating for us all and now, she is aggressively able to scratch. Thanks for any advice. heather


I would try to stay away from Vaseline....we were told that it could do more harm than good. We tried Calendula cream, Eucerin lotion and Basis lotion when our daughter had bouts with baby eczema with great success. I also might try switching to a baby laundry detergent like Ivory Snow or Dreft. The only other thing I would suggest is to humidify your home so that the air is more moist on a regular basis.... (run the shower on hot for 5 minutes while leaving the bathroom door open and the kid away from the HOT shower). Hope this helps. Good luck!
My daughter (19 mos.) has eczema patches too. I've been adding oil to her bath--just regular olive oil--and it seems to make at least the "good" parts of her skin feel moisturized afterwards, so I worry less about the eczema spreading there. We don't take frequent baths, and follow every bath with a generous layer of baby cream all over her skin, applied while the skin is still slightly damp. Otherwise, I use an extra-strength steroid ointment "Desonide" from the dermatologist. It is very effective short term, but as you probably know, you can't use steroids all the time or it weakens the skin. What I've been doing with medium success is using the medicine once a week, which basically "takes the edge off" the itching, even though the eczema never Really clears up, and the rest of the time use Neutrogena hand cream several times a day, really gooped on. I've been thinking of trying animal fat--like hamburger grease--on the eczema, on my own common sense that maybe animal skin (human) can best absorb animal fats, but haven't been brave enough yet to try it. You might have better luck than we did getting an effective homeopathic remedy. One other experience I can share is that for a week or so, for different reasons, I kept my daughter out of diapers completely. She developed a bright red eczema-looking rash all over where her diaper usually covers. It went away shortly after I resumed diapering her. From that I concluded that her skin definitely likes the moisture that the waterproff layer of the diapers provide, just from holding in the moisture that would otherwise evaporate. I've heard of wrapping the eczema parts in saran-wrap to achieve this effect, but haven't gone that far yet because my daughter's patches are mainly on her hands and wrists, and I think the saran wrap would last about 5 seconds. But it does seem as though it would probably help, and maybe be easier to "apply" on the torso. Also, what about De-emphasizing cotton clothing, which is highly absorbant (i.e. drying), and trying clothing with more polyester content. Polyester clothing tends to leave me kind of clammy, which might be just right for eczema-ish skin. Best wishes and luck to you.
My 7-month-old son has had eczema off and on. He seems to have allergies to several things that I eat that are apparently coming through my breastmilk enough to affect him, causing rashes, diarrhea, and I think general crankiness, as well as eczema. I have done a lot of experimentation with my diet and, though it's a little hard on me, eliminated some things from my diet. As long as I avoid what bothers him, he is fine. The foods I've been avoiding include cow's milk products (though goat milk and goat yogurt seem to be ok), wheat, tomatoes, chocolate, and eggs. (My eating a lot of garlic, onions, and spices seems to irritate his digestive tract also). Alexandra
A couple people have mentioned brief baths to help with eczema. I read recently that baths of 20 min or more are recommended for eczema-prone kids--shorter than that and they are more drying. As others have said, baths should be infrequent. Also, any soap/cleanser/shampoo should be done at the end of the bath, so they're not sitting in soapy water.
To the person who was thinking about trying "animal fat" on the skin - you don't have to go as far as hamburger fat. It might attract predators, for one thing. Lanolin is the oil that sheep produce to oil their wool, so you can look for products with a lot of lanolin in them and see if that helps.

Vaseline for 4-year-old's eczema?

March 1997

I have a son, 4 year's old . Suddenly he devloped dry skin. I went to doctor and the doctor gave him vaselin. I am surprised because I always heard that petroleum jelly is not good because it comes from petrol. If any parents have experience about Vaseline (good or bad!!!), please share. How about Eucerin? Thanks a lot. Suraiya.


Both my children have dry skin problem and find the following very good solutions.

-glycerin: for any type of skin and specially for very dry skin. you can buy pure glycerin from walgreens or other pharmacies. It is the best treatment (and the main ingeridient in any moisturizer lotion). Apply it at night for a couple of nights and you will see the difference.

