Baby’s eczema: Finding nature’s cure July 1, 2015 23:38
As those of you who’ve been following this blog know, kiddo once had eczema. We get asked a lot by desperate parents (especially parents who also share our preference to shun steroid creams) what we used on kiddo. And most are surprised when they hear that our answer’s as simple as it is – but more on that in a bit.
We learnt that the dry reddish patches on kiddo’s body were eczema in the third month of his life. His condition wasn’t the worst – but our paediatrician warned that it could get worse if we didn’t keep it in check. She told us that there was no real cure for eczema, but that it could be managed with moisturizing, moisturizing and more moisturizing (and keeping those fingernails short!). And no, breast milk with all its miraculous healing powers didn't work here.
She left us with a jar of steroid cream - “just in case” - acknowledging our concerns on the side effects it would cause.
Once home, I put the jar away and hoped I never had to touch it.
A frantic bout of research tossed up a few names of eczema creams sold by commercial brands, but the desire to avoid slathering kiddo with dubious ingredients (yes, found even in the ‘organic’ brands) eventually led me down a different path.
And that’s how I came to discover the surprising efficacy of some natural remedies I might otherwise have passed up trying.
(We tried many and some worked, some didn’t.)
What made me try these remedies in the first place is the fact that these are all-natural and actually ‘safe enough to eat’ with no known side-effects. But what convinced me to keep going were the results – every time I used them on kiddo, I saw his skin getting better and better.
So what exactly did we use?
Virgin coconut oil.
As opposed to refined, bleached and deodorised coconut oils, virgin coconut oil undergoes much less processing (after all, all coconut oils are a refined product since coconut oil needs to be extracted from coconuts!), is produced without chemicals and hence, retains much more of its antioxidants and skin-loving benefits.
It just so happened that I had bought virgin coconut oil for use on kiddo’s cradle cap (and yes, it worked for that too), so I had a bottle handy when I first read about coconut oil being a “miracle cure” for eczema.
But frankly, I would not have believed what magic it could work if I hadn’t seen it in action myself.
Before trying coconut oil on kiddo’s eczema though, I did a check with our paediatrician. She agreed that coconut oil is known to be helpful for eczema unless, of course, kiddo happened to be one of those unfortunate souls with a coconut allergy. (Thankfully, he wasn’t.) She also told me that coconut oil disappears real fast and needs to be re-applied every hour in order to be effective. (I baulked.)
Being lazy (ok, lazily conscientious), I decided four times a day was the max I would go – once in the morning upon rising, once during his nap, once after his bath and once while he sleeps at night.
Somehow, that still did the trick and I can’t tell you how proud I felt when, a month later at our next well baby visit, our paediatrician was amply impressed at my good work. (Of course, I never did tell her I didn’t follow the hourly rule!) Kiddo’s eczema had gone from being all over his body to being limited to just his joints.
We kept up the coconut oil treatment, although our diligence steadily decreased as his eczema improved (now, we only do it after his baths). Kiddo’s eczema affected only the fronts of his ankles by his sixth month, and then just on his right ankle by the end of the first year. Unfortunately, however frequently I moisturized that area, that front of his right ankle just remained unhappily pink, dry and itchy.
But this story still has a happy ending. And for that, I have to credit my mother for finding the silver bullet. Because I had started work and my mom landed the daily post-bath moisturizing duty, she discovered something I had not previously thought of – that massaging the coconut oil into the skin (as opposed to just applying it onto his skin) made a real difference.
And what a difference it made. Now, his right ankle is looking just fine, thanks for asking. The occasional dryness, sure, but nothing a dab of coconut oil won’t erase.
Pity we only learnt this at 18 months, but hey, better late than never, right?
I’m not sure where that jar of steroid cream is sitting now, but no loss anyway. Having shared this find to some of my friends who suffer from eczema even as adults, I hear it actually works far better than their steroids. What can I say, nature knows best!
Interested to know what else we did to supplement the routine coconut-oiling in our battle against baby eczema? Check out our blog post here to learn more natural remedies for eczema!
Looking to maximise the utility of that jar of coconut oil you now possess? Head straight to our list of amazing (but little-known) uses for coconut oil here!