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Eczema/skin conditions

Calling anyone who has/had/has had experience of eczema and related skin conditions, I would greatly appreciate your input and advice. I've never had anything similar myself so I don't have first hand experience... I figure the first-hand experience of other people is more valuable than that of our useless GP.

Anyway, one of my girls developed an eczema-like rash on the trunk of her body about six weeks ago now. It's also in - what I believe to be - the eczema "hotspots" backs of knees and inside of her elbows. It doesn't bother her that much generally but it fluctuates and it's definitely causing her to scratch and she absolutely howls when I try to put anything on it (oh surprise, surprise!). Went to the doctor with her about two weeks ago and he was very offhand and gave me a cortisone steroid cream to put on her. I tried to discuss alternative treatment with him as I am loathe to use steroid creams even on myself... but I agreed to try it. Tried it and of course it cleared up the condition. Stopped using it and... it came back. Decided to start eliminating foods as I've read that certain things can cause skin flare-ups in little'uns. Have just started re-introducing them one by one at the moment to see if I can pin it down but I haven't managed to crack it yet. Have been using various natural oils, too, as an alternative to the cortisone and it soothes but it isn't a "clear up" method particularly. Am very worried that it could be stress-related, she has had a lot of medical problems and I can't help but think it might be related to treatments and visits and procedures. However, in the last three months or so (when this has developed) she hasn't had any of these things... well except standard check-ups. Oh I am confused!

So, went to the GP again this morning and asked about the possibility of the skin prick tests they do on older kids/adults to single out allergies and intolerances. He said they don't do them on infants which I expected (though friends of mine have had their babies tested, so it seems to depend from doctor to doctor) so I put forward an idea I'd had from an alternative therapist friend of mine to have her tested in a different way. Basically they use electrolytes to find out and it's non-invasive. I don't fully understand the procedure yet but I am interested to find out more about it. Anyway the GP was as delightful as ever and gave me his usual "what exactly is YOUR medical training?" spiel (to which I answer, as usual, I'm a qualified nurse) and called me a "hippy" (maybe it was supposed to be an insult?), then went on to say it was a load of shite and I'd be better sticking to his steroids. Basically he has no intention of providing any other option and - as with every other GP I've had - hugely resents the idea of my doing any home research about my own child.

So what I would love to know from any other sufferers/ex-sufferers of eczema or other similar conditions is... what have you tried? What works? What might work? What doesn't work? Why is my GP such a narrow-minded twit? Any advice is gratefully received as I hate to see her body in this state, it came on so suddenly and is upsetting to both her and me. Thanks in advance to anyone who can shed any light on the matter :heart:
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Poor baby briggs! :(

    My cousin had really really bad eczema as a baby, I might be having lunch with her during the week, I'll ask her what her mum did/used.

    Never heard of electrolytes etc to determine allergies, do you know what the technique is called or if there are any papers on it?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Abbie had/has eczema, I tried every lotion and potion the doctor gave us with varying success. Doctor refused allergy testing and offered me a steroid cream for her which I refused.

    I tried an "old wives tale" that the doctor laughed at when I suggested it, porridge oats strained through muslin into her bath water. It cleared up within a week or so. Whenever she has a flair up I do this and I always see results in a few days.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well I have psoriasis which is a bit different, but still flakey, itchy and just unpleasant. The creams don't do much, you have to use them constantly which is just impractical because it gets everywhere. I'm thinking about researching into some kind of natural remedy - we have a chinese herbalist in town but they're not cheap. Might be worth seeing if you can find someone who can advise you on natural treatments?
    Your GP sounds like a chump btw
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    go_away - I'm not even 100% sure, I need to talk to her properly about it. I think it measures the electrolyte count to see what is depleted and then there are special mineral and electrolyte lotions etc that can be used to bring about a better balance. I will have to get back to you on that but it's definitely something I'm interested in. I read about a trial of similar patches in Canada but they're in the testing stages, I prefer the thought of that though as they're sealed and not being absorbed by the skin as such. Hmm, maybe just grasping at straws though.

    If you do see your cousin that'd be really appreciated, I'm after all the input I can get really. Oh sympathy is always appreciated, that's her favourite kind of treatment :D
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Glittery wrote: »
    Abbie had/has eczema, I tried every lotion and potion the doctor gave us with varying success. Doctor refused allergy testing and offered me a steroid cream for her which I refused.

    I tried an "old wives tale" that the doctor laughed at when I suggested it, porridge oats strained through muslin into her bath water. It cleared up within a week or so. Whenever she has a flair up I do this and I always see results in a few days.

