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Dry Skin vs Exzema

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Mods: I posted this in health and healing and got no replies. I'm hoping someone here may be able to help out!

 

My DD, 4, has pretty dry skin all over her body, especially in winter time, though even in the summer she does have pretty rough hands, elbows and knees. As winter has set in this year, it seems worse. Her skin seemed to get extremely dry and flakey on her back, bum, arms and legs. Its not patches, its her whole back, up and down her legs, etc. She complains about it being itchy. It turned red, slightly raised, flakey and painful in a few areas (cheeks and hands, mostly, but elbows and knees a bit, too). I did notice some dandruff in her hair, too.

I have to lotion her down pretty much daily. If I skip a day, her skin looks like I never even lotioned it. I did use petroleum jelly on her cheeks and hands last night because they seemed so red and she had been complaining the the regular lotion was burning her--even my oil/fragrence free face moisturizer.

She only gets a bath two or three times a week.

I do have a family history of psoriasis and have displayed a few symptoms of it myself over the past several years. My mother had severe psoraisis as a child (though she's not had breakout in many years now) and can remember her dad and uncles having breakouts over their entire body.

I'm hesitant to take her in to see a dr because I don't want her to go through a lot of unnecessary poking and proding just to be told what I already know-she has dry skin, use lotion, minimal bathing, petroleum jelly if it gets too bad. I'm also afraid I'm jumping to conclusions. My mother was all over it last night saying she's sure DD has eczema and she is very quick to jump to a conclusion and be melodramatic.

Thanks for reading through my skin novel! Do any of you have any expirence in this? Does it sound like we've got more than dry skin on our hands?

post #2 of 17

I think it may be a little more than just dry skin from what you're describing. My dd2 has very dry skin and even maybe mild excema and it also gets way worse in the winter. But for her it consists of a few dry patches here and there and if we don't lotion every bath time, she'll be itching like crazy and her skin has that dry look to it. We also bath 2-3 times a week and use Eucerin calming cream lotion on her whole body after bath time and just on her face and hands every night before bed. It's the only lotion I've ever found to really work. But your dd's skin sounds a little bit worse than this to me so I'd think it was a little more than just dry skin. : )

post #3 of 17

I just want to mention that we went through a similar problem with my DD who is 4.  She actually bled behind her knees.   In an act of desperation, I rewashed all of her clothes in baby laundry detergent and used the double rinse cycle on the wash.  She improved immediately.  She still has dry skin and she still needs lotion but it's not nearly as bad, no more angry redness and bleeding.  The laundry detergent costs me a small fortune, but it's worth it.

post #4 of 17

Try Charlie's Soap, It's great and you use such a little amount of it that it lasts forever. That took care of much of our skin problems.

post #5 of 17

My son has really dry skin too - especially starting now and through the winter. I put straight olive oil in his bath and it has really helped. We also use eucerin, but the one in the tub, not sure if it is calming cream or something different.

 

ETA: It is aquaphor in the tub that we use after the baths. I have also used the olive oil directly on some patches. His allergist also said his was due to allergies as well, but I have been able to control it with the olive oil baths and aquaphor.


Edited by wendy23 - 11/30/10 at 9:53am
post #6 of 17

That does sound like more than just plain old dry skin.  

 

First, try switching to a different moisturizer.  Most brands of moisturizer (including those marketed as hypo-allergenic and for people with eczema) are eczema triggers for DS.  Plain olive oil makes a really good deep moisturizer, though it will stain sheets and clothing.  Avalon organic baby lotion works on DS.  You might want to try different brands in different areas.

 

Use as little soap as possible.  Only soap up dirty and stinky spots.  Make sure any soap used is being fully rinsed off.  After baths, rinse her off with a handle held shower, or refill the bath with plain water.  Pat dry, don't rub.  You also might want to try different brand of soap.  Dr Bronners works for DS.

 

Dry skin can be a sign of a deficient diet.  Make sure there is plenty of fat in her diet, and that it is generally sound.

 

If a few weeks of this doesn't work it will be time to see a dermatologist.  Getting appointments with dermatologists takes weeks and weeks sometimes, so don't wait till you are desperate to get the ball rolling.

post #7 of 17

Hi,

 

I'd also suggest a humidifier in her room at night if you are not using one already. (Crane's has really cute animal shaped ones that are basic and easy to keep clean, etc.). 

