Eczema in Children

Parent Q&A

  • Hi,

    Any families out there that can recommend alternative medicine/healing for children's eczema?  We have been going to Kaiser for years and every dermatology doctor and pediatrician only seems to treat the symptom and not getting to the root of his skin condition.  My son at birth had food allergies which he has now outgrown a bit but his eczema flareups are so constant.  Constantly getting infected from scratching his eyes, nose, lips and genitals.  He scratches all over his legs and arms too but no infection.  The doctor only recommends the steriod creams get stronger and stronger and apply more and more often.  And when he's infected to treat with antibiotics which helps but then it comes back again.  I am frustrated and tried of going down this route.  Can anyone out there recommend pediatric or doesn't have to be pediatric but a good acupuncturist or naturopath that has success treating eczema?  

    Any suggestions or stories will be greatly appreciated.  

    Yes! We literally had the same experience with our son. My heart is with you. Our son is now almost 5. At 3 years old, we took him to Nancy Rakela OMD LAc, Berkeley Acupuncture. She performed NAET + Acupressure on him. It turned out that the root of his issue was cow dairy, which she helped identify through NAET and treat with Acupressure. He no longer has eczema. I would be so happy to talk to you. 

    I don't know a naturopath in the area, but have autoimmune skin conditions, and have been having success bathing in borax over the past 2 months. You can look it up online. I did take my son to Dr Marcey Shapiro, who is a local MD who uses natural medicine, so maybe she could help, or give you names. I agree that long term.use of steroid creams is not the answer!

    I'm sorry to hear you and your son are going through this. I lived with eczema throughout my childhood and young adulthood.  After a while, for me the symptoms moved beyond physical and became emotional as well - avoiding swimming, shaking people's hands, etc. The obvious rash was treated with steroid creams, and to no avail. Underlaying causes were never addressed.  You are a good mother to be taking this seriously and working toward a solution.

    I don't have current recommendations for you, but I can tell you what eventually worked for me.  In my late 20's my immune system became increasingly out of control with low-grade allergies, symptoms of which included increasingly painful eczema rashes (literally skin peeling off in sheets).  I did two things that seemed to help immensely. First, I eliminated as much as possible exposures to every day chemicals - reduced cleaning products to baking soda and vinegar, used very natural personal care products, laundry soap, significantly reduced plastic, added dust mite covers to mattresses and pillows, etc.  EWG.org Skin Deep is an excellent resource.  They now rate cleaning products as well. Second, I eliminated foods that seemed to be triggers.  For me, it ended up being dairy.  I was vigilant about both of these for 2-3 years, until all symptoms cleared and I was off all allergy and steroid medications, then slowly let my guard down.

    I now eat anything I want (although I do tend to avoid processed foods, limit myself to small amounts of dairy, and eat organic as much as possible). I continue to be cautious with everyday chemical exposures (but can now sleep on hotel sheets and not wake up with a rash).  I have not had an eczema outbreak in a decade or so (other than very limited due to identifiable exposure).  I'm convinced that the steps I took reset my immune system.  During this time, I worked with a very good allergist at PAMF in Menlo Park, Dr. Boccian, to control other symptoms and be tested to better understand my triggers so I could better focus my efforts at controlling them (not very helpful quite honestly due to high false positive/negative of the various tests).

    Both of my children had limited outbreaks of eczema early in their childhoods, but have been eczema free since middle school and into their teens (now 16 & 18).  We treated outbreaks with the creams, when necessary.