    Ooh, I am all for old wives tales, they're right up my street unlike the various creams that just seem to be the beginning of a neverending cycle. I will try the porridge oats tonight if possible - do you just do it once or do you use them in consecutive baths?
    Ballerina wrote: »
    Well I have psoriasis which is a bit different, but still flakey, itchy and just unpleasant. The creams don't do much, you have to use them constantly which is just impractical because it gets everywhere. I'm thinking about researching into some kind of natural remedy - we have a chinese herbalist in town but they're not cheap. Might be worth seeing if you can find someone who can advise you on natural treatments?
    Your GP sounds like a chump btw

    He is :lol: I was thinking about one of the various herbalists in town, I might take her in and have a chat with them anyway. Not sure about their suitability for her age and the actual method of treatment but it can't hurt to try it out. Good idea :thumb:

    My brother had psoriasis since before I can remember until a year or two ago. I think it must've been stress-related. He swear it was the sunbeds wot dun it but I think differently... especially since it hasn't flared up again and he doesn't use them anymore...
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hmm, shame I'm not around any dermatologists at the moment, will see what I can do though. While this is purely aesthetic and doesn't help when you have a screaming bubs, my cousin grew up to have absolutely flawless skin.
    I tried an "old wives tale" that the doctor laughed at when I suggested it, porridge oats strained through muslin into her bath water. It cleared up within a week or so.

    My mum tried this with me once, I think it worked (but my eczema was pretty mild on the scale)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    briggi wrote: »
    Ooh, I am all for old wives tales, they're right up my street unlike the various creams that just seem to be the beginning of a neverending cycle. I will try the porridge oats tonight if possible - do you just do it once or do you use them in consecutive baths?
    You'd probably have to do it for about a week before you start noticing a difference. I just put some oats in the muslin, tie it up with some string and squeeze it under the tap and all the milky goodness comes out. You can also use it like a little sponge and squeeze the milk out and wash the lilttle one with it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    briggi wrote: »
    Ooh, I am all for old wives tales, they're right up my street unlike the various creams that just seem to be the beginning of a neverending cycle. I will try the porridge oats tonight if possible - do you just do it once or do you use them in consecutive baths?



    He is :lol: I was thinking about one of the various herbalists in town, I might take her in and have a chat with them anyway. Not sure about their suitability for her age and the actual method of treatment but it can't hurt to try it out. Good idea :thumb:

    My brother had psoriasis since before I can remember until a year or two ago. I think it must've been stress-related. He swear it was the sunbeds wot dun it but I think differently... especially since it hasn't flared up again and he doesn't use them anymore...

    My dad has it quite bad (cheers for the gene dad!) and he used to go on sunbeds alot which helped. But being so pale and having moles and freckles I can't. Dead sea salts are supposed to be good for eczma and psoriasis - I just bought some off ebay so I'll see how that goes!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm eczemic, and it used to be pretty severe. If the flare-up is really bad, just use steroids and get rid of the worst of it, then prevent it flaring up again. To get rid of minor flare-ups, I use moisturising creams (lots and lots of them) and I also use olive or coconut oil, which soothes. If there's a home remedy someone has told you works--try it. They often work better than what the doctor prescribes to me. What also works is spraying a mixture of water and white vinegar on the itchy spot. Might not work for a toddler, though. Is there anything that your daughter reacts to specifically? It migth be colouring agents in bath products, detergents, dust, etc. If so, get rid of it entirely until the eczema subsides.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Your GP sounds like a moron. Can you change him or demand to see a new one?

    I've always had bad eczema and use steroids now but only very rarely & when its really bad. Never used them when I was younger because my mum heard they were bad for kids.

    Apparently evening primrose oil is supposed to be good. I don't know how old your kid is but if you can get some into her on a daily basis, that might help, but that's more for dry skin than flare-ups.

    Allergy tests for little 'uns can be quite pointless because kids' allergies change so quickly. Your thing with re-introducing food sounds like the best way of doing it at the mo.

    Stress can be a trigger. It is for me. Whenever its exam season or something, my skin goes insane. Great fun when you're sitting in sticky old exam rooms trying to concentrate, but anyway...

    Have you tried Oilatum? You can get it in liquid form to put in baths. Its supposed to soothe the skin. Don't use soap - dries the skin out. Don't use the gel form of Oilatum - its useless and impossible to get off.

    Water can sting like hell on flared-up skin, but dry sweat can also cause flare-ups, so if you don't wash it off, you're screwed. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. On the other hand, I find if I shower every day, my skin gets stupidly dry, so I only do every other day.

