An itch, then a rash…
I was told initially that it was eczema. A very broad statement that turned out to be.
Back at home, I dutifully started using the prescription emollients but after a few days there was no improvement and the rash was spreading. A trip to the out of hours GP ensued and I was given some seriously heavy duty cream which was effectively like basting my child in a large tub of lard…only one which came with a bright red fire warning on the packet. It was essentially, greasy paraffin so don’t hold your child or their clothes near to a naked flame at anytime. Hmmm…this house is heated largely by a wood burning stove….I’m not sure this is a good idea.
Two days later – rash still getting worse. A frantic search or two online and I was medically trained enough to conclude that we were dealing with an allergy so off we go back to the GP. Surprisingly, they agreed with my medical opinion and we concluded it might be a milk protein allergy and that we needed a special, hypoallergenic, formula. What I didn’t realise though, was how special this formula is…only available via prescription, I think I would have had more success if I had been prescribed a large bag of diamonds. I called literally every pharmacy in the area. No one had it in stock and, by that time, I was convinced that I needed to get hold of this stuff instantly or my child would go into anaphylactic shock if he touched another drop of breast milk. Two hours later and I finally found somewhere that had two small tubs of the powdered wonder food and so I rushed home to cure my child.
I don’t think my son is fussy generally but there was no way he was going to eat this powdered cheese. Everything about the product was cheesy. It looked like cheese, smelt like cheese and frankly it tasted like cheese. The house had also started to take on a vaguely cheesy scent and my health visitor later told me that she can always tell when a child is fed on this formula as soon as she walks through the door (I digress). Cue a hunger strike where only a tiny portion of this stuff would be acceptable if mixed in with copious amounts of breast milk. Further cue a near meltdown on my part…how could I cure the horrendous itchy rash that he had developed if he wouldn’t stop eating breastmilk and move on to powdered cheese.
Later…a still worsening rash and a subsequent out of hours call to 101 resulted in a trip to the hospital where I was told it was definitely not an allergy and that it definitely was eczema…this was becoming confusing. Even more greasy, fire-hazard warning emollients were prescribed and I began to wonder if I should consider moving to live next to the local fire station.
More long days passed and yet no further improvement so a trip to a specialist was undertaken at cost. Waiting times on the NHS were at least twelve weeks and I had been told that the local provision was general dermatology, not infant specialist. I could not see how I could manage in this condition for a further twelve weeks so I dipped into savings and scrimped and saved afterwards to pay it back to my piggy bank.
The specialist undertook some skin prick allergy tests and advised that we were all clear on that front, even for milk protein. I was relieved as I still hadn’t had any success feeding the cheese. He suggested that the eczema was caused by a skin infection which had undermined the skin barrier and was causing havoc. What we really needed was to clear the infection and then keep the skin hydrated as presently, all I was doing was greasing up the child without treating the initial cause.
Lots of stress, lots of money spent but finally, after two days of a new magic antibiotic cream, all was looking much better. I did have to keep moisturising though or he would get itchy again and the rash would start to re-appear. I did attempt to persevere with the flammable goo for a while but all it seemed to do was make him and all his clothing greasy, leave his skin red and still dry underneath. The day I gave up on those products was the day that I noticed that the goo had literally dissolved the ink lettering on his clothing labels. I decided I needed something more natural and the journey for creating a better moisturiser began. I needed one which would suit dry skin conditions and be tolerated by those who are sensitive to modern man-made ingredients.
Countless hours of research and study have resulted in a range of products which are luxuriously moisturising, naturally derived and organic wherever possible. The oils that I use are chosen for their effectiveness in skin repair alongside their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxident properties. From there I have expanded to include a range of soaps which are based on the nourishing formula I created but which cleanse gently.
I never use artificial scents, preservatives, parabens, colours or other nasties and never test products on animals.
Our routine now…balm every day after bathtime and sometimes once during the day. Twice per week I bathe him in the Bath and Body Oil too.