3 Yr Old Daughter Has Really Bad Rash on Her Body!

Updated on July 18, 2010
J.B. asks from Arnold, MD
25 answers

My daughter has always had what the doctors said is eczema since the time she was born. So I have used any and all lotions (Aquaphor,hydrocortizone cream,eucerin,aveeno,lubriderm,cetaphil) All of these creams/lotions cause burning sensations on her rash areas which are the inside folds of her arms and legs, under her palms,under her neck, her armpits and all down her legs. She doesnt have the rash on her stomach though. With the hot weather it we have been getting lately, it seems to be making it worse. Today when we went out to run some errands, it was 100 degrees out and we were never outside for more than 5 minutes but the areas broke out and she started itching hard! It looks so painful!! she even itched her arms so bad that they started to bleed! Before we went out I was put Eucerin on her itch spots to prevent the itch urge but it obviously didnt work. I have stopped her on all dairy thinking that might be the culprit but its been 4 days since and today was one of the worst days for her. I dont know what to do! When I give her a bath she says the bathwater burns her skin(and i havent even put anything in the water yet). I just want to take this away from her because it looks so painful! I made an appointment with a homeopathic dr next week and I hope he can help figure out what is causing this. Anyone have any suggestions that I have not already tried (as mentioned above)??? Any advice would be great!

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone!!! I have a lot of great information from all of you that I will start implementing. So far, I have stopped using the bounce dryer sheets and am only using fragrance free detergent for sensitive skin. Today I am hitting the Whole Foods store to get some all natural shampoo. My husband bought hemp cream from the Body Shop(the woman there recommended it for eczema) yesterday it helped her for a brief period but today she cried that it burned her skin. I have been trying to keep her indoors to avoid flare ups which is hard because its summer and she wants to go out and play! Last night was hard, we didn't get much sleep,she was itching all over and really digging at it again, I tried putting cold wet towel on her skin to ease the pain. So today I am switching the sheets to bounce free ones, it might be that. I am keeping my appointment with the homeopathic dr as I think he will help, he has helped some familys that I know who are battling with similar issues, he said he will use a special device to identify her allergies if she has any with a machine called Asyra. I hope it works! Once again, thank you so much! I will be putting your advice to use to see what works for her. Send healing vibes our way please!

Featured Answers



answers from New London on

tonight give her benedryl. She is having a reaction to something. Could be dairy, could be eggs, could be heat rash, etc. Have her tested for allergies. Eczema is a reaction to something.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Johnstown on

This may sound weird, but my hubby's cousin uses Mary Kay's Extra Emolient Night Cream for her eczema. She said it's the only thing that can help her. If you'd like, I can send you a sample of it for you to try.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We are in the exact same boat as you. My sons hands are itching like crazy. The dr. did not know what it is. We did several days of claratin and lotions, but it did not help. We are off to the dermatologist on Monday...I can let you knw what happens.

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answers from New York on

Try "dream cream" from Lush, Its made by all natural ingredians and totally safe for babies.
I also get the "oatmeal facial" to occasianlly rub all over my babys body while he sits in the bathtub.
Its very soothing for dry itchy skin and also smells delicious. They are little pricy but I don't waste my money on anything else plus I use them too so its totally worth it.!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If you haven't already I would switch to natural soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc... I have a book of natural remedies and one thing suggested is drinking lots of pure water every day. Pre and probiotics were among other suggestions of supplements.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Please see an allergist. My daughter had eczema on the insides of her knees and elbows, and would scratch horribly almost constantly. We tried all different creams and lotions and soaps, and we changed laundry detergents to all natural, no scent, etc. Nothing really helped. It turned out to be a food allergy -- to eggs! After removing all eggs from her diet, she is eczema free. Unbelievable. At 3 years old, your daughter is old enough for a scratch test with an allergist -- it might solve the problem.