    I havent found any miracle cures, but let me know if you do. I'm still looking 20 years on. Hope your kid gets better soon.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I was given diprobase when I had a bad flare up a few years ago. I have also been given aqueos (sp) cream, which worked aswell. Where I've got eczema (back, shoulders, legs, arms & stomach) the skin is dry. I was given some oilutumn to bathe in, which also helps.

    I've personally found that certain soaps and shower gels make it worse, so I tend to avoid them.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Just gave both girls a porridge bath - only fair - so I will report back if any changes occur (even though you said it will take days but I'm a bit overeager :blush:). Hopefully will have some impact even if not a miracle cure.

    I've actually been using a coconut oil called Cocozone which is amazing (I use it on my hair too, it is just a miracle product) but I'm not willing to use it long-term. This Oilatum sounds fab, especially if it's an in-bath product. Can I get it anywhere (Boots etc) or is it more specialist than that?

    As for the intolerance, I have my suspiscions that it's wheat. I previously thought eggs. It's a process of elimination, but neither of the girls react well to wheat so I've been keeping their intake low anyway for the last few months. Have started making millet bread etc. Of course I could be way off base but it hasn't made anything worse (and it's good for other, less er fragrant purposes :razz:). Have looked at our detergents etc but I need to look at that more closely as it could have an impact. Obviously it's only effecting one of the girls but people have different intolerances and allergies of course. Ahh, it's a pain not knowing.

    As for my delightful GP, I generally take him with a pinch of salt as he loves to pass judgements and give life advice that isn't asked for (makes good coffee morning stories I find) but yeah I have officially changed GPs but he's the only one ever available at short notice... I wonder why :chin: We're moving soon so there's no point in changing surgeries, really.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    briggi wrote: »
    This Oilatum sounds fab, especially if it's an in-bath product. Can I get it anywhere (Boots etc) or is it more specialist than that?

    http://www.boots.com/shop/product_details.jsp?productid=1030967&classificationid=1026979

    You can also get it on prescription.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have had eczema since I was a toddler. I have it on the back of my knees and back of elbows. Typical hotspots really.

    I also have dermatitis flare ups on my hands.

    As a kid I was given topical steroids. Biggest mistake! It has made my skins really thin on the areas where I have eczema.

    Oilatum is good. I use that in the bath rather than bubble baths.

    My only advice really is:
    - No fragranced toiletries
    - Keep everything dust free and clean.
    - Watch what fabrics are rubbing against the skin
    - Avoid chemical loaded detergents.

    Also, you may find this interesting:

    'Examples of common allergens in food are; oranges, chocolate, eggs and dairy foods, wheat, peanuts, tomatoes and food additives. Avoiding exposure to dietary allergens for a period of minimum 6 weeks can produce significant improvements.

    A standard elimination diet avoiding cow's milk, egg, tomatoes, colours and preservatives can help up to three-quarters of eczema sufferers..'


    When I was in my late teens I carried out some research myself and narrowed down the food that I was intolerant to. For me it was cow's milk and foods with high numbers of additives.

    Since I have now weaned myself off of steroids, I have found the following products quite helpful:

    Organic Chickweed Ointment, Organic Almond Oil, most of the Eucerin products are quite good.

    One of the biggest things for me though was banishing using any products with the evil Sodium lauryl sulphate in it. www.lovelula.com is a good website. All of their products are SLS free.

    It really will be trial and error. In the meantime though, the porridge oats bath should help.

    :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for that BM, very useful advice and I am really keen to talk to people who have eczema themselves, I will reply at length later.

    It's funny I have never given my daughters cow's milk because I am very wary about its effects (not only on kids, but particularly so) and I am "anal" (husband's words) about what I feed them. Always have been. I thought I was doing all the right things by them and it's really upsetting to realise it's seemingly impossible to win :( I suppose some things aren't so easily explained.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    briggi wrote: »
    It's funny I have never given my daughters cow's milk because I am very wary about its effects (not only on kids, but particularly so) and I am "anal" (husband's words) about what I feed them.

    You're not meant to give them cows' milk before 12 months. However, you can give them food which contains milk (yoghurt, cheese, etc) before then.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can get Oilatum from Boots, Superdrug etc. Worth trying to get on prescription if it works as so much cheaper for the kids.

