Our son has eczema. It is under control now but it has been a long hard road to get here. When big kid was very small his skin was covered in red welts and, whilst he seemed relatively undisturbed by this during the day, it is fair to say that we didn’t sleep much in those first few years. His general level of discomfort due to his eczema wore us all out. It was pretty awful to look at and much much worse to feel. Things got pretty miserable at times. I try not to think about it too much. We went to the doctors and got all the emollient creams that didn’t really make much difference and then we went on the internet… always the last bastion of the quietly desperate when it comes to medical advice. Thank god (and all you lovely tax payers) for NHS Choices which calmly informed us that oats were good for helping to manage eczema.
(Oddly the link to the research on this is now gone from NHS Choices and NICE; as far as I can tell the evidence is that emollients in general work to treat eczema and oat based therapies are not significantly more likely to manage it rather than anything else - with eczema I think all you can do is try the different creams until you find the one that works for your kid and use that. Use it A LOT. There is no one size fits all for eczema; read the evidence and work with the nurses and doctors who are there to support you and keep going. It’s really bloody hard but it needs to be done. )
Thanks to the articles we had read, we started making little bags of porridge oats out of nylon tights to add to the boy’s bath. Every sodding bath night. The bedtime routine is ghastly enough without having to add crafting to the mix. It was a huge pain in the backside, but not as painful as soothing a kid whose eczema is playing up. We grudgingly admitted that the oats were making a positive difference to the boy’s skin (along with continued moisturising and doses of piriton when things flared up) so we continued to do it, regardless of how much more cleaning the bath needed, and how disgusting a nylon pouch of soggy oats feels when you fish it out of the bath. We got through so many pairs of tights I’m pretty certain the staff in our local Boots thought we were bank robbers.
Then we discovered Aveeno moisturising creams, with colloidal oats as their base. They work absolutely brilliantly for our son. We have been using buckets of Aveeno for years now and big kid’s skin has never looked better. It’s so much easier than a bag of oats, the creams feel smooth and light on application and they soak in pretty quickly. We have to make sure we get the one with the green lid as there are a few others that contain perfumes that make the boy’s skin angry. Also Aveeno is not cheap, though it is often on offer, but it is a recognised treatment for eczema so you can get it on prescription... if you have better organisational skills that me and are capable of booking a doctor’s appointment when it is helpful rather than when it is urgent.
At the Mumsnet Blogfest I approached the Aveeno stall people to tell them how great I think their products are and, as is the way of these things, I have been given a few of their latest range of baby products to review:
The Soothing Relief Emollient Cream is just as effective at managing big kid’s eczema as the grown up version and it is gentle on small kid’s skin as well. She refuses to be left out of the process, so it’s nice to have a gentle cream to use on her still developing skin. We will probably switch to this one until small kid becomes less strident, so probably for the next nine or ten years, I guess.
I didn’t think I’d have much cause to use the barrier cream to be honest but, due to her general levels of seasonal excitement, small kid hasn’t really been concentrating too well on her toileting routine recently and has had a bit of a sore bum to prove it. So we cracked out the nappy cream and it sorted her out a treat. I found it much easier to use than other leading nappy cream brands (sudocrem, obviously). It squeezes out of the tube easily, rubs in well and still managed the redness and soothes the soreness quickly and effectively.
The kids are using the Soothing Relief Emollient Wash in the bath at the moment. It doesn’t always completely dissolve in the water and sometimes strings of it float round the bath eliciting shrieks of ‘Snake! Snake in the bath!’ which is all good fun, so I don’t mind too much. It’s good at helping their skin stay moisturised in the bath and it works very well as a body wash in the shower for those days when big kid is feeling all grown up. It’s a shame that you don’t get a huge amount of bubbles with it but I haven’t found a bath time emollient that actually does give proper bubbles, so I assume that’s just par for the course with this type of product (and the preposterously hard water you get in our home town). It is, of course, a million times better than bagging up some oats and squeezing them into the bath. This product offers me peace of mind that I just don’t get with other kids’ bath washes - my son will quite frequently have flare ups even with products like Oilatum and Sanex, which claim to manage eczema. That hasn't happened with this wash and it's been over a month so I'm happy with that.
Over all, I am a very devoted Aveeno user and I’ve found them to be a helpful and supportive company. On their website they even have downloadable stories to help children understand their condition and how to manage it. If I’d known about this earlier it might have stopped some of the moisturiser battles of yore, when the boy would refuse to have cream put on without threats and/or bribery. Happy days. The website does contain quite a bit of value added stuff. There are videos for adults about managing skin conditions over time in the Aveeno Breakfast Club section of the website. It is a really useful resource.
Overall I just want to say thanks to Aveeno for making bath times easier, bed times more peaceful and the boy’s skin so much better. You have made life smoother. Thank you.