-Eucerin: is the best moisturizer lotion that has no odor, is absorbed fast, and its only downside is its high price, but I find it worth $10 for the family size. Keri lotion is also as good. Soheila


In response to the dry skin inquiry.....I myself have just had a bout with dry skin and the doctor (family practioner/pediatrician) highly recommended Eucerin for our dry and sensitive skin. In my own experience calendula oil, Keri and Eucerin have worked well for my daughter's own bouts with dry skin. Unfortunately, pollution is the culprit for all of our ailing skin! Patricia
Regarding dry skin. Our son has had it since birth (now 14 months). Our pediatrician (Dr. John Good) has said that if the skin gets dry, it cracks, and itching further opens the skin up. Then sweat gets in and eczema develops and the itching is worse. Bad cycle that only gets worse.

He said, if you can keep the skin from getting dry, then this problem will go away. Makes sense to me. He said Vaseline works (I asked if it's bad to cover the skin with something that doesn't let it breathe; he was not concerned.)

We originally (with another doctor) used only steroidal cremes for the eczema. Now we can keep it contained using Eucerin creme liberally. We started the most recent program with three applications of a different steroidal creme (once a day for three days) then soley using Eucerin twice a day, morning and night. (I'm cautious and use steroids very sparingly). Now usually we apply Eucerin only once a day. Soon after starting this regimen, his bumps (new form of eczema for him) went away and have remained gone until saturday-- I think what causes it for our son (recently) is his skin being in contact with the carpet (I didn't tuck his shirt in!). Carpet was also a problem when he was an infant and would wiggle his way off the sheet on the floor. I recommend Eucerin creme. It's expensive, but it seems to work. Peg


Eucerin worked very well when I used to treat my 3 year old's dry skin. It isn't too oily. There's also Eucerin soap. If you're not already using it, you may also consider using Dove soap (White or Sensitive) to help. Dionne
My sons both suffer from dry as well as sensitive skin. My sister, who is a pediatrician, suggested we try vaseline. It seems to work the best for them in terms of keeping the skin moisturized without adverse reactions from other moisturizers, even some of the "good" ones. She has also recommended both Eucerin and Aquaphor. Personally, I find they both work well for me, but the best I've found for my sons is just plain vaseline. They have never had an allergic reaction to it. Marie
Re: Eucerin Costco/Price Club usually carries Eucerin for half the price as the "regular stores." Of course, they only carry the largest size, but I've found lots of uses for it and it lasts very well -- I've had a big tub of it around for up to 2 years before running out and getting more. And, as with many items, they sometimes don't have it in stock. But it's really worth checking. And, they have lots of kids medicine -- they used to carry Children's Tylenol for less than half the price of others places but haven't had it for the past year. Check the drug aisle for lots of kids stuff -- they also have those current toothbrushes that are popular amongst the 5-10 year olds that have the big thick colored handle -- forget the name -- you'll recognize them when you see them -- and as usual, for the same price as you pay for 1 at Safeway or Longs, you get 4 at Costco -- toothbrushes for a whole year! Tamara
We were just at our son's 2-yr pediatric visit, where we asked about the same problem, and were told to use a NON-greasy, non-fragranced moisturizer. The two our doctor mentioned were Eucerin (which I actually do find greasy) and Moisturel, which we're going to try. Alexis
One more response re: dry skin treatments... My son also suffers from dry skin and we've tried everything. What seems to work best for him is a multi-level attack consisiting of Aveeno* baths, twice daily doses of Eucerin or similar cream (eg Moisturel or DML), and daily applications of a prescription cream containing mometasone furoate. *Aveeno is an oatmeal based powder that you add to a bath. You can find it at most major drug stores. Stephanie

Eczema in Adults

May 2002

I haven't seen this query answered in previous posts, so I put it out to the list: My husband suddenly developed excema when he started law school. Stress related, right? Here's my question: Has anyone hear about the benefits, if any, of accupuncture on this skin condition? The usual steroid creams work great for a few weeks, and then everything comes back even worse. We've got another year to go and I'm worried for his health. It seems we need to treat the root cause. Any info from the knowledgable out there (and a recommendation for accupunturists for this kind of condition) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, anon., please