 

DS used to have head to toe eczema which turned out to be a symptom of food allergies (this was when he was still nursing and once I removed his allergens from his diet, the eczema cleared up) BUT he still gets dry skin as the weather gets colder and dryer.  We use Vanicream which helps alot.  It is thick but blends quickly.

 

I second switching soap and detergent to the mildest, smallest amount possible (unscented) and try to have her drink more water (would she drink herbal tea?) to help hydrate from the inside.

 

There is the "3-minute rule" about once out of the bath to have moisturizer on within 3 minutes to be the most effective.  If she will comply, that would also help alot.

 

Best wishes!

post #8 of 17

It does sound like eczema to me.  My DD's always gets worse in the winter.  The one thing that has really helped is applying extra virgin coconut oil to the patches.  I seal it in with Aquaphor.  We also use a humidifier at night and they have one in her preschool classroom.  If you haven't already, switch to a "free" laundry detergent and a soap-free cleanser for bath time.  But, I swear, the EVCO has made all the difference for us this year!

post #9 of 17

My dd has the same type of problems, but we have made great strides these past 8+ years.

 

My very, very first thought on this is... what is her diet like?  We are controlling dd's problems almost 100% with diet.  We have a laundry list of things that she just can't eat.  I had to eliminate them when I was breastfeeding (almost 4 years!) as well.

 

I have to say that I disagree about using soap.  I would use soap, but would not use chemically altered detergents (most commercial "soaps").  (I think people are confusing "soap" and "detergent"... soap is all-natural and that is what you want to look for).  I make our soap myself (just lye, lard, and water) and it has not only helped dd, but has helped the rest of us with dry skin.  I would also moisturize as often as you think of it. 

 

I also wanted to mention that eczema is usually not a symptom of a food ALLERGY.  We have spent year with allergists and dermatologists (in 3 countries, nonetheless) ... and the issue that you want to research is food INTOLERANCE.  There is a huge difference between the two.  Eczema is usually a symptom of a food intolerance.  Do your research and you'll figure out the difference.


Edited by velochic - 11/30/10 at 1:03pm
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

 

I also wanted to mention that eczema is usually not a symptom of a food ALLERGY.  We have spent year with allergists and dermatologists (in 3 countries, nonetheless) ... and the issue that you want to research is food INTOLERANCE.  There is a huge difference between the two.  Eczema is usually a symptom of a food intolerance.  Do your research and you'll figure out the difference.



Sorry, but my experience is different.  My son is anaphylactic to dairy.  He is NOT intolerant.  His only symptom of this food ALLERGY as a baby was eczema.  Please be careful when making general statements.  Yes, it is certainly possible to have eczema without any allergy connection, and it is certainly possible to have food allergies without having eczema.  It is also possible that eczema can indeed be an allergic response.  I am not suggesting that is the case for the op, but it was in the case of my son. 

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by arniflora View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

 

I also wanted to mention that eczema is usually not a symptom of a food ALLERGY.  We have spent year with allergists and dermatologists (in 3 countries, nonetheless) ... and the issue that you want to research is food INTOLERANCE.  There is a huge difference between the two.  Eczema is usually a symptom of a food intolerance.  Do your research and you'll figure out the difference.



Sorry, but my experience is different.  My son is anaphylactic to dairy.  He is NOT intolerant.  His only symptom of this food ALLERGY as a baby was eczema.  Please be careful when making general statements.  Yes, it is certainly possible to have eczema without any allergy connection, and it is certainly possible to have food allergies without having eczema.  It is also possible that eczema can indeed be an allergic response.  I am not suggesting that is the case for the op, but it was in the case of my son. 


If the only reaction is eczema, it's probably an intolerance, not a true allergy.  Anaphylaxis is a totally different animal.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post



Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post


If the only reaction is eczema, it's probably an intolerance, not a true allergy.  Anaphylaxis is a totally different animal.


I really don't want to hijack this thread, and I apologize, but I feel it is important to clarify.  My son's ONLY reaction to his food allergies was eczema.  This occurred while he was nursing.  When I removed his allergens from my diet, the eczema went away.  The only reason we discovered he was anaphylactic to dairy was because at 15 months he ate a very small piece of cheese and had an anaphylactic reaction to it.  I'm not sure what you mean when you say "anaphylaxis is a totally different animal."  It is an allergic reaction.  A life-threatening reaction, but an allergic reaction, nonetheless, as was his eczema.  I'm done now.  I will not continue this conversation as it is irrelevent to the original topic.  I brought up my son's experience because it dealt with eczema.  Thank you.
 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by arniflora View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post



Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post


If the only reaction is eczema, it's probably an intolerance, not a true allergy.  Anaphylaxis is a totally different animal.


