California Baby Calendula Cream makes DD's eczema WORSE? - Mothering Forums

California Baby Calendula Cream makes DD's eczema WORSE?

Skinjob's Avatar Skinjob (TS)
12:21 PM Liked: 11
#1 of 38
05-08-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

My DD has been suffering from eczema on her cheeks for months now and we've tried everything - elimination diet, natural detergents, air purifiers, humidifiers, flax oil, coconut oil, vitamin D, zinc cream, expensive ointments, less baths - you name it - and nothing is helping. I was at my wit's end so I did some reading on these boards and a lot of moms have had great success with California Baby Calendula Cream clearing up their LO's eczema. So I ordered some. From Canada, it cost me about $36.


But every time I put it on it makes her flare up worse. Her face goes redder and she starts scratching it more. Has anyone else had this reaction to this product? I don't what else to do and it breaks my heart to see her suffering like this. She was up all night because of her face. I don't want to go the steroid cream route or hydrocortisone because that just suppresses the condition and thins the skin.


Anyone have any advice. California Baby Calendula Cream isn't the miracle cream everyone says it is. We're so done with this freaking eczema. Help!

kms7z's Avatar kms7z
05:05 PM Liked: 10
#2 of 38
05-08-2011 | Posts: 189
Joined: Mar 2009

my son didnt have a reaction like that to the calendula cream, but it didn't help it either.  what works for us is aveeno eczema therapy.  it doesn't have steroids, but does have petroleum jelly.

St. Margaret
06:29 PM Liked: 191
#3 of 38
05-08-2011 | Posts: 4,729
Joined: May 2006
Maybe try this anaseptic cream called tree tea treatment? It worked for a friend. Gosh I'm sorry mama if you've even done elimination that is one stubborn case. Good luck. Maybe a local mama would buy the leftover calendula off ya?
Skinjob's Avatar Skinjob (TS)
07:15 PM Liked: 11
#4 of 38
05-08-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

At this point I'm not afraid of Petroleum Jelly. Anything that'll help the poor babe feel better. We're using Sudocreme and Vaseline today as it seems to be the only thing that brings down the redness and locks in some moisture. Seems wrong to me but for the time being it's what we're doing.


I guess I'll try the Aveeno. We've just tried so many creams that I've lost the ability to become excited about the prospect of one working at all. But I'll try it.


I've never heard of the tea tree treatment. Have a link handy? We use tea trea oil in the baby's CD pail (on a cloth at the bottom that does not mix with her dipes). Works great for odours, that stuff.


Yeah the elimination diet was rough. I was cutting out more and more and more foods and then got to the point where my supply was diminishing because I wasn't getting enough calories. I cut everything out and she was STILL getting raging eczema on her sweet cheeks. It wasn't dairy. It wasn't soy (and I cut that stuff out for months, not just a few weeks), it wasn't nuts... so on and so on. There is no way she is possibly allergic to every single food item in existence. So it has to be something else. Something not diet-related. Thing is, we have no pets, we keep the house really clean and we use Rockin Green Cloth Diaper detergent to wash her clothes and bed sheets - no commercial stuff ever.


So I'm at a loss. I'd love to hear what more of you mamas have been doing with success please! Thanks ladies. Oh and Happy Mother's Day!

Lucy Alden's Avatar Lucy Alden
07:52 PM Liked: 74
#5 of 38
05-08-2011 | Posts: 395
Joined: Jun 2009

If the California Baby is making her flare up there is a possibility that one of the ingredients is triggering the eczema.  My DD had an intolerance to corn for the first 5 years and she couldn't use any products (ingested or topical) that had ingredients derived from corn.  If Vasoline helps you could also use lanolin.  I buy Lansinoh brand since its the most readily available.  I figure if its good enough for my nipples and ok for ingesting its got to better than Vasoline.  Its my go to for lips, cheeks, diaper rashes and dry skin.


I'm so sorry you're dealing with this.  My youngest has mild eczema on his cheeks and I haven't even attempted to figure out what's causing it.  After all we went through with my DD I dread going through the process.  I'm praying it just clears up on its own.

