Our Battle With Eczema
It was in 2016 when our first daughter, Tessa was born. We were living in Hong Kong and is fortunate enough to be blessed with a little girl. Our paediatrician is Dr Chan who we were lucky enough to have overseeing our little daughter's growth and ensure she is well. Dr Chan is more of a holistic paediatrician, where he tries as much as possible not to over prescribe medication and let our natural body immune help.
It was in the winter December when Tessa (4 months old then) started having skin issues. Initially we thought it was just the dry winter months that causes this. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize as what our family and doctors would advise. Unfortunately, as time goes by, it got worst, with her having red spots on her body and mostly on the cheeks.
We thought it would pass but little did we know, the battle would last almost 3 years. That's when we started learning about Eczema (Allergic Dermatitis) when the doctors diagnosed her with it. It is very surprising to hear that it affects 1 out of 5 infants in our today's world. We started researching and tried numerous products out there to find a solution, more than 10+ products advertised for skin dryness and eczema.
We tried whatever products that were recommended, read all the blogs there is, and the stories by other parents on what worked. Unfortunately, none of them actually worked, nor if it was even close to a cure. Some did help to reduce redness and seemed to moisturize a little more than other, but it did not help in the long run. Her skin would continue to crack and inflammation never went away. Before we knew it, we were applying all sorts of stuff on her skin and that's when we knew we needed help.
Eventually, we were recommended by Dr Chan to a skin specialist Dr Sugu, whom is also based in Hong Kong. Tessa was then put on multiple rounds of antibiotics (upon confirmation of skin bacteria lab test) and prescribed steroid cream Elomet. As time goes by, given the strong level steroid of steroid cream, her inflammations reduced. But her redness and spots will return after 3-5 days. Given the risks of steroidal cream, we were then prescribed Tacrolimus (non-steroidal ointment) for long term management.
Just like how you would take a fever tablet in order to control your fever symptoms, all topical creams, steroidal or not, are only meant for symptom control. We are still not addressing the real cause of Eczema as we have yet to identify the cause of irritant to the skin.
That's when we were also explained about the danger of toxic chemicals in our daily products, especially Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) and Fragrance which are widely used and known to cause eczema and danger to our health.
Have a look at your products which you're using today, whether it is on a lotion or cosmetic, laundry wash, dish soap or floor liquid. Most products include these chemicals which are harmful to us:
BHA, BHT, Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine, DEA-related ingredients, Dibutyl phthalate, Formaldehyde, Parabens, Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance), PEG compounds, Petrolatum, Siloxanes, Sodium laureth sulfate, Triclosan
What did two young parents do next? We completely overhauled our home. Getting rid of all the products which we were using (even some being branded as baby safe), all fragrances for bathroom, hand soap, laundry wash, and dish soap. Now, we need replacement but those off the shelf generally contain SLS and Fragrances as well.
There isn't much option out and that was when we found Soapnut Republic.
They're a young company then, a natural detergent, hand soap and laundry care products designed by Bobby and Kim, based in Shanghai, China. Their range of products is natural, allergen free made from biodegradable materials.
The main ingredient used in them is soapnut berries which are traditionally used as a soap infused with tea tree oils.
Why did we go with them? It's because of transparency and list of ingredients. Now, if you have spent as much time reading about ingredients like we did, we could assure you that Soapnut Republic transparency and honesty in their ingredients used is first to none.
We started off with the first Essential Kit and eventually upgraded to 5L bottles to be refilled at home. Great to be able to at least do a little to help the environment by not wasting bottles.
Now, does it really help and if it was indeed the cause of Tessa's Eczema? We can't say for sure but as we are also strictly following the treatment regime that Dr Sugu gave us, moisturize, moisturize and when eczema flares, apply elomet for 3-5 days max.
After about 8 months of strict regime, and getting rid as much as possible harmful chemical in our household, the frequency of steroid use has reduced. For you that have experienced this, trying to find the cause of irritant is almost impossible, but we are sure glad that we have gotten rid of the toxic chemicals that we were unintentionally introducing to our home floors, hands due to lack of knowledge.
Since we have started using Soapnut Republic, it has put our minds at ease especially for our little Tessa and what's more, the products do last pretty long. If you are looking for a change, do try the products out.
Now 3 years down the road, we are glad to say that the battle is done. We still try our best to avoid irritant in our daily life especially if it is chemical related. If you do have a choice, we would recommend to always try picking the safer choice.
If you would like to reach out to us, we could be connected on Facebook or Instagram user babytessa_tan and joey_ong28.
We hope you enjoy reading this piece, and know that you're not alone in fighting Eczema.
Joey, Alvin and Tessa