Good luck!



answers from Richmond on

I'm so sorry to read about what your baby girl AND you are experiencing. I go through this with my 3 yr old daughter as well. Particularly when the seasons transition. I would highly recommend going to a dermatologist and quite possibly an allergist. What has worked for us is bathing her with either Cetaphil (mostly during the winter) or Dove Sensitive Skin body wash. While she's still damp, not wet, from her bath I apply an equal parts mixture of Vaseline and Eucerin. This makes a nice, creamy texture that is neither to thick nor too greasy. When it's been particulary bad I've used Fluticasone, a steroid prescribed by a dermatologist. I'm not fond of using steroids, so this is used only when absolutely necessary. I also keep Cortizone cream with aloe on hand and apply as needed, and because this is not a steroid it can be used several times a day. I don't use anything with fragrance and only wash our clothes in fragance free detergents as well as using fragrance free dryer sheets. Lastly I do occasionally give her Benadryl before bed. I only do this when it gets really bad. It does help her rest and relieve the itch so that she's not scratching in her sleep. I hope this helps. Good luck to you.


answers from Detroit on

you must give her cool baths all day if nessacary. one thing that irritates my skin in this hot weather is SWEAT!! and along with my ezcema popping back out i have heat rash with it. i must stay clena and dry all day! even if you just let her sit in the cool water it will help. and keep the hydrocotizone on her it works the best. i hope this helps you because i know exactly how your daughter feels and she has my deepest sympathies!!! you both are in my prayers and good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

Hi J., I'm so sorry your daughter's exzema is so bad. Here's what's works for my daughter. Daily baths (warm, not hot) are needed for moisture. I use RoBathol Bath oil (you can order it at www.psico.com). Pat dry and within a couple of minutes, get a moisturizer on her to hold in the moisture. First, you need to treat any of the scratched (open) areas with an antibiotic and any non open areas with a cortisone of some sort (I use prescription strengths on both-mupiricin and triamcinilone). Try petroleum jelly for a week since it's so bad right now. I'm always amazed at how well that does when we're having worse periods. I normally use Eucerin (regular) lotion after bath and every morning (medications in the morning as well). Let's see, what else?:-) I use Dove Sensitive bath products when things are fairly well under control (or if there's a lot of dirt that needs to come off). At the website listed above (Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc) you can purchase Free and Clear shampoo and conditioner-no dyes, fragrance, etc. They have Vanicream products also. These are dermatologist recommended and I use the sunscreen products, but find the lotions/creams difficult to apply-they're very thick (Vaseline and Eucerin are better for us and less expensive). Hope there's something here you can use. Good luck!! K.
Oh yes, she also gets Children's Benadryl pretty much every night! Thank goodness Costco carries the double pack!



answers from Washington DC on

My husband suffers horribly from skin issues like the ones you're mentioning. I am so sorry your little girl is going through this.

My best suggestion is an amazing dermatologist here in VA, right near Tyson's Corner. She is not only a dermatologist but also focuses on the entire person as a system and also highly recommends specific allergy tests for people who have such difficult skin issues. She is Dr. Duyen Faria, and the practice is Excel Dermatology. I believe they take most every insurance plan. She has single handedly helped give my husband back a lot of his life, since the skin issues were becoming so debilitating.

Best of luck, and hope to hear a happy ending sometime!



answers from Norfolk on

petrolium jelly wont cre it but can help with the rash once its bad enough that even wter hurts it. my dr ave my dauhter something that we use behnd her ears and it works great. has the dr given hr any lotion/eds for her trouble pots?


