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I thought I would create this page here on my site in case it helps anyone else.

First, A Little History...

My daughter Alexa, who is now 10, has suffered from eczema ever since she was a toddler. She has no other health issues or allergies that we know of, and her eczema tends to only be an issue in the winter months.

At first, when she was younger, she would only get it a bit on the insides of her arms at the crease of the elbow (in small patches), and on the backs of her wrists.

Her pediatrician prescribed Elidel which we'd use on flare ups on an as-needed basis, and for a few years, that worked.

Eventually, though, her eczema began to get worse and spread to other areas. One year, she started getting it behind her knees. Another year, she got it in all of those places plus a patch by her navel.

The pediatrician switched us to an ointment that says:

Fougera Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment, USP, 0.1% (instead of the Elidel).

It worked just as well on flare ups but we didn't want to use any of these medications on a daily basis all winter. I mean, there's some pretty scary information out there about long term exposure and so on. However, whenever we stopped using the medicine even briefly, she'd get these bad flare ups that seemed to come on so quickly and fiercely, and then there we were battling it with the prescription ointment again...which would work and get it back under control within a day or two, but in the meanwhile, she'd be miserable.

Last year, the winter she turned 9, it was the worst ever. She had it on the crease of the elbows, but in bigger, redder patches than ever before. She had it on her hands and wrists. She had it by her navel. And worst of all, she had it on her face (around her eyes and in small patches on her cheeks and near her mouth) and on her neck.

I was treating her pretty aggressively with the prescription ointment, but it was starting to feel like I'd have to cover her whole body in the stuff for months on end, and I felt like there HAD to be something more we could do. The pediatrician couldn't seem to help with anything more than renewing the prescriptions. So, I asked them to refer us to a dermatologist.

Unfortunately, I didn't feel that the dermatologist helped much, either. He didn't stay in the room long, and I had the sense he was lecturing me or kind of talking down to me. He basically said that we had to use lotion all the time to prevent the eczema from flaring up/getting bad to begin with and to use the prescription ointment on flare ups and that was that. We left with no other solution and some vague sense that this was all my fault, that if only I had been more diligent about prevention, everything would have been fine.

This year, her eczema returned as it does every winter, and for the second year in a row, it was affecting her face. We first noticed it starting to get bad like that again on November 19, 2010. We HAD been very diligent about putting lotion on quite regularly, every day. I'd already switched her to a fragrance-free/sensitive skin soap a long time ago. So there we were again slathering on the prescription ointment, and in the meanwhile, my daughter was MISERABLE. I put lotion by her eyes, she started crying that it was burning, I started telling her not to cry because the salty tears would probably burn worse, and I was thinking there HAS to be a way to prevent this from getting this bad to begin with. I can't deal with this anymore, and either can this poor kid.

So, I went online to my homeschooling forum and on various websites. I compiled a list of possible solutions. I picked out the ones I wanted to try right away. And I tried them.

And I'm happy to say that HER ECZEMA HAS BEEN UNDER CONTROL for the past couple of months since!!! No bad flareups!!!!


1. We started using a humidifier in her room every single night. I know this makes a difference because there were two different times she forgot to turn it on at night, and the following mornings, she'd have redness under her eyes. This is such a simple thing, and I'd never known about it. I would HIGHLY recommend starting off by using a humidifier every single night if your child suffers from seasonal eczema like mine did.

2. I had already been making sure she put on lotion every single day. Now I began making sure she was doing it A FEW times a day. At least 3X a day I have her go in and put lotion on/remind her to do it. After doing some reading and getting some input, the lotion I decided to use is called:

CJ's BUTTer which can be purchased here:


I exchanged a couple of emails with CJ and she was WONDERFUL. Extremely nice, extremely sympathetic, threw in a little extra something for us, shipped very fast...and I'm happy with the product and will be continuing to order it as needed myself. We're using CJ's chapstick under the eyes as it's small and easy to use there, and the lotion on all of the other areas. We've got both the lotion form and the 'stick/roll on' form, both of which work great. Use it diligently, a few times a day!

3. I had her stop using soap altogether. I stopped even the Dove for sensitive skin and decided to go with Cetaphil, a soap-free cleanser, instead. I ordered it from Walmart. She uses it in the shower and for hand-washing.

