Vaniply Ointment/Skin Protectant

We’ve previously discussed the use of skin protectants and ointments for irritated skin such as eczema skin.  One of my favorites is Vaniply ointment.  One frequent complaint I hear from patients about ointment is that it leaves the skin and clothing sticky and goopy, and that it’s difficult to apply.  Vaniply is somehow much smoother and much easier to spread.  It also doesn’t leave that really sticky feel behind.

Vaniply is made by the same company that makes Vanicream.  All of their products are meant to be hypoallergenic. Specifically, Vaniply is free of fragrance, preservatives, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde releasers, sulfates, gluten, and chemical irritants.  Patients with eczema are more likely to develop contact dermatitis so it’s good that Vaniply has taken out all the above offenders.

So what does Vaniply contain?  1% dimethicone, C30-45 alkyl methicone, C30-45 olefin, hydrogenated polydecene, microcrystalline wax, polyethylene, silica dimethyl silylate

What are the uses of Vaniply?

It can function as a skin protectant — serving as an extra barrier between the skin and the outside world.   As such, you can use it over chapped lips, hands, feet, and elsewhere.  You can also use it in areas that develop a rash from constant moisture (think babies’ bottoms or skin folds).  It helps “seal” in the water content of the skin, so you could use it as part of the “soak and smear” method if you’re trying to hydrate the skin and then trap the moisture in (e.g. for those with eczema).  It can also be used as part of the wet wrapping procedure (again, often used in eczema patients).

Vaniply is “kid friendly” and has also received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

The Bamboo Bubby Bag – a sleep sack designed for kids with eczema

The Bamboo Bubby Bag is a sleep sack made of bamboo and cotton designed for babies with eczema.  The material is stretchy and is relatively lightweight, so dress your child accordingly inside the sack depending on the weather.  The Bamboo Bubby Bag features covered sleeves which can fold over to shorten the length of the sleeves.  Because of the adjustable sleeves, they can accomodate small babies of about 6 months old up to 6 year old toddlers.

Here are some things I like about the Bamboo Bubby Bag:

– The stretchiness of the material makes for easy on and off.  This is important as when an eczema child is tired and needs to rest, the scratching often starts.  You don’t want to spend all day trying to get on your mittens, gloves, scratch sleeves and then your sleep sack, etc.

– The sack accommodates a wide age range.  Eczema clothing and accessories can be expensive and this can last you a long time.  Just be sure to take care of your sack in order to preserve its longevity.

– The double zipper means easy diaper changes.

– There’s a hole in the back to accommodate placing your baby in the stroller or car seat.  If you’re taking a long car ride and can’t constantly monitor your child’s hands, this is a nice benefit.

The cost is currently $79.95 and you can buy it through the company’s website.  You can also get it with the ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves for a total of $89.95.  I recommend you line dry the sack as noted in the care instructions, so you may want to invest in two sacks.

Review: AD RescueWear RescueSuit

The AD RescueWear RescueSuit is a body suit made of soft stretchy Tencel (R) that covers your baby or child neck down.  Conceived by eczema mom Beth Scott, it is designed as an aid for wet wrapping for eczema, and can also be used for dry wrapping.  It features fold over mitts to cover the hands when needed as well as fully enclosed feet.  The neck down full coverage is important in providing a protective layer from scratching.

The Tencel (R) fabric is excellent for gently hugging your child’s skin.  Traditionally, parents have used tight fitting cotton pajamas for wet wrapping.  However, I have yet to find cotton pajamas which are able to fit a child’s body as well as this RescueSuit.  Additionally, the wet cotton pajamas end up heavy, bulky and bunchy when used for wet wrapping.  This RescueSuit molds to the body so that the damp fabric is right next to the skin and really is superior for wet wrapping.  Another benefit I have found of the body molding RescueSuit is that bulky diapers do not rub against thighs as much — this sort of rubbing can incite eczema and itch.

This suit can also be used for dry wrapping and worn day to day.  It is an added protective layer to protect the skin from scratching and because of the body molding fit, can easily fit under outer garments.

The AD RescueWear RescueSuit is very helpful for those of you whose children benefit from wet wrapping.  Watch the YouTube demo on how to wet wrap with the RescueSuit.  You may have to practice a couple of times to become as adept at putting the suit on as the mom in the video.

The AD RescueWear RescueSuit retails at $105.  You may want to have a couple on hand as they are delicate and should be air dried flat, so that would cost a couple hundred dollars.  The suit costs significantly more than cotton pajamas, but at the same time, they are actually designed for wet and dry wrapping.  Check out the AD RescueWear website as well as The Eczema Company’s website to look for sales and promotions.

All in all, as a dermatologist and eczema mom, I found the AD RescueWear Rescue Suit to be a helpful item to have and would recommend it to other parents of children with eczema.

For the month of March, use the code DERM10 to receive 10% off from The Eczema Company.

Review: ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves

The ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves are a unique way of protecting little ones’ nails and fingers from damaging their own skin, hair and nails.  An alternative to traditional mittens, they are worn like a shawl over the child’s normal clothing.  The ends can flip open or closed.  When closed, the exterior of the mitten is silk.  When open, the exterior of the mitten is cotton.  The shawl part of the sleeve is a blend of organic bamboo viscose, organic cotton and lycra.  They are available for babies and children ranging from 3 months to 6 years old.