Skinjob's Avatar Skinjob (TS)
08:58 PM Liked: 11
#6 of 38
05-08-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

I actually used lanolin for a month or so at first but it was doing nothing for the redness and itchiness so I gave up on it. You're right, I could probably swap it out for the Vaseline. Thanks for reminding me about that. I was pretty excited about the California Baby because it has so few of the major offenders in it but we're still having issues. I'm also hoping she grows out of it. She's only 12 months old. But it's been pretty constant and moderate to severe for months now. Thankfully, no really deep scratches that have turned into secondary infections or anything. But it will sometimes be really bad for a few hours, then calm down, then get bad again when she eats and smears food all over her sensitive cheeks.

sbsweetpea's Avatar sbsweetpea
11:24 PM Liked: 11
#7 of 38
05-08-2011 | Posts: 26
Joined: Feb 2011
My dd has it on her trunk, arms and legs, and found that baths with oatmeal (we put it in a sock) help it get to a scab phase. We then use weleda calendula cream after the bath, or a jojoba oil that has had calendula soaking in it (a friend made it for us). Overall, the oatmeal has truly done wonders....good luck!
Skinjob's Avatar Skinjob (TS)
06:57 AM Liked: 11
#8 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

Weleda was one of the worst reactions for us - I think it's the almond oil or something. Either way, it made her flare up much worse. Told you we've tried a lot of creams!

Gucci&Granola's Avatar Gucci&Granola
07:22 AM Liked: 21
#9 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 144
Joined: Jun 2010

I've suffered from chronic eczema my entire life.  Since birth there have been periods with little or no symptoms and periods of horrible flare ups.  After years of research and numerous treatments I have learned a few things. 


Eczema is a symptom of a deeper or larger issue.  For me it is and indicator of overall health (the proverbial canary in the coal mine).  If I am generally taking care of myself in terms of rest, stress, and diet I do well.  If I am stressed, have been sick, eat crap etc... I am more likely to get a flare up.  Growing a body is tough work.  Between the teething, growing, and learning your baby girl's poor little system is working at maximum capacity.  If she is anything like me, eczema may be her indicator of imbalance.  Thinking about what if anything in her life is out of balance (sleep, stimuli, stress, diet...) and addressing it may prove helpful. 


On the failure of topical treatments to yield results.  I had the same problem with oily products.  After visiting an acupuncturist I finally figured out why.  For me, eczema manifests as "wind heat" in the skin.  This means that my skin becomes more reactive to heat and is dry and painful.  Oil conducts heat.  Used for everything from frying foods to tanning skin oil increases and accelerates the effect of heat.  If a product left an oily residue on the skin it was bound to make things worse.  Try looking for a thick cream that feels cooling when applied and leaves no oily trace (even if oil is one of the ingredients it's more about how it performs and absorbs).  Also, before applying cream of any kind, gently cleanse the area with a hot washcloth.  This step helps any product absorb more quickly which decreases likelihood of the product simply sitting on the skin's surface clogging pores and "conducting heat".


Lastly, kidney and liver support in the form of herbal tinctures (dandelion and burdock root) can speed the body's ability to eliminate toxins which often plays a role in skin ailments.  If you are still nursing at all taking them yourself and passing them along in the breastmilk may prove helpful.  Good luck.

Skinjob's Avatar Skinjob (TS)
08:35 AM Liked: 11
#10 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks G&G,

That's great advice. I've been thinking of going to my herbalist about this. Not sure about acupuncture. She's so small still.


FYI, I am still nursing yes and she is totally unvaccinated.

Gucci&Granola's Avatar Gucci&Granola
09:44 AM Liked: 21
#11 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 144
Joined: Jun 2010

Originally Posted by Skinjob View Post

Thanks G&G,

That's great advice. I've been thinking of going to my herbalist about this. Not sure about acupuncture. She's so small still.


FYI, I am still nursing yes and she is totally unvaccinated.

I would also think that she is too young for acupuncture (although acupressure may be an option).  An herbalist would probably be very helpful.  Skin is the largest eliminating organ in the body.  When the skin is ailing it is generally an indication of sluggish elimination (whether it be digestive, kidney, liver, lymph system etc...) elsewhere in the body.  Hopefully herbs will help to support her where she needs it.


