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Since she was a bitty baby my daughter Lydia has had major dry, itchy skin issues. As she’s grown up (she’s now 7) she continues to have them – her pediatrician says it’s eczema. Her worst season is obviously the Winter, but even in the Summer she has outbreaks because you can’t keep her out of the pool for anything.
To combat her outbreaks we keep her skin moisturized as much as possible, but when the outbreaks are bad we have to use a medicated prescription ointment on the worst areas. Recently Aveeno came out with the Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Nighttime Balm ($17.99 // Target) and I was anxious to try it. My hope was to eventually not need the prescription ointment at all.
The Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Nighttime Balm is “the first and only nighttime balm specifically formulated with Active Naturals Colloidal Oatmeal and ceramides for immediate and long-lasting itch relief – clinically proven to prevent the recurrence of itchy patches and flare ups caused by eczema so babies can sleep through the night”. I figured if it was gentle enough for babies, it’d work for my 7 year old. The major claim that I was the most interested in testing out, since her flare-ups are so bad, is that this formula is said to “relieve itch in just one use and restore visibly healthy skin in three nights”.
Lydia’s biggest and most common flare-ups are on her shoulder blades and legs. Each night after her bath I applied a small amount of the balm (a little goes a long way) on the areas that she said were bothering her the most. When I use the prescription ointment it doesn’t work to stop the itch quickly and she usually is itchy again by morning. When we used the Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Nighttime Balm she stated the itchy started to stop almost immediately and she didn’t complain at all about being itchy in the morning.
Being that this balm not only worked extremely well but is dermatologist and pediatrician recommended, safe for the body AND the face, fragrance free, paraben free, steroid free, allergy tested and non-greasy I’m confident that we’ll be able to use only this throughout the Winter, even on her face (she tends to get outbreaks on her cheeks when it’s cold).
Q & A with Dr. Jeanine B. Downie
Dr. Jeanine B. Downie is a widely-recognized dermatologist who has been featured in Allure, InStyle and SELF. I was given the opportunity to ask her a few questions pertaining to skin/dermatological issues and of course jumped on the chance to learn more about my daughters condition.
Q. My daughter has had sensitive skin since birth but rather than grow out of her eczema flare ups (like my son did) hers seems to be getting worse. Is there anything that can be done to keep eczema flare ups down?
A. Different children react differently when they have eczema. Fortunately for your son, his seems to have cleared quickly. However, many people (myself included) have had eczema from the time we were babies, and I continue to get eczema now which is tiring because I feel like I’m too old for this. In order to keep her flares down, I recommend the Aveeno® Baby Eczema Therapy Nighttime Balm be used. Additionally, I recommend you cut her nails off so only the pink is showing (no white part in the nail at all) and file the nail down the rest of the way. This should be redone every other day. Being as today is the 26th, I recommend that you file the nails yourself every other day. If these things don’t help, I recommend seeking help from a board-certified derm who can place your daughter on prescription topical immunal modulators (like Elidel), oral antihistamines, and possible prescription steroids (topical and or oral) depending on how bad the flare ups are.
Q. Her skin tends to be dry year round but the Summer weather seems to give her more itching and problems than the Winter – even when she’s not in the pool. What’s the reasoning behind something like that?
A. More people flare in the winter, but many people, your daughter included, flare in the summer. The reason behind this is the sweat from the heat and humidity irritating her eczema. I would handle this by making sure that she rinses off every time she gets out of the pool, therefore the chlorine will play a minimal role. Additionally, she needs to moisturize up like it’s the middle of the winter and then you must add an SPF of 30 or greater repeatedly on a daily basis. She may need an oral over-the-counter like Claritin to help her further, but try the Aveeno® Baby Eczema Therapy Nighttime Balm and some of my other suggestions first. Further, I recommend Dreft or Arm & Hammer detergent, no fabric softener and no perfume. Your daughter should take lukewarm showers and may not pick at her skin because that will lead to infection.
Q. Do you recommend layering skin care products for added prevention or treatment? Currently we layer Aveeno Eczema Therapy over the ointment provided by her doctor to really help it hold on overnight. It seems to work well for the really bad flare-ups but we’d love to be able to cut out the prescription all-together.
A. I absolutely recommend putting on a thick film of the Aveeno® Baby Eczema Therapy Nighttime Balm and then over it, when greasy is not an issue (before you put her pajamas on) you can put petroleum jelly on the worst areas to layer. You may need to seek a board-certified derm as you may need prescription. You have to be realistic with what your daughter is facing.
If you’re an adult with eczema or itchy skin you can pick up the Aveeno Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm ($17.99 // Target) for yourself. Normally I get my legs waxed but most recently I had to shave and you wouldn’t believe how itchy my legs were. This balm helped out tremendously and immediately – without me having to apply the next morning.
What do you use for yourself and your kids to relieve itch?