Author Archives: goingnaturalmum

The remedy roundabout

I hadn’t realised I’d left it so long – nearly 2 months since my last post!

Ok, the lachesis didn’t help and neither has lycopodium. Now we are on to a remedy called Morgan.
I think Alice’s homeopath is feeling almost as exasperated as we do. “It would be fine if when it moved down her back, it left her neck”, she said. But no, the eczema just seems to to be spreading.
There have been a few little spells of minor improvement which have given slight hope only for them to turn in a flash into the most intense flare ups she has had yet.

Over the last couple of months we were doing fine. I was recognising a pattern of sorts; about 4 to 7 days of her skin being rashy but not uncontollably itchy, followed by a few days of a really itchy flareup. When I say “really itchy”, it actually is mainly isolated to when she is tired, waking up from a nap or at bedtime. Her skin’s condition was becoming more predictable and the eczema was isolated to the same areas. The worse flareups were becoming manageable because I was recognising they were shortlived.

Over the past month, I’ve noticed the eczema is spreading. The usual locations, the arm and leg flexes are now bigger. Her neck rash is going up into her scalp and down onto her shoulders. Some days is all over her back and has also appeared, mildly, on her tummy for the first time. The one godsend is that it has not gone back to her face and eyelids in the last few months.

Alice has been on a dairy free diet for about 10 days now. We had tried her on soya milk before but she hated it so we went back to cows milk. Someone suggested that we try goats milk and Alice has really taken to it – in fact she is really on board with going ‘moo’free and this little lady loves her mozarella cheese!
Again, the initial signs were good as her skin calmed down for a few days, but for the last 5 days or so it has just gone down hill again. I would have hoped by now that if dairy was a main trigger that her skin would be clearing. Maybe we need to give it another week or two…

I really feel we are on a cross roads with this journey. Alice now refuses to sit down in the bath because her skin stings so much. (We just put a small squirt of Aveeno body wash in the water). She is terrified of the shower too so bathtime is becoming quite an ordeal for us both. The front of her neck is cracked and raw.
We are about to go ot Ireland for a week’s holiday to visit family and friends and most excitingly, for my little brother’s wedding. I really wish I could give Alice a holiday from her itchy skin too.

So, now and not for the first time since we stopped using steroids in February, we are seriously considering using the hydrocortisone and maybe even the moderate steroid for a few days to try and get her skin back under control.
I think it is about trying to choose between the lesser of two evils at this moment in time.

We use Bria Organic Skin Balm and Pure Salvations Skin Salvation as well as Vaseline Intensive Rescue and to a lesser extent Aveen Lotion which seems to now irritate her. I certainly notice that we are getting through the jars of skin balm much more quickly. We continue to avoid paraffin base emolients during her homeopathy treatment. I tried Euricin cream but it irritated her too much, as did organic coconut butter which was a disappointment. I haven’t yet tried Shea butter.

Suggestions welcome on where to go from here!
Has anyone managed to control their child’s worsening eczema without steroids or with homeopathy?

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Healing or not?

I haven’t posted since Alice started the Lachesis remedy a few weeks ago and as always the time has passed with healing peaks and troughs.
Before she started the 5 day course of the remedy her skin was already showing signs of slight improvement and it continued to heal over the rest of the week. The rash on her face and eyes had already been dying down and almost completely disappeared. Her neck also was getting better, it still had the rash all the way round but it was much paler and not as itchy. The other scaly dry areas, on her wrists, elbow creases and behind her knees were also calming. We were elated! Only days before her neck had start to crust and weep in areas so this was a dramatic turnaround.

On day 5 of the remedy we had a (first) appointment with a dermatologist. When the appointment has been made just over a week earlier Alice’s skin was probably at it’s worst having spread all over her face. At the appointment it was looking the best it had since we had stopped using steroids in February. I won’t go into too much detail about the appointment. He was very accepting of our wish to continue with her homeopathic treatment and avoid steroids and paraffin based moisturisers. He made some suggestions on moisturisers to try and also a steroid alternative called Elidel (I’ve not research it yet). On the other hand he was very dismissive of the natural creams we’re using without even reading the labels. “They contain chemicals, otherwise they wouldn’t work”, he commented. His opinion was that steroid use only becomes an issue when it is over used or used on more than 20% of the body. In a nutshell, using steroids with care would make it easier on Alice and easier on John and me.

Within a week I was nearly ready to reach for the hydrocortisone. Alice’s skin took another dramatic turn and near the end of last week she was sleeping badly and was scratching the night away. I ended up scolding her during the night to get her to take her hands from her neck and I felt awful the next morning. It just wasn’t fair on her. She was the one suffering and I was scolding her for it because I was sleep deprived?