My daughter had suffered from exzema since birth to four. If you have experience with this, you know how terrible it gets. Her bed sheets often had blood stains from scratching, which made me cry.I tried everything people recommended, from Chinese herbs, acupuncture, homeopath and of course cortisone creams. Oh, humidifier and etc. Finally,what worked for her was Flax Seed Oil. One spoon in the morning and another in the evening. I came to this conclusion by reading up so much literature in natural healing in attempt to identify my daughter's body condition she was born with. Once I knew what kind of tendencies she was born with, it was easier to do things that would promote her health in general. To make a long story short, what she needed was cooling food and fibrous food. And Flax Seed Oil for her skin condition. I cannot say what really worked. But in a few weeks, her eczema disappeared. She is eight now and she never had anything like what she had. I always put cream on her after she swam. But otherwise I don't do anything special. I must say, though, that each person has a body that is different from the rest. And one should try to find what works for that particular person. The book that helped me the most was called. ''Healing with Whole Foods'' by Paul Pitchford. Good luck annie
This is not to do with acupuncture! However, I had eczema for years that developed when I was 17. I found that just applying corn starch works really well, rubbing in the powder. (I got this inspiration from a midwife who told me it works well for diaper rash...and then I tried it on my eczema.) For me this has been the only thing that helped at all - with steroid creams, as you say, it got better for a while then returned with a vengeance. Corn starch has completely solved the problem for me! Good luck Janice

Eczema and Diet

Feb 2002

I've read all of the advice given from past postings, and wonder if anyone has found a direct link between diet (food allergies) and eczema outbreaks. Our daughter has had eczema patches on the inside of her elbows that have never gone away, and she has outbreaks behind her knees and on her hands from time to time. We've found that possibly cow's milk might have some connection. We've used steriod creams, Eucerin, changed detergents, limited baths, changed to Cetaphil soap--all without much change in her skin. Does anyone know of a dermitologist or allergist that might be able to shed some light?


Our son had and has ongoing eczema due to a wheat allergy. It was confusing because he was not affected by wheat for the first six months he was eating it (bagels, Cheerios etc.) Our pediatrician told us that it is very hard to pinpoint what causes dry skin/eczema, and that some children have it even when on extremely limited diets. Food allergies in general are very hard to diagnose; I have had them as well and allergists were not able to help me diagnose them. The only way is to keep a diary of what is being eaten and watch for reactions. We found out what it was in our son's case by returning to a very limited diet and adding things again one at a time, as you did when your child was an infant. Suspect things that are common triggers can be wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, etc. You can try these first. As an adult, I also have reactions to raw tomatos. The eczema he has shows up as rough patches on his torso, inside elbows and occasionally legs. Bathing less helps somewhat, but the best moisturizer is this stuff made by Eucerin called Aquaflor, almost like Vaseline, but even heavier and better. It is expensive but works better than anything else in healing dry patches. If you can find what it is by routine elimination you can limit your child's exposure to it, which is the only real way to solve the problem. Creams and less bathing only treat the problem once it has occurred. Read all ingredient labels very carefully as you can have wheat and dairy in things you would never suspect, once you find the irritant. Good luck! cheryl
I noticed that for my daughter citrus fruits might trigger an outbreak of eczema. Not always. A lot of times is the combination of winter weather and the increased intake of oranges+grapefruits during this time. Also, a lack of vitamin A, Bs and E in the body has to do with poor skin health. I've never noticed a connection between milk and "our" eczema. Hope this helps. Simona
I have eczema all my life and enviromental factors like the soap used to wash the skin and clothes is very important. I do not use any fabric softener on my clothes or bedding. You might try washing the clothes in Cheer and running a extra rinse to be sure no soap remains on the clothes. Wear loose cotton clothing to avoid any skin irratation. Follow the above steps and use the medication from the Dr. on the affected areas. A Dermotologist should be able to get the eczema under control with topical creams. You will need to visit the Dr. frequetnly until the condition is under control so the Dr. can prescribe the correct creams. Anonymous
I've had eczema my whole life and have used shots, eliminated foods, used steroid and non-steroid creams and ointments, and the only thing that has made any difference has been judicious use of steroids and intense moisturizing. I also avoid getting my skin wet and cold b/c that makes the skin itchy. I also find that being wet and hot is bad (sweaty skin gets red and terribly itchy). My childhood trips to the midwest in the summer were pure hell b/c of the humidity and heat. I tried the complete elimination diet when I was 30, eating only rice, pears and chicken for two weeks and then adding one food product every 3-4 days. It did not make a difference in my eczema at all, though I did lose weight. I highly recommend my allergist, who has given me a great deal of support and was the only doctor to recognize the skin fungal infections that often accompany eczema. His name is Jim Nickelsen. He is in Berkeley and his number is 644-2316. His specialty is pediatric asthma and he has treated my asthma quite successfully. ps. Most people, unlike me, outgrow their eczema. denise
You might visit an accupuncturist for a consultation (they do diet as well as needles). I went on a diet recommended by my practioner for other reasons and some small skin patches on elbows and thighs disappeared in a matter of weeks. It included eliminating dairy, sugar(infrequent treats okay), 'nightshade' type veggies and citrus. But the recommendation has to come from tthe practioners sense of a person's energy. It's not necessarily one size fits all. anonymous
My daughter had terrible eczema in all the same places (and behind her ears). After trying all of the medical advice I was given, I finally decided to go to a Chinese herbalist/dermatologist/acupuncturist. She took one look at my daughter's skin and said it was due to food allergies. Since my daughter was was less than a year at the time she was mostly breast feeding and had a limited repertoire of foods that she had started to eat. Dr. Yu put ME on a strict diet which eliminated citrus, garlic, onions, beef, fish, cheese, tomatoes, chocolate and much, much more. I was to eat mung beans, chicken, cucumbers, and rice, among other things. Within THREE DAYS, my daughter's skin cleared up! In addition to the diet, she gave me an herbal topical cream. My daughter is 2.5 now and rarely gets bad outbreaks. She now eats some citrus and tomatoes, but not ferquently, and only on occasion gets rashes anymore.

