My Encounter with Eczema

My Encounter with Eczema

My son developed severe baby Eczema at just a few weeks of age. My son was not born with eczema, I suspect it was triggered by something. A nurse came round to give him his first bath. She put him in a tub of soapy, fragranced, bubbly water, then took him out and patted his skin dry with a towel. A midwife at the hospital encouraged me to bottle feed and in fact even made up a bottle and brought it round to feed my child.

Now I like to share our story with others, and my advice is always, prevention is better then cure. When your child develops eczema, so many “what if’s” come to mind, and so avoid fragranced products for the baby from the start and stick with what is simple.

Doctors prescribed hydrocortisone and aqueous cream. This provided a temporary short term reversal of the condition, but the problem kept coming back and getting worse. My baby was really suffering. He could not sleep, his skin was red and flaky all over and worst on his cheeks. He kept scratching so his hands had to be covered with mitts all the time, he felt very distressed and it was distressing to us. His skin often became inflamed and weepy (making me feel irritable and weepy too).

We changed our lifestyle. Carpets were replaced with laminate flooring. I changed my laundry detergent to one that was free from fragrances and specifically designed for sensitive skin. I made sure to thoroughly rinse out new clothes (only ever cotton) I bought before putting them on him. All fragranced products were out and soap was replaced with aqueus cream. His skin had to be covered in bandages when it got really bad. However, the condition kept coming back and getting worse.

After Dinesh, qualified in aromatherapy, we started using some essential oils to try to control his eczema. We started giving his skin a gentle cleanse using chamomile infused water. We used English lavender and German chamomile in virgin olive oil to help soothe his skin, and alleviate the itching. When his skin became weepy, an oil formulation containing patchouli essential oil seemed to do wonders. Baths in Dead Sea salt water and sodium bicarbonate were also very helpful.

This experience is what drew me very close to aromatherapy. I found that by using aromatherapy, I was able to limit the use of hydrocortisone creams to the minimum! Only ever resorting to them if the skin became very flaky as the steroids do seem to have a “quick fix” reversal effect, but seem to lose their effectiveness over time! The experience also inspired me to hand make products for my son, giving me total control over the ingredients that went into those products. In doing so, I began to to understand what ingredients worked best for his skin (calendula, cocoa butter) and what didn’t (shea butter)

As time went by, I believe he simply “outgrew” his infantile eczema – like many do, however, it still recurs from time to time (eg when he gets ill). He also suffers from asthma (both are linked). Again I turn to aromatherapy. I use a blend of oils such as pine and spike lavender in an ultrasonic diffuser to provide relief and help with breathing.

I hand make a range of creams and balms now. Spa Isha’s “Gentle” cream used for facial for sensitive skins was first designed with my own baby in mind. It is a very simple cream, which he still uses for everyday protection and it contains avocado oil, cocoa butter, calendula, and touch of vitamin E. No fragrances and no shea butter and no nut derived oils. I think his condition is mainly under control now, which just the odd recurrence when he is ill or if the pollen levels go up. I make a richer version of this cream (called nourish) for some of our customers at the Spa who have sensitive skin and are looking for something with a bit extra. “Nourish” cream is just “Gentle” with some carrot tissue oil and rosehip oil – both rich in vitamin A.

Based on our personal experience, I would recommend using aromatherapy as a complementary medicine (alongside conventional medicine) to help with Eczema. Please take care when using aromatherapeutic remedies though, especially on children as essential oils can be very potent. It is best to seek advice from a qualified aromatherapist who is approved by the International Federation of Aromatherpists, who can help to advise you on safe use of essential oils, as you will find at Spa Isha Aromatherapy. Also if you are planning to use any complementary medicine, it is always advisable to seek advice and approval from your GP.