Identifying the cause of eczema, psoriasis and dry skin conditions in children

(AD Brand Ambassador) It’s so hard seeing your children in pain. Eczema and psoriasis can be caused by a wide range of things and while you can use creams and ointments to help manage the itch finding a way to avoid flare ups is the goal. Whether the response is to something in the diet or environmental there often isn’t a reaction straight away, but over the days following exposure. This can make it really hard to identify the cause or any patterns in flare ups in children. A tracker is one way to record what you put on their skin and what food they eat as well as when there is a flare up. Epaderm has a tracker you can download on their website to help keep a record of reactions and as a prompt for treatments, but you could record it in a notebook if you prefer. I have recently started using the tracker with my eldest daughter (M) to help us get a better understanding of her eczema.

A child's hand being held by a her mother's on top of paper saying Epaderm Eczema Tracker for identifying cause and patterns of flare ups
Eczema Tracker from Epaderm

How We Identified What Caused My Child's Eczema

My Daughter’s Eczema

M developed eczema in the summer shortly before she turned 2. Looking back at the photos I took back then I can only see some blurry glimpses of it, but I remember that when we went on holiday she had nasty red patches on her inner elbows, back of knees and her face. We started to cut out dairy and by the time she returned to nursery there was a definite improvement in her skin so we changed her diet to be mostly dairy free. 

The view of a 1 year old from behind wearing a white hat and pink t-shirt and holding a dandilion clock. On the inside of her elbow a patch of eczema is visible.
M aged 1 with eczema on her inner arms

As M got older we gradually increased the type and amount of dairy she was allowed and she would get occasional skin flare ups when she had a lot, but nothing as bad as that first summer. As she got older it felt unfair to refuse her the pleasure of ice cream and cakes at birthday parties when her reaction was (thankfully) only mild by then so we made the decision that she could choose what she ate as she would be the one suffering the consequences.

When M has a flare up now (aged 9) it tends to be on her upper legs and we no longer know what causes the reaction. I suspect it is mostly caused from what goes on her skin rather than what she eats so I am careful about what bath products she uses, washing powders and suncream. She spends half her time at her Dad’s house and so it has become increasingly important to work with her to understand what causes her problems and to let her lead on it because I can’t be there for her all the time.

Tracking Skin Flare Ups

Mother and daughter sitting at a table completing the Epaderm eczema tracker
Working together with my eldest daughter to track her eczema

The tracker Epaderm created is designed to help long term management of skin conditions rather than provide a quick fix. There are a few boxes to complete each day and it gives a good overall picture of what is going on. Epaderm found from feedback that over half of parents reported it took up to 6 months to find the right treatment routine so we are going to stick with it and provide updates during my time as an Ambassador for Epaderm.

I have talked through the information on the tracker with M and we filled in the first few days together. It is now stuck on the fridge and I am encouraging her to go to it each day and record how her eczema is doing.

The tracker is based on research findings from a year long study with 200 parents of which 60 % found that tracking the skin’s appearance, treatments and triggers improved their child’s eczema and 89% said that using the tracker made them more confident in managing their child’s skin condition.

There is space on the print out to record a quick note each day on the skin condition, triggers and treatment as well as a monthly review about how the skin is doing and what is working and not working.  If you would like to join in the journey with us you can download the tracker here. I would love to hear how you get on.

Mother and daughter sitting at a table, mother is applying some cream into the daughter's hand
We use Epaderm when M does get flare ups to stop her scratching and making her eczema worse.

(Disclosure: I am working with Epaderm as a Brand Ambassador. You can read my other posts about eczema here)

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