I remember feeling terrible that my little girlhad sandpaper-like arms and hands instead of soft smooth baby skin and that the doctor was just treating the symptoms with hydrocortisone and Eucerine. Dr. Yu was terrific!! I can't recommend her highly enough! Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more about Dr. Yu or have any questions. Abby


When our baby developed eczema around 5-6 months, we tried all kinds of moisturizers (ie., Eucerin, Lubiderm, Aquaphor, Aveeno, Kiehl, Tricerum and so on), went to see the UCSF pediatric dermatologists, and used prescribed hydrocortisone creams. We looked up National Eczema Association as well as National Eczema Society (U.K.) for guidance. In one of the websites we visited (talkeczema.com) hosted by an English mom with atopic children of her own, we came across some information on Elena's Nature Collection creams. Her herbal moisturizer, especially Eureka cream, is the only non-steriod based cream that seems to control our baby's "flare-ups" with success. Additionally, we have eliminated all cow's milk from our baby's diet and have given only 100% organic solids. Hope this helps. Cy's mom

Rash on baby's cheeks & torso

May 2002

On and off for the past several weeks, my 7-month old son has had a rash on his cheeks, back, tummy and neck. I'm trying to relieve the symptoms (Aquaphor & hydracortisone have worked, Eucerin seemed to make it worse).

I read the posts on the website about allergies & excema, but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed in trying to figure out what's causing it. I think it started about the time he began solid foods, but I can't really pin it to any one thing he's had. (He eats only very basic, home-made baby- friendly foods, breastmilk and water. And I follow the ''four day wait'' rule.) I tried eliminating dairy from my diet, but the rash came back. I tried to re-introduce small amounts of dairy in my diet; the rash got worse a few days later). His all-cotton clothing is washed in Dreft and we use Aveeno baby soap... but these things have been constant.

How can I figure out if it's something he is eating, something I'm eating or something in the environment that's causing the rash? I really don't know where to start. Some friends have said just treat the rash but don't worry about tracking down the cause because babies get rashes. But I think it bothers him and it just looks so uncomfortable for him! I would be so grateful for any advice! Jen


