I’m not very adventurous when it comes to skincare products . In fact I dare say I stopped researching moisturiser ingredients a long time ago. I put this down to skepticism because every cream has varied claims. I learnt my lesson after amassing a cupboard full of creams which were used a few times with no significant difference.
So for the most part of the past 2 years, we only use 2 moisturisers on Corey, Ceredan cream and QV intensive. One for its skin repair components and the other as a thick oily emollient to reduce the speed of transdermal water loss (TEWL).
WHY IT WAS TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
In the past 6 months, I felt that Corey’s healing had plateaued. Yes, his skin has shown significant improvement. Period between flares got longer with effective allergen control at home. But still, his skin displayed classic eczema traits of roughness. Faint redness and parched skin was a norm and once an itch fest ensued flares would recur. This cycle happened weekly and I would have to reach for steroid creams more often than I liked.
Even on better skin days, no matter how much moisturiser we used I could not get it baby smooth like a normal baby’s. Faint sporadic small itchy dots would persist all over his body. We would get it under control with a steroid cream then overnight they would appear again.
At first I wondered if I I had done enough allergen control at home. After much reflection I knew I had covered all the bases of his dust mite allergy. And our home has been clear of his food allergens for the past two years. So risk of him getting rebounds at home were slim.
The situation stayed this way for months. Even though our existing moisturisers were working, I still felt like I was missing something. Nights were especially torturous as the itch continued to overwhelm Corey’s slumber and he would scratch himself awake.
I wondered if this was it, the best that Corey’s skin could get?
Then at the end of January this year, I chanced upon Millie’s story. On her dad’s blog of their journey, photos of Millie’s chronic eczema looked suspiciously similar to Corey’s. His article on a probiotic cream trial he tried on Millie caught my attention. Corey has been taking oral probiotics since 6 months but this was the first time I was reading about topical probiotics.
FIGHTING STAPHLOCOCCUS AUREOUS (STAPH) INFECTIONS
It made so much sense after I read his post. Staph bacteria loves eczema skin. This devious bacteria is the reason eczema stays inflamed if left untreated. It colonizes on the skin and causes eczema patches to spread and slows down healing. To read more about staph, here’s a concise summary from Millie’s dad, Staph Wars – Beat the Staph and Reduce Your Eczema.
ANTISEPTICS NOT ENOUGH TO COMBAT STAPH
To combat staph for eczema skin, dermatologists and allergists recommend using antiseptics wipes and bleach baths. As prescribed by Corey’s allergist, our daily skincare involved cleaning with chlorhexidine gluconate and swimming once a week. It is safe, non drying and non irritating. Find out more on Chlorhexidine gluconate in this write up and why I prefer it over bleach baths.
But the problem with antiseptics is that is kills off ALL bacteria, both good and bad. We know from years of research that good bacteria is needed to maintain healthy skin. So by cleaning it all off we also leave the skin unbalanced and unable to repair itself.
GOOD BACTERIA JOINS THE BATTLE
In his article, Millie’s dad compares a few creams with topical probiotic and his top choice was La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+. The thermal spring water used to manufacture this cream contains the bacteria, Vitreoscilla Filliformis.
Of course my inner skeptic’s first thought was ‘yeah right, yet another dermatologist recommended product vying for my money’. But the idea of topical probiotic piqued my curiosity and I researched further and here’s what I found in the medical journals.
A research commissioned by L’Oreal in Tuebingen University in 2008 showed promising results that Vitreoscilla filliformis was indeed effective in combating staph. It also highlighted that the cream was able to significantly reduce sleep loss.
Below is a quoted from the extract of the results and you can find the link to the research link to the research here:
Compared with placebo, V. filiformis lysate significantly decreased SCORAD levels (P = 0·0044) and pruritus (P = 0·0171). Active cream significantly decreased loss of sleep from day 0 to day 29 (P = 0·0074). Qualitative and quantitative assessment of cutaneous microbial colonization revealed that V. filiformis lysate reduced Staphylococcus aureus colonization of the skin. The skin barrier as determined by TEWL also improved significantly with the cream alone.
That sold it for me. We have been battling poor sleep for both Corey and me for far too long (2 years to be exact!) I often tell people I haven’t had a single good night’s sleep since his battle with eczema started.
I went straight to our local drugstore and picked up a 200ML tube of La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+.
OUR REVIEW LA ROCHE-POSAY LIPIKAR BAUME AP+
Controlled experiment style: Started on a small section of good skin
As with anything new I put on Corey’s skin, I tried it on a small section of good skin first to ensure no adverse reaction. I chose his shin. It did not turn red. So on the second day I used it on the whole leg. To observe any difference I stopped using other moisturisers on that leg so as not to confuse the results.
