Posted by Cris on | February 28, 2011 | No Comments
The Bean suffered from some nasty eczema on his face and legs for the first eight months of his life, and I tried to use steroid creams only as a last resort. That stuff has some pretty harsh side effects. Dr. Belinda, of Belinda’s Clinic for Children at Mount E. Medical Centre – who is Vicky’s pediatrician as well as mine – suggested I try calendula cream or edible oils. Her thinking on the oils: If it’s safe to to eat, it’s safe to put on baby’s sensitive skin.
Olive oil has been used as skin care product for centuries, but anyone who’s put it in their hair as a natural overnight conditioner knows how gluggy it is – plus it stains your clothes. Coconut oil is light and absorbs quickly into the skin — but can leave your baby smelling like he’s just rolled in from a 1970s beach party. After trying a $5 bottle of Parachute coconut oil, sold at every mom & pop shop in Little India, I sought advice online and realized that virgin pressed is where it’s at.
Although people in other countries cook with virgin pressed coconut oil, you can’t find it at grocery stores in Singapore. A lot of health stores stock it, though. Four Seasons Organic Market at Parkway Parade has a wide selection of virgin pressed coconut oils at different price points. I tried a few. Most still had a faint whiff of 70′s era suntan oil. Cocos Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, which sells for about $10 for a 150 ml bottle, hit the mark: it’s not only inexpensive, but is fresh, light, and odorless.
I used this for months, alternating with some other natural and organic creams (see the list below) for variety, to keep my baby’s flare-ups under control. The Bean, now 15 months, has outgrown his eczema – but I still put dash of Cocos brand oil in the bath, for both my kids, as a natural skin moisturizer.
Other Eczema Treatments We Like
Vicky put me on to Mustela’s Stelotopia range, which is designed specifically for dry, atopic skin, shortly after The Bean was born. Her son, CJ, also has eczema. I’ve always been a fan of Mustela, and used their regular baby products on my first child when she was small. Their bath products smell lovely. I still like to use their shampoo on my daughter, who’s now four, just because I love to sit and sniff her hair afterwards.
To help tame The Bean’s eczema, I used the Stelotopia Cleansing Cream (which costs about S$30), in lieu of soap, the Stelatopia Milky Bath Oil ($35), which is made of natural products and really does wonders, and the Stelatopia moisturizer. Watson’s and Living Pharmacy carry a limited range of Mustela products, so you can find this particular range at some outlets, but not others. Stores that carry the full Mustela product line, including the entire Stelatopia range, include Robinson’s, Takashimaya and Mother’s Work. You can also find it at Kiddie Palace.
I also like the California Baby body wash and Calendula Cream. California Baby products are natural and allergen free, and this particular wash and cream combo are designed to treat eczema. These products have a nice, fresh citrusy scent – a welcome change from many other soap-free, allergen-free products, which don’t smell like anything. The California Baby range is found at most Watson’s, larger Guardian outlets and a range of other baby shops, including Mom Essentials, which sells a wonderful selection of natural and organic skincare products. Mom Essentials has outlets in KK Hospital, Suntec City Mall, Tampines 1 and United Square mall. Brown Rice Paradise also carried the full range. I still use California Baby’s Calendula Cream, which costs S$30.45 for a small 2 oz (59 ml) pot and $42.95 for a larger, 4 oz pot.
Oilatum Junior is another good option. This is another milky bath additive, designed for eczema sufferers, which doubles up as a soap-free wash. It costs S$29 for a 300 ml bottle. It leaves your baby’s skin feeling super soft and moisturized. But it’s hard to find. Most pharmacies sell regular Oilatum in the soap-free wash section, but you can’t use this version on babies less than six months old. The only place I ever found Oilatum Junior was at Mothercare’s flagship Harbourfront store.
Vicky also swears by solid Shea Butter. It requires some thinking ahead, though. It has to be kept in the fridge, so you need to break of a chunk and let it sit in a dish at room temperature til it softens – then work it between your fingers to make it smooth before you apply to baby’s skin. I’m never that organized at bath & bed time, but it works wonders for her!