Coconut ‘cure’ oil

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For those parents out there who have had a child suffer from nappy rash, this post will resonate well with you.

As a first time mum, I was always concerned about any lump, bump, scratch, bruise or rash that my son had. Well that’s until he started to walk. These things are inevitable unless you keep them in a soft padded room all day!

From my pharmacy days, I remember well the virtues of Sudocrem to prevent and treat nappy rash. So from very early on, I used to use Sudocrem as a preventative treatment at most nappy changes. For those who aren’t familiar with the product it is a healing and protective cream used for nappy rash, cuts, grazes, minor burns and eczema. There are a number of similar products out there (Bepanthen, Desitin, Curash, zinc and castor oil to name a few). I’m sure everyone has their favourite.

This worked well as a preventative measure and seemed to help those mild bouts of nappy rash that infrequently occurred.

Then gastroenteritis struck us down. In the interests of not providing too much stomach churning information (you could be reading this whilst you are eating), it was a horrible few days of vomiting and diarrhoea. Not to mention the copious amounts of washing that go hand in hand with it.

Little ones have such sensitive skin and no matter how quickly you change a nappy after a diarrhoea episode, there is still the contact time that irritates the skin. More frequent episodes equals more moisture and rubbing of the nappy and the skin. In no time you have a nasty case of nappy rash, often with broken skin.

I was doing all the right things: frequent changing, using fragrance and alcohol free wipes and liberal use of Sudocrem EVERY nappy change.

Unfortunately for us (or fortunately as I now believe), Sudocrem didn’t work. And I couldn’t bring myself to provide ‘nappy free time’ as recommended, not knowing when a diarrhoea episode would strike again.

After a few days, the rash was getting worse. Sudocrem wasn’t even providing the barrier it should. These creams just do not cover broken skin sufficiently, they actually slide off the raw and oozing patches. This combined with the screaming we endured every nappy change led me to look for alternatives.

A common ‘natural’ remedy that kept coming up in my search was coconut oil. The same stuff you most commonly find in your pantry and may use in your cooking.

I found an easy ‘recipe’ that just required me to:

  • melt the coconut oil
  • pour into a small pot
  • add 5 drops of lavender essential oil (I use the Twenty8 one)
  • mix thoroughly to distribute the oil evenly
  • allow the mix to cool and the coconut oil to solidify before its ready to use

And it was AMAZING! It provided the barrier we needed on the raw skin and was soothing too so no more screaming at nappy change time. I won’t lie, it took weeks for this nasty episode to finally clear up properly (for the redness to finally subside). BUT I did start to see results in the first day or two from using the coconut oil.

Coconut oil is well known to also assist in improving many skin conditions like burns, eczema, dandruff, dermatitis and psoriasis. Many people use it as a daily moisturiser too. The fatty acids (caprylic and lauric) in coconut oil reduce inflammation and moisturise making them a great solution for all types of skin conditions. Coconut oil protects the skin and acts as a barrier to prevent further irritation. It also has many antioxidants that nourish the skin to make it ideal for healing. Additionally, the antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties balance out these pathogens that can cause many skin conditions. If you are interested in the medicinal properties of coconut oil, you can check out this well referenced article all about it!

In my research, I also made the decision not to continue to use Sudocrem anymore. The official website states that it contains the following ingredients (plus others):

  • hypoallergenic lanolin: helps soothe and soften irritated skin
  • zinc oxide: reduces the loss of tissue fluid
  • benzyl benzoate and benzyl cinnamate: ingredients of Balsam of Peru, recognised for its healing properties
  • benzyl alcohol: a weak local anaesthetic which eases pain and also acts as a disinfectant/antibacterial agent

Sounds good in theory but what had I been doing applying this so frequently to my baby’s skin? Now I felt bad that something I had been doing and thought was right, was in fact just putting chemicals on my child’s skin. I don’t put these products on my own skin so why on my child?

So coconut oil is all we have now to treat the skin conditions. And the best thing is not having to purchase yet another ‘baby’ product. I just use natural ingredients that I already have at home!

*Please note that this is purely my own experience with nappy rash. It is recommended that you should seek medical advice if the rash doesn’t improve in one to two weeks or if you have a concern before this that it may be something else.

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