Eczema in Babies & Toddlers

Parent Q&A

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  • Naturopathic doctor for baby eczema

    (1 reply)

    We’ve been dealing with eczema for our 11 month old, working with a dermatologist and allergist. We’re managing with both internal (eliminating food allergies) and external controls (creams, aquaphor, cotton clothing, minimal chemical detergents/cleaners, bleach baths, as well as topical steroids, which we’d love to reduce).  Has anyone worked with a naturopathic doctor for young kids/babies with eczema?  Would love doctor recommendations and to hear about your experience.    

    My son suffered from eczema and cradle cap and coilic. Doctors were not helpful. What ended up solving it was removing dairy from my diet (I was breast feeding him). But it took six weeks of eliminating dairy for the eczema to go away. I wanted to share that because I had cut dairy a few times before but only for two weeks and it wasn’t enough which meant it took a lot longer to work out the cause. Good luck! 

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  • Severe Baby Eczema

    (13 replies)

    Anyone have experience with sustained solutions for baby eczema?  Our little one, who is almost 8 months now has moderate to severe eczema on most of his body - he's constantly itchy and crys/upset when it gets flared.  We have gone do a pediatric dermatologist and have been treating with prescription topical steroid (desonide) for over 2 months now.  It works great when we apply 1-2 times per day, but have tapered to every other day and want to taper more, but it consistently comes back.  We are worried about long term use of topical steroids, but also our boy is so miserable, scratching everywhere and upset with flares.

    Things we do now outside of the rx steroid cream: Daily lukewarm baths (without soap). Sometimes with a tiny bit of bleach - as he gets cyst/acne spots and this helps minimize those (I wasn’t too keen on the idea of bleach, but was recommended a lot and can help as the broken skin from eczema can lead to inflection); Immediately slather him down 2x a day with moisturizers - use both creams like Vanicream/Cetaphil as well as jelly, like Aquaphor to lock in moisture (and coconut oil for scalp which he still scratches all night long); We keep him all cotton - long sleeves/pants as he itches a lot when his skin is exposed; Sleep sack with arms (zippity zip) since he scratches his head A LOT at nighttime; Cut his nails multiple times a week. 

    Have any others successfully weaned their LO off of a topical steroid and kept eczema under control using non-steroid creams? If so any tips? 
    Highly recommend this book and protocol to solve it once and for all. It’s intense, very rigorous but eye opening. Best of luck 

    We found baths with baking soda to be really helpful for our baby when she she had eczema. We had our baby sleep with socks on their hands, to prevent itching. Also--quit with the daily baths! There is absolutely no reason a baby needs to be bathed that often. Start doing every other day. Then stretch it out. You can do it only once a week! Seriously. His skin will thank you so much for it. I realize that it is a cultural norm to do a nighttime bath for babies and young children, but it's a cultural ritual, it's not something that is needed for health. His body will thank you for letting it have the chance to develop its own protective layer. Also, make sure you don't use any products with fragrances. Good luck! This can be overcome.

    This is so difficult -- my heart goes out to your poor little one!  My solution is Eucerin Baby Eczema Relief Cream.  I have been able to take child off steroids once I found this.  I re-apply after washing face or hands.  I use it for entire body & scalp. 

    I have found Aquaphor less helpful, because it is oil-based.  Also dairy seems to be our biggest culprit in causing the eczema.  Except for yogurt. 

    Sorry if this isn’t exactly answering your question, but we struggled with this as well starting around 6 months and only recently discovered (at one years old) that our little one had several food allergies: milk, tree nut/peanut, and egg. Once we cut these foods the eczema disappeared. Have you tried food allergy testing at all? Sometimes that is the only symptom (vs more severe reactions) 

    You didn’t mention laundry detergent that you have tried. I had eczema as a child and adult. The best “non chemical “ detergent I found has been Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder. Dryer sheets and even  the “clean and clear” detergents make my skin react. 

    I’m not quite answering your question but I was an eczema kiddo and it’s quite awful. I grew out of skin issues but now have three different autoimmune disorders. Diet and lifestyle changes have reduced my symptoms 90%. 
    My recommendation is to work with a pediatric naturopath or functional medicine practitioner to address your baby’s microbiome. Dairy, soy and gluten elimination may turn the eczema around! Best of Luck to you and your family. 

    My kid got eczema at about 5 months.  We took him off wheat for about a year and that cleared him up.  I hate to say that, because everyone things gluten is responsible for everything, but in this case it was true.  His little body wasn't ready for it. Nowadays he eats whatever, pizza mostly.

    Your poor baby!  My daughter also had horrible eczema when she was a baby.   We tried all kinds of things and what seemed to help the most was bathing in Dead Sea salts-  I think the salts may have had a disinfectant quality like the bleach bath does, but supposedly the minerals in there (magnesium?) are good for the skin.  I bought them in bulk and put them in her bath every night.  It was one of the few things we did that seemed to help.  We also used non-steroidal Protopic off-label (I don't think it is indicated for little kids) which seemed to help a bit but I wasn't super comfortable with that since she had eczema on her face too.  Dead Sea salt baths are probably worth trying since you're bathing your baby anyway.   Ultimately the terrible eczema went away by the time she was about 2 and it just turned into "normal" eczema (back of knees and elbows, and if skin gets too dry) which she still has at age 12.  

