Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ezra's skin

When Ezra was only a few months old we discovered that his skin was slowly getting red patches on his face.

At first I thought it was just baby acne, but it started to spread and it quickly got really bad. Like really, really bad. It started covering his scalp and the oils from his scalp would make his hair sticky and crusty. Washing it with mild soap or even water would cause his hair to fall out. He was so itchy and so miserable. When Ezra's skin was at it's worst, it looked like this...

It was terrifying. It was overwhelming. I felt completely hopeless, defeated and so sad for not being able to take his pain away. I stopped taking the kids out because I couldn't take the questions and the judgmental stares. I started washing Ezra's clothing and bedding in free and clear detergent and no dryer sheets (something we learned from my husband's dermatologist). Ezra had to wear socks on his hands to keep him from scratching his red spots raw. He would scratch them so hard they would bleed. He wouldn't sleep long stretches because he would wake up scratching his itches. I would nurse and rock him to sleep many times during the night. I would cover him with aquaphor and wished I could take every itch away from his tiny body. He had just recovered from having RSV where he needed breathing treatments with a nebulizer every few hours and now this?

After many calls and visits to the pediatrician, we finally got an appointment with a dermatologist. We met with the nurse practitioner and almost immediately she brought the dermatologist in to take a look at sweet, miserable Ezra. They determined that he had seborrhea and eczema with a staph infection. They also thought that his car seat could be giving him car seat dermatitis (yeah, that's a thing apparently. Skin sensitivity to the chemicals used in chemical coating on car seats). We got prescriptions for a hydrocortisone cream for his face, a corticosteroid ointment for his body (called triamcinolone), an oil steroid for his head and an antibiotic to treat the staph infection. I thought some of his problems were diet related, but they were certain it was all skin related and that I didn't need to alter my diet and that I should continue nursing.

When we got home I started his lotions and potions (what my mother calls them) and did as much internet research as I could. I had already looked up a lot while waiting for the dermatologist appointment, but now I had names and a diagnosis. I researched car seats and their coatings and found out that Britax, Orbit Baby and Clek were the only three manufacturers that have stated they won't sell any car seats containing brominated flame retardants staring January 1, 2013. So I went to Buy Buy Baby and searched every car seat box in their rafters to find a car seat that was manufactured in 2013 (this was in February 2013, so most of their inventory was manufactured in 2012). The salesman thought I was NUTS. I was so sad to get rid of Ezra's car seat because I had spent so much time revamping it from when it was one of the twins' car seats, but I didn't even hesitate if it would make Ezra better.

old seat... (it was a graco snugride 32 i recovered in washed 100% quilting cotton, but the chemical coating still seeped through.)

new seat!!!
We were all pretty happy about it.

Now here are some photos to show the progression of his recovery. This is right after we started his creams and medicines.

Immediately Ezra started feeling better. He (and I) started sleeping better. Things were working.

Ezra ended up needing two rounds of antibiotics to clear up the staph infection, but he was progressing. It was slow, but it was progress and I was jumping for joy.

A year later, we still have to use creams/ointments on him daily, but he doesn't have to use the oil anymore and the concentration for his two creams have decreased with one now being an over-the-counter hydrocortisone. A few things I've learned with this whole thing:

1. What works for my baby/your neighbor/your internet friend's kid may not work for you. Everyone is different with different skin issues. It's a process to find out the right products used in the right combination.

2. We wash anything and everything before it touches Ezra's skin. If not, he gets red bumps wherever he comes in contact with that fabric. He gets itchy and sad so we just make sure everything is washed before he touches it.

3. If we miss one application (some creams were twice a day in the beginning), it would set us back DAYS of progress. So I never skipped applications if I could help it. Never. Miss. An. Application. It's really, really important. Have I said how important it is? It's important. Don't skip.