FYI, I am also completely unvaccinated.  So far I have done quite well managing my health and the health of my family with holistic medical care.  Feel free to PM me with any additional questions. 


kittn's Avatar kittn
11:19 AM Liked: 21
#12 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 1,367
Joined: Mar 2006

DS3 was like this as well. we used bagbalm and it was the only thing that worked. turned out for him it was an allergy to gluten in the long run but he was almost 3 before we figured that out

Lucy Alden's Avatar Lucy Alden
12:19 PM Liked: 74
#13 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 395
Joined: Jun 2009

I think one of the other challenging things about eczema is that it's not necessarily food related.  That's the common thought but there are many causes.  Some are easy to identify, some of are definitely not. My middle child got a wicked diaper rash that was diagnosed as eczema.  Red, raised, bleeding and flaking skin over the entire diaper area.  It was awful.  We tried everything to clear it up (including a brutal elimination diet that affected my milk supply much like you).  In the end the only thing that worked was switching from cloth to disposable diapers.  There was something about his urine that irritated his skin.  She told me of another patient whose child had a similar diaper rash/eczema that would flare up occasionally.  The trigger....bottled water.  The baby only got the rash when the mom drank bottled water.  Tap was fine.  It was such an odd and random trigger.


Just big time *hugs*.  It is so hard to see our little ones suffer and not know how to fix it.

naturalmummy's Avatar naturalmummy
03:15 PM Liked: 1
#14 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 110
Joined: Oct 2009

my DS (who is now 2) had awful eczema only on his cheeks from about 7 or 8 months until about a year old. I was beside myself trying to determine the cause, thinking it was food related since it coincided with when we started solids. I did everything too (from your list). The elimination diets were esp difficult for me (BF). I spent a lot of time in the Allergy forum which helped with suggestions, but also I think made me overthink everything and question every food and consider hard core allergy testing (which I know is controversial). His eczema ended up totally disappearing as soon as we got to Florida for a little getaway in March, and then permanently in early May when the dry air finally left the Northeast where we live. So I think all along it was weather, not food, related. I wish I could have believed that when his Ped suggested it several times. 

Anyways, during the flares, I don't think I actually used the CB Calendula cream but I did try the CB first aid cream which says it's for treating ecz, and it made his face so much worse. So I stopped that. The only thing that ended up helping was Aveeno with Ceremides. The new formula (called Aveeno Eczema Therapy, i think also mentioned by a pp) doesn't have parabens but it does have petrolatum. I sucked up the petrolatum since to me it was better than any steroid treatment. At one point his face was infected so I did have to use an antibiotic ointment for a few days to heal it, and it did actually help. I think I only used it for 2 days. Once his ecz was gone permanently, we started using CB Calming Cream for everyday, and i believe it helps keep his skin moisturized. It is expensive but it's worth it to me.
I hope the warm weather brings relief for your DD!!! I remember how awful I felt for my DS when he was itching and weeping...and the stress of trying to determine the cause for so many months. Good luck!

Skinjob's Avatar Skinjob (TS)
04:14 PM Liked: 11
#15 of 38
05-09-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks for the support, ladies. I really appreciate it. I bought some of the Aveeno Eczema Care today and just started using it this afternoon. Will report back for sure.


Naturalmummy: I hope that happens to us too! I hope it's just one of those things that clears up when she gets a little older and her little immune system has more time to grow. I can totally relate to questioning everything. I feel like I have anxiety all the time over what we're feeding her. But I keep having to remind myself that I went through that ED and she still had horrible flares - even on days where I barely ate.


Lucy: That's crazy about the water!! How bizarre!


Sigh. I dream of summer days without red, angry, crusty cheeks!

newmamalizzy's Avatar newmamalizzy
06:05 PM Liked: 539
#16 of 38
05-10-2011 | Posts: 1,653
Joined: Jul 2010

DD had a bad reaction to any lotion or detergent with lavender in it, oddly enough.  We never tried California Baby, but had the same experience with trying expensive creams and having them either not work or make things worse.  We ended up with Triderma, I think, and Gentle Naturals.  Her eczema cleared up completely shortly after we made the switch, but honestly I think the cream had little to do with it.  Eczema is tricky that way.  Good luck!

