Wondered if I can get some advice, my daughter who’s 18 months old suffers from the most severe eczema. Her cheeks are by far the worst area. Do you know of any greener topical thing I can apply rather than doctors stuff?

My first advice: get really friendly with your doctor, and stick above all with his/her advice. Explain that you’re looking for “greener” things too: best approach would be to suggest alternatives (ex. oatmeal bath) and see what the doctor says. If the doctor pooh-poos you (or even patronises or insults you), I’d suggest getting a second opinion…

[edit: or another doctor…]

My own case was a bit different: I’ve had thin fragile skin all my life, and eczema too. I grew up in a country where there was less separation between “mainstream” and “greener” health-care. What was used on me:

  • oatmeal washes and baths (with little time in water, and using body-temperature water)
  • mineral oil
  • some other oils (mainly sweet almond)
  • water: we installed a central water-filter/-softener for the whole house (my sister’s got “worse” skin than me, and we were in a very hard-water area). If your water’s anything other than soft, I’d strongly recommend doing this too.

That’s about it. Nothing else applied to skin. No steroid creams.

  • cotton clothes next to the skin: quite a challenge in the polyester ’70s!
  • mittens to prevent scratching at night
  • covering up (no sunscreen till I was toddling around)
  • no scented anything
  • using very minimal unscented detergents for cleaning clothes, bedlinen, towels, and any other fabrics touching skin
  • avoiding sodium lauryl sulfate (which some people confuse with sodium laureth sulfate, or lump the two together…)

Diet made no difference with me: my family has a genetic thing which, if you’re lucky, is only expressed in eczema. Unluckier relatives have psoriasis, asthma, and heart & lung issues.

Some suggestions c/o these favourites (some mine, some other people’s):

Stuff here on the blog:

Further resources (inc. eczema information organizations and support groups):


  • neem oil. I didn’t have this as a kid, discovered it recently thanks to MUA and, especially, sniffer and jetfan. For which many many thanks.

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