Eczema & AA Skin Care

Updated on September 10, 2013
C.. asks from Columbia, MO
9 answers

Ok - so I have a new 2.8 yo foster son, who joined our family last Wed evening. He has eczema in several places... mostly knees, elbows, chin (known cat allergy, no other allergies identified yet, but I would guess more).

His previous foster father was a pediatrician and gave us aquaphor and a tube of hyrocortizone (1%). He specifically said to use aquaphor because he is AA and has quite dry skin. We are using the aquaphor each morning before getting dressed and at night before bed. The hydrocortizone we are applying to the individual spots in the morning, at night and throughout the day as needed (when he is scratching). However, there are times when he is scratching and his shins and knees get "ashy" - so I have also been using gold bond hydrating lotion on an "as needed" basis.

Should I be using aquaphor more? I am trying not to use the it more than 2x a day (unless that's what is best for him... then I will). It's pretty gross (plus, he's a runner and unless I can catch him around the waist, he slips right out of my hands if I've just applied the As a side note I've had several AA partners, none of them had this type of dry skin and none used aquaphor. So, I'm not sure if this IS because he is AA, or if the pediatrician just thinks that's why he has dry skin???? I was confused by several comments he made about caring for AA skin.

I have his "check in" appt with his regular pediatrician (not the foster dad) tomorrow and I want to get a prescription so the day care can apply the hyrocortisone throughout the day - right now they can't do it without a prescription, so he goes all day with nothing on except what I put on each morning.

**We are limiting baths to really an "as needed" basis, and we rinse him off with water only every day if he gets sweaty.

**We started him on zyrtec each day. He was super stuffy after coming from the home with the cat (reason for the disruption.... I also think it's because he is handful - which also makes the application of aquaphor quite difficult).

**I am also giving him a couple doses of runny nose and cough medicine to clear up the allergies (per the first foster dad, who is a pediatrician). But we are only *supposed* to do that until the runny nose clears up - so like a couple more days.

This eczema is MUCH different than the eczema my daughter had, but she also has Ketosis Pilaris, so it may present differently with both conditions????? I took her to a dermatologist, got a creme and we were good to go. This seems to look more like clustered individual rash dots, but the pediatrician said it was "clearly eczema in an african american child" - so I'm just putting the hydrocortisone on all the "dots".

Other than that.... what are tips and tricks to get his itching under control?

I'm going to talk to his pediatrician about other allergies. I can't really do a modified diet to "rule out" dietary allergies. There is NO WAY his daycare would eliminate items and I don't have the authorization to **decide** to have him allergy tested. Our next meeting isn't until Nov, and then there is a packet of information to be submitted for any "elective" testing. So assuming we can't rule out food and he will continue to be exposed to any allergens.... any advice on what else we can do to get this under control? He's a pretty itchy little fella!!!!!!!

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answers from Portland on

I know you said the daycare won't limit food, but what about milk? Both of my kiddos have eczema and it is brought on by milk. My daughter is also set off by peanuts, but not any other kind. So, she drinks goat milk, my son however, is also allergic to it.

My sister's eczema is also from dairy. But, that doesn't mean they can't have the small amounts that are added to foods like crackers and other foods. It is the casein protein, not the lactose that is the allergent.

I know that oatmeal baths are supposed to be soothing, as are cool baths because warm ones dry out the skin. I have had a lot of luck with coconut oil for my dry skin, but I don't have eczema. Also, the rashes can get yeast in them, so watch for that as well.

I hope you find answers with the pediatrician, and if needed, then ask for a pediatric dermatologist as well as an allergist. Good luck, I wish you the best, and easiest resolution for this!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have dry, sensitive skin as does one of my daughters. I have good results on 90% of skin problems with just plain olive or coconut oil. An added bonus is that they are cheap and natural.

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answers from Portland on

Caring for eczema is more complicated than using a cream and cortizone. I urge you to Google eczema treatment. He should be bathed every day and then the cream applied while his skin is still damp. Use a small amount of mild soap. Do not apply cream or anything else to his skin before bathing him. You want the water to soak in and then apply the cream to hold it in.

There are generic creams available that cost less. We also used vaseline with my grandaughter. The creamy vaseline was absorbed better and was less greasy. Applying twice a day should be sufficient. Same for cortisone cream. I would apply cream more often during the day when needed. One has to not over use the cortisone because it can thin out the skin.