    Brother and I have both used aqueous cream on various dry skin conditions before baths/showers and that has helped and is pretty dull stuff, no evil ingredients. You can get from pharmcies too, another good one is Doublebase, which is highly moisturising and often good for ezcema suffers.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oilatum is very good for exzema/skin complaints, you can get versions designed your younger skins plus creams as well. My mum used to use it on my when I was a baby, and when it flared up really badly about a year ago (stress related) it worked really well it treating it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ok I'm getting Oilatum tomorrow. Will see about getting it on prescription if it works but we're going abroad anyway so might need to do a mega stock-up on it if it's effective :)

    I've got aqueous cream in the bathroom since I use it myself and love it... so may try that too. Any further suggestions naturally welcomed, but these so far have been invaluable... very grateful indeed for the advice.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i have a mild version of eczema but it flares up when my hands/arms come into contact with alcohol (i work in a bar) or when i use certain soaps and majority of the time it happens because of hot water. irritates it more for some reason. my brother has a pretty severe form of eczema and he uses moisturiser, but its a vegan one. called yagu or something but it seems to really help. Also does your daughter wear any clothing that contains wool?? wool can also irritate it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    anti histamines can help and ive used oilatum emolient with good results (but you need to be able to have baths - uni = no go). had it since i was little, still got it all over both legs :(

    i found your experience with the doctor to be fairly typical, they loathe people trying to understand their own condition or second guess them. I've got a friend who works for glaxosmithklein and the drugs are out there, and they are good when used in certain conditions - the problem is doctors give out drugs far too easily i.e. a drug may help a certain condition for people who are affected in this way, a gp will just see 'new drug, this condition' and bang out a prescription regardless.

    I've been given drugs I'm not allowed to have before on prescription :yeees: I didn't notice at the time.

    My legs are all bloodied at the minute from constant scratching and it keeps breaking the skin. It's so unbearably itchy sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night scratching. There's a good point. Heat = really bad. Cool air / cool cloths have always been really soothing for the itching, at least for my symptoms. You could always try it, if she's suffering badly get a flannel with cold water, ring it out so it's just a bit damp and hold it on. Worst it'll do is make her soggy :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    briggi wrote: »
    Ok I'm getting Oilatum tomorrow.
    Personal experience here but Oilatum was one of the worst things for Abbie, using it in her bath and with the lotion really dried her out which I found really odd.

    Of course it might be totally different for your girls, just thought I'd let you know anyway :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can't remember if you said she was scratching or not, but one thing I still resort to if I'm scratching over night is sleeping with socks on my hands. Old cotton ones seem best as they don't make your hands warm, just massively reduce any scratching and if I do try then it's rubbing soft cotton rather than scratching with my nails.

    Whether you can persuade a small child to that is another matter, unless they are princess socks!
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can't remember if you said she was scratching or not, but one thing I still resort to if I'm scratching over night is sleeping with socks on my hands. Old cotton ones seem best as they don't make your hands warm, just massively reduce any scratching and if I do try then it's rubbing soft cotton rather than scratching with my nails.

    I had to do that. My mum made me wear cotton gloves at night. I'd forgotten that. Also had to wear them in art class - maybe the paint affected me or something. I cant remember.

    And obviously keep her nails short.

    About detergents, I used to use Persil non-bio, but obviously it differs for everyone. I now use soap nuts cos they're cheap, easy and supposed to be good for people with bad skin - been using them for a couple of months & they seem good to me! Can only buy them online though as far as I know - loads of online stores will send you a trial portion of them, where you only pay the postage.

    With Oilatum, you usually get a big bottle anyway and then just use a capful in each bath or whatever, so don't need to take loads of bottles with you when you go abroad.

    Was it Shyboy who said he couldn't use Oilatum in uni showers? I do. Just put about half a capful or less in a bottle, fill the bottle up with warm water and use it instead of shower gel.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    anti histamines can help and ive used oilatum emolient with good results (but you need to be able to have baths - uni = no go). had it since i was little, still got it all over both legs :(

    You can also do it in the shower - get a jug, mix up water & oilatum and pour it over yourself.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I used to get persistent eczema on my inner arms and hands when I was in my late teens. It seemed to come up worst when I was stressed about my exams etc (though I'm guessing that's not the case with your daughter). My mum tried a lot of different things with me starting with the GP who gave me the dreaded steroid cream, it worked a little but freaked me out as I found out prolonged use "thins the skin" so I stopped using it. She took me to a homeopathic doctor to try and work out the causes of stress that could be the source of it, but in the end what seemed to work was aloe vera. I had an aloe vera gel which I used to apply direct to the itchy patches, it was really soothing and cooling and didn't sting so might be worth trying on your daughter. I also used to drink aloe vera juice a couple of times a day which I thought was absolutely disgusting, but it did seem to work - the eczema completely cleared up. I do find these days that if I'm stressed or not drinking enough water it comes back a little but nowhere near as badly as it used to.

    Hope that's some help - eczema's no fun at all and I really feel for you and your little girl :(
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My 8 week old daughter has got dry skin/eczema. I have been prescribed Diprobase by H.V.

    But I have been told Wooly hats/clothers and the child being too hot/wraped up can make the eczema flair up.
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