We recently hosted a Live Q & A with Debs from Medica NZ. Debs is a pharmacist with over 10 years experience, who has developed a unique research driven range to support parents of children with eczema after her own child suffered from this. You can watch the replay below on IGTV, or read on for key highlights.
You can watch the Live Replay on Instagram here:
What do you love about what you do?
Debs loves the process of making, learning, and working with people. In particular supporting mums in their journey to support their babies with eczema. Seeing changes and improvements in people's skin, and their improved quality of life, is what she lives for. In our live she shared numerous stories of people she has helped, and you can just feel her passion and care for her patients.
What are the best ingredients for eczema?
The key thing is that ingredients need to be safe on broken skin. These are some of Debs favourite ingredients, used in her products:
Sunflower oil- This is a good emollient. In third world countries, it's used to help prevent de-hydration in newborn babies as it's effective at keeping moisture inside the skin. It is no surprise that the sunflower features heavily in Medica's marketing materials.
Kawakawa- A natural anti-inflammatory and very soothing.
Beeswax- This creates a breathable barrier and is a skin barrier supporter.
These are all ingredients that Debs has tested and researched into. In our conversation she discusses the iterative process behind this, and the feedback she's had from friends, family, customers, and eczema nurses.
What are the ingredients to look out for when suffering from an eczema flare up?
Olive oil- This ultimately will dry out the skin. It is particularly bad for sensitive skin, as it strips the skin.
Goat's milk- For people who have eczema, goat's milk as an ingredient in soaps and skincare, can be unhelpful during a flare up as it may "feed" any bacteria in open wounds or scratches due to the protein content.
Debs mentioned that, with her son, she double doses him with kawakawa balm when he is going to eat something that they have discovered causes flare ups for his eczema. This helps them better manage any flare ups.
To fully understand your child's eczema triggers, it may be worth asking your doctor for a referral to an eczema nurse.
What can you use for body wash when your child has eczema?
Debs recommended using colloidal oats. Colloidal oats are milled to a size where it forms a good barrier, trapping water molecules to help hydrate the skin. Additionally, it contains natural soap compounds, so is also a gentle cleaner.
If your baby has cradle cap or a scaly scalp, massaging a paste of colloidal oats into your baby's head and then washing this off, can be really good alternative to soaps and shampoos.
What other environmental factors can assist healing - sleep, food, etc?
For sleep, Debs recommended dressing your child in silk or soft bamboo mittens, and putting a cotton layer between their skin and any merino. Stick to natural fibres, and try to support them as much as you can so they can sleep without scratching.
Food doesn't cause eczema but can trigger it. To learn your child's triggers you'll need to work with your doctor or eczema nurse. Debs double doses her child with kawakawa balm prior to him eating anything which is a known trigger to help them better manage any reactions.
Zinc barrier balm can also help. This can be used for instance, on skin prior to swimming, on hands after sanitising or washing, or around the mouth if baby has a dribble rash or has eaten foods they are sensitive to.
What products do you make for mums?
Debs has been developing a gift set for new mums, which contains:
- A wonderful nipple balm, containing sunflower oil which helps build skin cells, jojoba which is similar to the body's own oils, and lanolin which is frequently recommended for cracked nipples.
- A clary sage candle to support the production of oxytocin during labour, which assists with pain management and helps progress (but will not start) labour.
- Gel for cooling post partum pads to soothe down there.
- A sids bath with chamomile.
- And lipbalm to hydrate lips.
This is going to make a wonderful baby shower gift or hospital prep kit.
In addition, Debs developed the Kāpiti Balm which is a nourishing balm for sketching skin, to help reduce the possibility of scarring.
Where can I buy Medica products?
Medica products are available at Baby Box and for a limited time we also have samples in store for locals to test, including samples of the new nipple balm.