answers from Columbus on

My daughter had something similar. She had the eczema which was controlled for the most part. She then developed this rash all over her trunk and down her legs and arms. It made the eczema flare up pretty bad. The doctor said it was an allergic reaction to something....who knows what......and to give her Bendadryl. I did and the additional rash went away within 24 hours. Since then, we have been able to get the eczema to where it only flares when it's really hot or if she's fighting something else, like a virus or other illness. Maybe the rash is an allergic reaction? Try Benadryl and if that doesn't work, I'd take her to the doctor. I tried going dairy free with my daughter and found that wasn't the cause. I figured I'd just keep doing what worked and hope she outgrows it.
There are several different creams listed in the other posts which may help. For us, Eucerin has been working for now. I've also seen moms mention Arbonne products for eczema. We also used Vaseline on her arms because we didn't have any Eucerin on hand at the time. It seemed to work just as well.
It's very frusterating and heartbreaking watching your child go through this.... I wish you luck in finding your own personal "cure"!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I would take her to a dermatologist. It might be eczema (use no scent products, detergents, etc) but maybe it's something else.
If it IS eczema, since I get it on my hands and it is so painful I found that Farouk Silk Therapy oil (a hair product) works to take that burn away.
Also what about Aveeno oatmeal baths? Although generally, unless it's a medicine, the less put on eczema the better. Ask your pharmacist for A-Mantle. I have a friend whose hubby swears by that.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter had a similar thing from the time she was about 2 1/2. We just did what we could and then it got worse the next year. We started noticing her flare-ups corresponded to weather and season changes. We finally took her to dermatologist and I'm so glad we did. He said it was definetely eczema and hot weather and anything with fragrances (bubble bath, etc) would make it worse. He gave her a perscription for CloDerm. Not the cheapest perscription, but it works wonders. We also started using either Dove or Oil of Olay soap (for sensitive skin). Neither of those caused any burning or irritation. He also recommended Cervae (?) lotion to use all over to keep skin moist in between flareups. You can find coupons for it online. Walmart sells it (among other places). Since it sounds like your daughter is bothered by this, I would recommend a dermatologist. He knows way more about skin disorders than a ped. does. Good luck! We feel your daughter's pain!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi there, my eczema is localized and minor, but the rash I get is exactly the same type you're describing. I only get it on my right shin where my leg is exposed to the heating vent in my car while I'm driving (and can't move my leg) during the winter. However, my small taste of it is more than enough to make me ache in sympathy with your daughter. It's a miserable feeling and yes, sometimes I have to scratch it and yes sometimes it bleeds.

The one thing that does make it go away is Desonide steroid cream. I wouldn't use hydrocortizone because of the other side effects. Desonide really minimizes my rash and has almost completely cured it until I hit the 10 day mark and have to stop using it for a few days... Then I just get out of the habit and my rash comes back. If you were to be diligent, even with the breaks that you have to take from the steroid every 10 days, you could probably still make good progress on her rash.

However, if it's such a large rash, your doctor may be reluctant to let you use that much of a steroid on her. You should ask anyways.

In the meantime, Aveeno bath products in a cool or lukewarm bath for as long as you can get her to sit in it and keeping her indoors, A/C on and cool-mist humidifier on to keep the air in your home moist and cool might help.



answers from Honolulu on

Heat rash?
Maybe from her sweat?
This happens in some people.

I would see a Dermatologist.
You will get a more succinct diagnoses that way.

Give her a bath with baking soda in it. Try that.

There is a cream called Florsasone. It is a natural cream for itches/rashes. You can find it at Whole Foods or online like at Amazon.
It is a natural alternative to cortisone.

Just as an aside: My Mom gets rashes/eczema from Oats/anything with oats in it, and any citrus.

But your daughter's rash... seems to be exacerbated by heat.

Or, some people get rashes, from the sun. A type of allergy.

Good luck,



answers from Washington DC on

Please do not use petroleum on your child's open wounds. It is toxic. There are better alternatives.
The eczema is her body's way of getting rid of toxins. From a holistic viewpoint, it's the liver out of balance. There are homeopathic remedies for eczema. They heal from the inside out. That is the most effective way to heal.
Only 4 days off of dairy is not enough time to get that out of her body. It takes at least 2-4 wks. And that means all dairy, including products with whey and casein.
Find a good homeopath or naturpath. Acupuncture works very well also.
I see you are in Arnold. I have referrals to several great natural practitioners in your area. My acupuncturist is right in Annapolis.
Please feel free to contact me if you want a referral.