After 50 days of use….
Baby Smooth Skin Finally
The texture of the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ is great, it left his skin smoother for longer than the other moisturisers. About one week in, I noticed a reduction in dryness and roughness. Sections of his body and chest became baby smooth during good skin days.
Once I had established that he was comfortable with the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+, I stopped the other moisturisers altogether. I went to town with lathering him generously with this moisturiser and the results are encouraging.
Lesser dependence on steroids
Period between recurrences of flares became longer. Instead of having to run back to the steroid creams everyday, we were able to drag it out to every other day. Because Corey’s eczema was so extensive (covering 80% of his body) I track steroid use very closely in my eczema trackers. So I was happy to note that we were getting more steroid free time.
finally able to step down to a light steroid during mild eczema flares
finally able to step down to a light steroid during mild eczema flares
We only use 2 steroid creams in our treatment. Desowen solution and Melomet Cream. Both were prescribed by Corey’s allergist and we follow his directions closely of maximum twice a day (twice usage within a 24 hour period) on any given part of body.
For months I had tried to use a lighter steroid on his good skin days hoping for a positive feedback. And for months I was disappointed that Corey’s skin was non responsive to the lighter steroid.
But around 2 weeks after switching to the La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ Corey’s skin started to respond to the lighter steroid. I am finally able to step down to using the lighter steroid!
Hello to a better bedtime routine!
He does appear to be less itchy overall. Most pronounceably at bedtime. Corey’s old bedtime routine involved a lot of head scratching, legs and arms scratching just as he is about to relax and fall asleep.
Now the intensity of scratching is lessened and dare I believe it, some nights he does not scratch before falling asleep.
Night time waking from itch still ongoing
He does however still wake up in the middle of the night. Its hard for me to tell the effectiveness of this moisturizer in such a situation because as a baby he cannot tell me what he is feeling when he wakes. I do notice that his scratching is confined to stubborn areas like arms and legs during the night time wakings. So he might be getting a better sleep. But the results could be mixed and no direct attribution can be made to this moisturiser as I have other factors involved like antihistamine usage.
A FEW CAVEATS
Eczema cannot be cured by moisturisers
La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ is a moisturiser so it acts as a protective layer on the skin, it doesn’t take away the eczema. Corey’s eczema skin is still present and will be lifelong. Once the moisturiser wears off, or the staphs overwhelms his skin, the eczema can and will come back with a vengeance.
A question of quantity used on skin
I use ALOT of the La Roche Posay Lipikar Baume AP+. Minimally twice a day all over him when we do his daily skincare routine. I also massage it into his stubborn areas during bedtime to try and relax him. Stubborn areas like fingers and toes gets extra attention (whenever he stays still and allows me to moisturise). If you use too little to be an effective barrier, the allergens and staph will run amok, causing eczema flares.
A question of cost
Skin healing takes an incredibly long time, so be prepared to spend a lot on skin care. By all standards the La Roche Posay Lipikar baume AP+ is not cheap. It is not cost effective like white parrafin nor vaseline but those generic products do not contain any probiotic elements so cannot be compared in this same class.
For us, it is cheaper than our previous combo of Ceredan cream and QV Intensive. So saving a bit of money while being able to yield better skin means this is a better option for us.
Be patient and continue to treat infected skin when necessary
It took us weeks to get the baby smooth working with the La Roche Posay Lipikar baume AP+. And to be sure a moisturiser does not heal infected skin if it is broken and weepy. This moisturiser should be used as a compliment to other tools in your eczema battle. We followed doctor’s instruction closely on medications and medicated creams. If Corey skin was itchy and angry that meant moisturiser was not enough.
Corey’s allergist take…
I cannot quote him directly as ours was a private conversation. But a few quick observations include his view that it is a valid claim that topical probiotics could really be beneficial for eczema skin. The L’Oreal test was only done on those ages 6 – 70 so more research is needed to prove that it works on infants and younger children. Corey as a single sample is not a definite prove of efficacy of this product. However if the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ suits Corey then he agrees that it’s good to continue.
See current photos below of Corey, a cheeky noisy toddler who sings at the top of his voice. He has almost zero itch in the day and is finally getting lesser itch at night.
There are certain discoloured patches of skin (on his back) where the eczema healed. These will fade as more good skin develops.
More research needs to be done to prove the efficacy of probiotic creams for eczema treatment. Crucially, more research should be done on the benefits of topical probiotics for infants and young children with eczema.
For us, La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ has shown some positive results on Corey’s skin after 50 days of use. I am pleased with the results and will continue to use this moisturiser as a staple in his skincare regime.
All opinions stated are my own and this is not a sponsored post.
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