    I don't know what will work for your son, but be diligent in your search and approach. Relief is out there, I'm sure of it, it just may take a while and a lot of hard work. Good luck to you.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions

My 8YO has really bad eczema on his face

Jan 2014

My 8 yr old son has really bad eczema. He is itching all the time and it is all over his body and his face is the most affected area.It is to the point where he is constantly scratching his face and his skin has peeled so much and you can see his flesh. He has been on all types of medication prescribed by his doctors @ Kaiser.None of them seem to stop his scratching.We would like to get a second opinion and would like to see if you have any recomendations on Ped Dermotologists or something parents have done before that seem to work on their kids.. Willing to try almost anything at this point to relieve his scratching and pain. Mi


See an allergist. My baby had horrible eczema and we have significantly reduced flairs by identifying food allergies (in our case, dairy, soy, eggs and gluten) and eliminating those foods completely. Other good tips we got for managing eczema include daily warm baths followed immediately by heavy cream (Vanicream works well for us). Some docs say less frequent baths because the water dries out the skin, but if the water is not too hot and you moisturize immediately after, the bath actually puts moisture back into the skin and then you trap it there with a really good moisturizer. A humidifier in the room at night also helps. But those are ways to treat it from the outside....what really worked for us was looking from the inside out and once we identified and eliminated the food allergies we rarely have to use the other treatments. finally clear


I don't have the name of a pediatric dermatologist for you, but I suffered greatly from eczema until the age of 13 when a dermatologist literally changed my life. His advice:

The first thing is to make sure your son knows not to pick at the eczema. Especially the little pustules. When I was a kid, I thought they would go away more quickly if I popped them, not realizing that this leads to infection and scabbing.

The second thing is how critical moisturizers are. Moisturizer should be applied every day, especially after bathing. A good one is Lubriderm. Aveeno is another, although thicker. Nutraderm is good for faces. For hands - Neutrogena. Make sure he uses only mild soap - Dove unscented is the cheapest, mildest soap out there. At that age he probably doesn't even need to use soap on his face. Eliminate wool and wool blends - blankets, clothing - too itchy. My dermatologist also prescribed a corticosteroid ointment to get outbreaks under control. He also prescribed Atarax to be taken orally when the itching was really intense. I was older (13), so not sure what challenges a younger kid presents. I suspect your doctor has been reluctant to prescribe a strong enough corticosteroid, because they can cause the skin to thin, but you could transition to a lower strength once the outbreaks are under control. Good luck, and kudos to you for hanging in there on behalf of your son. He will thank you some day. Eczema- free!


Try cutting out dairy from your son's diet. Many people are allergic to cow's milk. No milk for a month, and see if that helps. mom


Hi, You might look into the autoimmune diet protocol. Eczema in kids often is related to sensitivities or allergies in their diets. Wheat is a big offender, but there are others. Basically you eliminate all suspicious foods for three weeks or a month, and see if the eczema abates. Then you slowly reintroduce the foods, one at a time, noting if symptoms flare up with any foods. It is difficult to do, but not impossible. Also, if your son is having uncontrollable eczema from a food sensitivity, you want to know it now. Continuing to eat that food could set him up for a lifetime of other autoimmune problems and/or low-grade persistent inflammation. Good luck!


When you get your second opinion, be sure to ask about scabies, mites, or other parasites. A dematologist should be able to see the difference, but ''somtimes'' it is misdiagnosed, or sometimes the two occur together. Anon


I'm so sorry your son is suffering. My son also has eczema, and it's so hard to watch. I don't have a specific Pediatric Dermatology recommendation for you, but I did want to tell you about a few resources that you might not know about.

The first is that you might find help at the Kids With Food Allergies forums: www.kidswithfoodallergies.org I realize you didn't say anything about your son having food allergies, but the folks on those forums have atopic kids in general, and many of them suffer from eczema in addition to their food allergies, so there is an entire forum on the topic.

The second is that I've read about multiple families on that forum having excellent experiences with the people at National Jewish Health hospital in Denver: http://www.nationaljewish.org/programs/pediatric/atopic-dermatitis/ Note that I have no personal experience with the center, but have simply heard good things about it.

Lastly, I suspect you are already following all the standard of care guidelines, but just in case not, please check out: www.nationaleczema.org . Under ''Eczema'' and then ''Treatment'' you will find bathing and moisturizing guidelines which may help decrease or control your son's symptoms. Best of luck in getting the itch to stop.


