Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that usually stars early in childhood.
Approximately 8.5% of children aged 6-7 and 9.4% of children aged 13-14 have eczema in Canada. Additionally, the prevalence of eczema is highest in developed countries such as Canada. Eczema can be quite uncomfortable and can cause many disturbances in a household, as it can make a baby frustrated and irritable, it can affect your baby’s sleep and keep the whole household awake at night. I have treated my fair share of eczema in children and I can tell you that there is no single recipe or protocol to treat it. Each case has been unique and each patient has taken home a customized treatment plan to treat it. Some cases have been very challenging and stubborn but with commitment, we can always achieve some positive changes.
I am often asked about the best creams/ointments for moisturizing and soothing eczema. Even though each child reacts differently, here are some general things that you can try at home to tame down your baby’s eczema:
- Oatmeal baths: Place 1 cup of oatmeal in a coffee grinder and bring to a powder. Place the powdered oatmeal in a tied cheesecloth and place into a warm bath. The soothing and emollient properties of the oats will calm down a raging itchy and red eczema. After 20 minutes, pat dry and apply a moisturizer. Avoid very hot baths.
- Check for a vitamin D deficiency. We now know that there is growing evidence that a deficiency in vitamin D leads to increased risk in eczema, allergies and asthma. In addition to oral vitamin D, you can also make your own vitamin D cream by adding a whole bottle of vitamin D drops to a 60g jar of aloe cream or another gentle, fragrance-free cream.
- Moisturize right after a bath. Also keep in mind not to bathe your child for longer than 20 minutes. A good body moisturizer is coconut oil. As a bonus, there is evidence that there is a decreased risk of Staphylococcus aureus carriage on the skin with the use of coconut oil, which is a great way to prevent skin infections, something that comes as a risk in people with eczema.
- Consider a food allergy or sensitivity that could be contributing to this condition. The most common ones are dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soy and tree nuts.
- Another great product for soothing and moisturizing eczematous skin is the UNDA 270 ointment.
When the above recommendations are not enough to bring appropriate relief, consider consulting with a naturopathic doctor who has experience treating eczema. It can be a lengthy process but one that brings comfort and long term solutions and some much needed peace to a household.
About the author:
Dr. Aida Martinez Chorro is a naturopathic doctor and homeopath who loves working with children and their families. She uses safe and natural interventions to help children with autism, digestive conditions, as well as working with those who want to be proactive about their aging brain and who have family histories of dementia. But what she’s really passionate about is giving families the results they want to see and helping them lead happier lives together.
She practices at the North Toronto Homeopathic Medicine and Wellness Centre in the Yonge and Lawrence neighbourhood. You can find out more information by calling 647-887-8117, by visiting www.draida.ca, or on Facebook at Natural Health Solutions by Aida Martinez Chorro, Naturopathic doctor.