4. I switched to All Clear laundry detergent for her clothes only (I still wash the rest of ours with the generic stuff, and in the summer when eczema isn't an issue I'll probably use that for her too, but for now we're using this All Clear stuff). I just bought it at my local supermarket. I probably really didn't HAVE to do this step but figured I may as well come at this as aggressively as I could to start and make sure it cleared up, and then I could start dropping some of these things and seeing if we could make do without it, such as using a special laundry detergent.

*5. I bought Zyrtec non-drowsy allergy medication at the pharmacy. I give her one pill a night. From what I read (including on the Ask Dr. Sears site), this will help her not itch. And if she doesn't itch, she won't scratch. And if she doesn't scratch, she won't make the eczema flare up even more. See, it was like a vicious circle. I read it is safe to give for several weeks at a time. Then you should take a break. But if I think I need to, I'll go back to using it. This will only be in the winter months anyway.

*NOTE: As it turned out, we used this for a few weeks to ensure that we really had her out of this bad cycle of itching and scratching and flaring up. But at this point (Feb 8, 2011, my latest update), she hasn't used it in several weeks- and still no bad flare ups. I really think the humidifier, the lotion, and the non-soap cleanser is the biggest deal in all of this. If she gets occasional flare ups, they tend to be very mild, and as soon as we notice them, we use the prescription medication (see step 6 below) and it clears it right up by like the next day, before it has a chance to get bad.

6. I continue to use the prescription ointment, Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment, on flare ups on an as-needed basis. Over the past two and a half months or so, the flare ups when they occur have been only in VERY small patches, and NOT happening every day, and I use just a bit of the prescription stuff and it goes away. I check her trouble spots daily to see if she has any of those flare ups.

We've been doing this routine for almost three months now and there have been NO bad flare ups, NO itchiness, NO red eyes, NO misery or complaining, NO huge, red noticeable patches all over her arms...she's like a different kid.

This routine is working for us as of now, so we'll continue with it. This is the most pleasant winter we've had in a long time and I'm SO happy with how it has been going!!!!

I hope that this helps somebody else!  

P.S. Here is the link to the eczema page on the Ask Dr. Sears site. It contains further helpful information:


P.S.S. If you do try these things, drop me a comment and let me know how it's working for you!




( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
What an amazing difference! My ds is 10 and eczema seems to be his only "issue" also. We already use Cetaphil (love it!) and All Free & Clear...I think I'll get out the humidifier and check out CJ's website.
Thanks for sharing!!!!
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
I am so glad to see those after pictures. I hate to think of children suffering with eczema. Mine has been so bad in recent years (completely covering my legs and back) that I am now tanning three to four times a week to keep it at bay. I know I can't continue to tan it away so I appreciate the other ideas.
Dec. 16th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: eczema
I hope that you give it a try and that this routine works for you!
Dec. 27th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Re: eczema
Thanks so much I to have seasonal eczema and I did not even know it until now its all making since now thank you thank you thank you I will do everything you ask me to do.
May. 26th, 2011 05:00 am (UTC)
I'm glad you found relief for your daughter! A humidifier, eh? I'll have to try that! My eldest (10) outgrew his eczema, but my toddler sometimes has massive flareups. We use Cerave cream and bodywash and have the same prescription ointment you use for flareups. Her dermatologist recommended putting cerave on her at every diaper change, so that's what we do. We also use a free and clear detergent and I'd like to give her zyrtec on her itchy days, but it's nearly impossible to get her to drink it. My little one also scratches her face (and neck, and arms, and legs) during flareups, so I am always on the lookout to provide her with relief. Thanks!
Jul. 20th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC)
Another thing to research/try
Have you looked into removing grains from her diet... esp gluten? There is a well established connection between grains/gluten and autoimmune problems, including eczema. In fact, eczema reportedly is one of the first things to respond to removing grains from the diet. Even if she tests negative for celiac, she will likely respond to it. If she IS sensitive to it, then there are many other problems it could be causing in other areas besides eczema, even if you're having success controlling symptoms with the humidifier, lotions, etc.

