Have You Tried Aveeno® ?

Via Emma Blue
on Oct 13, 2011
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Our Journey Through Infant Eczema Hell.

Everyone has their one product they swear by for child rearing: gripe water, swaddle blankets, amber teething necklaces. With eczema it is the same.

Our daughter’s cradle cap started to fade at five months and small patches of eczema began to appear on her legs and gradually everywhere but her diaper area.

At eight months, short of animal sacrifice we had tried everything: an elimination diet from hell (as I was still breastfeeding)—weeks of no dairy, gluten, then eating only brown rice, lamb and squash. We tried a chiropractor, acupuncturist, steroid ointments, antibiotics, antibiotic ointment, antihistamines, Benadryl®, prayer, bacon grease, emu oil, salt baths, bleach baths, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, melaluca lotion (tea tree oil), aloe and yes, we even tried Aveeno®, Aquaphor® and all of the other carcinogenic petroleum products. We used only natural detergent, then no detergent, only cotton (could she be allergic to cotton?) natural soaps, no soap, carcinogenic soaps etc.

We were just surviving by swaddling Aurélia and keeping her hands in socks so she couldn’t scratch her face raw, especially at night. This was the most stressful time of my life. Every Facebook status update or outing to the store meant some well meaning person would invariably ask “OH yes, my ____ had that too, have you tried Aveeno®?”
I began to avoid social situations and on reflex was automatically reaching out to gently bat my daughter’s hand away from her wounds.

Aurélia’s blood test revealed only a dairy allergy. I avoided all dairy for months and there was no change. I am also prone to eczema.
Ready to take a frying pan to our baby, our doctor recommended seeing a pediatric eczema specialist at National Jewish Health in Denver.

The staff at National Jewish Health were nothing short of amazing, having seen worse infant eczema on a regular basis I was confident we were in good hands. I learned only 6% of eczema is caused by food allergies and the good news is that, time is on our side since most infants outgrow their eczema.
The doctor was extremely patient with all of my questions, Dr. Searing was even taking notes from me! I felt gratified and reassured that our daughter was still happy and thriving despite her handicap, our struggle was worth it.
It is here we were schooled in a treatment that is so basic and effective and yet overlooked on the interwebz I am compelled to share the technique that has finally helped me live a sane life as we manage my daughters eczema. Introducing *drumroll* The Wet Dressings.

Our daughter’s diaper area was the smoothest and most rash free area on her body, which was a good indicator the wet dressings would help her since it is sort of like creating a full body diaper.
If you run your hand over a patch of eczema it feels dry, the idea is to put moisture back into the skin. We had read about short baths, or going weeks without baths, Dr. Searing told us that 15 minutes of soaking is the minimum amount of time it takes water to penetrate the skin. But on the National Eczema Association‘s website they give instructions for wet dressings saying to soak for 5 minutes—this is incorrect and misleading, then again I guess you can’t expect much from a website that automatically plays elevator music on their homepage—I thought that died with Myspace? I digress, wet dressings are AMAZING! Here is how to do them:

Morning: 15-20 minute warm (not hot) bath with a lot of splashing—I made a 15 minute playlist on my Ipod so I would know when our time was up and bought lots of toys for entertainment, followed by ointment application within three minutes of exiting the water—this is crucial. We were advised to use a gentler steroid called Desonide 0.5% that does not have the scary side effects of cortisone and has been proven very safe for infants. Ointments are oil based so they penetrate the skin more effectively than lotions.
Run a snug fitting long sleeve top and pair of pants under warm water and ring out so they are still wet but not sopping. Apply the wet clothes. Wet socks may be used on the hands and feet if these areas are affected (in extreme cases wet bandages can be used around the face—even though we had some areas on the face, we did not use bandages and the wet dressings put so much moisture back into her skin that in a few days her face healed on its own).
Take dry clothes and socks and place them over the wet clothing and socks. Thus sealing in the ointment and moisture. We noticed a difference within a few days.

We left the wet/dry dressings on for an hour in the morning, then did them right before bedtime and kept them on all night with an extra blanket on top for 7 days. After 7 days of this treatment I barely recognized my daughter, her skin was soft and she was no longer too busy scratching to discover new things. It is important not to do the wet dressings too much longer than a week because it can put so much moisture in the skin it can actually create yeast/fungus.

At 13 months old, her eczema hasn’t completely disappeared but it’s more of a side note than a headline. With daily 15 minute baths, 0.5% Desonide ointment (which requires a prescription, we go through two 60g tubes a month) after the baths and melalulca lotion for in between times, vitamin D drops and probiotics, we are managing quite well. When the temperature cools here I will do another week of wet dressings to help give her skin another boost of moisture and peace for both of us.


