Are you sick of itching, scratching red, irritated patches of skin? Or are you heartbroken watching your child suffer the same discomfort? If you are tired of worrying, and feel that there is nothing you can do to prevent these symptoms – you are not alone.
I felt extremely frustrated when my 10 year old son developed a rash that was later diagnosed as eczema, or more specifically a type of contact dermatitis. But I was lucky enough to find a solution – one that not many people have been told about. A solution that works!
At first his problem started as a small red mark on his lower back, a flaky area that was about the size of a 10 cent coin. Over time it became so big it stretched along the whole of his lower back where the elastic waistband of his school shorts made contact. Sometimes it was so bad the dry flakes of skin ended up all over his clothing and the patches of skin became thickened and raised.
All he kept asking me was “Why does it happen to me?” and “Please take me to the Doctor to stop it.” So that’s exactly what we did – off we went to get advice with renewed hope that his rash would soon disappear. The steroid creams the Doctor prescribed did the trick, and after a couple of weeks we celebrated, thinking that the problem was fixed.
Alas to our disappointment we discovered that the patches returned after only a week or two, and what was worse we had no idea why. We had no choice but to reapply the steroid creams all over again and continue every day until the outbreak resolved. This was the beginning of an endless cycle of redness, flaky itchy skin and chemical creams which made him cry when I applied them because they stung his tender skin so badly. This treatment continued on and off for several months at a time.
Eventually I became really worried, I was very concerned about the drugs that were in the creams that I was applying to my son’s skin. These chemicals could not be good for his young skin in the long run? Surely there had to be a better way? There had to be more to it than just treating the symptoms, over, and over again? So I set about researching more about the causes of these common skin conditions.
Unfortunately I learnt that inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are all similar in the fact that it is very hard to isolate the possible cause. When I Googled causes, I was given a list so long I didn’t know where to start! The one thing that was consistent across every site was the connection between skin irritations and the multitude of ingredients we unknowingly put on our skin. These triggers are otherwise known as environmental allergens.
Whatever the cause of my son’s skin problems, I was determined to find out how to stop the irritation in the first place. Treating the symptoms alone was just a waste of time and money. So I took it upon myself and began scrutinising carefully what had changed in our lives since the rash first erupted and more importantly, what was coming in contact with his skin.
Research told me that soaps and body washes could be the culprits – but these hadn’t changed as I had been buying safe products for years since my children were babies. The same with shampoos and conditioners – I was buying these from the same trusted website that guaranteed removal of over 3000 possible known or suspected irritants, so I felt confident it wasn’t them.
Finally after going over every possible personal care product in our house it clicked, and I found the one thing that could be linked! In our laundry cupboard was a box of supermarket washing powder – purchased by my husband without my knowledge because it was ‘on special and a good buy’. Recently I had gone back to work, and the laundry was his domain, so for 3 months he had been using this instead of the toxin free, safe powder I had been using for the past 4 years!!!
I was horrified as I realised that all of a sudden my son’s relatively untouched skin had been exposed to a cocktail of irritating chemicals including sodium lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol to name a couple. Instantly his skin had flared up and with repetitive use week after week it had become worse and worse.
I immediately stopped any clothes being washed in the off the shelf washing powder and re-ordered my usual powder. Incredibly it took two weeks for the rash to settle and 4 weeks for it to disappear. And it has not come back since! Something so simple, so easy to miss and yet so easy to change. All of a sudden I was so grateful to have access to the safe and trusted products that have provided a healthy sanctum for my children and my whole family for all these years.