Not trying to scare you... just bringing it up in case you haven't tried it yet.

p.s. I found you through the link from askpauline... we're moving from cyberschool to homeschooling this year (4th grade daughter, 1st grade son) and we live in the Pittsburgh area. Great site! Very helpful... especially the book lists! My daughter is a voracious reader so it's hard to keep her in new things to read. I'd really like to start our own 52 books in 52 weeks project together with her.
Jul. 20th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Another thing to research/try
I haven't tried or looked into anything dietary, I figured since this seemed to be seasonal that it likely wouldn't be diet-related, but we did have some food allergy tests run, too, and nothing came back positive (not sure which ones specifically he tested for, though)! I do appreciate the information and will keep it in mind! The 52 books in 52 weeks challenge has been a lot of fun to do together with my daughter! :) Have you had a chance to look at the lists of books featuring homeschooled characters as well?
Jul. 20th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Another thing to research/try
Yes, I did see that... it's great to see that there are so many now (books with homeschoolers). We'll definitely be checking into those.

Oh, my name is Tracy, btw... I just don't like logging in in order to comment.

I had always imagined doing a relaxed homeschool, but ended up starting cyberschool when she was starting 1st grade. Even though it's a great curriculum (K12) it's still curriculum in a box, which isn't really what I'm looking for.

Jul. 20th, 2011 05:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Another thing to research/try
Well, there's still time to start a relaxed homeschool! :) My daughter went to public school for K through most of third grade!
Jul. 20th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Another thing to research/try
That's exactly where we're going with it. I think we'll all be much happier!
Nov. 3rd, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
eczema here
Hi! I found you through WTM boards. Somehow I came across the link to your eczema page and wanted to say Thank You for posting it. My daughter has struggled with eczema since she was a toddler, also. She's 8 now. Pictures of her look VERY MUCH like your daughter. We use the humidifier, too. Aquaphor ointment, coconut oil and olive oil are what we switch out using. I went off soap, too, a while back, and even bathing less often, but found that she does better bathing MORE often with an antibacterial soap. It seems harsh, but she feels that the sting takes out the itch. We use epsom salt also (many middle of the night baths.) She's been tested for allergies, gone to a naturalist for other testing/treatment, gone gluten-free, sugar-free in the past.