My three-year-old daughter had a persistent, red, itchy rash around her mouth that we treated with aquaphor and hydrocortisone for months. Her otherwise terrific pediatrician called it a variety of things (none of which rung true) and finally sent us to a pediatric dermatologist. The dermatologist said it was a reaction to pseudophedrine, which is an ingredient in almost all decongestants, including Triaminic. She said once the skin is inflamed, these things take on a life of their own, so even though it had been months since our daughter had Triaminic, the rash was still growing. The dermatologist also said the over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream was making it worse because it was a cream rather than an ointment. She prescribed a hydrocortisone ointment, which we applied twice a day. We also kept using the aquaphor. The rash cleared up quickly after that. When we told our pediatrician what had happened, he was surprised and took notes. He said something like, ''You learn something every day.'' Brenda
My son had a lot of rashes when he was younger. I used Aveeno oatmeal baths when the rash got bad, but found the most helpful thing was to use a light bath oil rubbed on his skin after each bath. Mineral oils like Johnson's baby oil seemed to make things worse, but Neutragena light sesame bath oil seemed to do the trick. While he is still wet, we ''grease him up''. He loves it, and it really decreased all the rashes. He does have atopy (an allergic rash condition) which he inherited from me, but the bath oil controls the rashes for both of us most of the time. Eleanor
It sounds like your son has multiple allergies. Some may be food (such as the dairy; it sounds like he might have multiple food allergies because the skin rash is usually from food), and others might be environmental. A process of elimination approach, as you point out, is slow and overwhelming. (Also, you didn't say how long you eliminated dairy from your diet, but it takes 3-4 weeks before it's totally out of your system.) Talk to your pediatrician or get a referral to an allergist. It is my understanding that an allergist can draw some blood, do some lab tests, and determine your son's allergies with a reasonable degree of certainty. Good luck. -- Ilana
I believe the safest course of action would be to see your pediatrician or dermatologist. Anon.
In brief, my son (1 year) has a similar complaint which also started when he began food. His rash is on his cheeks, arms and legs. He seems to have developed sensitivities to things which he was fine with before. In particular he appears to have a sensitivity to our carpet (I try to keep as much of his skin covered as possible - long sleeved shirts, trousers and socks) and to laundry detergents and soap (the special 'baby' ones made his skin worse than the detergent I was using for regular laundry - I now use no detergent at all in his laundry and use a soap-free cleanser for his skin). I have not yet found a product which makes the rash go away but keeping his skin well moisturised seems to help. The rashes don't appear to cause him any discomfort. His skin seems to get worse when he is teething and also became worse as he got more moblie - possibly coming into contact with more irritants (letting him play on grass was another one that seemed to make things worse)... Sorry I can't recommend any products but I would encourage you to keep up with the trial-and-error elimination of foods and other factors. For us, it took about three weeks of not using detergent or soap and keeping him protected from the carpet to see an improvement. Pauline
Our son gets rashes every now and then, too. His Pede thinks it's ezcema (runs in my family), so it could be in your case, too. From your description, it doesn't sound like your baby is having a reaction to anything in particular. Aquaphor and hydrocortisone really help. I don't know if your son's neck harbors sweat, milk and other food particles, but if there are little red bumps, then it could be a yeast, which you can treat with an anti-fungal cream. My son used to be pretty chunky, so he had that problem a lot. Teresa
It possibly could be a viral rash if it happens before or after a cold or runny nose. My son has gotten these rashes whenever he is about to get sick, and it lasts until a few days after the cold has totally cleared. I treat it with Aveeno moisturizing lotion, or, if it quite itchy, with .5% hydrocortisone cream. Good luck! CJ
I think your baby and mine are related! My six-month old has very similar problems (he has only tried three foods and he is allergic to one of the three). I also had the same kind of problem with my now three-year old daughter when she was a baby. The good news is that she grew out of all of her allergies. The bad news is that I traced her symptoms to things like milk, sweet potatoes and bananas. So, almost no store- bought baby food for us (even organic food like Earth's Best put sweet potatoes in most of their veggies and bananas in most of their fruits!). I have a wonderful book called ''Mommy Made'' which gives you an order for introducing foods that is supposed to reduce allergic reactions (it also tells you how to make your own baby food, but it sounds like you're doing that already). It was very helpful in tracking down allergic foods. Since I, like you, was also breastfeeding, I would feed a new food for about five days with only other foods I was sure were not problems. If a rash came and went during that time (or didn't appear right away), I would attribute it to something in the breast milk. But if it came and stayed (or went away with the Aquaphor/cortisone (which is also what I use) but then came back the next day), I would assume it was the new food and wait at least a month before trying it again. You can also try an elimination diet yourself (pretty extreme), or keeping a food diary of what you eat. You should definitely keep a food diary of what your baby eats and note any symptoms and at what time they appear. Also, sometimes babies are only sensitive to foods if they have it repeatedly. So, after you find a few foods that seem okay, make sure you rotate them and don't, for example, give your baby applesauce every day. Since your baby is only seven months old, you may want to just start at the beginning again with food, based on the order in Mommy Made. Good luck! Stephanie
My 7 month old baby had a rash for 4 weeks that kept getting worse during that time. It was on her neck, tummy, back, and a little bit on her face. I kept treating the rash--like you were doing--thinking it was an allergy. Finally, I took her to the doctor because I could tell the rash was really bothering her (itching). The doctor diagnosed the rash as scabies. I was very surprised; no one in my family or at the baby's daycare had scabies. Anyway, my advise: Ask a doctor to diagnose the rash! Anonymous
Your poor baby! Dreft is highly perfumed (I can't believe that they even market it for children's sensitive skin) -- try switching to All Free and Clear. Try using only water to bathe your baby, or add some baking soda for itch-relief. As for foods, I think you might need to start at the beginning: withhold everything, then add things back in one at a time. If the rash got worse when you added dairy back in, I'd suggest not eating it. Often it's not any one thing, though, but a few things in combination. Good luck! Christine
My heart goes out to you. Although many atopic children may grow out of eczema and other atopic conditions such as asthma and hay fever, there is no cure for atopic conditions.

