At Itchy Baby we know that there is no quick and magic fix for eczema and it's often what we 'don't' use that helps our infants more than what we 'do'.
Having said that there are some changes we can make to improve life with atopic eczema and one thing that crops up again and again are detergents.
Detergents are a big trigger for many babies and removing them can often cause dramatic and remarkable recoveries.
The issues is that detergents are so prevalent in our modern lives it can be hard to spot if they are causing or contributing to the problem. Before we go about making drastic changes to how we wash our laundry or what products we use at home it's a good idea to know first if it's going to help. That's where 'The Vest Test' comes in.
'The Vest Test'
If your baby has any of the following you might want to consider trying the vest test.
- Your baby has eczema effecting much of their body
- The area under their disposable nappy is free of eczema
- They are very itchy
- Their skin seems worse in or after a bath
- Symptoms are much worse in the winter
- Certain prescription emollients seem to make the skin worse
For the vest test you need :-
Two 'new' vests the Frugi vests are ideal for this but any new 100% cotton vests should work.
Some Bicarbonate of soda, the kind used for cooking is fine.
You might like to get some pure soap too, but this isn't necessary.
For this test to be effective it's important for the few days you're doing it to only use moisturisers or emollients that are detergent free or you know for sure that your baby doesn't react to.
Keep baths to a minimum and clean the bath out with sodium bicarb or pure soap before bathing baby.
For a few days your baby will wear only these 2 new vests next to the skin on their top half.
Once one gets dirty, swap it for your clean one.
Clean out your sink - with either bicarb or a little of the pure soap.
Then wash the dirty vest in the clean sink using only warm water and a little shake of Sodium Bicarb. Line/ hang dry this vest ready to swap back when the other vest gets dirty (Avoid using a drier with other laundry)
If your baby is reacting to detergents you are using at home you should find that quite quickly the skin on the tummy will start to settle down - becoming less red and itchy and within 3 to 5 days it will look smoother and healthier. You may want to take some before and after pictures to compare.
If you have a positive result and your baby's skin is looking better then the good news is that by changing some of the things you are using for your laundry and around the home you should be able to make some significant improvements to your little ones eczema. Removing detergents will also settle the skin down and make it easier to spot other triggers such as food sensitivity.
You might also want to check out our range of detergent free alternatives.
If your result is negative and you see no change in your infants skin then detergents are unlikely to be a major trigger for your baby and it may be worth looking at food sensitivities and other triggers.
It's always nice to hear from other parents so please share your results, alternatively if you have already eliminated detergents and found it helpful please share your story in the comments below or join us in our Facebook group.