Some weeks ago, I mentioned that I was embarking upon a new approach to treating my toddler’s eczema using techniques found on www.atopicskindisease.com, a website by Psychiatrist Dr Christopher Bridgett of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, who specialises in ‘behavioural interventions in dermatology (especially atopic eczema)’ for both adults and children.
Although my son’s skin is much better than before, he still gets eczema flare ups, and scratching was a constant issue. Even if his skin was clear he would still scratch and tear at his skin. I’ve often voiced my concerns that a majority of my toddler’s scratching seemed to be out of habit, more than a reaction to actual itching. I observed that he would often scratch when upset or if he couldn’t get his own way, and the moment he got what he wanted, the scratching stopped. My observations were noted by doctors, but was told that habitual scratching was just seen as a part of eczema that couldn’t be helped.
I came across Dr.Christopher Bridgett on Twitter . I joined his (free) site, and downloaded the ‘Live Without Eczema’ handbook for younger children. Dr Bridgett’s ‘Combined Approach to Atopic Eczema’ is based on changing behaviour (breaking the HABIT of scratching) in combination with correct usage of conventional methods of eczema skin care, namely topical steroids and regular application of emollients/moisturisers.
The programme includes:
- An intense first 4 days of helping the child to stop habitually scratching via various distraction techniques (requires constant attention) thus allowing the skin to heal.
- Use of topical steroids for an extended period
- Regular application of emollients (oils/creams) to soften and help retain the skin’s moisture .
It would be too much for me to explain details of the Combined Approach in full, but I suggest joining AtopicSkinDisease.com and really reading up on it. It’s all written an a clear manner and is easy to understand.
The hardest thing for me to overcome was the fact that I was going to have to regularly use steroid creams on my son. I’ve always believed that they made his skin worse after temporarily clearing the eczema, and only used them when I really had to. Reading about CORRECT usage of the steroids on atopicskindisease.com helped me to understand that the eczema seemed worse after steroids because I was stopping use too early, before the ‘hidden healing’ had taken place.
After reading articles on the website, I decided I had to give the combined approach a try. My son was constantly in distress and it was affecting the whole family.
I decided to continue using Imanmade Original Nourishing Body Butter as my son’s emollient, as I still wanted to keep everything as natural as possible and I knew my body butter was providing nutrients and healing properties to his skin, unlike the synthetic options suggested. I prepared myself mentally and cleared some time in my busy schedule to give the extra attention needed for the first few days of the programme.
Next: Implementing TCA/ Interview with Dr.B