My toddler had her second eczema flare-up about 3 weeks ago. The first flare-up occurred at around 6 months of age and appeared when I started her on baby cereals. It looked like a patch of small bumps on the inside of her forearm, and the pediatrician dismissed it as “normal” childhood eczema. My baby didn’t seem bothered by it at the time, but it wouldn’t go away – until I stopped feeding her those baby cereals.
Since then, I don’t feed her anything containing wheat or processed foods. I try not to. Thanks to Daddy, she has had bites of cookies and donuts that contain wheat flour. Thankfully, he doesn’t give her the whole thing; he just feels bad and wants her to enjoy “the good stuff,” too. And she hasn’t had a reaction to little bites of the stuff.
I don’t know what triggered this most recent flare-up though. Now that she’s older and more aware, she has been scratching the crap out of it, causing it to get red, rough, and to spread.
Since we’ve moved, I haven’t found a pediatrician for my kids yet, so I tried one that was suggested by a neighbor. The pediatrician diagnosed her “rash” as eczema and told me to use a prescription cortisone cream and liquid Zyrtec. He, also, told me to use a moisturizer on top of the cortisone. I smiled and said, “Okay.” Then left. We went there again for my toddler’s two-year check-up and weren’t happy with them again, but that’s another post.
The over-the-counter cortisone wasn’t working, and I didn’t feel comfortable giving her a stronger prescription steroid. I didn’t feel comfortable giving her the OTC cortisone anyway and having to give her the Zyrtec. So I got into my research-nerd mode and started looking for a more natural course of treatment.
From everything that I read, prevention and at-home treatment includes but is not limited to:
1. Avoiding the allergic trigger.
Well, duh. But this could be anything! The next best choice is to limit exposure to known irritants, such as perfumed anything (detergents, soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc.), fabrics other than cotton, certain foods (dairy, nuts, citrus, eggs, etc.), and even heat.
Check. Check. Check. And check. We avoid those anyway with our toddler.
2. Don’t take long hot showers or use harsh soaps, as this aggravates the eczema.
Check and check. We wash our toddler in only water anyway, and it’s luke-warm water.
She had a horrible and scary reaction to a baby soap that touts it is “Allergy Tested” and “Pediatrician Recommended.” She got the reaction when they changed their “All Natural” formula and added Sodium Benzoate. It took her a good two months to get rid of all the red blotches all over her skin, after we stopped using it on her. At one point, her face had swelled up for a day.
3. Keep the skin moisturized.
Check. We had been using Aquaphor.
4. Keep hydrated.
Check. She only drinks water. And lots of it.
Even after going this route, her eczema still got worse and spread. Poor thing was up at all hours of the night scratching and crying. I started wracking my brain and researching more, and this is when I found our miracle “cure.”
I came across this article while reading about natural at home remedies on NaturalNews.com:
Cure Eczema The Natural Way by Carolanne Wright
which led me to this post on NationalEczema.org:
Coconut Oil? The author, Peter Lio, MD, says
…I do like coconut oil as it is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. I like sunflower seed oil even more, however, as it has gamma linoleic acids that can really help the skin rebuild the barrier. There was a wonderful study using sunflower seed oil on the skin of premature babies; that oil was amazing in helping the skin build a barrier and the babies had fewer infections…
So, of course, I read some other articles about sunflower seed oil and eczema:
Treat Eczema with Sunflower!
Flower Power May Be Answer To Itchy Problem
Cost-effectiveness of skin-barrier-enhancing emollients among preterm infants in Bangladesh
After reading over and over how the skin can become infected and ooze because of constant scratching, especially in children, I knew that this was the moisturizer I needed to use.
I found a 32 oz (1 qt) bottle of sunflower seed oil for $5.99 in the baking section of Sprouts. This is great stuff, by the way. Absorbs quickly, but is really moisturizing.
The best part about using this on my toddler? I can put it on her hands, and it doesn’t matter if she gets it in her mouth. Can you say the same about cortizone or most lotions?
There’s a second part to this miracle treatment.
I kept reading about how some moms accidentally found that after their child had swam in a salt water pool, their eczema had substantially looked better. So they went home and continued treatment with Epsom Salt in their child’s bath. I had also read about people using sea salt.
I tried it. I put a handful of Epsom Salt in our toddler’s bathtub one night and let her play in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes. The next morning her eczema patches looked noticeably better.
This treatment hasn’t “cured” it completely, as there is no cure for eczema, but my toddler’s skin is healing a lot faster and looks SO much better than it did. It’s been a little over a week using this treatment, and although you can still see bumps, there is very little redness and she is scratching her skin considerably less.
To summarize, this is what I do:
1. Epsom Salt Bath
Every night, I throw a handful of Epsom Salt (NOT TABLE SALT) into a baby/ toddler-sized bathtub filled with luke warm water. I let her play in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes, and I do not use any soaps on her.
2. Moisturize with Sunflower Seed Oil
After her bath, I massage Sunflower Seed Oil on her whole body, paying special attention to the red and/ or bumpy patches.
If your child’s skin is already cracked and peeling, and you want something thicker, I would suggest using pure lanolin. Lansinoh is a good brand and can be found where breastfeeding products are sold in many stores.
Sunflower Seed Oil will most likely be found in the baking section of a grocery store. I found mine at Sprouts.
Epsom Salt can be found in a drug store, and probably in the pharmacy section of a grocery store. It’s cheap and comes in a big carton.
I am not a doctor, nor do I have a medical background. I’m just a mom that loves to research and find more natural ways to help my family with whatever ails them. Please, always consult with your child’s pediatrician, and be aware of your child’s possible allergies, before trying any alternative treatments. If your child has a seed allergy, he or she may have a reaction to the sunflower seed oil.
(Okay, no, I didn’t consult with any pediatricians before I tried this. And, yes, I have a degree in Biological Sciences, having taken an overkill and unnecessary amount of Chemistry classes for fun, so I understand some stuff. But, please, be responsible and take personal responsibility for whatever decisions you make for your child.)
I know there are other natural treatments out there for eczema, but this is what worked for us – and it’s cheap.
Have you tried this or any other natural remedies to ease eczema flare-ups?