I feel for you! It is so painful to watch your child suffer like this. My kids have mild eczema and that is stressful enough. My son would react after eating certain foods, so we tested him and it turned out he had numerous food allergies. I haven't tested my daughter, but we have figured out that she is allergic to a few foods as well. While your child might not test positive for food allergies, his/her eczema might be exacerbated by things like gluten, dairy or other common allergy causing foods. I do share your concern about using prescription meds which are not healthy and which don't address the root of the problem. Traditional doctors are not usually open to investigating causes with eczema, so I've found searching for natural/dietary remedies online to be helpful. I also plan to visit a naturopathic doctor, as many people have great success going this route. I hope you able to find the cause and eliminate it. Jodi 


Blackheads & pimples on 5-year-old

Jan 2005

My son is 5 and a half and he is already getting blackheads and pimples! Breakouts are mostly around his nose and happen about once a month. He washes his face twice a day with soap. Should I be applying a benzoil peroxide treatment at this early age? Or a tea tree oil cleanser? Thanks for any advice. anon


You should consider taking your son to a dermatologist for a checkup. The dermatologist might have a better way to treat the acne and/or the underlying cause than you could yourself using over-the-counter remedies. Anon.


I'd stay away from tea tree oil. It is highly allergenic, especially once it has begun to oxidize. Former Tea Tree Oil Fan

 


Eczema in 4 year old - natural remedies not working

April 2004

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

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

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

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


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

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


For alternative treatments for eczema: I am someone who has suffered from it all her life, I wanted to help out with some ideas if I could: First, you might try burrows solution -- available at your pharmacy. You soak the eczema in it and that helps relieve suffereing. Also, be aware that eczema does not always appear in response to food allergies -- it could be other allergens (e.g., plants, pollens, etc.). You should also understand that allergies are better conceptualized as the response of a HEIGHTENED immune function than a lowered immune system -- although perhaps I misunderstood and there is osme other reason why her immune function is reduced. Finally, although I applaud your efforts to find alternative approaches to dealing with it, I'm wondering if you would consider a more mixed approach. I can understand your desire to limit the use of benadryl and topical steroids. HOwever, when your daughter is so uncomfortable that she can't sleep, it might really be better for her if you give her some. Eczema can be extremely painful and difficult to deal with (i.e., not to scratch) and the available medications do greatly help this rather extreme discomfort. sabrina


Hi, eczema runs in my family - lots of the little girls (including my own 21month old has severe patches of redness, itching, scaling and crusting, especially in the arm pits and back of the legs. I tried Dreft, cortisone cream which clearly thins the skin over time, A ointment, Aquaphor, etc. with only minimal improvement. Why don't you talk to your physician about Elidel which has recently be approved for use in kids over 2 years. It works via very targeted method - it reduces the activity of T lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell that is responsible for inflammatory reactions). It appears very safe, and the incidences of infections is no higher than for those patients receiving no active treatment (placebo). uding upper respiratory tract infections appears to be no different than patients receiving no treatment (placebo). You only start to see a slight increase in URIs in kids under 2, therefore the FDA has restricted its use to kids over 2 years (although pediatricians are prescribing off label for these younger kids). I think it's worth a trial, and right now while they are in their promotional phase, you can probably get a free initial prescription to see if it works. Good luck! Lorianne

 


Peeling skin on daughter's fingers & feet

Nov 2002

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


Sometimes this can be the sign of some vitamin/mineral deficiency. Maybe your daughter lacks vitamin A, E or Bs. Please talk to your pediatrician and decide, if this is the case, what supplements you need to give her. Simona


My mother-in-law has had this condition on her hands and feet for decades. In her case, it's eczema and it tends to flare up whenever she's stressed out. They do have her moisterize with doctor recommended creams. She puts on the cream, puts on plastic gloves, then cotten gloves on top of those, and then wears this overnight to sleep. Other than that, she has gotten cortizone injections when it has been really bad. I'm sure treatments are better now as she hasn't had an outbreak in a long time. Good luck!


