I have been meaning to put up a post of the resources and products (mostly natural formulations) that have proved beneficial in some way or the other in the past few years while treating my daughter’s eczema. These products have been recommended by other parents based on their experiences while treating their child’s eczema. I would like to mention that while my daughter is still on immunosuppressive medication to control her very severe eczema, some of them might prove to be extremely beneficial for your child like it has for many other children.
This is obviously not an exhaustive list by any means and I have listed a few products that have come to my notice and a few other products which I use on my children.
Creams, moisturisers and salves
I have written earlier about moisturisers and creams but these products deserve a special mention. I have put down a few completely natural products which are not mainstream and are mostly formulated by parents of children with eczema after they tried out various mainstream creams and moisturisers but to no avail. Furthermore, all these products are free of steroids, Sulphates, parabens and other preservatives, artificial fragrances, petrochemicals and are made mostly from natural organic ingredients. These products have proven to be beneficial to many children and in some cases, parents have been able to substitute topical steroid creams and moisturisers with preservatives and other chemicals with these natural and organic products successfully.
However, for mild to moderate eczema, you must use the steroid creams and medicines prescribed by the doctor to calm an infection or bad flare up for your child. But in the long-term if you can use a combination of natural moisturizer and other lifestyle and dietary changes to keep eczema successfully under control, that is the best situation one should work towards. I am still trying to figure out what is best for my daughter and how to manage her eczema without using steroids, immunosuppressant and other such powerful medicines and through our own journey it will really make me happy if I can help some other children and their families to cope with eczema.
I have used the first 2 products and coconut oil on both my children. I have found the Purepotions cream to be very effective on extremely dry patches and the organic coconut oil is the main moisturiser for my daughter. Some of the other products have been recommended by other parents of children with eczema and/or adults with eczema who have found relief by using these products. I have also come across some of these products while continuing my search for products to help my daughter and others like her suffering from Atopic Dermatitis.
However, you have to be careful before using the products for the first time on your child and should check the label to see if your child is allergic to any of the ingredients in any such products.
- Purepotions Intensive moisturising ointment– This natural salve was formulated in UK by a mother, Natalie Balmond, when she took matters into her own to find an alternative natural solution to alleviate her daughter’s suffering due to bleeding sores covering 90% of her body. It has Beeswax which acts as a natural antibacterial barrier protecting the skin from external irritants and locking moisture in as well as Hemp which is extremely rich in essential fatty acids which are often lacking in those with dry skin. One can find out more about this cream and order on their website (they deliver to India) – http://www.purepotions.biz/ and once can also purchase this ointment through other websites like http://www.everythingforeczema.com/skin-salvation.html.
- Chickweed and Calendula cream– The founder of the website, Ms Gail Palmer is another such mother whose daughter had eczema when she was small and she struggled to bring it under control. She developed this product made of chickweed and Calendula especially for chaffed, dry skin like in the case of eczema. Chickweed has been traditionally used by herbalists to help sooth itching, and Calendula to reduce inflammation. She has her own website and blog and one can buy this product on her website http://www.everythingforeczema.com/chickweed-and-calendula-cream.htm
- Baby and adult skin soother from the brand Emily Skin Soothers– Made by an acupuncturist for his daughter’s eczema, this balm contains only natural ingredients. It contains just three chinese herbs in a base of olive oil and beeswax. This product is available on the website http://www.eczemacompany.com/natural-eczema-cream/ and is shipped to India by this website.