MMommy's Avatar MMommy
07:03 PM Liked: 0
#17 of 38
05-10-2011 | Posts: 1
Joined: May 2011

Wow! Yes, it had the exact same affect on my baby. My youngest has been suffering for over 3 months now and just like you I read all the wonderful reviews about California Baby Calendula Cream. It is so expensive that I tried several other products first (Aquaphor, Cetaphil, Vitamin E Oil, Aveeno, Gentle Naturals, Petroleum Jelly, Goats Milk Lotion). When they didn't work I finally ordered some Calendula Cream and after the first application it caused his face to become even more inflamed. We gave it a couple of days and tried again but again it made things worse. I was so hoping that it would be the miracle cream that many others had reported but no such luck.


Did your DD's eczema start as cradle cap? Ours began as the regular cradle cap that all my kids have had. I treated it with olive oil but then one day it came back in full force. This time it was red, inflamed, itchy and it spread down his face. The pediatrician had us use lots of Petroleum Jelly covered with cotton hats to make it go away. That worked great except for the face. Thus began our quest in trying to make the red, weepy patches disappear from his face. However, any oil, lotion or natural moisturizer like the Calendula only make the cradle cap come back. Any emoilment like Aquaphor or Petroleum Jelly keep the condition from getting worse but don't cure it and after a couple days of use they cause it to become inflamed and weepy.


Finally after lots of agonizing we tried a 1% Hydrocortisone cream and his face cleared completely within 48 hours. The weepy patches were finally gone and for the first time in months you could see and feel clear, smooth skin. However, like we had been warned within four days some red patches started coming back. The patches started to weep again so our pediatrician prescribed an antibiotic cream. The cream made the patches drastically worse after only one application.


We have now been referred to an allergist. However, my husband is deeply against me going on an elimination diet. We are vegetarians so he concerned that I won't get enough nutrients and that it will turn out that food is not causing the eczema. There seems to be such conflicting reports on food allergies and eczema and so many stories of moms who go through diet changes with no success. However, the success stories make me feel so guilty for not trying the elimination diet that it is hard.


Has your DD had any reaction to polyester or rubber materials? We have found that polyester, rubber, plastics and sometimes latex seem to trigger his breakouts. At this point we still can't figure out what the cause is. Also is the eczema just on the face?


Right now his face is so bad and the only relief I can offer him is epsom salt baths. I can't wait until the weather warms up a little more and I can take him swimming in the ocean. One thing that actually worked well was to take him swimming in an indoor pool. The chlorine in the water had an amazingly positive impact. There is a lot of research out there right now about bleach baths so maybe that is why?


Sorry for the long response but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I have been agonizing over this for months and I read so many posts, articles and reviews with cures that don't work for us. If I find anything that works I will be sure to post to let you know.

carmen358's Avatar carmen358
09:32 PM Liked: 84
#18 of 38
05-10-2011 | Posts: 3,214
Joined: Jul 2008

My DD only has mild eczema but we use pure shea butter after every bath and it seems to really help with moisturizing.

kimkim's Avatar kimkim
09:33 PM Liked: 11
#19 of 38
05-10-2011 | Posts: 442
Joined: Sep 2009
I have a friend that had great results with Shea butter for eczema as well as lots of pool time or cooler baths.

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mamadiamond's Avatar mamadiamond
09:29 PM Liked: 18
#20 of 38
05-13-2011 | Posts: 316
Joined: Feb 2011

california baby eczema cream made my dd's face worse, too. however, moon valley organics "ecza salve" works wonders for her. it also has callendula in it, but without the fragrance, which i think is what bothered my dd. lanolin also helped when her cheeks were very raw.

Skinjob's Avatar Skinjob (TS)
12:53 PM Liked: 11
#21 of 38
05-22-2011 | Posts: 41
Joined: Jun 2010

Well, we tried the Aveeno stuff for a couple of weeks. Didn't help at all. Out of desperation we resorted to just putting Vaseline on her face at night before bed and I don't know if it's the Vaseline but it's been getting better. That is, it WAS getting better until she ate some cucumber and it erupted all over her face just moments later. No cucumber for us! It's weird and seems to be worse when she is teething (molars - ouch!). But after she turned one, it seems to be getting a  little bit better on its own. I hope I'm not speaking too soon!

