Please note: this post contains affiliate links.
Ollie has the trifecta: allergies, asthma, and eczema. His first year of life was terrible in the eczema department. His chubby baby cheeks sometimes bled they were so irritated. After almost three years, we finally have things somewhat under control, with a big emphasis on somewhat. Eczema drives me CRAZY. One minute skin is perfect and the next your child sweats for three minutes instead of two and their legs are a disaster.
the dreaded cortisone
As one who likes to be as organic and natural as possible, eczema has been especially hard to swallow. The photo above is only a part of the collection we tried during Ollie’s first year. You’ll see a mix of toxin-free products and high-strength prescription creams. Our doctor helped my guilt and stress with this immensely. After trying numerous types of shea butter, natural ointments, and the like; he very matter of factly told us that it was time to get the eczema under control with cortisone and that was OK. Eczema is all about getting to the root cause, but we needed something while going through elimination diets and environmental changes.
We know Ollie’s rashes respond to cortisone and if we need it from time to time, it’s better than all the time. Hearing that from our doctor made me feel much better. If you’re in a similar position, don’t google “how to avoid cortisone” and make yourself feel like a terrible parent when you read message boards of moms telling you cortisone is the devil. Instead, develop a game plan with your team of medical professionals to do what is best for you and your child at that moment.
no that’s the winter cream
Our game plan varies some depending on the season. In the summer, we’re able to use all California Baby Super Sensitive products. These are well rated by the Environmental Working Group. When the drier winter months hit, we have to work in a lot of other products. This healing balm made by a local mom works wonders on Ollie’s cheeks. He needs something to lock in the moisture and protect his cheeks, as food easily irritates them. We are also big fans of her Breath vapor rub when a cold hits.
In the winter, we had been using Cerave Baby Moisturizing Cream. This veers away from the toxin-free products I like to use but was what his skin needed to stay hydrated and avoid frequent cortisone use. I’ve started to think of our eczema plan as a healthy lifestyle instead of a fad diet. Everything is OK in moderation. I’m also happy to report that we have been using Pure Haven Dream Cream and Lotion for about two months now and have not needed to add any Cerave back in. I was introduced to Pure Haven by a friend and actually signed up myself as I loved their non-toxic options for the whole family. The Dream Cream is super thick, so we mix it with lotion as an all-over option every morning and evening. Dream Cream works well on its own for irritated areas.
In trying to combat eczema, a humidifier is also key. Skin is especially irritated when dry. Our Honeywell humidifier has been going strong for three years and counting. We replace the filter monthly and use these to help keep things extra clean. It’s not as fun as the animal-shaped humidifiers, but so many of our friends have had to replace those every 6-12 months. This money-saving lady can’t handle that! I’ve also heard nightmares about cleaning the crane; mold-filled humidifiers will not help anything. This Honeywell humidifier is incredibly easy to clean. We use dish soap, hot water, and vinegar monthly. It only takes about ten minutes to clean. We also have this small air purifier in his room. Between the two, I feel confident Ollie is breathing in clean, humid air every night.
where eczema meets style
The other bedtime item to be conscious of is pajamas. Any pajamas that are sprayed to be flame resistant can irritate skin. The flame resistance is a chemical spray; I swear you can smell the difference. We only use 100% organic cotton snug-fitting pajamas. Materials like fleece and polyester aren’t as breathable and can also cause irritation. I learned this the hard way. We had a giant collection of adorable fleece pajamas and after one night in a penguin sleeper, it was clear the material wasn’t working for Ollie’s skin. A bit of research revealed the issue.
My absolute FAVORITE pajamas are Hanna Andersson Long Johns. These pajamas are incredibly thick, soft and durable. I will admit they are expensive; to the point where I almost didn’t buy a pair. I love a good deal and $38 pajamas certainly aren’t that. Now I constantly watch sales, scour eBay, and hunt through consignment shops as I know we will have Hanna Andersson no matter the price. I’ve still never paid more than $25 new, have scored some new for only $7, and once found a collection at a garage sale for $1/pair.
We currently have three pairs of Hanna Andersson pajamas so they are washed a lot. We have two Hatley pairs in the mix as well, another great organic cotton option, but the Hannas get the most use. You’d never know it by looking at them and if you ever did, all Hanna Andersson products come with their unconditional guarantee. I’m now 100% obsessed with Hanna. We have their unders, leggings, pants, shirt, sweatshirts, and shoes too! Non-Hanna underwear actually irritates Ollie’s sensitive, eczema-prone skin. It is safe to say his skin inherited my love of nice clothes.
bring the kitchen to the bath
When Ollie was younger, we did oatmeal and baking soda baths two to three times per week. These baths moisturize and detoxify. Now he enjoys showers so we can’t sneak in as many magic baths. I’m not complaining about that though; you can’t beat the convenience of a shower! He is even starting to scrub himself with his California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Body Wash. And as long as you lather up with lotion while the skin is still damp, you’re helping combat the eczema.
All in all, eczema is an annoying, frustrating, pain in the butt sidekick for many kids with allergies. It doesn’t mean your little one can’t be comfortable and itch-free, you can take care of eczema with a few tricks up your Hanna Andersson sleeve. As Ollie gets older, I learn new tricks, some that work and some that don’t… So let me know, what have you found works for your little one with eczema?