REVIEW: Waging a War Against Eczema with Exederm

Anyone who has eczema knows that its often a chronic condition that is more than just irritating.  I’ve been fighting eczema my entire life.  Figuring out the triggers is not an easy task as it often isn’t contained to one but rather a myriad of triggers.  Having any success in treatment often requires diligence and dedication.  HUGE confession alert, as I hang my head in shame, which I had NONE of growing up.  My treatment of my exacerbated eczema included going to the dermatologist and begging for a stronger cream or ointment, not caring about any side effects or getting any patient education.  My doctor would tell me things to look out for, things to reduce flare-ups and it often went in one ear and out the other.  I relied on pharmaceuticals to tame my flare-ups.  Now that I am in the medical profession, I hang my head in deep shame.  After all, an educated patient can really prevent worst case scenarios such as one which I still remember to this day.  My hand was completely enflamed, weeping with pus and my parents took me to the nearest first aid where they scrubbed my hand raw as I kicked and screamed because it had gotten infected.  Did I learn mylesson?  Nope!  I never allowed it to get that bad again, but my only change was that I became a more dedicated pharmaceutical user.

One of my mechanisms of relief for the itching was turning the water on until it was scalding and running the itchy patch through it quickly for the burn.  It only temporarily relieved the itch by basically shocking the nerves with intense heat.  I knew it was NO NO but it became my dirty little secret, lots of hiding in the bathroom with the locked door counting how long it took the water to heat up to burn… and so my vicious cycle went on until I was an adult, pregnant with my second child, after losing our first.  I was completely fearful of doing anything damaging to my body in fear that it would harm my baby, however irrational, in-turn of losing her as well.  That included my scalding baths to relieve itching.  It was the first time I exercised every will power in my body not to scratch and not to turn on the water to scalding hot.  It was the first time I heeded my dermatologist report to moisturize continuously, since dry skin was my trigger.  I employed humidifiers in my home, especially during the winter months when my central heating was especially drying.  I actually took a trigger assessment seriously and began to examine my own health and skincare regimen.

Imagine my dismay to discover my son had inherited my chronic skin condition and being told by the dermatologist that his was a simple case of genetics.  His mother had eczema, and he got it from me.  It wasn’t just dismay, it was devastating!  I really can’t say what my worst exacerbation was aside from the hand scrubbing incident.  To my recollection, I only had typical spots like hands, inside of elbows, knees and armpits and but it very well could have been as bad as my son’s was.  His eczema spanned his entire body and it was NOT a mild case.  His skin was weeping even as an infant who hadn’t learned to scratch.  That means it was so internally irritated, the skin would break on its own with leaking oil like fluid.  It looked incredibly painful despite my son’s always cheerful demeanor.

Tackling this kind of severe eczema required a multidisciplinary approach and I was ready to take on this challenge.  I employed my pediatrician, dermatologist, allergist and now, nutritionist and FORCED them to speak and collaborate on an integrative plan to help my son.  Eczema isn’t a simple, do this one thing and it goes away forever, I knew this personally.  We discovered that my son had more than a myriad of triggers.  In additional to environmental triggers, he also had severe food allergies as well.  Controlling his eczema was going to involve a complete lifestyle change.

One of the most basic steps was to change his skincare regimen.  I had smartly keep his regimen as simple as possible, simply Aquaphor and California Baby Super Sensitive Wash.  Little did I know that even Aquaphor contained irritants that could exacerbate his condition.  I was recently introduced to an incredible line of skincare products called Exederm which uses the mildest ingredients possible.  They stand apart from every dermatologist recommended eczema skincare product on the market by being completely free of fragrance, colors & dyes, parabens, formaldehyde, sodium laureth sulfate, lanolin, botanicals and phthalates.  These also have a wonderful website for learning more about these ingredients and how they can be considered irritants.

I, addition to many of our lifestyle changes which included everything from change of laundry detergents, our own skincare regimen, to his diet as well as clothing choices, made the switch to Exederm.  That included switching his bath wash from our favorite California Baby Super Sensitive after weighing the possibility that its botanicals could possibly be a trigger with his environmental allergies.  Our daughter continues to use California Baby Super Sensitive because she doesn’t not, thankfully, have eczema and we still consider it mild enough to include as part of her skincare regimen.  But for a child with eczema, dermatitis and sensitive skin, they need special care.

The line covers every need of a skincare regimen but two of our favorite products after the bath wash include the intensive baby moisturizer and the Exederm Flare-Up Control Cream.  I was very concerned that the moisturizer would not be as thick or coating as Aquaphor was but I was pleasantly surprised how well it kept his skin moisturized.  Albeit I am completely neurotic about moisturizing him, it held up to my Aquaphor schedule although strangely I do miss the greasy baby feeling.

The Exederm Flare-Up Control Cream is not recommended for children under the age of 2 although I did use it on my son, who at the time was 11 months old.  My son had a prescription for hydrocortisone and I considered this

over the counter, only paraben-free version in the US, to be safe under the approval of my dermatologist.

Look at the above before pictures, and look at his beautiful face to the right, taken just a few weeks ago, after 2 weeks of using Exederm.  I make no claims, but combined with a complete lifestyle change, I’m sure this was a significant contributing factor.  This is not saying that his eczema is cured, but rather under control.  I still see creeps of flare-ups which I am quick to address right away and for now, this seems to be working.  As he grows I expect his eczema to evolve as well but eliminating as many triggers as possible is a step in the right direction.

Exederm is available online at Amazon.com, Target.com and Drugstore.com and in-store at Duane Reade, Shop-rite and A&P.

{ disclosure :  I received samples of Exederm to facilitate this review and was not compensated.  As always, all opinions express here within are my own. }

About Suzanne Chan

Suzanne is student, daughter, wife, (labor & delivery) certified registered nurse, certified lactation counselor, friend, entrepreneur and blogger – but the job she's most proud of is mother… She shares her journey on this blog and The Disney Files. Read more about her here.

  • Wow, I can’t believe you found a product that worked for your son. I’ve been told to use Vanicream (for lack of fragrances, etc.) and Free and Clear shampoo; but those did not help my daughter. My youngest and oldest have a serious case of eczema, too – and it’s been nothing but moisturize and steroidal creams (not thrilled!) Thanks for this post – will def give this product a try 🙂

  • Deborah Lynn

    Wow that is amazing! I will definitely have to try Exederm.

  • Theresa

    Do they have stuff for adults too? I think its important to make the distinction that everyone’s lifestyle has to change too to beat eczema.

  • Fiona Duncan

    There are definitely more than one contributing factor to an eczema flare up but doing everything you can is key.

  • Herrera

    The paraben free hydrocortisone sounds great even for me.

  • Erika Goldstein

    Great job mom! M looks great!

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  • evam

    I have mature, extremely sensitive skin and I am happy to say this baby product works very well for my problematic skin (and I have tried them all, you name it, I’ve tried it). I’m quite happy with it.

  • Jennifer

    I found the Exederm Baby Wash on the shelf of the drugstore and stopped using the California Baby Super Sensitive because the Exederm has been sooo much better. My 11 yo with contact dermitis uses it as well as the 6 yo, and both can tell the difference. When my 11 yo has a flare-up, the Exederm baby wash takes care of the itching and actually seems to reduce it. We’ve been using a prescription steroid cream, but I’m going to be buying the eczema flare-up control cream since she generally has the rash over her entire torso.

  • Denise

    Thank you so much for this post. Just started using exederm on my 15 month old son with moderate eczema and it has made a huge difference in just a week! Even though some of his patches are still there he no longer scratches desperately everytime I take his clothes off. He looks and feels so much better!

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