I remember the first time we brought my daughter to visit Utah during the dry, cold winter. We had problems with her skin in Texas, but I could usually manage them and had a steroid cream for when I couldn’t. We were in Utah for all of three days when her skin was so bright red and hot to the touch that she could barely stand to be touched. We raced her to the hospital where the flabbergasted doctor said it was the most severe case of eczema he had ever seen. He gave us more steroid creams and not a lot of answers. It took going back to humid Texas to even make a dent in the damage a short visit had done.
Flash forward three years and we found ourselves living in Utah, dreading the winter. My daughter’s first winter in Utah, she was on oral steroids three times. It was the only thing that kept her functioning. I was grateful for them, but nervous as heck about them. Then this last year I met a 10-year-old girl that had eczema about as bad as my daughter, but she also had heart and lung problems from years of oral steroid use. It was then we decided even three times a year on oral steroids was too much, we needed to find new ways to combat the eczema. It has been a long and frustrating road complete with infections from scratching too much, tears from trying new creams and my daughter asking me every night why she can’t be normal. It absolutely breaks my heart.
1. Bleach Baths. For my 5-year-old, I fill the tub about 1/2 full and add a quarter cup of bleach to it. The purpose of the bleach baths is to kill the bacteria growth on the skin and allow the skin to heal faster. I wouldn’t do this for someone with mild eczema, but if you start noticing crusty skin, this is a good next step. For my daughter, I pull her hair up in a bun so it is out of the way and let her play. I remove all the rugs and such from the floor beforehand in case the water splashes out.
2. Keep the air moist. I run a humidifier 100% of the time, all year round. I run one at night in her room and then I have a second one that stays in our main hallway that I run all the time. The goal is to keep her skin from drying out in the first place.
3. Avoid all chemicals. We use free and clear detergent, dryer sheets, soaps and cleaners. Keeping chemicals out of our house has made a HUGE difference. The little things matter when it comes to chemicals. You can just replace your detergent without replacing the dryer sheets too and you can’t just wash their clothes in free and clear, you need to wash everything. When I first replaced our detergent, I was using the old detergent on my clothes just to use it up. I found it was still causing her trouble even though she was just being exposed by contact with me.
4. Wet Wrap. Take a bath and then gently pat dry the skin. Cover the skin in moisturizer and then a damp ace bandage. Wrap the damp bandages in dry bandages. Leave the bandages on during the night and remove them in the morning. Wet wrapping helps re hydrate the skin in ways that a layer of lotion can’t do on its own.
5. Allergy test. Often times people with severe eczema have underlying allergies that keep their skin broken out. My daughter has food allergies that keep us on our toes when it comes to her eczema. Limiting or eliminating exposure to allergens can dramatically improve eczema.
6. Find a cream that really works. We have tried everything. Almost all of the creams that every one recommends literally fry my daughter’s skin. She screams and cries as the cream burns and we sit with fans trying to cool the burning before throwing out another cream. It is awful in every sense of the word.
A few months ago we started using Cheryl Lee MD Sensitive Skin Care. I cannot recommend it enough. When we starting using it, I told my daughter that we were going to try a new cream and she burst into tears. Trying new things usually means burning skin so she was really upset. When we tried the cream and she said, “This one doesn’t hurt!” I am the one who started crying. This is the only cream we have found that actually works and my daughter doesn’t hide from it. If I ask her to go get it, she we willing bring it to me to have me put some on her skin. That is HUGE in our house.
Basically the Cheryl Lee MD creams for eczema work with your skin to help seal the skin against infection and irritants. I could tell you all day long how much this cream has changed our life, but I think the best way is to just show you.
We are still combating small areas and scarring from years of scratching, but the results are more than I ever dreamed off. I am so grateful that I found Cheryl Lee MD creams when I did. Most of all, I am grateful to not be hopeless anymore.