About Emma Blue

Emma Blue wants to be a mensch when she grows up. To inspire you to share your story and to wear fewer ungapotchke outfits. She finds eye contact, dancing and writing with stolen time agreeable. She lives in Sarasota, Florida with her daughter, Aurélia. Keep your finger on her cyber pulse with her newsletter .


21 Responses to “Have You Tried Aveeno® ?”

  1. mettafour says:

    Wow! What a journey! My daughter has eczema as well, but her skin hates baths! So crazy how it is so different. You know I have to do this… did you try raw milk? She had real problems until I switched to raw milk for other reasons and we just happened to notice that it was gone in 4 days! Just had to mention it… Thank you for sharing your journey. Nothing is worse than having a child in discomfort and not knowing what to do about it, including having issues yourself (I have had psoriasis since I was born.)

  2. Tracy says:

    Here goes another suggestion!! ; ) ….I am so happy for you! We had a much less dramatic case of eczema on my kids, we were able to treat it using (religiously and liberally) Berts Bees Almond oil. Thanks for sharing your story, I am sure it will really help someone.

  3. JaoNegro says:

    …yep and we all try to come up with solutions, even after you found a fix. Go figure. It's Teh Interutbes. 🙂

    I suspect that infant eczema is a symptom, not a disease per se, and thus has a several different causes and solutions.

  4. Poor Baby! She is gorgeous! Glad to hear you have found something helpful – eczema sucks! My son had horrible eczema when he was younger….and yes, people always had suggestions;) Thankfully, some of them worked & he seems to have outgrown it a bit too. Good luck & hope Aurélia's eczema continues to improve.

  5. BAnjeeB says:

    I can offer no suggestion, I was just glad to see happy baby pictures! 🙂

  6. Liz says:

    Wow what a journey! I urge you to try evening primrose oil both externally and internally for your baby. It works fabulous for the most stubborn rashes and eczema. Good luck.

  7. Emma Blue says:

    Haha as I was driving home from teaching yoga I got excited thinking about what people were going to suggest in the comments.

    Never heard of Argan oil. Tried Almond oil, did not work any differently. My naturopath recommended trying krill(?) oil as it is more potent than the fish oils I was taking, to be fair I become so burnt out trying things I have pretty much stopped investing…if anyone has samples they want to send me, Id be happy to take them!

    Aurelia is only allowed to have kefir in terms of dairy which seems to HELP the eczema, I am contacting a local farm about picking up raw milk this week, I LOVE raw milk and lactose intolerance digest it very well, so that should be a win. Even with no dairy in either of our diets we have eczema to some degree.

    Melina I love how afraid you are to try the wet dressings! if your foot feels cold just but a blanket over it while you sleep!

    Thanks for the support and thanks for reading!

  8. Kenett says:

    she's beautiful Emma!!! you are a wonderful momma. If only every child had a mother who loved and cared for them as much as you have you sweet little girl…God is Good!!

  9. EmmaBlue says:

    Thank you Kenett!!! Love you and your daughters!

  10. Lisa says:

    Have you tried grapeseed oil? It has tons of benefits including helping with eczema. Here is a list: http://tinyurl.com/3fzao89

  11. EmmaBlue says:

    We tried things which contained grape seed oil. At this stage I am not excited to spend more money on ointments, if you want to donate some to us that's cool!

  12. boots ross says:

    I stopped eating sugar, and I have never felt better in my whole life, and so did my skin problems. Sugar is also breads, rice, potatoes, and even milk can be too much for a baby, nevermind sweets. I have a feeling the baby may be very sensitive to sugar. blessings and healing always…boots

  13. EmmaBlue says:

    I think the GAPS diet is the next step! Well see what happens.

  14. eczemachild says:

    Hi – so happy that your daughter is doing so much better. Her skin looks great. My son was the same way and the wet wraps were the only thing that healed him up. Now he just has spots behind his legs. Did you find the process cumbersome – the socks, the different pairs of clothing?

  15. candicegarrett says:

    Oh man I hear you. Two of my kids have awful eczema. What worked for us: oatmeal baths, a good moisturizer, grapefruit seed extract applied topically (in a cream) and flax oil orally. I swear they were better in 2 weeks, tops.

  16. […] that protect our skin. Omega-3s from fish and flax seeds are anti-inflammatories which can help eczema […]

  17. […] I wrote a guide to how to properly do wet dressings as well as our journey with various natural remedies and practicioners in my piece Have You Tried Aveeno? […]

  18. sri says:

    wat a chubby baby luv alot

  19. Loren says:

    I tried wet gauze for a few might, but it didn't seem to help…..shall try this tomorrow! Thank you! Loren

  20. I have had psoriasis since I was born.????????????