Great eczema-problem-solving products resource

Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database is a fabulous resource for anyone using to problem solve their child’s eczema.
The database includes a wide range of personal care products.  Although the evaluations do not take into account specific issues from Solveeczema, or even “eczema” specifically as an outcome of any ingredient, many of the safest products listed would also work for solveeczema.  (The database does use broad terms like “skin irritation”.)  In fact, the safest baby and skin products listed are soap based.  (Be aware that many down the line are not.)
The Skin Deep database lists ingredients for every product in the database, with further safety information on each ingredient.   For each safety concern identified, there is a data gap number that basically pegs the confidence level of the safety problem.
For me, it’s been a great place to learn about new products that would work for my family.
Wishing you all a healthy, happy, eczema-free New Year!

You heard it here first (yet again)…

Great article I stumbled on recently from The Independent.  As I have said for years:

In a typical household today, the following products are almost always detergent-based or contain detergents: laundry products, including “hypoallergenic” ones for babies … dishwashing liquid; dishwasher powder; liquid and many bar “soaps”; kitchen, bathroom and other household surface cleansers; shampoo and body washes; toothpastes (including “natural” ones); many cosmetic products, creams, and moisturizers; and many processed foods.

One of the researchers of the study mentioned below is quoted as saying:
“Our study suggests that it might be better for eczema patients to use oil-based ointments on damaged skin.”

Yay!  While I’m glad to finally see this realization printed in a medical journal, they are still missing a key piece.  While it’s really important to use ointment-like moisturizers — what I call “barrier moisturizers” — it’s just as important to remove detergent residues from the skin before applying them.  If not, eczema can develop from sealing in the detergent, even very small traces on the skin of susceptible infants.

Normally I’d leave a link for the research, but this article summarizes very nicely.  Note that the journalist/British must use the word “ointment” differently than we do in the US — Aqueous cream BP is, I believe, an emollient-type moisturize.  When I say “ointment-like”, I mean barrier-type rather than emollient.

Moisturisers ‘can aggravate eczema’

By Rod Minchin, Press Association

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Using moisturiser to treat eczema could make the condition worse, scientists have claimed. Ointments such as aqueous cream BP reduce the thickness of healthy skin, aiding irritation, research from Bath University found.

Aqueous cream BP is the most widely prescribed moisturiser for the treatment of dry skin conditions. However, it contains a detergent, sodium lauryl sulphate, which can increase the permeability of the skin barrier.

Read the rest at:

Cold and flu prevention = eczema prevention?

I couldn’t help passing this along.  It shows significant reduction in infection among children who take probiotics (healthy bacteria, higher dose than in yogurt).  I have used probiotics to shorten illness and prevent sore throats from progressing into something else, based on other research, so I’m not surprised by the results.

This placebo-controlled trial showed:

“When families didn’t do anything, most kids developed fever, cough, runny nose, and were treated with antibiotics sometime in the next 6 months. But among those who were given the probiotics, most kids did not get a fever, cough, runny nose or antibiotics over the next 6 months. And if they did get sick, it lasted on average about half as long.”

Read more:

Since probiotics used in pregnancy have been shown to reduce eczema rates in infants – and I have my own theories about why that is, consistent with – I thought I would pass this information along.  My favorite brand of probiotic for this purpose, even for the grown ups in our house, is Baby’s Jarro-Dophilus from Jarrow, it has been more consistently effective of the ones I have used.  (Must be dissolved into a liquid, do not take straight, it can form very sticky clumps.)

Gold mine for soap

I just found this web site, which (I think) is a marketplace for a lot of vendors to sell their artisinal goods, called Art Fire.  I used search term “soap” and refined it with “unscented” and found pages and pages of handmade soaps.   Not all had ingredients I would recommend, but all of the soaps I looked at listed ingredients.  I saw many that would work for the recommendations on, some that wouldn’t.

The role of surfactant in asthma

I’ve gotten much feedback over the years that the changes described in do more than help eliminate eczema for certain people, they help reduce or eliminate asthma, even in atopic family members who do not have eczema.  I’m not going to do too much analysis here, I’m going to let this article speak for itself:  The role of surfactant in asthma .  I haven’t yet looked for more recent research, but I feel like I’ve hit a gold mine.

We humans make surfactant essential for the proper function of our airway lining.  What happens when stronger, artificial surfactants are introduced with other inhaled substances, such as dust?

Listen to this:  “…sputum samples from patients with asthma have a low surface activity.”

And, “Interestingly, a washing procedure [of the airways ] with saline … restored surfactant function.”

I’m not drawing conclusions, but this is very, very interesting.