One of the hardest things as a parent is seeing your kids suffer. From day one we want to protect our kids from pain as much as possible… it is our instinct.
But what if you can’t??
What if there are circumstances beyond your control that cause your child discomfort, agony and anguish on a daily basis?
This is exactly the scenario for many parents who have kids who suffer from eczema.
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that develops mainly in early childhood
From the outside this may not seem like such a terrible affliction, but from the inside I can tell you that it is surely one of the most distressing conditions your child can have.
Research showed that Atopic Eczema has a significant effect on the physical and emotional wellbeing of the patient and the family.*
Both my kids have suffered with this terrible skin condition their whole lives and over the past 12 years it has caused us all much frustration.
Dealing with my kids eczema has been one of the major causes of stress in my early years of parenting (and even now!) and I’m not alone in feeling this way. Numerous clinical studies and research has confirmed this very thing. In fact in one study the conclusion was that “Moderate to severe childhood eczema should be regarded as a significant illness in which maternal stress is equivalent to that associated with the care of children with severe developmental and physical problems.” **
When I read that I remember feeling so relieved… it wasn’t just me finding it an enormous burden dealing with my kids super sensitive, ultra-dry and eczema riddled skin. Not to mention dealing with their emotions and physical frustrations of dealing with this condition.
Both my kids started displaying signs of eczema when they were very young babies. Initially a spot on their chest, under their chin and behind their knees. All spots that can be quite damp!
My son’s skin has always been worse than my daughter’s. He has very dry skin and so his skin barrier is compromised all over his body resulting in rough skin and then, when he scratches too much because of the itching, he breaks the skin and gets inflamed, red, infected patches – known as “flare ups”. One of the best ways to avoid these is by applying a lotion everyday, twice a day but he is resistant to that as he doesn’t like creams and finds the additional step of self-care a hassle!
My daughter has dry patches in the crooks of her elbows and behind her knees that get inflamed and infected if she scratches them.
Eczema affects them both every single day. They both have itchy skin all the time which leads them to scratch in their sleep resulting in disrupted sleep due and diminished concentration in class due to the itching – the scratch/ itch cycle is an impossibly frustrating one to break.
Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is caused by a malfunction in the immune system and problems with the skin barrier.
Both my kids have had to stop certain sports such as swimming due to the extra dying effect of the chlorine in the pool. My son is quite self-conscious of the rash over his torso and thighs and won’t remove his clothes around his friends or wear a speedo costume without board shorts and a rash vest because people also ask why he has a rash and he is embarrassed. One of the hardest things for me as a parent to see is when they would love to go swimming in the sea with their friends but within minutes they come screaming out the sea because the salty water has made them sting so much.
I’ve visited so many doctors and dermatologists about this. We’ve tried oral antibiotics, cortisone creams, prescription creams and hundreds of over the counter creams. We’ve “wrapped” my son in glad wrap, bought only cotton clothes and linen, switched to an organic detergent, eliminated soap from their bath/ shower routine and bathed in a variety of lotions, potions and oils. Some changes made a bit of an impact so we still stick to those (eg cotton clothes, organic laundry detergent) Some creams have worked (mostly expensive prescription ones), but the biggest thing that helps is to consistently apply creams and that only happens if the child is on board and actually likes the cream – if it smells odd or is too sticky then they are unlikely to want to use it daily. And if they don’t see the benefits of using it daily then they won’t “buy” into the skincare regime that will ultimately help them.
To get a better understanding of how eczema affects them I asked them each a few questions about their experience with eczema.
MY KIDS ON HAVING ECZEMA
BEN – 12
How long have you had eczema? Since I was born.
How has eczema affected your life? Whenever I go to sleepovers I get really itchy and I start to scratch. It makes me feel very uncomfortable because I can’t stop scratching because it is so itchy.
What makes your skin worse? It gets better but then it gets worse. Salty water, pool water and bubble baths make it much worse so I can’t swim or bath like other kids can as these things make my skin flare. It also gets worse around exam times (when he is stressed).
What is it like to have eczema? It is very irritating having eczema, especially if you have a flare up when you are away. When we were away recently this happened and it ruined a few days of our holiday until we found a pharmacy and could buy some cream.
How would it make you feel if you could get rid of it? Relieved
ABI – 9
How long have you had eczema? I don’t remember
How does having eczema make you feel? It makes me feel annoyed. I get it inside my elbows and behind my knees. It makes my body feel itchy, sensitive and annoyed
What makes your skin worse? When my skin is peeled (broken) and when I go in water (salt or chlorine) it stings.