    As a side note, my daughter ended up with a severe peanut allergy -but this was before the protocols about the allergic march, etc..  Hopefully you can avoid seasonal and / or food allergies down the road!  

    My heart goes out to you, baby eczema is the worst. It took me so long to figure out what was going on with my daughter (now 3 1/2 yo) and even once I figured it out, it took forever to find the right solutions. I tried everything. The turning point was when I started giving her oatmeal baths. It was a game changer. Aveeno makes an oatmeal bath powder, though I actually made my own by putting rolled oats in a food processor and blending it into a fine powder. I put a lot of the powder in the bath and really let every inch (neck down) soak for at least 10 minutes. Water needs to be warm enough to dissolve the powder. Only caution is that putting oatmeal bath down the drain can cause problems! You may want to pour it down the kitchen drain instead (with a garbage disposal).  

    With help from my acupuncturist, I also learned that my daughter has several food sensitivities which enflame her eczema. She can't eat any dairy, gluten or eggs. Several vegetables - especially tomatoes - cause a skin reaction too. My acupuncturist recommended simply eliminating those foods and seeing if the condition improved. For us, it drastically solved things within a matter of days. 

    I'm happy to say, eczema is no longer constant issue for us. It's a very occasional issue that predictably pops up if my daughter eats something she's not supposed to.

    Best wishes to you, I know how all-consuming this issue is. I felt so helpless watching how miserable my daughter was and feeling like I couldn't reliably help her. Life changing to be able to move past that.   

    Have you tried dietary changes? The most common offender is dairy. If he's breastfeeding you would have to cut dairy out of your diet too. If he's formula fed you could try a hypoallergenic formula. Keep in mind that it can take 1-6 weeks to show improvement so you really need to commit to it in order to rule it out,  but generally you'll get some clue that it's helping within the first week or 2.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your family's struggle with your little one's eczema! I can relate, as my older son had severe baby eczema as well. Your regimen sounds almost identical to what we were doing for our guy. We did this for nearly a year under the guidance of our pediatrician. When we tried to ease off the rx steroid creams, it would lead to him developing a gross and unrelenting case of impetigo almost every time. We also struggled with a fungal infection on his cheeks once as a result of the eczema flaring. As much as I hated it, we kept the steroids going even on his face :(

    I mostly wanted to reply to you though that the baby eczema did improve significantly just like our pediatrician suspected that he would likely grow out of it. We were able to gradually lessen the number of steroid applications and only use triamcinolone when we had flares, and by 18 months we no longer needed daily applications as long as we were diligent about Aquaphor. Now he's 3.5, and we haven't used rx creams in over a year. He does still suffer from dry skin, which he'll need to learn to live with, but a good slathering of lotion has been sufficient.

    Just a thought… have you tried anything diet related? In some people, gluten and dairy are majorly inflammatory and cause eczema. If you’re breastfeeding, you could try removing those things from your own diet. If you’re using formula and it is cows milk dairy, that may be the culprit. Just a thought, and good luck!

    Your situation is unlikely to be similar to ours, but my LO was getting eczema from a severe egg allergy and my breastmilk. His eczema cleared up when we stopped breastmilk. If it is from an egg or other food allergy, one option is to cut the food out of your diet. I would've needed to stop eating eggs, including eggs in baked goods.

  • Allergy/eczema support group?

    (2 replies)

    My 9 month old was recently diagnosed with several food allergies. He is also battling eczema. I’m hoping to find a support group or friends in a similar situation. Any ideas or advice?

    I'm in a couple of Facebook groups but unaware of any others in the area

    FAAT: foo allergy treatment talk

    SF Bay Area Food Allergy Network

    Both are good.

    I was in a few others, but found them too overwhelming and couldn't stand seeing photos of rashes and people asking the internet for medical advice... Thats what specialists are for!

    You can also check FARE to see if there is a local group, or ask your allergist.

    good luck!

    Hi. My daughter, now seven, is severely (anaphylactic) allergic to sesame, mustard, fish and lentils. I now live in the UK but am on the sesame and mustard/seeds allergy Facebook pages, which are enormously helpful for general and specific advice and the people are, overall, very kind and supportive. Those are great for finding safe (however you define it) foods and talking things over. I am sure there are local groups too. If you want very good and detailed info try, which has fact sheets and more, for the 14 allergens on the EU's list of regulated allergens. Also, feel free to get in touch. I'd be happy to talk by phone (and we are moving to DC in a month so the time difference will be better!). Best wishes. It gets easier...

Archived Q&A and Reviews


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 

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. Tikva

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 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\x92s 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 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 ointment (bag balm is stinky and stains). I don't know if A 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\x92s problem. I had eczema as a baby and still as an adult. The itchy skin is unbearable and you can\x92t 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\x92s skin because children will tease. You also don\x92t want your child to have that \x93eczema look\x94.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\x92t be able to tell that I still suffer from it. Even as an adult in my 40\x92s, at this very minute I\x92m working very diligently to get rid of patches on my legs. Hydrocortisone doesn\x92t work for me anymore and new medicine usually comes out that\x92s 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\x92t eliminate baths. The water should be warm and not hot.

Good luck. Cheryl

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.

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