Up to one third of children are estimated to be affected by Eczema, a painful condition characterised by redness, bleeding, itchiness and dryness of the skin. And while we all know that babies are born with precious new skin that needs to be protected, eczema can mean that your baby’s skin becomes a painful roadmap for all of the chemicals hidden in many baby products. Most babies will present with eczema conditions early on, with the first flare up presenting before age two.
So how do you navigate a world with so many hidden Eczema triggers? Here, our lovely friend Tegan shares her personal experience with Eczema, and her top tips on how to manage this challenging condition.
Words: Tegan Boorman
Before my baby was born, I was blissfully unaware of what was yet to come in terms of caring for my baby’s skin. Yes, I purchased all organic cotton clothing and beautiful smelling organic baby skincare products in anticipation of giving her skin the best start possible.
What I failed to anticipate was that she was going to inherit a skin condition that I had, in a mild form, suffered at various stages of my life. Whilst I had previously had the occasional flare up of Eczema, it never took such a toll on my life that I stopped to consider the fact that I might pass it on to my children.
When my daughter was born, it was immediately clear that she had overly sensitive skin. Over the weeks that followed, her skin began to show the undeniable signs of Eczema. She developed red dry patches of skin that she constantly scratched to the point of making it bleed.
In a desperate search for relief, I tried product after product. I dare say that I tried most products on the market. I sought recommendations from anyone I could and I spent a small fortune on trying everything in a bid to find something that would work for us.
- We switched all of our laundry products to ecostore – soaker, washing powder and fabric softener.
- We switched to ecostore nappy balm – this cures any nappy rash she has after one application and we had tried everything else with no relief!
- We lather Redwin Sorbolene moisturiser on her in the morning, midday and after her bath before bed.
- If we drop the ball on any of the above, or someone dresses her in anything other than cotton or bamboo and her skin flares up, we then spot treat with Dermaid 1% which is a very mild steroid cream that you can purchase from any chemist without prescription. Do NOT buy the soft version in the pink packaging because it stinks! Purple is the one you want.
We continue to dress her in cotton (ideally organic) or bamboo and this goes a long way to help to prevent eczema flare ups. It probably goes without saying that all of her bedding is also organic cotton (we use kippins bedding). She also has a beautiful Kitty Kippin comforter for baby made from organic cotton that she snuggles into at bedtime.
In my search for answers, many people told me that dairy in the diet can be a significant contributor to Eczema. I can’t say for sure whether that’s the case but as it turns out, our daughter suffers from a severe cow’s milk protein allergy (anaphylaxis). We only learnt this when she was 7 months old and tried yoghurt for the first time and was then diagnosed by the immunologist after a skin prick test. Before her reaction to yoghurt, she had consumed cooked milk solids in the form of milk rusk sticks and butter when I cooked in it without much problem. She is now completely dairy free and continues to breastfeed at 18 months and her eczema is gone, save for when someone tries to dress her in a “cute” polyester outfit!
What works for one baby, may not work for another (hence why there are so many products on the market)! My biggest tip is to start with a change to a natural laundering product and try to keep it natural when it comes to skincare products. If you can’t find relief the natural way then quickly move on to seek help from an immunologist and get a prescription for a stronger steroid until you can get it under control.