I really don't want to hijack this thread, and I apologize, but I feel it is important to clarify.  My son's ONLY reaction to his food allergies was eczema.  This occurred while he was nursing.  When I removed his allergens from my diet, the eczema went away.  The only reason we discovered he was anaphylactic to dairy was because at 15 months he ate a very small piece of cheese and had an anaphylactic reaction to it.  I'm not sure what you mean when you say "anaphylaxis is a totally different animal."  It is an allergic reaction.  A life-threatening reaction, but an allergic reaction, nonetheless, as was his eczema.  I'm done now.  I will not continue this conversation as it is irrelevent to the original topic.  I brought up my son's experience because it dealt with eczema.  Thank you.
 

And just to clarify myself as well.  This is not something I came up with on my own.  I have food allergies, dd has food intolerance and it was our allergists and dermatologists that told me that.  I had to do the elimination diet when nursing, we've been through the blood tests and skin prick tests (more than once for each), and are still under the care of these doctors.  I was told by the DOCTOR that if eczema is the only symptom it is PROBABLY intolerance.  Obviously, your ds had an anaphylactic reaction, too, so he didn't just have eczema as his only symptom (it was just the first symptom) - his allergies got worse to manifest as other reactions.  My own allergies have gotten worse over time.  It's the nature of allergies. Dd's intolerance has not changed in almost 9 years.
 

post #14 of 17

This sounds to me like your DD has more than just dry skin. I work in the skin care industry (with Eucerin) and I've heard a lot of stories very similar to yours. Have you tried a lotion that contains urea? These moisturizers can reduce the risk of water loss in the skin, protect against irritation and strengthen overall skin barrier protection.

 

Another option to effectively moisturize and prevent itch, is using Eucerin Calming Creme with soothing oatmeal, every day. And if DD's skin becomes cracked or raw during a flare-up you could use Aquaphor Healing Ointment. The EASE (Eczema and Sensitive Skin Education) Program from the National Eczema Association is a good resource for info about eczema and sensitive skin issues, you could check out before seeing a dermatologist (which you still should probably look into). Their website is http://www.easeeczema.org/.

 

Good luck and I hope she feels better soon!

post #15 of 17

Sounds like eczema to me. DD has had HORRIBLE eczema since infancy. She also has food allergies which exacerbate her eczema, both eggs and peanuts and some other intolerance to dies and flavoring. I recommend considering allergies or an intolerance as a possible cause, but in our experience eliminating the foods won't always eliminate the eczema, although it can make it more tolerable.

 

Suggestions for treating the eczema:

Keep a humidifier in her room, especially in the winter months.

Only bath every 2 to 3 days and only use mild perfume free soaps and shampoos.

Lotion every.single.day morning and night.

 

We only see a difference when we are very diligent about lotioning. We use cortizone which is the only thing that takes the itch and redness away but it's damaging to the skin when used for long periods of time. You'll have to give the skin a weak break and then use for a weak etc. On off weeks try ucerin, or anything else with no perfumes. Greasy lotions (like the patrolium jelly) never work for us because they get rubbed off before they can do any good. Try something of cream consistency that absorbs better.

GL.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by floiejo2 View Post

Try Charlie's Soap, It's great and you use such a little amount of it that it lasts forever. That took care of much of our skin problems.

 

We had a terrible experience with Charlie's Soap - it burned DDs skin.  If you search these forums and google a bit, you'll find that burning not an uncommon reaction to Charlie's Soap.  DS has eczema and the only thing that got it under control was Rx hydrocortizone (ack).  I tried many alternative remedies, but that worked the best (for us) to control the flair.  Once controlled, it's all about protection and moisture.  

 

I have a friend who swears by fish oil for eczema and dry skin.

post #17 of 17

We have issues with eczema and dry skin in the winter, but if we are very diligent with pure shea butter (nothing else seems to work for us), we can keep it at bay, with hydrocortisone only if it starts getting bad.  Soap also causes problems for us (DS and me, both), so we use non-soap cleansers with no fragrance.

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