At work on Friday, I emailed Alice’s homeopath. Her instructions had been to wait one week after the 5 day remedy and if there was improvement to then follow that up with one higher 200c dose. Well, there had been great healing but that had already become a distant memory. I wasn’t sure whether or not to give her the higher dose. I filled her in on the week’s progress, the visit to the skin specialist, the downturn in her skin condition and the tough night before. Elaine’s response was just what I needed. She thought the improvement the week before was most likely down to the remedy, but it was a weak dose which couldn’t sustain the improvement. We should definitely give her the higher dose. She provided a few encouraging words on how well we’ve been doing in coping without the steroids but said I should use the hydrocortisone when I really thought it was necessary, but to try not to do this often. It was the boost I needed and I was so relieved at the prospect that the remedy might be working after all.

Since Friday Alice’s skin has been improving. I was getting a tad over excited about it on Saturday – looking at Alice while she napped her neck looked almost a normal colour. I thought it was healing before my eyes! Then she woke up, cranky and irritated and rubbed and scratched her neck all afternoon. Since then though, there has been very slow progress so I do remain optimistic. It isn’t back to being as good as it was at the start of the month but it is getting there. Here’s hoping that we are now beginning to get somewhere.

Alice’s skin: Eyes and face good (pretty normal actually!). Neck is much less irritated tonight. Large stubborn patch on inner right wrist is improving but still a large area. Left hand, elbows creases, knees, backs of knees – no real change. Some days worse that others in these areas.

A new remedy for Alice

A new remedy for Alice arrived in the post yesterday. At our second Homeopathy review meeting last week, Elaine confirmed that the previous remedy Psorinium had not helped Alice’s eczema. That remedy was chosen as it is effective for hereditary forms of eczema. She now thinks it is time to try another remedy that is matched with Alice’s personality and symptoms. The new remedy is Lachesis and she is to take one 30c tablet daily for 5 days. Then we wait for a week and if there is improvement we take one 200c tablet. It would freak my husband out if I told him that it was derived from snake venom (I know he is not religiously reading my posts!). Aside from that snippet, I don’t think I will get too bogged down this time in researching the remedy to analyse whether I agree that it matches Alice’s personality traits. I’m just relieved that if it is going to work we should see an improvement in the next couple of weeks.

Alice and I were away visiting friends over the weekend and the eczema on her face was a little better which was great. Before we stopped using the steroids, I felt that I was chasing the eczema around her body with the ointment. Now after 9 weeks of no steroid ointments, I am realising that it does just move around. All around her eyes and eyelids were bad a few weeks ago, last week it moved down to her cheeks. Some areas such as her neck seem to be continuously flared, while behind her knees fade slightly then and then come back with a vengeance. Even though her neck is quite bad just now, it is lovely to see her shining eyes again and it means her eczema isn’t so immediately obvious when we meet up with people. I had been wondering if there was a pattern forming whereby her skin improved when she was at home with us at the weekend and worsened again during the week when she is in childcare. But I did notice this weekend that skin was more irritated on Monday when she was with me and it looked a bit better when I picked her up from nursery on Tuesday, which was a pleasant surprise.

This weekend we have our first appointment with a dermatologist. I’m not sure what to expect (apart from a reprimand for not applying the steroid creams). We want some allergy testing to be scheduled but hopefully he can also provide some additional insight into her skin condition and will offer some useful advise to help us manage it.

Skin today: Face and neck appear to be slightly better than they have, of late but both became really flared before bed. Alice had no nap today and was going into meltdown by bedtime. Other areas; wrists elbow and knee creases more irritated that usual.

Week nine, a busy week

A quick update. This week we saw Alice’s doctor and her homeopath.

We thought we should check in at the doctors to at least let them know that we have stopped using the steroid creams.
We also decided she should see a dermatologist as she hasn’t seen one yet. Homeopathy hasn’t helped yet and we feel we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket and we should have a skin specialist see her as it definitely is no longer just mild eczema.

The doctor we saw was really nice and supportive. She was quite sympathetic to my concerns when I explained my fears of immune system suppression, steroid addiction and other adverse effects of steroids. She didn’t lecture us or try to persuade us to use them and even seemed to agree when I spoke about my worry at the jumps in steroid potency and using hydrocortisone on her face. She has referred us to a dermatologist, and she called us back on her day off yesterday to let us know that one was available next Saturday. She will try and get Alice booked in.