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with the moms who think she may be responding to something in her diet or on her clothes. An allergist appt seems prudent. As for the symptoms, I didn't find the lotions you listed to be very helpful either. However, lanolin (like you'd use for cracked nipples when nursing) seemed to do wonders on the irritated skin my daughters would suffer with during a breakout of excema. Theirs was never bad enough to make them bleed from scratching, so I would definitely try to find the cause and eliminate that if possible. Good luck to you and your precious dd!



answers from Washington DC on

My son has suffered from bouts of eczema since he began solid foods at 6 months. He's now 6 years old. The heat always makes it worse. With age, his bouts with eczema have lessened but he still has it and in the summer it's worse. It's not unusual for the stomach, back and face to remain clear.
We did have him tested for food allergies but he came back clear. I also did an elimination diet, but it did not help in his case. At 3 1/2 he was diagnosed with celiac disease and I thought his eczema just might clear up on a gluten free diet. It did get better but did not disappear enitrely :)

My humble suggestions:

1) Try to limit bubble baths. And keep the baths luke warm b/c as you may know the warmer the water, the greater the skin irritation. If you must give her a bubble bath, I reccomend using California Baby bubble bath. The products are expensive but they seem to soothe rather than irritate the eczema. Target sells a few items from the line. You can also buy them directly from the California Baby website or from Drugstore.com. I also use California Baby Botanical Calming lotion for my son. I began using it last Spring and noticed an improvement in his eczema. Many other moms of children w/ eczema have written reviews raving about the product. My son will sometimes complain that cortisone, lotion or water burns when I put it on him but that's only when he's been scratching the patches--even just a little scratching can mildly open up the rash enough to cause a burn when any topical preparation is placed on it. Obviously if the area is bleeding, it's wide open and the burn we be far greater.

2) Keep her nails trimmed as low as possible so that when she gets the urge to scratch, she's only able to use the tips of her fingers as opposed to any nails. Seriously, this is an important thing to stay on top of if you aren't doing this already. Trim them and file them to ensure the nail is in no way long enough to scratch the rash. Fingernails harbor lots of bacteria--add that to scratching so much that the patches open up and your asking for an infection of the areas.

3) Ask the homeopathic doctor about possibly having her tested for a food allergy. As you likely know, some children's food allergies manifest in the form of eczema. You were wise to take out dairy as a possible culprit but 4 days is not enough time to make a determination. You should give it a couple weeks. And make sure she's not getting any hidden sources of the food you're eliminating--in this case dairy. Nothing cooked with butter, yogurt, cheese, etc. Again, your homeopathic doctor can talk to you about using an "elimination diet" to rule out possible food issues. But I wouldn't hestiate to find an allergist who will test her for egg, dairy, etc. allergies. Zyrtec is for seasonal allergies, not food allergies, so if she does have a food sensitivity or allergy, the medicine won't do a thing for her. I have heard that seasonal allergies, anxiety, stress can all trigger eczema. And who doesn't have one or more of those things in their life at a given time. I had an aquaintance who's 1 year old had the worst eczema I've ever seen. It turns out she had an egg allergy--even eating a pancake made with egg would cause her to break out into terrible eczema. And that was the only symptom she had.

4) Remember that in most cases, the eczema will gradually lessen as she gets older. But I think you're on the right track with food being a possible culprit.

You're a really terrific mom for continuing your quest to find an answer!!!

Good luck and God Bless!



answers from Norfolk on

Have her tested for food allergies/sensitivities & environmental allergies asap. Every child I know that has eczema has food allergies (most of them with multiple food allergies) or sensitivites including my own sons (tree nuts, eggs & garlic). We have to use All free & Clear, Bounce Free, Cetaphil & Vaseline Creamy. For his flares he uses Aclovate. Nothing else works. But we have also wrapped all our bedding, installed air cleaners, etc. It is also summer so make sure you are washing off sunscreen and chlorine as soon as possible after exposure. See an allergist. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I know you have a billion good things now to try on your list, but I'll just add 2 that work for me...(not my kids, just me, because they don't seem to get eczema like I do).

Anyway, Tea Tree oil really helps me as well as pure essential Peppermint oil. The Tea Tree (Melaleuca) I just bought in the pharmacy section like at Target in fact, even just using Paul Mitchell Tea Tree shampoo helps clear me up and the Peppermint oil I got from "doTerra" Essential Oils. Your daughter will smell so delicious too! (with the peppermint, not the tea tree) lol!