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

Feb 2003

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


My 7 year old son also has eczema. He is getting better with each passing year but had it really bad when he was your daughter's age and he too hated it when we put cream. The fact is that maintaining moisturization of the skin by applying Eucerin/ Aquaphor is absolutely key for things to get better. Actually when the condition of the skin is really bad it hurts when you put cream .Shea butter ( it is kind of expensive though ) is really good because it is thinner and you do not have to rub it in as hard as Eucerin . Try changing the cream she might like that. The following things worked for us a) letting him put the cream and then you kind of sneak in and work from the sides b) look at a favorite book, listen to a favorite song when the time comes to apply cream c) let him put some Eucerin on us and make a game out of it . Trust me, you will find out something that works for you. And eventually as she gets older she will understand that this is necessary for her skin to get better. Good luck. You can email me and talk more about this if you want. Bipasha


Our daughter (and me as a child, too) has eczema, and it was most severe on the back of her legs. We too had battles about creams and finally had to make something else desirable contigent on putting the cream on, and we also let her put cream on us, we made it into sort of a game. But I was concerned about long-term use of cortisone cream, and the leg eczema kept coming back after we stopped it, and the Eucerin didn't keep it from itching.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I have a 4 year old daughter with eczema. She, too, is often reluctant to let us put on her medicine (either Elidel, cortizone, or ''tac'') and lotion (Eucerin). She'll sometimes let me put Eucerin on her after she puts it on me. I make it a point to compliment her on her application, and I make sure I tell/show her how soft my skin will be (not only when she's applying it but at other times, too). Right now she loves it when I place dots of Eucerin all over her body or draw pictures with the Eucerin and then rub it in. It's very sticky and you can draw lines, happy faces, flowers, etc. She has also become very fond of the ''massage'' she gets when I rub in the Eucerin using long and short strokes, dancing fingers, etc. holly


I have not dealt with eczema on the hands, but an idea came to me that perhaps is worth a try? What if you got ''glamorous'' elbow-length gloves and told your daughter when she allows you to apply the cream she gets to wear these beautiful gloves? Perhaps it would even help soften the skin more! If they don't sell these for children perhaps you could alter adult ones or even sew some up yourself. Just my 2 cents. Good luck! anon


The first thing I would do is buy allergy covers for the mattress and pillows. My friend did this for her son's bed at the recommendation of the allergist and the eczema cleared up, no medication. anon


My son had eczema like you are describing. The lotions helped, but it never went away until I started feeding him ground flax seed in his oatmeal every morning (about one heaping teaspoon). We skip a day or 2 a week, but when we go away on vacation and forget the flaxseed for several days, the rash comes right back. You can buy it already ground at Trader Joes in the cereal section. Good luck. Natasha H


My daughter had eczema when she was about 2. She was treated successfully using homeopathy by Christine Ciaveralla at the Hahnemann Clinic in Albany (524-3117). Christine is an amazing practitioner. It's fairly expensive but really worth it. shalva


Whenever I have to put any kind of lotion on my 3 yr. old, I find it helps if we just first sit and talk about it - 'I've got this lotion, it's to help your skin stop itching...', let him check it out (within reason), and have him apply it to me first, then himself, if possible. I keep talking -'see, it's kinda cold, isn't it? is it smelly? sticky? etc.' and finish up the application. Doesn't *always* work (hey, he's 3...), but does enough of the time. Ellen


I have a friend that uses tacrolimus ointment for ezcema. I understand that it's a relatively new drug and it seems to work miracles for my friend. There are several web sites that discuss its merits and its kid-friendliness. A google search will get you to most of them. clevergirl