Yesterday, it was back to see Elaine, Alice’s homeopath. She conceded that the psorinium remedy has not worked.
Alice’s neck and face were flared at full glory so she has now seen it near to it’s worst condition. She had hoped that the psorinium would tackle the hereditary aspects of Alice’s eczema but feels now it is time to switch and try to zone in on a remedy that is right for Alice, the individual. So we had a lengthy discussion – well, more a disjointed conversation due to the presence of a 3 year old continually pleading for a snack (why hadn’t I come more prepared?) – on Alice’s symptoms, her personal traits, her likes, dislikes, everything that I could think of to describe her.

So back to the beginning really with homeopathy, but we will stick at it for the time being.
In the meantime we are just about managing to get by using her moisturisers and the Pure Potions and Bria Organics balm with the occasional dab of antiseptic cream. Incidently, the Pure Potions Skin Salvation does seem to be agreeing with her. I’ve been putting Pure Potions on one side of her body and Bria Balm on the other and on her eyelids. I think the Pure Potions has the slight edge. I will look into getting shea butter and coconut oil next I think.
We also received the mitten sleeve sleep top I ordered for Alice and she wore it to bed the other night. The novelty has worn off already though so I’ll try to get her to wear it again in a few days. The Homeopathy Handbook I ordered has still not arrived.
I have a 3 day week end so my wee buddy and I are off to visit friends in Glasgow and Edinburgh while John works the weekend. Have a lovely weekend!

Alice’s skin: Neck and face flared. Her eyelids have improved but it seems to have moved down her cheeks which are quite pimpley. Neck is red, all the way round as usual. Has a broken, now scabby patch at her hairline at back of neck. Inner elbows, and wrists, backs of knees. Tonight, it seems to be mildly better. There may be a pattern forming of a few days reprieve followed by week or two of full on flare-up.

Natural goodies for dry skin

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We’re now into the eighth week of no topical steroid use on our three year old daughter’s eczema. When we decided to give homeopathy a try I knew that it wasn’t going to be an instant fix and went in to it expecting that it would take some time before we saw positive results. I wasn’t prepared to be asked to stop using steroidal creams on Alice’s skin during the treatment. Although our uneasiness in using steroids was a main motivator in our decision to try homeopathy, we hadn’t anticipated going cold turkey.

I immediately started researching natural skin care products and Bria Organic Balm has been our staple “steroid replacement” since Week 2. It’s few ingredients include chickweed, sunflower oil, borage oil, beeswax, jojoba oil and rosehip oil (all organic). The lable reads: “Borage oil replenishes, rosehip repairs, chickweed cools and helps sooth the itch while beeswax protects”. Alice’s skin had been flaring badly and the improvement was quite dramatic in the week that we started using Bria balm. I was convinced that we had got her eczema under control. Okay, so I was being a little premature – we’ve had a few tough weeks since, but for the most part Bria Balm has been an essential part of Alice’s new skin care regime. I was home visiting my family in Ireland and both my sister and brother who have dry skin patches applied a little Bria balm and found it very soothing. I considered ordering an extra little pot for each for them this week but at £12 for 60mls (£18 for 120ml), it’s not cheap!

My first order of Pure Potions Skin Salvation moisturising ointment (£18.99 for 120ml) arrived today. I’m considering using this for a while instead of the Bria balm. Alice’s skin condition hasn’t been great in the last couple of weeks so I thought it might be worth trying something else. However, I’ve become quiet reliant on Bria, so ordered it too just in case! Skin Salvation also has lovely organic ingredients. It was recommended by another blogger who is studying homeopathy and has a sister with eczema. I like that calendula is one of the ingredients as I want to try it on Alice’s skin. The leaflet recommends a 24hr patch test so I applied just a tiny amount today. I am actually going to hold off for few days though as Alice’s skin seems to be going through a rare bout of healing and I don’t want to interfere with that. I’m not getting carried away with optimism as the last two months have shown themselves to be a bit of a roller coaster ride. After her skin taking a major turn for the worse this week, her right wrist has suddenly shown signs of healing for the fist time in 3/4 months. Fingers and toes crossed!!

Seven weeks in

At the end of a tough week I finally emailed my daughter’s homeopath last Friday morning for some advice.
Alice’s skin was just getting worse. Her right wrist was weeping from her overnight scratching and her neck was also red raw. I was worried that her skin might become infected and wanted some advice in general.
I was also wondering if the antiseptic cream I had was ok to use (she had recommended that I avoid products that were paraffin or zinc oxide based and the antiseptic contained both). She said it was fine to use it and also that she would send another remedy to help the itching to settle.

The remedy arrived the next day but by then Alice’s skin had already shown signs of improvement. That is what is so confusing about this whole “journey”. I try to make sense of her flare-ups: has she been eating more sugary foods? Is it the weather? Is it the remedy reacting or is it as I’ve started consider, topical steroid withdrawal, which I hadn’t heard of until I started reading other blogs.

