I came to learn of this word when my eldest son was born. I was familiar with milk rash, heat rash and the sorts that babies can have. When what I thought were rashes did not go away after a few weeks, I brought him to another doctor who diagnosed him as having eczema skin. My face was blur with no reaction. I didn’t know what that was. So I went home with a bunch of prescribed medicines.
How bad his eczema skin became…
Thinking back my eyes will welled up in tears remembering how he used to cry as a baby. All fed with clean diapers, he just wouldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know why and how to soothe him. Until a friend came to visit who happened to be a doctor by profession, told me to get some olive oil and apply on his skin. I asked all over? She said yes, wherever there were red marks. I didn’t like the thought of my baby covered with oil but I did it anyway. After about 10 minutes of application, my son quieted down to my surprise and relieve!
He was about 3 months old then. I could only bath him with water. I dare not wipe him at all as that will cause his skin to ‘break’. I tried to keep him in cool environment as that seemed to sooth him. By the time he reached 5 months above, it became more challenging to care for his skin as he learned to scratch the areas that were itchy. I used to try to put on some cotton gloves for him but it never stayed. He continued to scratch as a reflex reaction till his skin tore and started bleeding. This occured mostly on the folds of his skin such as his neck area, his arms and even on his body at times.
Discovery on how to control or manage eczema skin
Back to the olive oil application on his skin. From the time I discovered this, I started doing my own research about what eczema is all about. At the time when this blog is written, there has yet any cure to be found for eczema. The medical world is still trying to determine how eczema occurs on all walks of ages. The layer of oil on my son’s skin were functioning as a protective layer against the environment. One of the benefits of olive oil on the skin is that it has moisturising properties.
I will try to explain in simple words what eczema skin is all about. The area affected will usually be very dry and red patches can occur. This is due to inflammation of the skin which the doctors are still trying to figure out how it started. Dry skin causes the person to feel the itch on the skin area and thus automatic reflex is to scratch the area. So imagine scratching dry skin area. Our nails carry bacteria which can get under our skin layer when we scratch. This can cause infection on top of exposing raw skin to the environment. The only way to avoid the skin from breaking is to stop scratching. Tough!
Moisturise the affected skin area.
Baby powder or any form of powder, calamine or any products that will keep the skin DRY, WILL aggravate the skin condition, meaning worse. Does this make sense to you?
Now not all moisturiser can work for eczema skin. Commercial products will usually contain chemical base products or any form of synthetic ingredient which will not provide the kind of nutrients the skin needs. Natural base products or better still those with organic certified ingredients will be good for the skin. Some examples are those with shea butter, mango butter and the likes. You will find that the eczema skin will absorb it quickly and the relief is quite immediate. Daily application depending on how severe the condition is will help the skin recover quickly.
Basic things to look out for to manage eczema flare-ups
Children are active beings who will sweat a lot. Always ensure that you change their clothing when it is wet with their sweat. Sweat is actually toxic as it is one of the ways our body rids of toxin. Having said this, always wipe their skin with damp clean hand towel so that the sweat will not sit on their skin too long. Those who have eczema on their feet should change their socks (if they wear socks) 3 to 4 times a day. The rationale is explained as above.
Sugar is another culprit that can cause eczema to flare up. I have advised many parents to control their kid’s sugar intake. The result is absolutely encouraging! Challenging I admit but it is totally worth it!
Stress can also cause eczema flare ups. So if your work is stressful, try looking for a less stressful job. If you can’t then I suggest taking up some yoga or some form of winding down exercise to calm yourself at the end of the day. You can even practise breathing techniques to help calm your mind and body during the day.
I will show the latest eczema episode my son had in my next post. He is already in his twenties. Yes it still occurs if he didn’t take care properly.
You can write to me if you want further information at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would suggest for you to see a doctor first if you havn’t done so before asking for suggestions on type of products. I don’t do any diagnosis here. I have been managing eczema for two of my kids for more than 20 years. I have tried both prescribed medicines as well as natural & organic products. Guess which one works?
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I hope this blog has been useful. Thank you for reading!