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What to Do About Atopic Eczema? #AskDrSandy

Question: All three of my boys suffer from severe skin problems. My husband takes Dupixent his is so bad. My six-year-old cries all night after a day at the beach or lake (with or without sunscreen) because he develops hives from neck to groin. We have seen about eight different Dermatologists in the state where we live. The last recommended Excelsior HE Fresh Scent Laundry Detergent over Tide Free & Gentle. I am unable to obtain any ingredient information from the company. What are your thoughts on this brand?


Answer: I am sorry your family suffers so much with Atopic Eczema.  While my product suggestions of no fragrance, low allergens and irritants should help your family’s eczema , it sounds like you do have the genetic form of the condition which typically no matter how well you take care of your skin, requires some form of medication.  

In my book I make the analogy of asthma and eczema and while it’s not perfect  it seems for whatever reason to make more sense to patients. Asthma is genetic (whatever that means) runs in families and when you have it, if your airways become irritated by say something like smoke, you will have an attack.  Patients understand that. In this analogy you are not allergic to the smoke, the smoke did not cause the asthma but it often creates a flare of your genetic disease.

Eczema is the same as asthma in the following way- you have a genetic disease and if you put too much “smoke” on your skin in the way of  water, soaps, detergents, fragrances, plant based ingredints etc etc.- your eczema flares.

In my book, I have a list of products that will not act like “smoke” or irritate and number one on the list is fragrance of any kind. So a scented detergent is never the way to go as far as I am concerned. Tide Free and gentle is better but if you want more natural try Nellies All Natural Soda Tin. Also please adopt the rest of the Product Elimination Diet. For your 6 year old- try sunflower seed oil and virgin coconut oil.  Before your 6 year old swims use a barrier cream like Bioderm Atoderm or CeraVe cream. You could also use the oils but would have to cover him with UVF full swimsuit like this www.uvskinz.com ( I have not financial association) so he would not burn.

Final note. Avoid fragrance both natural and synthetic in all your products in your home from your shampoo to your cleaning supplies. It irritates skin.  You can’t trust labeling like sensitive skin and hypoallergenic, not even scent free( as these products can still contain fragrance and organic or plant based fragrance irritants like lavender.)

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