I’ve realised that there is just no rhyme nor reason to the condition of Alice’s skin and there might not be an answer out there. I just hope that some day I will read back on these posts when her skin has healed.

In the meantime…. The new remedy was sepia. 4 small pills, one a day for 4 days which began on Saturday.
Her skin was already improving before then, and really looked much better by the time I dropped her off to nursery on Monday morning. (Could the psorinium remedy be working at last?) By 5pm when I picked her up it was back to same old: red panda eyes and angry red neck. It has worsened through the week and we gave her Piriton last night in the hope that she would have a peaceful night.

The continual discussing of her skin condition during nursery handover is beginning to grate. I did try to steer away from the topic yesterday as I don’t want Alice to get a complex about it, but another member of staff today commented that it broke her heart seeing her itching her neck. (Her neck does look pretty bad right now). I know they mean well and the staff members who discuss it with me have eczema or similar themselves (Thought flashes, could it be the nursery?!!)

I’m going to try and stick with homeopathy for a bit longer but we feel that we are not managing to get her skin under control in the meantime. John feels very strongly that we need to take action. He is going to ask her GP for a referral to a skin specialist or a recommendation so we can go private. (The wait can be long for a referral).

I’ve ordered a new cream tonight, Pure Potions Skin Salvation as recommended by a fellow blogger and some more of our old reliable (but appears to have lost it’s magical effect) Bria Organic Balm.
I also decided to try John’s Vaseline Intensive Care moisturiser instead of Aveeno for a day or two.
I’ve also ordered The Complete Homeopathy Handbook so I can read up a bit. That was well over a week ago, so that’s what I get for boycotting the well known tax avoiding online retailer in favour of a reputable British bookseller!!

For my notes: Sepia taken Sat – Tue daily. Skin was slightly improved Saturday, Sunday, but went downhill again Monday evening and bad since. Using antiseptic on broken skin. Worst areas, right wrist, all around neck, eyelid and around eyes. Light patches on face (jawline, forehead) have developed in last week or so. Skin broken neck and wrist, applying antiseptic, Piriton Wednesday night before bed. She’s also getting a bit of a cold since Tuesday/Wednesday. Calpol this morning for cold. Went to sleep easily tonight.

Up and down

Last night I really wanted to throw in the towel with this whole homeopathy thing. Alice’s skin was hot, red, broken and was really bothering her. She has several problem areas of eczema which have not shown any sign of improvement and all around her neck has been bad for about month and was itching her like crazy last night. She asks me to stay with her to rub her neck and back as she tries to fall asleep at bedtime.

It is so hard to see her go through this discomfort and I feel guilty for not using the steroid ointments that her doctor has prescribed. Alice is 3 and has only had eczema since last Summer.  I now keep thinking that maybe her eczema is something that she will grow out of like so many children do and we shouldn’t deny her relief from it in the meantime. The owner of Alice’s pre-school nursery commented last week that her remedy didn’t seem to be helping any. I had mentioned to her and some of the staff that we were trying homeopathy and let them know that her skin might be worse for a while. It crossed my mind that they might think I am neglecting her by not using her ointments on her wrist. I mumbled something in response saying I didn’t think it was going to be a quick fix…

I try to remind myself of why we are doing this. In the 6 months since we first saw her doctor about her skin we were applying steroid ointments daily and the eczema just seemed to move around her body. Some areas such as her right wrist never healed completely and we were moving on to more potent steroid ointments. The eczema then flared around her eyes and her doctor advised we put the mild cortisone on her eyelids for a short term to try to nip that in the bud. It just did not seem to be getting under control.

Alice’s Dad has been using topical steroids since he was a little boy and he now has thinning of the skin. So it’s in the family and as I don’t know that she will grow out of it, I really feel that I have to try and resolve the underlying cause rather than continually treat the symptoms with steroids. I need to give homeopathy some more time.

We have just returned today from a trip to visit my family in Ireland so it was nice to have my sister around for some words of advice when I was feeling a bit low last night.  Her hubbie recounted how a homepathic remedy worked for his hay fever last year. While taking the remedy he continued to suffer badly from hay fever but eventually their homeopath told him it was time to come off the remedy and he hasn’t suffered a day of hay fever since.

Today, Alice’s skin is a lot calmer than yesterday and even looks like it is healing a bit. She went off to sleep tonight without any fretting. It really is up and down at the moment.
I think it is time to contact Alice’s homeopath for some advise.

Final note: This latest bad flare-up has occurred 9/10 days after taking her last remedy. I think that is around the time that it takes for the system to react to the psor remedy.  It also happened during our short holiday so after a day of travelling – with a flight and car journey and several days of a more sugary that usual diet for Alice, and Easter treats! The weather has been very cold but is milder again today.