We first noticed Calea scratching her arm and thought that she might have eaten something that she was allergic to. We tried to make her eat one food at a time but no matter what we did, she didn’t stop scratching her body. Eventually, it caused red scratches and her skin started to turn rough around the area. A part of her left leg was also starting to turn really rough with a lot of scar marks on top of each other.
I then self-assessed that my daughter might actually have Eczema. I would moisturize and try almost all kinds of brands but it felt like it wasn’t enough. Maybe it was food? Maybe I should change her body wash? Maybe the lotion that we applied on her skin wasn’t enough? Some would work for a few days but the itch would just come back!
Then she started to have insect bites around her face and I panicked like crazy. It felt like I was going through what happened with Caitie everything all over again! I couldn’t sleep so we brought Calea to have a blood exam. I inquired at St Jude in Tennessee regarding JMML cases and asked if they could accept us for a consultation; I scheduled a US embassy interview and managed to meet two new adult dermas on the same day.
I was filled with so much anxiety that no one at home could talk to me. I knelt down at each private moment I got and prayed for protection and blessing for her health! The following day we met Caitie’s pediatric derma who had earlier diagnosed her bites properly as being more than insect bites. We just didn’t know what was causing it and thus we had been suggested to perform the biopsy.
I chose to go there because she knew about Caitie’s case and I was pretty sure that she would be able to identify, differentiate and carefully assess the condition of my daughter and not just carelessly say that it’s an insect bite.
Eventually, my overly anxious self was comforted that there was nothing I should worry about. That it was indeed insect bites and her main concern was Eczema.
She explained that Eczema is a chronic skin problem, usually hereditary in nature that causes dry, red, itchy skin.
Symptoms may include the following:
- Dry, scaly skin
- Redness and swelling of the skin
- Thickening of the skin (with chronic eczema)
- Small bumps that open and weep when scratched (I haven’t experienced this yet)
It is also called atopic dermatitis or in Manila, we call it skin asthma. Eczema often runs in families with a history of eczema or other allergic conditions such as asthma. It is not contagious. I had childhood asthma, my half sister and mom had asthma, so most likely, that’s the reason why Calea had it. Eczema can’t be treated but it can be cared for so it won’t worsen or progress.
She educated me on how important it is to moisturize, moisturize and moisturize. To be selective with our soap and use mild cleansers like Baby Dove. In worse cases, where skin is inflamed/red and rough, I was to apply moisturizer lightly until skin is back to being soft, and then maintain it by moisturizing as often as possible.
A baby’s skin is thinner than adults, that’s why they lose moisture up to 5 times faster than adults especially during bath time or in the water. So whenever we opt to let her swim in the pool or beach, we apply body oil first to protect her skin from drying ; we then apply oil again and moisturize and properly use a moisturizing soap.
From then on, I used Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture hair to toe wash which has ¼ moisturizing cream. It is fragrance free (which is important because harsh fragrances may cause skin irritation) with a pH-neutral and hypoallergenic formula for Calea.
It has already been 2 months already and we do not have any bad flare ups! Her arms and legs are now soft and smooth!! When red or itchy skin starts flaring up again, usually around her neck, we quickly moisturize.
Baby Dove Online Store link below
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
We all want to live a healthy life but if you’re like me, we don’t know where to start! We are drawn to labels and packaging but do we know what should we look out for?
Anxiety-charged, I continue with my research and realized that I have been meticulous with kitchen and house cleaning ingredients and condiments but I need more discipline with selecting toiletries for my family’s hygiene.
Let’s face it, if you’re like me, I get lazy to really research and honestly we can’t even differentiate good vs. bad from those scientific names at the back of each packaging! We trust labels, trust endorsements and testimonials. When they say it’s good, then it must be good!
So okay, I made mistakes in the past and self medicated Calea. But now, I want to do my part and have confidence with my decisions as I research what I use for my family at home.
That’s what real moms should be, to accept that mistakes will be normal but we move forward to learn and seek to change to be the best we can be. So if you’re a mom who has a child with Eczema like me, who has tried almost all kinds of products, I want you to know that you are not alone!
Here, I share my routine for Calea and what to watch out for with other products. I hope you can also share yours.
CALEA’S SKIN ROUTINE
1. Moisturize as often as possible (use fragrance free like Baby Dove’s lotion or look for labels that are “emollient” or “balm” or labels that has the Eczema approved sticker). I rotate moisturizers I use. Usually, I have moisturizers in all bags!
2. I spread body oil before bath if she has a flare up.
3. Quick and short baths using Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture (they also have the Rich Moisture variant).