My granddaughter's doctor prescibed a special cream to use instead of the cortisone cream. It worked wonders. My daughter's sister uses a coconut lotion wothout perfumes or preservatives that helps keep her daughter's eczema at bay. However, when the eczema is active a thick cream works best.

I've been a foster mother and known other foster parents. The state will pay for further testing if the pediatrician recommends it. And you do not need to wait until November to talk with his worker. Providing the best care for him is ongoing and can't be sceduled.

What is AA?

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answers from Boston on

I've never seen eczema treated effectively using topical creams or lotions or baths. You've got to watch the steroid creams anyway, and as you've noticed, it's particularly difficult in a small child - they move, and you don't want them touching the cream and then putting their hands in their mouths or on their food.

Besides, you're just treating the symptom and not really addressing the cause. It's really caused by an imbalance inside the body, and with the skin as the body's largest organ, there are lots of ways for the imbalance to manifest as a skin problem (eczema being one of many). All of the nurses, moms, and even pharmacists with whom I work use nutritional supplementation much more effectively. I think you can be much more effective and get other benefits as well.

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answers from Washington DC on

My dd has had exzema and I have a combo cream that I make myself:

equal parts of:
1% hydrocortisone cream
Vaseline (or Aquaphor)
Benedryl anti-itch cream
Zinc Oxide cream (You can just use Desitin with 40% zinc oxide)

Mix together in a small jar like a tiny baby food jar. It works best if you wet the affected skin area down with some cool water, then apply the cream and lock the moisture in.

I've been doing this for years and it works like a charm. Also, before my dd swims or even before she takes a hot bath, I apply a thin layer of cream and it works as a barrier so the water doesn't irritate or dry the skin.

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answers from St. Louis on

I just read your question about eczema in African American skin. I am African American and the mother of three boys ranging in age from 8 years to 1 year old, all of whom have severe eczema, food allergies, asthma & environmental allergies.

Eczema presents differently in African American skin than it does in Caucasian skin due to an increased amount of melanin in AA skin. My sons have it primarily behind their knees, in the bends of their elbows, on their hands & necks. I'm sure you have researched how eczema affects AA skin, if not you may want to start there.

Aquaphor is not just for AA skin & I do agree it is gross. I have used it for years on my boys & all of their bed clothing is stained from it. I have also used Dove soap for sensitive skin on them since they were babies. I have recently started using African Black Soap with shea butter and Neosporin Eczema Essentials with great success. The Neosporin Eczema Essentials cream is not greasy & it helps with itchy skin. I think they make a body wash too but I have not tried it. Zyrtec is also great to use along with a lipid cream like the Neosporin for the itchy skin. We also see a dermatologist who proscribes steroid creams as needed but they are not good to use every day.

Since I know my kids' eczema & asthma triggers, I am able to control their flare ups better. However, since you are unable to have him tested it will be harder for you to control flare ups. I give my boys baths each night (but I don't let them soak too long in the water because that is not good for eczema) to wash away any environmental triggers. I also use Aveeno oatmeal baths sometimes to sooth itchy skin. Aquaphor or any emollient should be used as much as needed & not limited to 2x per day. Eczema skin needs a little help with keeping moisture in & since the skin is our first line of defense from illness, it's super important to keep it healthy. I hope some of my tips help your little one. I usually don't answer post but yours hit so close to home that I felt compelled to post a reply.

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answers from Raleigh on

While your getting a prescription, get it for 2.5% hydrocortizone, and ask for the ointment not the cream. Eczema is not just your run-of-the-mill dry skin- it's an allergic reaction to something. Until you can get him allergy tested, the best thing you can do is what you have done so far. I would also go completely fragrance and dye free on detergents and soaps. And label watch it also. Just because it says free and clear doesn't always mean fragrance free. And no clorox in the laundry, either. Hope this helps.

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answers from Denver on

My son was prescribed a steriod cream for a while. The main issue though was milk - dairy. He is 5 now and can drink and eat dairy in moderation without issue. However, once we switched out the milk (used rice milk) he did SO MUCH better. Best of luck and see what the pediatrician says. :)
Also, put the aquaphor on right after the bath while the skin is still moist. One other lotion I had luck with - that isn't as OILY is Cetaphil (in the tub).

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answers from Houston on

Bathe him in Dreft detergent and apply Betadine douche solution.

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