- Odylique Repair Lotion and Ultra Rich Balm by Essential Care– these and other skin care products have been formulated by Margaret and her family since 1980s. She was motivated by the lack of products suitable for her own and her family’s very sensitive and eczema-prone skin and she formulated skin care products based only on organic herbs, plant oils and natural active ingredients. The lotion and the balm are the 2 products made specifically for eczema prone skin and one can purchase their products from their website http://www.essential-care.co.uk/organic-skincare-for-problem-skin/organic-skincare-for-itchy-skin.html
- Organic Scratchy Balm and Organic Scratchy Bath/Body Oil by LJs Natural– These products were formulated by Lisa Johnson who had been suffering from severe eczema for a long time after a lot of research and experimentation. The combination of these products and complementary therapy including diet helped bring her eczema under control ever since. The balm is a blend of organic shea butter, avocado oil, evening primrose oil and may help provide relief from itching due to dry skin conditions in a completely natural way. The bath and body oil can be used on children since it is a blend of lavender and chamomile (which are great essential oils good for dry and damaged skin and are very relaxing if used before bed time). This product is now available for delivery to India after I contacted her last week. You can check out her website at http://www.lj-natural.com/my-story/.
- Coconut oil (Organic)– This moisturiser is something we have been using for quite a while now and it has proved to be very helpful especially during the times when my daughter’s skin is broken at places due to constant itching. It is an excellent emollient for not only coating the skin but penetrating it as well, unlike a mineral oil that only coats the skin. This is readily available in India from brands like Conscious Foods, Down to Earth, Kama etc.
Therapeutic clothing and products
There are some specialised types of products available to help patients suffering from eczema cope with the aches and pains and sleepless nights associated with this skin condition and have to be used in combination to the regular medications and mositurisers. Amongst these, the most obvious and natural ones which help in reducing skin aggravation is the use of completely natural laundry cleaners. I have touched upon this topic in my earlier post – “Eczema- a change in lifestyle” particularly in relation to availability of these products in our country.
Today I am writing about other products which have been specially formulated to help in reducing itchiness, increasing the comfort level and which might help in reducing the intensity and frequency of flare ups in some people. I have used The Tubifast Garments on my daughter when she still had mild eczema and was advised wet wrapping treatment by her dermatologist. I have also used the Dermasilk full sleeves roll neck t shirt on her and it helped to some extent to reduce her itching at times. In particular, the Dermasilk Elite Girl Brief has proved to be beneficial to my daughter and she wears it to school everyday. It has helped reduce the itching in her groin area to a large extent.
Again, I have shortlisted most of these products based on the reviews and recommendations of other parents who have found these to be beneficial in some way or the other. There must be many more which have been developed and the good thing is that there are a whole host of products developed specifically to minimise discomfort and itching associated with Atopic Dermatitis and thus improving the overall quality of life for an eczema patient.
- Dermasilk Therapeutic Clothing– This is a line of clothing used in the treatment of various forms of dermatitis, eczema and allergic skin conditions and is made of a special, knitted medical grade silk (not regular silk material) by Espere Healthcare in the UK. One can read more about them on their website- http://www.dermasilk.co.uk/. They manufacture full sleeves roll neck T shirts, full length footless leggings, tubular sleeves (for elbows and knees) , underwear (for boys and girls), child gloves, short sleeves T shirt amongst others. I have used the long sleeves T shirt and full leggings for my daughter but intermittently due to various reasons and she was pretty comfortable wearing this at night. You can buy their products on the website- http://www.theallergyshop.com.au/dermasilk-kids/ since this website delivers to India.
- Tubifast Garments by Monlycke Healthcare– Tubifast Garments are specifically made to manage eczema using the Wet Wrapping Technique also called Wet Dressing Technique. They are found in various forms for children- gloves, leggings, full sleeves vests in all sizes. Apart from these, Tubifast Patch Wrap, is used to soothe and protect isolated patches of eczema, especially behind the knees or the elbow and comes in pairs. One can read more about them on their website- http://www.molnlycke.com/patient/en/Products/Wound-care-products/Tubifast-Garments/. The garments can be ordered at the website- http://www.theallergyshop.com.au/dermasilk-kids/ and they deliver to India as well.
- Scratch Me Nots– This is a website where once again a mother, Andrea, developed a product looking for a way to stop her daughter from scratching all the time due to her eczema and wanted to stop the itch- scratch cycle. She then eventually figured out how to bring her eczema under control once her daughter stopped scratching and thereafter they could sleep at nights and decrease the visits to the doctors and the medications. She has developed ScratchMeNot Flip Mittens, ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Body, Bamboo Bubby Bag, ScratchMeNot Mitten Sleeves all designed for babies and children upto 6 years of age to stop their scratching especially at night. These products are made with an unique blend of bamboo viscose, organic cotton & lycra and one can buy their products on the website- http://www.eczemacompany.com/scratchmenot-flip-mitten-sleeve-formerly-classic/ or the company website- http://www.scratchmenot.com/view-all/.