What is it like to have eczema? It gets annoying because I scratch my arms and whenever people come around I have to hide it because I feel embarrassed.
How would it make you feel if you could get rid of it? So happy!
As you can see eczema has an adverse affect on their lives in almost every way – social, emotional, physical!
For the next month I’ve partnered with Eau Thermale Avène to trial their NEW XeraCalm range of products specifically created to soothe and relieve very dry skin prone to atopic dermatitis or itching.
ABOUT EAU THERMALE AVÈNE
Eau Thermale Avène is the No. 1 Dermo-cosmetic brand in Europe and it offers a breakthrough in dermatology for all types of sensitive skin.
At the heart of the brand, and of every product in the range, is our Avène Thermal Spring Water which is a naturally soothing source for sensitive skin. Avène Thermal Spring Water’s unique composition has been clinically shown by over 150 studies to calm, soothe and soften the skin. Originating as rain, Avène Thermal Spring Water follows a 40-year journey through the Cevennes Mountain aquifer, emerging clean and pure in the small French village of Avène. Throughout its journey Avène Thermal Spring Water gradually becomes infused with trace elements and silicates, achieving a perfectly-balanced mineral composition ideal for sensitive skin. It soothes, softens, and restores skin’s natural balance. Avène Thermal Spring Water is bacteriologically pure, has a low mineral content, and has a large variety of anions, cations, and trace elements. The 2 to 1 Calcium/Magnesium ratio makes it exceptional among dermatological thermal spring waters and it also contains a unique active, aqua dolomiae, an age-old microflora, which works to restore balance to the skin.
THE HYDROTHERAPY CENTER
Located at the source, The Avène Hydrotherapy Center treats over 2,600 patients every year. The center is entirely dedicated to dermatology with the aim of offering relief of skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, scars and more. All therapies incorporate Avène Thermal Spring Water, validating its unique properties.
Each year, Avène South Africa sends one person to the HydroTherapy centre for treatment. This year, that child was a boy named Raheel…
Raheel Jeram, a 9-year old boy from Pretoria had been battling with eczema since the age of 3. The severe itching and constant skin irritation affected him both physically and emotionally.
“We tried everything, but nothing helped. As a parent, seeing your child suffer is devastating. Raheel could hardly sleep due to the pain and itching, which impacted our entire family” Hemal Jeram, Raheel’s father
In October 2018, Raheel was given the opportunity to visit the Avène Hydrotherapy Center in Avène, France with the hope of finding some relief.
He was accompanied by his father and South African Dermatologist, Dr Nivana Ramlachan. During the 3-week programme he underwent various therapies using this signature Avène Thermal Spring Water.
Yesterday, together with my kids, I opened a box of Eau Thermale Avène products. For the next month we will be using the following Eau Thermale Avène products as part of a brand new skincare regime to help their eczema-riddled skin…
Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D Cleansing Oil
Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm Ultra Rich Bar
Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Balm
Eau Thermale Avène XeraCalm A.D Lipid Replenishing Balm
Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water
Eau Thermale Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream
To document the progress and improvement of their skin I took a few “before” shots of the current state of their skin. I would say these pics show them with skin in a fairly good condition….
Although it’s fairly obvious that the dryness and inflamed patches would be very uncomfortable for anyone else not used to having to live with a constant itch. I don’t have this skin type so it’s hard for me fathom how uncomfortable this must be… they are so used to it that they told me they didn’t have any eczema for me to photograph before I made them strip down! I’m hopeful that the Eau Thermale Avène will make a significant difference in their skin and their lives a month from now.
The good news is I’ve partnered with Dermastore to offer Becoming you readers (that’s you!) a free with purchase special offer!
Spend R500 or more on Avène products on Dermastore, and receive a FREE Avène Thermal Spring Water 150ml. To activate your free gift, add Avène Thermal Spring Water 150ml to cart and use code by-avene when spending R500 or more on Avène. Only a limited amount of gifts available. Stocks are limited.
Promo code: by-avene
So if you (or your kids) are finding the depths of winter is causing more dryness, irritation, tightness and itching, then you may want to follow along on our journey and see what results we can achieve with Eau Thermale Avène, the pharmacy skincare brand that promises relief for dry, itchy skin for the whole family.
This post forms part of a paid campaign for Eau Thermale Avène & Pierre Fabre