How to get rid of eczema – advice from 100 Kiwi families

how to get rid of eczema - advice from 100 Kiwi families

In response to a reader comment on our What is eczema article, Kiwi Families reached out to our wonderful Facebook community for advice. We had such a great response, with over 100 people jumping in to offer their thoughts, tips and advice on what they find works. Now we’ve combined those comments into one great article, how to get rid of eczema – advice from 100 Kiwi families. We grouped the comments by 5 key themes, and provide links to some of the product suggestions too.

Triggers and trial and error

Some of our readers jumped in with a really important point, so I want to cover this first. Eczema is a ‘condition’ caused by numerous internal and external factors. Unlike, say ringworm or nits, which can be cured by killing the fungus or parasite, eczema is the symptom of an underlying condition. The WellnessMama website has this great quote:

Just as you can’t out supplement a bad diet in other areas, topical remedies don’t address the underlying problem that is causing the eczema to begin with.

It could be an allergic reaction, a dietary factor, or something else entirely. And what works for one person may not work for another, in fact it may make the condition worse.

Andrea Webber Some great ideas mentioned – just remember that what works for one won’t automatically work for another, and the same with ‘triggers’. My son’s triggers were food (dairy, wheat, gluten, eggs, soy and bananas of all things!) as well as products (anything with fragrance, parabens – although to be honest there were so many ‘natural’ creams etc. I tried including the likes of aqueous cream & rolled oats in bath that still made him flare). I’d say if you can get allergy testing done via your doctor it’d be a great start, otherwise trial and error.

Lynley Toy I agree with this response and I think that is the tricky thing with eczema. The trigger, the extents and what helps is different for everyone!

Lisa Townsend And yes looking into allergies, my daughter flairs up around cats, and eggs get her properly tested! Don’t just start cutting things out because people on here say to do it!

Gut healing and inflammation

gut inflammation and probiotics

Our sage community were also hot on healing the internal as well as the external. There’s some very strong evidence now of a link between gut inflammation and all manner of disease, including eczema. Whether or not this will help your child’s particular eczema condition, is unknown. But ensuring your child has a relatively balanced ph level in their gut will help their overall wellbeing.

You can achieve this with dietary changes. Kale is the superfood of choice, as it can restore gut ph levels, try it in a banana smoothie. Apple cider vinegar also rebalances ph levels, although it’s more difficult for kids to take this, as it’s very strong. You can also consider topping up with a probiotic, which adds good bacteria back into the gut.

Stephanie Rose Look into gut healing. Quite often eczema is because of a food intolerance. Healing the gut by cutting out the allergens quite often leads to healing the skin. And it’s a natural way to go so as not to burden your child’s system with nasty chemicals etc.

Karyn Brownstein Brents Eczema is usually an inflammatory response. Even though it is not over the entire body, I would look at food sensitivities. Dairy, gluten and soy are the most common.

Jo Stevens I’ve had this issue with my girls and was told by a naturopath to give them probiotics which does help. You can get from health food shop or pharmacy

Acevedo Bakx Inés My 1 year old niece had a very similar problem on her face after a run of antibiotics to treat a bronchitis. I suggested my sister to give her probiotics as antibiotics wipe out the gut flora. Her problem cleared after just a couple of weeks. The gut flora is supposed to make us less vulnerable to allergic reactions. Hope that helps 🙂

Kay Morrison Her system may be inflamed. Probiotics and try to make the diet as alkaline as you can. No sugar, no dairy.

Hannah Silvester I know of a girl who has terrible eczema, and a big trigger is A1 milk from the supermarket. She has changed to raw A2 milk, straight from the cow with great improvement.

Bathing issues

Many of our readers discussed bathing. There was a definite theme of no soap, shampoos, or body gel. Or some people mentioned specific eczema-friendly options (see below). It seems that bathing can make some conditions worse, although a number of readers mentioned it was because baths dry the skin out. Moisturising immediately after bathing was mentioned repeatedly.

Michelle Burton Eczema is such an individual and difficult thing to treat. My son has allergic eczema. He gets a very itchy scalp as well and we have found Hope’s Relief shampoo to be excellent. Sometimes tap water can be too harsh, a small amount of baking soda and bleach in the bath helped for us. Sounds crazy I know but the small amount of bleach helps keeps staph infections at bay.

Nicole Gagnon For the scalp you could try apple cider vinegar. Leave it on for an hour and then rinse out. It should help with itching. You can even just add it straight to the bath.

Kelly Muggeridge Have u tried oatmeal baths? I have a friend whose 3 boys have eczema quite bad, finds that oatmeal baths help soothe it and stops it from drying out.

Trude Henderson I agree, this worked for my daughter, put the oats in a muslin cloth and leave in the bath.

Tracey Graham When they get out of bath or shower pat the skin, don’t rub it you want to try and leave some moisture in there. Don’t have the water too hot, tepid or it will look worse. Scalp, i recommend coconut or olive oil no perfumes. Rub into scalp, if looks a bit greasy do it at night and wash out in the morning.