4. After I applied his creams I would slather his body with Aquaphor. His doctor said he has the kind of skin that can never have too much lotion on it, but Aquaphor really helps. We tried CeraVe creams and lotions, but Aquaphor works the best by far. I keep a tub of it on his dresser/changing area and put some on him with almost every diaper change. It really makes a huge difference applying it consistently. Skin like this needs consistency. Don't skip.

5. Mustela Stelatopia Cream Cleanser is a really good body wash for Ezra. It doesn't dry him out or make him oily. (They're not paying me to say this [neither is aquaphor], but if you're reading this Mustela, you can totally send me free products, thanksssssss.) I've tried California Baby Eczema Wash, but like this stuff better.

I've hesitated putting these pictures online because they eat me up inside, but I'm sure there are many out there that are going through the same thing. I've had many questions on my instagram account on what i did/do for Ezra's skin that it's about time I write it down. I know how awful it is seeing your baby go through something so terrible, so if this helps anyone even in the slightest I will be so happy! Healthy skin is the best. We are so, so happy his skin is clearer and in a more manageable state.

UPDATE: March 2015

I've gotten a lot of emails from mothers worrying about their child's skin. I hope the things I've written above can help. Ezra's skin has gotten so much better now that we've figured out what works for him. Here's what he looks like now:

Every now and then Ezra gets little red patches on his cheeks from dryness.

A little bit of Aquaphor and some of his hydrocortisone clears it up quickly, usually overnight. We've been able to decrease the concentration of his hydrocortisone cream and we use it only once a week or so. We still don't use dryer sheets or use normal detergent. But everything is good and getting better! Yay!


  1. Oh gosh - that must have been so hard for you two!! Glad that you found a solution for your sensitive little guy. He is adorable!!

  2. omg poor babe. I am so sorry you ha to go through that but happy he is feel better. My oldest had severe eczema and would get this major heat rashes that looked like that. I couldn't use lotions and everything had to be organic and unscented or she would break out badly. She has since grown out of it for the most part but is still very sensitive to certain detergents etc. I was so prepares for my 2nd little one and she has had no issues what so ever. it's weird how that works.

  3. My baby girl had it toooo and it was horrible. We used the oil also and thankfully it cleared up in to time. I love California Baby Wash, it's what worked best for her. And....I have to wash everythig also, but it's so worth their happiness!

  4. You don't know how encouraging it is to know that my son isn't the only one suffering through this... that I'm not the only mom crying over my son's bloody/rashy skin! I understand that it was difficult to post the pictures, but thank you so much for sharing.

  5. This was so hard to read because poor little guy. I was also wondering how his skin condition and Im so glad to hear he is so much better. I hope this continues!

  6. Thank you for this post. It spreads awareness. I am happy your baby boy is happy now! Yay for beautiful skin.

  7. So heart breaking :( Glad little Ezra is doing better! Thanks for sharing.

  8. auntie's heart breaks for Little Man. i'm so glad he's better. i cant believe how hard you've had to work!!! xo!! love you sissy!!!

  9. Really, though; thanks for posting this! I love reading stories such as these. It feels like adding another secret power to my mommy-pack :) Thank goodness it is working. And for sure your everyday efforts will be compensated one day!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing. I had severe eczema as a child and my 18 month old has it as well so we understand what a frustrating condition it can be. So happy to hear that Ezra has found some relief. He's such a cutie!

  11. Hi there, glad to hear that Ezra is getting better. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  12. Seeing these images makes my heart hurt. Thank you so much for being selfless enough to share them and draw attention to this problem. I had no idea there were chemicals in car seats that I needed to worry about. I'm still trying to get around using plastic, one more thing to add to the list! I have a britax but it was manufactured in 2012!

  13. My 2 yr old son suffers from this and it's awful. I have another baby on the way and plan to buy another car seat. I'm curious if you can share more info about what you found regarding which chemical Britax and Orbit moved away from and if any other manufacturers have followed them. I had planned to get a Chicco Nextfit but maybe not with this news.


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