- Skin to Skin biofunctional clothing – These products were developed by a dermatologist especially for babies, children and adults with atopic skin conditions like eczema. These are made from 70% pure cotton and 20% brown algae (seaweed) which has been bonded with silver particles giving the remaining 10%. According to the company, the seaweed extract has natural properties that soothes and protects against itchiness and the silver adds antiseptic properties, drastically reducing the growth of any potentially harmful bacteria on the skin. The products available are boxer shorts for girls/boys, long sleeves and short sleeves Tshirts, socks and leggings. One can buy these products at http://www.everythingforeczema.com/skin-to-skin.html (they deliver to India) and their website is http://uk.skintoskin.eu/ incase you need further information.
Diet and eczema
The other aspect of managing eczema that keeps coming up again and again from other parents who have successfully brought their child’s eczema under control and others who have been able to manage their own eczema is through their diet. This is something which my husband and I have been contemplating for some time for our daughter but have not been able to implement by ourselves. For a child, a well-balanced nutritional diet is critical for growth and well being and this is even more true when the child is on a restrictive diet due to eczema, allergies etc.
Fortunately, I came to know of a naturopath based in Mumbai recently and we have approached him to help us streamline Aiyana’s diet to help us to possibly decrease her dependency on medications which keeps her eczema under control currently. Even though no doctor will really recommend a change in the diet for eczema unless it directly affects a person due to his or her allergies, more and more people with severe eczema are going down this path especially when their dependency on powerful medicines with equally powerful side effects becomes too great. Hence the role of naturopaths, natural formulations and home remedies in chronic conditions like eczema.
But you must take the same precautions that you would take before giving any mainstream medicines to your child by finding out about the impact of dietary changes, side effects of any supplements given, regular monitoring required etc. Thus even in the case of managing your child’s eczema through changes in the diet and supplements, you should be clear about why you are eliminating some foods while keeping or even increasing others and not just follow all the recommendations blindly. For a child, a well-balanced diet is very important for growth and the dietary changes should take into account protein, calcium requirements of a growing child amongst other things.
On this front, after quite a bit of research on the resources available on diet and eczema, I have come across a book called “The Eczema Diet” by an Australian nutritionist Karen Fisher. Twelve years ago Karen’s daughter developed eczema soon after she was born. By the age of two, her daughter’s eczema had become so severe that Karen decided it was time to find her own solution. Karen successfully controlled her daughter’s severe eczema by formulating a diet plan for her daughter. This book is based on a decade of extensive research of the causes of eczema by Karen Fischer. It has helped a lot of people to bring their eczema under control and has also helped a lot of parents to manage their child’s eczema in a much more natural way.
I had ordered this book on http://www.theallergyshop.com.au/the-eczema-diet-by-karen-fischer/. This book has recently been delivered to me and I am still going through the same. So far I have read about how it works, the top eczema safe foods as well as the ones which trigger eczema. In case you have already taken help of this book and tried this diet on yourself or your child, I would be really happy to hear from you.
I have tried to bring together in one place a variety of products (creams, moisturisers, clothing) which have helped many children and adults control their eczema and live a comfortable life. Eczema, while not usually life threatening in nature, can really hamper a family’s quality of life on a daily basis since lack of sleep, discomfort, itchiness, medications and their side effects take a toll on children with eczema and their parents alike. However, there have been a number of parents who have found a way that has worked for their child to some extent or the other and all the trial and error they have gone through has been worth it in the end. While I am also one of those parents still struggling to bring my daughter’s eczema under control with minimal or no medication at all, I would like to live you with a thought that I often have to remind myself on those days when it all seems so difficult-
“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed”- Sid Caesar