I wanted to relate my experience of how flax seed oil healed my son. My 18 month old son has severe food allergies but even when I had eliminated all the allergens from his diet his skin was awful--red and chapped behind his knees and at his neck and even scabbed in places from his scratching. I was putting lotions on several times a day and giving him infrequent, short baths as well. I started adding about 4-5 drops of flax seed oil to his oatmeal about 10 days ago and his skin is transformed. It is soft all over, barely red and even the worst patches are almost healed. He's sleeping better too because he's not so itchy. I really hope this works for other children with excema as well. karen


I did not read the original post but saw that another parent mentioned that the eczema was caused by a dairy allergy. My 4 y.o. daughter suffers from the same cause. She is very good about staying away from milk and such but I do allow it once in awhile and if she gets a really bad flare up we just use the prescription steroid lotion. She had a horrible, painful problem and within a week of figuring out the problem, her eczema was completely gone. Good Luck. Bridget


Regarding your child's eczema, here is what we have experimented with and found helpful.

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

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

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

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

DREFT detergent for washing clothes and then using two rinse cycles

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

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

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


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


Vaseline for 4-year-old's eczema?

March 1997

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


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

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

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


In response to the dry skin inquiry.....I myself have just had a bout with dry skin and the doctor (family practioner/pediatrician) highly recommended Eucerin for our dry and sensitive skin. In my own experience calendula oil, Keri and Eucerin have worked well for my daughter's own bouts with dry skin. Unfortunately, pollution is the culprit for all of our ailing skin! Patricia


Regarding dry skin. Our son has had it since birth (now 14 months). Our pediatrician (Dr. John Good) has said that if the skin gets dry, it cracks, and itching further opens the skin up. Then sweat gets in and eczema develops and the itching is worse. Bad cycle that only gets worse.

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

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


Eucerin worked very well when I used to treat my 3 year old's dry skin. It isn't too oily. There's also Eucerin soap. If you're not already using it, you may also consider using Dove soap (White or Sensitive) to help. Dionne


My sons both suffer from dry as well as sensitive skin. My sister, who is a pediatrician, suggested we try vaseline. It seems to work the best for them in terms of keeping the skin moisturized without adverse reactions from other moisturizers, even some of the good ones. She has also recommended both Eucerin and Aquaphor. Personally, I find they both work well for me, but the best I've found for my sons is just plain vaseline. They have never had an allergic reaction to it. Marie


Re: Eucerin Costco/Price Club usually carries Eucerin for half the price as the regular stores. Of course, they only carry the largest size, but I've found lots of uses for it and it lasts very well -- I've had a big tub of it around for up to 2 years before running out and getting more. And, as with many items, they sometimes don't have it in stock. But it's really worth checking. And, they have lots of kids medicine -- they used to carry Children's Tylenol for less than half the price of others places but haven't had it for the past year. Check the drug aisle for lots of kids stuff -- they also have those current toothbrushes that are popular amongst the 5-10 year olds that have the big thick colored handle -- forget the name -- you'll recognize them when you see them -- and as usual, for the same price as you pay for 1 at Safeway or Longs, you get 4 at Costco -- toothbrushes for a whole year! Tamara


We were just at our son's 2-yr pediatric visit, where we asked about the same problem, and were told to use a NON-greasy, non-fragranced moisturizer. The two our doctor mentioned were Eucerin (which I actually do find greasy) and Moisturel, which we're going to try. Alexis


One more response re: dry skin treatments... My son also suffers from dry skin and we've tried everything. What seems to work best for him is a multi-level attack consisiting of Aveeno* baths, twice daily doses of Eucerin or similar cream (eg Moisturel or DML), and daily applications of a prescription cream containing mometasone furoate. *Aveeno is an oatmeal based powder that you add to a bath. You can find it at most major drug stores. Stephanie


