Atopic dermatitis, also called atopic eczema or eczema is a major problem for many people, from babies, to toddlers, teenagers and adults. There is thought to be no known cause and no known cure – but now I know better!
When my daughter arrived, she was born with perfect beautiful skin. But soon enough nappy changes became a problem and her skin turned red, swollen and very, very sore. It didn't take long for me to connect this reaction to the leading brand baby wipes I was given to use in the hospital. I tried a few other brands – but all with the same result – so the only thing I could do was switch to plain soft cloth or paper wipes and water.
Every night, like any good caring mum, I bathed my little girl in a warm bath with lovely soapy baby wash bubbles. Unfortunately it wasn't too long until more skin problems developed, dry skin and recurring skin rashes. By the time she was a toddler, she had a huge patch of extremely itchy, red, inflamed eczema behind each knee. Babies don't know not to scratch, so when her eczema flared up, she scratched, and it would bleed, weep, crust, crack and become extremely uncomfortable for such a little girl to deal with.
I took her to the doctor and was given a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis. I was really against putting a steroid based cream on a 12 month old baby, and wanted more of a solution than that. I wanted answers. Why was this happening to her skin? Something must be causing it.
When I first began to deal with eczema in my family, I had no idea where it came from or how to manage it.
Atopic dermatitis symptoms – intensely itchy red raised spots or lesions and dry scaly skin – are traditionally treated with moisturizing creams or topical steroid creams. As far as treatment options, that was about all I was given back then.
Now, so many years later, I know far better what was the likely cause of the atopic dermatitis. All that time I was unknowingly exposing her skin to all kinds of irritants!
I wish someone had told me!
In hindsight it should have been obvious after my discovery with the inflamed nappy rash. Atopic dermatitis and eczema are known to be related to allergic reactions, asthma, food allergies and hay fever – so irritants and allergens that cause inflammation are a problem for eczema sufferers. What I didn't know then, was that the 'lovely' baby products I was given by well meaning friends and that I bought myself at the supermarket were loaded with synthetic chemicals and irritants.
Almost all baby products that foam contain SLS, or sodium lauryl sulfate, as one of the main ingredients, a known skin and eye irritant that is also used as an industrial engine degreaser and is linked to cancer in animals and / or humans! There are other chemical ingredients that are equally as bad, or worse, in all the home and personal care products we lovingly apply onto the skin of our newborn babies from the day they are born.
If I had known then what I know now I would have switched years ago to the range of safety conscious home cleaning and personal care products that I use now. If you care about your health, the health of your children and family, or if someone in your household suffers from atopic dermatitis or eczema, I urge you to make the switch too! It could just save your skin.