You have eczema. You’ve had it since birth and it’s not been great. It helped you contract a whopping case of Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease and it’s even gotten us a few calls from the school when it gets particularly bad or distracting. You have it mostly on your legs, but it is not above residing on your stomach, chest, back, shoulders, elbows, hands, crotch, you name it.
It has been super fun.
I’ve tried oatmeal baths (messy), olive oil baths (messy), Vaseline head to toe (messy and honestly, a bit dangerous – think greased pig down a hallway). We’ve tried Eucerine (allergic), Triple Paste, Aveeno, Jergens, and Cetaphil. We’ve tried vitamins, antihistamines, and a humidifier. None of it made a lick of difference. You still itched.
You itched so much you left long red marks, broke the skin, and got scars. The itching, of course, just makes it worse. So, we settled in to a regimen of close-cropped fingernails and bath time followed by a slathering of hydrocortisone. We maintained.
Only, it wasn’t even keeping the eczema at bay. I got another call from school. You couldn’t sit still, couldn’t nap, and weren’t eating. You would only scratch. I was at my wits end!!
Just when I was considering skin grafts or maybe full-body lamination, a co-worker recommended baking soda.
Baking soda? Ya, baking soda. For the bath.
It couldn’t hurt, right? So, for your next bath I added a half cup of baking soda. I noticed immediately how smooth it made everything feel – my hands, your skin, your hair. Apparently baking soda is a softening agent. I still didn’t know if it was an eczema-relieving agent, though.
I didn’t immediately see any results from the baking soda bath. Your legs were still red and angry-looking. However, over the next few days I did notice something: you weren’t scratching.
I kept up the baths, followed each time by a hydrocortisone slathering, and slowly but surely you cleared up remarkably. It was amazing! Most importantly, though, it stopped bothering you.
Turns out baking soda doesn’t make eczema go away. What it does is ph balance the skin to stop the itch. You can use it in a bath, make a paste, or like a body powder. For our purposes, we are sticking to in the bath.
Thank you random cookie ingredient I already had in my cupboard! You’re a lifesaver!