Veslemor's Avatar Veslemor
01:27 PM Liked: 23
#22 of 38
05-22-2011 | Posts: 51
Joined: May 2010

I make a cream that seems, so far, to knock out all skin conditions including eczema.  Send me a message if you want the recipe.  I'd be willing to sell you a small amount if you don't want to invest in the ingredients.  I can pretty much guarantee that it'll fix the skin issue.  There aren't any essential oils which can be tricky where sensitivity is concerned.  It does not, however,  address any underlying issue.  Good luck with your babe!

03:11 PM Liked: 63
#23 of 38
05-22-2011 | Posts: 419
Joined: Dec 2010

We had success with hydrocortisone cream that we got at a drugstore - RiteAid, maybe.  It was $3 or so.  We also use CeraVe lotion when the flare up is not bad.  


We went through a lot of the same things you did - and tried the CA Baby calendula stuff too.  It did not make DS' eczema worse but it did not help either.  


My ped told me that most kids outgrow the cheek rash eczema so there is hope.  My son's went away when he was just over a year.  

homemademom's Avatar homemademom
09:37 PM Liked: 63
#24 of 38
05-22-2011 | Posts: 1,269
Joined: Sep 2009

If it started as cradle cap and spread to the cheeks, you could try an antifungal cream or even a dandruff shampoo.  Two friends of mine swear by it.  My kids' eczema was only "cured" by eliminating food triggers, daily baths and using Vanicream lotion.

somegirl99's Avatar somegirl99
11:32 PM Liked: 376
#25 of 38
05-22-2011 | Posts: 2,749
Joined: Aug 2009

I am vegan and have been on an elimination diet for months now, currently trialing different foods.  It did help clear DS' eczema and I haven't had any issues from it, and my supply is still fine.  Feel free to PM me if you like.

Originally Posted by MMommy View Post
We have now been referred to an allergist. However, my husband is deeply against me going on an elimination diet. We are vegetarians so he concerned that I won't get enough nutrients and that it will turn out that food is not causing the eczema. There seems to be such conflicting reports on food allergies and eczema and so many stories of moms who go through diet changes with no success. However, the success stories make me feel so guilty for not trying the elimination diet that it is hard.

janetluvswine's Avatar janetluvswine
09:04 AM Liked: 0
#26 of 38
02-11-2012 | Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2012

I don't think there is a problem with California Baby's calendula cream as it has obviously helped many people and their baby's. It sounds more like your baby's are allergic to one or more of the ingredients. I personally use another calendula product by Mama Nature for my little tike called Tiny Troubles Baby Rescue Cream and his eczema is 10x better. California baby did not have any real impact on his eczema.

memz's Avatar memz
06:58 PM Liked: 16
#27 of 38
02-12-2012 | Posts: 664
Joined: Jan 2007
My DD had a spot of eczema that we couldn't get rid of... We had tried pretty much everything. Then a homeopathic dr recommanded neem cream... And within a couple of days it was gone... Really a miracle cream!

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bettyjones's Avatar bettyjones
05:29 PM Liked: 11
#28 of 38
03-01-2012 | Posts: 227
Joined: Mar 2009
There is a lotion from an auruvedic spa in hoboken that really is magic but pricey. I have heard a swim in the sea can work too. Good luck.
babyskin's Avatar babyskin
10:54 PM Liked: 0
#29 of 38
04-28-2012 | Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2012

I have a 4 month old with very resistant eczema.. What brand of neem cream worked for you? 

Helpatlast's Avatar Helpatlast
04:27 AM Liked: 0
#30 of 38
08-07-2012 | Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2012

We tried several popular creams they just made the extreme diaper rash much worse !  Then we discovered MARLY SKIN GUARD NORTH AMERICA  on the internet and it worked the diaper rash has reduced in size and has deminished the baby's screaming when she poops.  It is expensive  $39.00 and has ingredients that I would never have thought I would use but considering the results we will put up with the ingredients since it controls the diaper rash.  Make sure you order more before you run out or else its back to the extreme diaper rash for your poor baby.

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