Eczema and Diet

Feb 2002

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


Our son had and has ongoing eczema due to a wheat allergy. It was confusing because he was not affected by wheat for the first six months he was eating it (bagels, Cheerios etc.) Our pediatrician told us that it is very hard to pinpoint what causes dry skin/eczema, and that some children have it even when on extremely limited diets. Food allergies in general are very hard to diagnose; I have had them as well and allergists were not able to help me diagnose them. The only way is to keep a diary of what is being eaten and watch for reactions. We found out what it was in our son's case by returning to a very limited diet and adding things again one at a time, as you did when your child was an infant. Suspect things that are common triggers can be wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, etc. You can try these first. As an adult, I also have reactions to raw tomatos. The eczema he has shows up as rough patches on his torso, inside elbows and occasionally legs. Bathing less helps somewhat, but the best moisturizer is this stuff made by Eucerin called Aquaflor, almost like Vaseline, but even heavier and better. It is expensive but works better than anything else in healing dry patches. If you can find what it is by routine elimination you can limit your child's exposure to it, which is the only real way to solve the problem. Creams and less bathing only treat the problem once it has occurred. Read all ingredient labels very carefully as you can have wheat and dairy in things you would never suspect, once you find the irritant. Good luck! cheryl


I noticed that for my daughter citrus fruits might trigger an outbreak of eczema. Not always. A lot of times is the combination of winter weather and the increased intake of oranges+grapefruits during this time. Also, a lack of vitamin A, Bs and E in the body has to do with poor skin health. I've never noticed a connection between milk and our eczema. Hope this helps. Simona


I have eczema all my life and enviromental factors like the soap used to wash the skin and clothes is very important. I do not use any fabric softener on my clothes or bedding. You might try washing the clothes in Cheer and running a extra rinse to be sure no soap remains on the clothes. Wear loose cotton clothing to avoid any skin irratation. Follow the above steps and use the medication from the Dr. on the affected areas. A Dermotologist should be able to get the eczema under control with topical creams. You will need to visit the Dr. frequetnly until the condition is under control so the Dr. can prescribe the correct creams. Anonymous


I've had eczema my whole life and have used shots, eliminated foods, used steroid and non-steroid creams and ointments, and the only thing that has made any difference has been judicious use of steroids and intense moisturizing. I also avoid getting my skin wet and cold b/c that makes the skin itchy. I also find that being wet and hot is bad (sweaty skin gets red and terribly itchy). My childhood trips to the midwest in the summer were pure hell b/c of the humidity and heat. I tried the complete elimination diet when I was 30, eating only rice, pears and chicken for two weeks and then adding one food product every 3-4 days. It did not make a difference in my eczema at all, though I did lose weight. I highly recommend my allergist, who has given me a great deal of support and was the only doctor to recognize the skin fungal infections that often accompany eczema. His name is Jim Nickelsen. He is in Berkeley and his number is 644-2316. His specialty is pediatric asthma and he has treated my asthma quite successfully. ps. Most people, unlike me, outgrow their eczema. denise


You might visit an accupuncturist for a consultation (they do diet as well as needles). I went on a diet recommended by my practioner for other reasons and some small skin patches on elbows and thighs disappeared in a matter of weeks. It included eliminating dairy, sugar(infrequent treats okay), 'nightshade' type veggies and citrus. But the recommendation has to come from tthe practioners sense of a person's energy. It's not necessarily one size fits all. anonymous


My daughter had terrible eczema in all the same places (and behind her ears). After trying all of the medical advice I was given, I finally decided to go to a Chinese herbalist/dermatologist/acupuncturist. She took one look at my daughter's skin and said it was due to food allergies. Since my daughter was was less than a year at the time she was mostly breast feeding and had a limited repertoire of foods that she had started to eat. Dr. Yu put ME on a strict diet which eliminated citrus, garlic, onions, beef, fish, cheese, tomatoes, chocolate and much, much more. I was to eat mung beans, chicken, cucumbers, and rice, among other things. Within THREE DAYS, my daughter's skin cleared up! In addition to the diet, she gave me an herbal topical cream. My daughter is 2.5 now and rarely gets bad outbreaks. She now eats some citrus and tomatoes, but not ferquently, and only on occasion gets rashes anymore.

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


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