Sacha McFarlane Burns I have psoriasis on my hands, feet and scalp. It’s not easy to live with but the only thing that works for my scalp is mint shampoo that you buy from the hairdresser. It’s about $50 per bottle but lasts about 3 months so is worth it. The first couple of applications really sting but it has worked miracles for me. No flakes. Be careful to keep it out the eyes and off the face. It really does work.

Coconut oil and natural moisturisers

There was lots of discussion on the post about moisturisers and what does and doesn’t work. It seems many people now prefer the natural moisturiser options. Many people said that fatty creams, and other petrochemical based products make the condition worse. That’s food for thought, as others mentioned their doctor’s still prescribing this.

Ali Render Have you researched pure, unrefined coconut oil at all?

Tania Wedde I use coconut oil on my baby. Works wonderfully for him.

Frankie Egglestone 100% pure olive oil and coconut oil. I actually make it for a neighbour for her baby, she reckons the only thing that worked in a cream.

Huihana Stratton I swear by echinacea cream. It’s an all natural product. My youngest son had severe eczema all over his face chest and arms. He was under the eczema clinic but the ointment they gave us didn’t help. I went searching for a natural product. I came across echinacea cream from a place called The Herb Farm. They make all their own products. My son’s eczema was 50 per cent better in 48 hours. Was amazing to see the change! He is no longer covered in it

Gilly Allison Nash I have suffered eczema all my life and have very sensitive skin. My son has skin issues too. This is the best advice I can give. Use only water on her hair and wash as little as often, I wash my hair once a week, and then try Antipodes savior skin balm on her face. Its the best natural cream I have found for eczema. Hope she gets better soon and it clears up cause I know its really sore and annoying

Nicole Thompson The best thing we used was liquorice cream. Found at health shops.

Angela Humphrey Yes I second that, though I know it’s different for everyone. We found some liquorice cream at a well-stocked local pharmacy.

Danielle Bhagat My daughter developed a lot of bad eczema around her eyes and mouth I had used so much with nothing working until I tired the oasis rhino repair, worth it’s money in gold, it completely cleared her eczema like nothing had. Highly recommended.

Snappy Chappy Apicare are a New Zealand company that make products blended with manuka honey including a cream for eczema and a shampoo, my daughter gets bad flare ups from sweat and has been 90% clear since using this.

Kylie Foster I recommend Multi Healing Balm from The Sleep Store. It contains manuka and kanuka oils and is great for so many things. I have used it on my own eczema and it is great on my daughter whose skin completely overreacts to mozzie bites (works way better than any pharmacy cream ever did). I used on some dermatitis on my scalp recently too with success. It is a real go-to balm, highly recommend!

Topical steroid creams

And, just to provide some solid balance from the natural remedies outlined above, a number of readers swear by steroid creams. Just what are they? Well DermNet New Zealand says topical steroids are safe and effective anti-inflammatory preparations used to control eczema and other skin conditions. Elocon cream appears to be the go to choice for pharmacy options in New Zealand.

Kahira Rata Olley I have had eczema since I was 2 months old, and I’m almost 45, nothing helped me except steroid cream. Unfortunately my skin didn’t agree with anything else. It works and there IS NO way I would wish eczema on anyone. It’s so painful at times, but I have learnt how to control the flare ups and thats through my Elocon Ointment.

Jo McCulloch Thank GOD. The voice of reason. Yes, there are some amazing natural creams that work on mild cases. But my husband has suffered eczema all his life. He has tried (at my request when I read similar to above) every natural cream and vitamin available, but Elocon is so good and removes it in 24 hours. Please try it!

Kahira Rata Olley Yup always has, I tried natural products on my baby when she was also 2 months old and she would scream, it didn’t help at all and she constantly flared up. Went to a specialist and he told me, both you and your baby just need to use elocon, straight up… and wallah it works every time. I still get it but it’s the generic brand… here’s the name mometasone ointment.

Michelle Burton Eczema is such an individual and difficult thing to treat. My son has allergic eczema, we manage it with oral antihistamine and hydrocortisone cream… Good luck!

We really hope you find our how to get rid of eczema – advice from 100 Kiwi families article useful! You can still check out all 100 comments on the Facebook post. You might also want to check out our article What is eczema? 11 tips to help your child, and our Allergies, allergy symptoms and prevention article.

Jarrod Rendle

Jarrod is a quintessential Kiwi Dad. He lives in Pukerua Bay, and works from home in an office that overlooks the sea. His inspiration and motivation in life come from his wife and two children.

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  • ingrid

    really interesting, eczema can be so distressing! People find both natural products and steroids can be helpful….kind of like one end of the spectrum to the other. Possibly it is steroids for the outbreaks and the other treatments to keep things under control??

    • KF

      Thanks for your feedback Ingrid, you could be on to something there. Our Facebook community seemed to be totally one way, or totally the other. But perhaps finding a mix of natural and pharmaceutical remedies could be the best of both worlds! — Jarrod

  • CarinaChiara

    Foderma serum is a true life saver. My baby has suffered from eczema since he was 3 months old. I started using foderma serum in January after every bath and it hasn’t come back!

    • KF

      Thanks for your suggestion Carina, we’ll add that to the list! — Jarrod

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