These sleeves are useful for babies and children who scratch themselves, especially those with eczema or atopic dermatitis, or other skin issues.  They are also useful for children who pull out hair or have a habit of nail biting.  The ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves were designed by  eczema mom Andrea Thomas and it shows.

I really like these sleeves and here’s why:

– The external silk mittens are gentle on skin. I have yet to find baby and kid mittens that are made of silk.  The traditional mittens and flip sleeves attached to onesies are cotton.  Silk is much smoother and decreases the amount of damage rubbing can do to the skin.  Even rubbing with cotton can lead to thickening (what we call “lichenification” in dermatology) which can worsen the skin condition and itch.

– These sleeves stay on.  The mitten portion is attached to the shawl portion.  Babies and kids are really good at getting traditional mittens off.  These stay on.

– They are easy to flip open and closed.  This is important because you aren’t going to just flip them closed and leave your child that way all day.  There are often predictable times when your child will scratch skin, pull hair or bite nails — e.g. when she/he is tired or fussy, during diaper changes, at night when her/his inhibition is decreased, etc.  In anticipation of these times, you can close the mittens.  The rest of the time, you can keep the mittens open.  This may also decrease your anxiety over whether you child won’t have enough open mitten time to learn how to use her/his fingers and hands.

– They are easy to get on and off.  The shawl part is a mix of bamboo viscose, cotton and lycra.  It has just enough stretch so that you can put it on easily, but not so loose that your child can work her/his way out of it.

– They are relatively affordable.  There are so many products that target parents of eczema babies and kids.  Some of them are very costly.  These are relatively affordable and there are often deals through the ScratchMeNot website or The Eczema Company.

As a dermatologist and eczema mom myself, I give these ScratchMeNot Flip Mitten Sleeves 5 stars.

DermBytes readers get 10% off at the ScratchMeNot website with the code: Dermbytes.

How do you clip your baby’s nails?

How do you clip your baby’s nails?

Carefully.

Worried moms often fear clipping their little ones’ little fingers.  This is not uncommon as the infants don’t respond to directives to stay still.  This issue of nail clipping an important one for me as I learned to clip the nails of my eczema baby’s nails to prevent his nails from ripping up his skin.  Those nails needed to be short!  (This brings back memories from my violin teacher.)

So what are some ways to make keeping your baby’s nails short easier?

  • Use a nail clipper designed for babies.  No, do not use your adult-sized nail clippers.  They are too large and the blades may be too thick.
  • If you’re struggling to see your baby’s nails, look for a clipper with a little magnifying glass.
  • Try baby nail trimming scissors.  Those with the rounded tips may be best if you worry about poking your baby with sharp scissor tips.
  • Try this Zoli electric baby nail trimmer.  It has little “sandpaper” like pads that buff the excess nail away.  Each pad is meant for a different age range.  Just be careful, held next to skin, these pads can also buff away skin!
  • Try a good ol’ fashioned emery board.  This may be slow going though and it may be hard for your baby to keep still as long as you need to do an adequate job.

What other tips do you have?

What is the best moisturizer to use for eczema?

Choose a fragrance-free hypo-allergeneic moisturizing cream or ointment.
Choose a fragrance-free hypo-allergeneic moisturizing cream or ointment.

Take a look at your local supermarket/pharmacy’s skin care section and you can easily get overwhelmed by the different moisturizer options.  There are many different brands, and formulations.  Creams, lotions, and ointments, oh my!

So what are some guidelines to follow when choosing a moisturizer for eczema?

Your moisturizer should be hypoallergenic.  The last thing you want is for your moisturizer to give you an allergic reaction on your skin.

  • Your moisturizer should be fragrance-free.  Fragrances are a leading cause of skin contact allergies.
  • Look for creams or ointments.  Your moisturizer should not be thin and watery.  It should be thick. Why? because then it can seal and lock in your skin’s moisture.  If your moisturizer is thin and watery, the water will evaporate off, leaving little protectant on your skin. Ointments are great, but some people don’t like the oily feel.

Here are some of my favorite moisturizers (and no! I have no conflicts of interest and am not paid by these companies!):

  • Vanicream moisturizing cream – This one is hypoallergenic and fragrance free and comes in a big tub.
  • Cerave moisturizing cream – This cream includes ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid which help protect the skin and seal in moisture.
  • Aveeno eczema therapy – The moisturizing cream contains colloidal oatmeal.  It is not as thick as the above creams, but many patients have found this to be a very pleasant cream
  • Vaniply ointment – I like how this one comes in a travel size which I can stick in my purse to moisturize my hands or lips on the go.
  • Aveeno healing ointment or Aquaphor healing ointment – I’ve also found this very handy for the hands or lips on the go.
  • Neutrogena Norwegian formula hand cream – This is slightly less greasy than other ointment but thicker than a cream.  It also comes in a size that is easy to throw in my purse or keep at the desk.  I frequently use this after washing my hands or when I don’t have a separate chap stick around.
  • Plain old Vaseline petroleum jelly – Inexpensive and a great sealant!  The skin will feel a little greasy afterwards, but it’s supposed to!

What are some of your favorite moisturizers? 

Want to learn about the proper way to apply moisturizer?  The answer is HERE.