Pool Water and Eczema/product Recommendations

Updated on November 04, 2015
N.Z. asks from Los Angeles, CA
14 answers

My 3 year old daughter has always had mild eczema on her legs -- just a few dry pink patches that were not itchy. Usually worse in the winter. She had over ten patches when she was 1-2 years old, but by the time she turned 3 a few months ago, she only had two or three.

Recently, we started taking her to the pool. Actually, just two times so far. The first time, she was in the pool for less than an hour and the eczema patches she had were only slightly worse. With steroid ointment, they improved. Last Saturday was the second time and she was kept in the pool for 1.5 hours. Not surprisingly, she got huge new rashes on both legs. And it was the first time she had itchy eczema rash. She couldn't sleep at night for two nights because she was busy scratching. With lots of moisturizing and 2.5% steroid cream, itchiness improved a bit. Should I keep her out of the pool altogether? Or is it okay to swim so long as she's not kept in the pool too long? She absolutely loves going to the pool, but trying to decide if it's worth it.

I've been using Aquaphor, but wanted to know if there's something that works better for eczema. Also, now that she's potty trained, she washes her hands more frequently and I found that the soap we use (Method brand) is quite drying. Do you have recommendations for gentle hand soap for kids that are not antibacterial? Thank you so much!

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answers from Anchorage on

My kids used to get the same thing when they were in swim lessons, I found coconut oil or rose salve both worked very well.

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answers from Austin on

Well, my daughter is much older than yours, but let me tell you, we are in the eczema war of all wars here. I can't even begin to describe - she's had to have skin biopsies, she's had to be rushed to the ER, the itching has been so bad that she's had to be sedated. This is extreme. She has two dermatologists and a psychiatrist (who is a physician's assistant, and a homeopathic certified practitioner too) who are all working to solve this eczema problem. She's been prescribed several medications but they're having limited success. Of course, my daughter's eczema is much more serious than typical eczema (hers sometimes gets infected, and it's called atypical, spongiotic eczema, but it still is classified as eczema; it's not any other skin disease, it's just extreme). But maybe some of the things we've learned about basic eczema can help you.

Here's a few things we've learned that have had a positive effect.

Cetaphil makes a really good skin cleanser. It's not antibacterial, and recommended for eczema. It's available in a plastic bottle with a pump, so it's great for putting beside the sink. We found it at a large drugstore (like Walgreen's or CVS).

Swimming can be helpful for some people with eczema and harmful for others. Pools can vary, and eczema can vary. Perhaps you can ask to see the pool maintenance log, as different chemicals can affect eczema. Look here: http://www.eczema.org/factsheets (scroll down to the "Swimming" section) to read about ph levels, etc. Maybe you just need to find a different pool.

Applying an emollient ointment prior to exposure to water can be helpful. Your pharmacist can help you find an emollient ointment.

I found a company called Salcura (salcura.com). Their Dermaspray and Zeoderm creams have been really helpful. The spray has been great - it's easy to rub in. Both have helped with the itching.

I also bought this Aqueous stuff: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007HKGRP8?psc=1&red.... I couldn't find it anywhere except on Amazon, and it was mailed from Great Britain. But it has been extremely soothing. It was recommended by a friend of my son's, who is from England, and who has had eczema. He told me about it and wasn't too expensive, so we tried it. If it's not available there, you might search for it on other places online.

Vanicream is also a really good moisurizer, and they make a cleansing bar soap too. It's often sold by pharmacies but sometimes it's all behind the counter and you need to ask the pharmacist for it (it's not a prescription). They make a tub with a pump that is easy to use with one hand, or easy for a kid to use. I haven't been able to find Vanicream cleanser in any other form except a bar, but I'm looking for it in a tube or pump bottle.

I bought 100% cotton socks on Amazon and at night, my daughter puts on the prescription cream, and then rubs in the Aqueous cream or the Dermaspray, then the socks. Sure, the socks get pretty moist, but it feels soothing and helps prevent the itching. I also bought the cotton gloves that they sell for wearing lotions at night (usually sold in places like spas for moisturizing hands overnight), but I don't know if they make them small enough for your daughter. But you might find some 100% cotton pjs and have your daughter wear those, after you've slathered her with lotions. It helps keep the creams on.

Good luck with the eczema battle.

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answers from Chicago on

My daughter gets it pretty bad on her legs. When I took her to the doc in June, she was concerned about infection. She suggested Dove soap (we use Oil of Olay in the shower) and no antibacterial anything. We also use Cetaphil cream--not lotion. Cream is better since it is thicker. Make sure you are washing her off after the pool to get rid of the chlorine. A bleach bath can help but if the chlorine makes it worse, so will a bleach bath since bleach is chlorine. A friend of mine gets bad eczema on her hands and bought Dove gentle shampoo, put some in a hand soap pump and added about 1/3 water to 2/3 shampoo. Works well for her and no soap mess on the sink.

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answers from Nashville on

That's weird...I say that because our dermatologist actually recommended the pool water for eczema. He even suggested we buy chlorine tablets to use in the bath water at home. We did and it worked great...besides the chlorine smell. So we would sit in the chlorinated water and then wash off with our soap of choice.