4. Body oil or lotion/emollient/balm BEFORE doing towel pat drying.
5. Lotion again. (hehe)
6. Select clothing with soft material like bamboo or cotton to avoid irritation on skin.
7. Put topical steroid only when necessary; red or rough or very itchy skin.
8. Prevent rubbing and scratching because these can tear the skin, which can in turn cause an infection.
9. Still be observant for any allergies and identify causes of flare ups. For us, it’s sweat or heat.
10. Eczema is a chronic skin problem, so it can come and go.
As for my son Ethan who has sensitive skin but not really Eczema (he easily gets red marks which goes away in minutes when he gets in contact with dirt), the Rich moisture Hair to Toe Wash lotion is fine. But special mention must be made of the Rich Moisture Baby Bar because he’s into bar soaps lately!
SUMMARY OF WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR (detailed description below)
1. Did do you know it’s more harmful to use “antibacterial soap”?
2. Not all “organic” or “natural” are non-toxic
3. Bubbles are fun but make sure it doesn’t have Diethanolamine (DEA).
4. Always read the label, product safety and do background check of the brand that created the product. You may visit the 2 sites in my reference section. You may enter specific chemical names to find information in the website
Some of most common ingredients I’ve gathered are:
Aminophenol, Diamonibenzene, Phenlenediamine (Coal Tar)
Dibutyl phthalate, Toluene & Formaldehyde
Don’t over-use Antibacterial Soap
While studies by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have revealed that antibacterial soap is no more effective than plain soap and water, people have been told that regular soap isn’t good enough and that antibacterial soap is necessary to lower the risk of infection. Thus, antibacterial soaps have become so prevalent in households. And, it’s not just soap. It’s in toothpastes, laundry detergents, and dish soaps, too.
● Overuse of antibacterial soaps could promote the growth of drug-resistant “superbugs” that might otherwise be kept in check with little more than a vigorous scrub
● Triclosan , an active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps, may increase the risk of generating drug-resistant bacteria (see reference below)
● When common bacteria are wiped out by antibacterial soap, children aren’t exposed to them and some exposure to bacteria in early childhood can strengthen their immune systems. Without exposure, children may be prone to allergies and asthma.
We can prevent several illnesses and diseases and stop the spread of germs to others simply by washing our hands with clean soap and water. If you don’t have serious skin disease, soap + water is enough.
Bubbles are fun but make sure it doesn’t have Diethanolamine (DEA).
I would prefer products that have least or those that do not produce bubbles.
DEA is used as a wetting agent in shampoos, lotions, creams, bubble bath, and other cosmetics. It is linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity, and organ system toxicity.
Always Read Labels – Even For ‘Natural’ or ‘Organic’ Products
No matter what brand you buy, you need to read the ingredient labels. Just because a product is “more natural” or “better” or “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it’s safe.
But you need to be aware that many toxic ingredients are still in products mislabeled natural or organic. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) released a study of personal care products claiming to be “natural” or “organic” and some of the leading brands were found to contain 1,4-dioxane.
Do not be fooled with great packaging or terms used on packaging. Always do a background check of the company and the people behind it. What I love about Unilever which manufactures Baby Dove is that they have a dedicated team who assures the health safety and environmental sustainability of their ingredients.
Also, if you are a busy mom and has very limited time to do errands, Baby Dove can be easily purchased online. Sharing this link for a quick reference, too! --> Baby Dove Online Store
So now, it’s time to go through your bathroom, kitchen and garage and purge purge purge!!
ECZEMA 101 - https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Eczema.aspx
BULLETED INFO ABOUT ECZEMA AND MANAGEMENT - https://childrensnational.org/choose-childrens/conditions-and-treatments/allergies-immunology/eczema-atopic-dermatitis
ANTI BACTERIAL SOAP - http://awakeningwillow.com/2010/04/27/11-toxic-ingredients-to-avoid-in-hand-soap-and-sanitizer-and-safer-options-for-your-family/
TRICLOSAN - http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/say-goodbye-antibacterial-soaps-fda-banning-household-item/
WHY THE ABOVE INGREDIENTS ARE HARMFUL – http://awakeningwillow.com/2010/04/27/11-toxic-ingredients-to-avoid-in-hand-soap-and-sanitizer-and-safer-options-for-your-family/
COMPLETE LIST OF HARMFUL INGREDIENTS FOR HYGIENE, DETERGENTS, FOOD AND HOUSE CLEANING - http://www.nontoxicalternatives.com/
BABY DOVE SAFETY - https://www.unilever.com/about/innovation/Our-products-and-ingredients/Our-approach-to-the-safety-of-products-and-ingredients/