Hang in there!



answers from Dover on

I'm so sorry your daughter has gone through such a terrible ordeal. I'm no doctor, but it does sound like an allergy to something. Someone else mentioned using natural products and I'm all for that. I don't have a personal experience to relate...I just have experiences of other I know who have converted their homes like I have to products that don't have any harsh chemicals like formaldehyde (which has been linked to eczema as other terrible diseases not necessary to mention at this moment). Even things like Johnson's Baby Shampoo has it in there so you've really got to watch everything in your home. I get every household product from a superior health & wellness company that actually saves us money.
As far as the rash goes...I know many who have gotten complete relief from using Renew Lotion. No more rash or itching...and no more topical steroids. There's also a Renew Body Wash too. They're even safe enough for newborn skin. My 3 year old son had eczema (just a slight bumpy rash) on his shoulders that the doctor said would be there forever. His bumps have disappeared since I started using Renew Lotion on him when he was 20 months old. Your daughter's case is obviously more serious, but I wholeheartedly recommend trying it out. Let me know if you'd like more info.
Good luck and God bless.



answers from Kansas City on

I would consider an allergist/immunologist. My daughter gets a horrible rash that looks like sunburn. Thought it was food related. Had the blood allergy tests done as she is too young for scratch test, found out she is higly allergic to grass and weeds. Also, have you tried any zyrtec? That may help. But they have to be on it a while to really see improvement. Daughter also takes a RX nose spray. Has made all the difference in the world. BTW, she tested positive for several food allergies, but the allergist said you can have false positives on the blood test for food allergies. He did an IgE test which is a total marker for allergy response. he said if it is high (normal should be 20 or under, daughter's was 387!!) the food allergies were false positives. So relieved it wasn't food allergies!

The allergist also recommended the Cervae cream (not lotion, cream) that someone else mentioned. He said do NOT use any other lotion or cream. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I second the advice about the allergist -- I recently discovered that I have a dust mite and mold allergy and I've also found that it helps mine and my daughter's eczema to also keep us away from dust (plastic covers on the bed and clean sheets) and mold (I got rid of those sqeezy bath toys quick and frequently wash the towels). So maybe it's outdoor allergies or indoor -- but it really surprises me that family physicians don't refer eczema cases to allergist more often! Sweat does make it worse, too, and I find that it helps to change her clothes (especially underwear) in the middle of the day if she gets sweaty.



answers from Joplin on

I found your story extremely sad!! It literally almost brought me to tears! You honestly could have been describing my exact childhood. I have had skin problems ever since I was born and have been given many different diagnosis' over the years. Some examples that I can remember have been eczema, Ichthyosis, and the most recent (2007) atopic dermatitis. The symptoms that you described your daughter having are almost identical to the ones I have experienced. I would break out with a bright red, inflamed, like "rash". It was always the worst on my neck and in the bends of my elbows and knees, as well as my wrists, ankles, and up and down the inside of my legs (I also have trouble with my face, particularly my chin and right under my nose). I can't tell you how many times my mother had to get on to me for scratching!!! And when I say scratch, I don't mean JUST scratching. I would dig, and dig, and dig at my skin with both hands to the point were I would make myself bleed! I even to this day still have scars on the tops of my ankles from digging at my skin because it itched so badly! I have found that in cold weather my skin tends to dry out which causes my symptoms to flair up, but at the same time it is also affected by the heat (especially if I begin to sweat). I also have to make sure and wash my hands right away if I am handling animals, because if I don't and end up rubbing my face or arms they will break out. Dust, smoke, and weeds are also problematic (these last three could just bother me because I do have allergies and asthma, which I was diagnosed with when I was 3. I was also told that a lot of times asthma and atopic dermatitis have a tendency to occur together and kind of go hand in hand). In the last couple of years it has really began to calm down though, but I still do have trouble with it from time to time. I have been instructed to use Cetaphil instead of normal soaps, and to take Luke-warm baths or showers (because the heat in the water draws all the oils out of your skin so you don't want it to be too warm). At this point in time, the dermatologist has me using Curel, original, lotion. It is very mild and I have not had a problem with it burning my skin like other lotions, which has been a major problem in the past!! I also have two prescription creams that I am using; Elidel (anti-inflammatory) and Desonide (steroid). Anyway, everyone is different and I would recommend seeing a dermatologist. I truly hope you and daughter find a treatment soon that works well for her, and that with time she will grow out of it!!! You have my best wishes! I know what you both are going trough and will keep you in my prayers!!!!

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