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answers from Phoenix on

My boys both get eczema, as do I. We rinse off quickly after swimming in the pool and put lotion on any outbreaks right away after getting out of the shower, after pool or just a regular shower. For soap, I highly recommend www.lunaroma.com , I used their products on my newborns with eczema and had great results. I still use their bath products and even their baby massage oil on cracking skin.

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answers from Rochester on

My kids have both had eczema and horribly dry skin, especially hands, in the winter. There are three different lotions that we use that all seem to work better than anything else.

The Aveeno eczema lotion works great. We also like the Say Yes to Carrots brand body butter. I also like the udder cream, but it has been a little harder to find. The other two I can always find at Target, but the udder cream is hit or miss. Sometimes I can find it at the dollar store.

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answers from Portland on

We use something similar I think to aquafor but it is prescribed it's just labeled hydrous emollient in huge tub I have here. It's like a paste and we smear it on every time they bathe and wash hands.
I know a pedistrician who recommends kids with eczema sit in a bath with bleach and that helps. We've never personally tried it.
Chlorine affects mine too.
They would come out scarlet red.
Our pool is salt water. We still use chorine in it but it's not nearly as bad.
We just washed ours and their hair the minute they get out of pools them coat them in the paste.
We use Dove soap in tub and to wash hands. Dermatologist and allergist recommended it as did doctor. Good luck :)

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answers from Reading on

Have you ever had her tested for food allergies? My sister had bad eczema for years. Turned out she has Celiac. Once she cut out all forms of gluten, she has had no eczema at all - in addition to a huge variety of other symptoms that you would never figure to be connected to food.

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answers from Washington DC on

My daughter had/has eczema badly, it flairs up only at certain times and it stinks. The pool is one of those places that can irritate her as well, but it doesn't always. The only thing that works for her aside from steroids is Aveeno BABY lotion. It heals her skin and makes her feel so much better. She is 12 but she has used it for YEARS. We even send it to her schools with her so she always has access to it.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Ask the pool boss what they use to treat the water. Our Y uses a non-chlorine chemicals and I'm allergic to them. When I am in the water and I get splashed or go under then stand up for a while everywhere that is dry gets itchy and turns into red whelps.

One of my friends has a kid on the swim team and he said what it might be is the parts that are drying naturally, after having the pool water on it, is leaving a concentrated residue of the chemical and it is burning my skin.

I started taking a towel to the side of the pool and wiping my skin off. I still get red and itch sometimes so I know I am allergic to it. So now I take half a dose of Benadryl to combat the reaction and that helps a lot.

If I go to a pool that uses Chlorine I have no problems, I don't have problems with soft swim chemicals either.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Neutrogena Hand Cream cured me of eczema when a prescription steroid cream did not. (I use the hand cream on my legs too)

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answers from Springfield on

apply coconut oil to the skin and add fish oils to the diet. the fish oils will help from the inside and cleared my daughters eczema completely. dh takes it as well or he will have a nasty eczema breakout.
the coconut oil is a great moisturizer that is good for the skin.

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answers from Washington DC on

my son's eczema actually responded well to pool water. it seemed to dry up the weepiness.
but all eczemas are not equal.
we used cetaphil extensively, but sometimes needed px cream from the doctor.

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answers from Las Vegas on

for soap, Dr Bronners is good... and if you don't want drying, try one without sodium laurel sulfate (that's the stuff that makes it bubble) and is what is very drying... additionally, while I haven't had eczema, I have had hives.. which as you may know, has somewhat similar rash qualities in that it can itch like crazy.. both Eczema and Hives love WARMTH.. that is why at night when we sleep, we can go to bed ok and then wake up in an itching frenzy.. it's because we have covers piled on us and our bodies heat up, as they do.. so does the rash.. your best bet.. a light down comforter.. warm enough but also light enough...
additionally, tap water is chlorine in it as well... so when you bathe her.. try and limit the bath time and don't make the water overly hot.. again, heat will stimulate the rash..
also, it's been my experience that rashes need to breathe... I wouldn't use an oily topical or creamy lotion on the rash.. good old oatmeal might help AND can you get a hold of an aloe vera plant? the cutting are great and can be applied topically to rashes an sunburns and other ailments...
also........ consider detergents that you use... try and find one without chemicals.. lastly.. clothing... artificial material like polyester and other stuff can make skin itch.. and that's because it doesn't breathe like cotton... so and try and put more cotton on her if you don't already...
again. I don't have Eczema, but I have had my shares of hives and all of the aforementioned has helped.. lastly, drink LOTS of water.. this helps eliminate any junk in the system that might be contributing to the breakouts.. limit sugar and yeasty food (e.g. pizza dough, white pasta) although a traditional western doctor won't tell you this.. but often, hives, Eczema and a myriad of other things are a result of overly active yeast in our system.. the yeast problems will often manifest themselves in things like rashes..
I know, it's a lot of info.. but as someone who has had their share of skin ups and downs.. it's what works for me..

good luck

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