Just wanted to again say Thanks. It's sure nice to know we're not alone. -Nikki
Mar. 30th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
My 3 year old has eczema all over her body and when I saw all over it is just that ALL over. It started when she was a newborn and has progressively gotten worse. I have tried everything I could possibly think of to get it under control. I have seen a Dermatologist and Allergist and have received the same response just put lotion on and try and keep it under control..Easy for them to say but they do not see the suffering my daughter goes thru on a daily basis. I have managed to get her body under control but her face and hands are giving me a real problem. I switched to Cerave lotion and cleanser. I am going to try your methods and see if this helps. At this point I am desperate to find her some relief. I will keep you posted on the outcome. Thanks for sharing
Mar. 30th, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Eczema
Poor little one. I know how miserable it is! I really hope that this routine works for you! I think the humidifier every night, zyrtec for a few weeks to break the cycle of itching/scratching and causing flare-ups, frequent use of lotion and meds as needed on flare ups helps so much, and of course using a non-soap cleanser and gentle detergents for her clothes and bedding and so on, will make such a difference...please let me know if it does! Has she been tested for food allergies? I don't think my daughter's eczema had anything to do with food since hers is more seasonal but some people believe dairy products and such can actually cause eczema. Good luck, again, let me know how it goes!
Jul. 4th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
It was really great to see the difference in your daughter's eczema. My husband has suffered for years with it. Our daughter, who is three now, was diagnosed with a gluten allergy when she didn't grow or gain weight from 12 months to 18 months old and had terrible eczema all over her body. My mainstream pediatrician missed this diagnosis, and I finally ended up taking her to friends who are acupuncturists and Chinese medicine doctors. They diagnosed her immediately and within six weeks of cleansing her system of wheat/gluten foods, she had completely recovered and is now growing tall and gaining weight. Her eczema does recur if she is exposed to even a tiny bit of wheat so we are very diligent about checking out all food that enters her little body. Going gluten free hasn't been easy, but it has really saved my daughter's skin and health. I am so thankful I caught it early. My husband has dealt with this since he was a boy and now he is gluten free now and his eczema is gone. Reading the stories of so many lotions, ointments and such just breaks my heart. It truly is so disheartening and expensive. I hope this helps anyone fighting the symptom of eczema. It is usually a sign of something wrong in your intestinal track and may be a food allergy like gluten. Just something to research deeper...
Jun. 6th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
Eczema under control
I'm really pleased you have found your own way of tackling your daughters eczema. Like yourself I have found my GP and health visitor not very helpful with a put up and shut up attitude, particularly when I asked for advice on more natural ways of treating eczema because I do believe our bodies can defend themselves given the chance and right environment.. They almost looked at me like I had 2 heads! Anyway like you I did some research and also found some great ideas and as a result I have too got my baby boy (6months) eczema under control. This may help others, so here is what I now do. Bath my baby in a porridge bath: putting peppermint tea leaves and a handful of porridge oats into the foot of a pair of clean tights tying a knot to keep them in and use this as a sponge with burts bees baby bath and shampoo, slightly squeezing the tights so the juice is spread over his body but avoiding his eyes. I use burts bees baby oil for massage post bath and also cover his body in burts bees nourishing lotion (try not to rub to vigorously as it can make the eczema itchy). I also now wash all of our clothes using Indian soap nuts and earth friendly fabric conditioner. Hey presto eczema has cleared up in 2 weeks and is under control. I am hoping this will allow his skin to strengthen so that it can begin to build its own defence and eventually grow out of it. Your site is really helpful to other parents trying to find a solution thank you very much.
Jun. 6th, 2013 10:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Eczema under control
Thank you for sharing your tips!
Aug. 30th, 2013 11:04 am (UTC)
an additional suggestion for exzema relief
My dd followed almost the exact pattern with the exception of around the eyes. I now only use goats homemade fragrance and color free goats milk soap. I also did research in herbs and essential oils which worked wonderfully on breakouts. I also use the humidifier. Another thing we found is that she can only wear cotton against her skin, and absolutely no long sleeves. Winter coats and jackets have to be light weight. I won't deny that there are occasional breakouts but they only last a day or so, due to using the ointment more than once
a day. Glad I found your site. Hope all is going well.
Aug. 30th, 2013 01:20 pm (UTC)
Re: an additional suggestion for exzema relief
Thank you for sharing your tips! We still deal with occasional breakouts, too, but never as bad as what they were in these pictures!
Aug. 26th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
Thank you
Thank you for sharing all of these tips. My daughter has eczema and it seems to be getting worse the older she gets. I have tried the Zyrtec and the clear detergent and it does help but still get flare ups often. I am going to try everything else you mentioned and God willing it will work. Again, thank you for sharing.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


Shawn - 40, Husband, Dad, Tattoo Artist, Body Piercer, Business Owner, Saltwater Aquarium Enthusiast, Cook, Mr. Fix-It.

Nance - 41, Wife, Homeschooling Mom, Bookworm, Writer, Field Tripper, List Maker, Planner, Chauffeur.

Melissa - 22, Special Needs. Is in a sheltered workshop/life skills day program. Likes music, movies, shopping, and reading.

Alexa - 14, Left public school in March of 2009 and has been home since, happily homeschooling with Oak Meadow and an eclectic mix of other things. Currently in 8th grade. Enjoys reading, writing, art, singing and music, theater/performing, doing her nails, and sleepovers with friends.

Ben - 9, Has never been to any outside school. Currently doing 3rd grade at home. Enjoys computer, video and board games, especially Minecraft and shooter games, silly jokes, soccer, rough-housing, and occasional cuddling and reading.

Adelaide - 15 months and my little ray of sunshine. :) Enjoys pointing at things, chasing the cat, trying to pull all the books off my bookshelves, eating, playing, and snuggling.

We are a relaxed/eclectic, secular homeschooling family living in Pennsylvania and thoroughly enjoying Life Without School!


Alexa is using: Oak Meadow 8 Civics; Oak Meadow 8 English; Oak Meadow Basic Physical Science; Story of the World Middle Ages; and Teaching Textbooks Math Pre-Algebra.

Ben is loosely using the Oak Meadow 3rd Grade curriculum (minus the math), Teaching Textbooks Math 3, and Reading Eggspress.

I've always been a fairly relaxed homeschooler. While I've buckled down more this year with my 8th grader, in general we do school around life, not life around school. We use mainly a fun, hands on curriculum that isn't overly time consuming and isn't dry or textbookish, and we're always willing to drop it for the time being if something fun, interesting, or educational comes up outside the house. Living is learning!


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