If you haven't done so already, you might want to check out the National Eczema Association website where you can find a lot of helpful resources, etc. The only problem with the Association is that it is heavily sponsored by the drug companies and accordingly, a bit biased against alternative medicine approaches. Secondly, you'll need to find a moisturizer that works for your son via trial and error. Ideally, you'll want to find a moisturizer that not only ''traps'' the moisture but also compliment/hasten the healing process. Thirdly, you'll want to stay away from the steroid-based ointments and creams unless they are absolutely necessary -- ie., to avoid infection, etc. Generally, doctors will tell you that 1-2% hydrocortisone creams are quite harmless unless used for an extended period of time. However, these system-suppressing steroids do have side-effects. Also, once you start using hydrocortisone medication on a regular basis, it becomes very hard to stop since the rash generally comes back with a vengence requiring stronger dosage, etc. Lastly, if you can find an alternative/oriental medicine doctor that specializes in pediatric allergies, this might be the long term solution (not only to treat your son's eczema but also to prevent other atopic conditions from developing in the future).

When our son developed eczema around 5 months, my husband and I checked out the National Eczema Association website, went to see pediatric dermatologists at UCSF, and used prescribed hydrocortisone creams. His rash was most severe around his mouth and cheek area, and resulted in infections. With the prescribed steroid creams, his rash would get better initially but within days, would reappear with a vengeance spreading to a wider area. Additionally, we tried all kinds of moisturizers (ie., Eucerin, Lubiderm, Aquaphor, Aveeno, Kiehl, Triceram and so on).

A year later, our son's eczema is under control and here's what we did. We have eliminated all cow's milk from his diet (goat's milk seems to be ok). We follow 100% organic and whole food diet -- Super Baby food book as well as Dr. Sear's The Nutrition Book were very helpful. We use Cetaphil for soap and follow ''3 minute rule'' when giving him a bath. For moisturizer, we use baby oil and creams by Elena's Nature Collection. For occasional ''flare-ups,'' I've had great success with Eureka cream from Elena's. (Elena is an English nurse who developed 100% natural moisturizers for burn victims, eczema sufferers, etc. You can order from her website.) We have phased out hydrocortisone creams entirely. His clothes are 100% cotton and washed with Dreft but rinsed multiple times. Fortunately, we don't have any carpet (which can be an irritant) and try to minimize other allergenic irritants by allergy-proofing our beddings, etc. There are other things you can do but will require some research on your part via web, books and connecting with other families with similar conditions.

Hope this helps. Good luck. Monica


Your baby's rash may be yeast-related, which might be why the treatments you mentioned (such as cortisone cream) don't work and probably make it worse. Try lotrimin cream. You can find it in the jock itch/athlete's foot section. sheryl
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