Archive for the 'Family tips' Category

What is THAT? …My baby can get eczema?

Unfortunately, studies and records show that eczema, particularly in babies and children, is becoming a more common and widespread problem. The good news is that it’s not always a life-long affliction for kids (they often outgrow it by 5 years old), but it’s still painful and frustrating to treat as a parent (and no picnic for your wee one, either). Baby eczema


Many cases remain of undetermined origin, but there are some environmental and genetic variables that can play a part:

• Skin too dry (dehydrated or not enough natural oils, excessive sweating)
• Diet
• Exposure to physical allergens and irritants
• Plain old bad luck (genetics)


Recognizing it

In babies and young children, eczema shows up initially as red or swollen—sometimes pebbly or rough—skin, especially in skin folds that tend to stay damp: armpits, behind the knees, and in the groin area. Sometimes there are blisters or raised red bumps, and sometimes the scratching and dryness can get so bad the skin cracks and leaves open sores. Fussy, irritable babies with tender skin who dislike bath time might have a problem with eczema.



Treatment invariably depends on the cause, which is not always obvious. Please consult your pediatrician or a dermatologist in order to get direction on the proper course of treatment.Your doctor will evaluate your kiddo, and ask a lot of questions about his or her environment. Why? If your child’s skin reacts to the laundry detergent you use, resolving the issue could be as simple as switching brands or going to a “free and clear” version. Children’s skin often responds to diet changes as well; removing things like dairy, nuts or soy can improve eczema symptoms a surprising amount. There are lotions and creams, acupuncture and other homeopathic treatments, and even UV light treatments. Here are the biggies:

Filter your child’s bath water (I can personally attest that this does help, as I have adult eczema, and it helps me!)
Change laundry detergent, and dress your wee babe in 100% cotton clothing to allow the skin to breathe
• Perform an allergy test and identify possible contact or internal allergens (we’re looking at you, cow’s milk!)
• Remove certain Big Allergens from your kid’s diet (or stop eating them yourself, if you’re breastfeeding): cow’s milk, soy, nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, and wheat
• Try keep your baby in a warm (not hot!), dry environment to minimize sweating (sorry, fellow Texans, you will fail this one)
• Try OTC hydrocortisone cream (though I’m not a huge fan of chemicals)


Those are just some of the remedies available. There are a lot of them out there on the web, but please be careful when trying them out! Always test first on yourself, and if there’s no reaction, a small part of your baby (with something handy to wipe/remove the solution if it’s not well received).


Does your child have eczema? What have you found works to help alleviate the symptoms? Share in the comments!


What is THAT?…and why am I so itchy?

Oh, rashes. We’ve all encountered them in some form, mostly from an allergy or something we touch. Growing up on 10 acres of wooded land, I found myself adventuring outside to “explore” (usually poison ivy). I then got to explore the rash that would form on my skin, along with all the scratches I collected on my legs from stepping in briars, and all the itching that ensued. Rashes are a common skin condition that many children and adults experience and they are utterly annoying to deal with.

Rashes, also called dermatitis, are often caused by things that your skin touches (contact dermatitis) such as:

  • Chemicals in elastic, latex and rubberskin conditions
  • Cosmetics, soaps and detergents
  • Jewelry (like all women, I’m allergic to fake gold)
  • Dyes and other chemicals in clothing
  • Poison ivy and poison oak

Common symptoms include:

  • Red rash or bumps
  • Itching
  • Dry, red patches
  • Blisters and draining fluid in severe cases
  • Pain or tenderness

Irritant and allergic contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis fall into two categories: Irritant and allergic. Irritant contact dermatitis is more common and caused by repeated contact with a substance that – wait for it – irritates the skin! Bleach is a substance that can cause this after just one exposure, as it removes oil and protective barriers in the skin. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by a reaction to substances (allergens). The resulting rash, and sometimes blisters, is your body’s response to the allergen. It can take several years to develop
an allergy, which will then last for life.


Most the time you have to ride out the rash, which is the most annoying part of developing a rash. After taking antibiotics, I developed a rash that lasted for two weeks and the only remedy that significantly soothed my itching was olive oil. Olive oil has healing and renewal properties and helps restore moisture to the skin. The only thing more annoying than having to apply this on my skin is the craving of bread that followed. Other self-help remedies include:

  • Witch hazel
  • Oatmeal
  • Aloe Vera
  • Calendula Essential Oil
  • Baking Powder
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Chamomile
  • Jewelweed
  • Wild Pansy


Prolonged scratching may increase the intensity of the itch and lead to Neurodermatitis, so it’s best to keep your skin as moisturized as possible. The chlorine that is in your shower water can exacerbate itching, as it strips your skin of its natural moisture. Installing a shower filter that removes chlorine, as well as other contaminants, is one of the best things you can do for persistently itchy skin.

When to see a doctor

Some rashes may require a visit to your dermatologist or family doctor. See your doctor if:

  • You’re so uncomfortable that you’re losing sleep or daily routines are interrupted.
  • Your skin is painful
  • Your skin becomes infected
  • Self-care has failed
  • You feel the cause is job-related

Spray-on sunscreen versus lotion: which is better?

We all know we should use sunscreen to help ward off the harmful rays of the sun. Sometimes there are so many choices, however, that it’s hard to know where to start. At the most basic level, there are lotions (the old stand-by) and the newer sprays and spray lotions. Do they do the same job? Do they both give the same amount of coverage and protection? There are lots of articles out there that go into the science of the debate, which I (not being qualified to) will not do here. But people tend to have a great deal to say about which sunscreen they like better (just ask—there are some pretty big opinions out there!).

For your skin, lotion might be the better way to go. To me, the sprays tend to lose at least 75% of their liquid to every chance wind that gusts up right when you hit the button. But sprays undeniably go on faster. But what’s in them? Lots of chemicals and questionable ingredients that may provoke a negative reaction. Not that lotion is any better—it’s goopy and white and “takes FOR-EVER, MOM” and is hardly attractive. So after sifting through several blog posts and discussion posts on forums about the issue, I have boiled it down to the major pros and cons for each (as told by others).


Sunscreen lotion pros and cons

Sunscreen sprays pros and cons

So which is better? I’d say that whatever works for you and your family is the better choice. And there are, as I mentioned before, lots of studies and reviews to help you choose:

Environmental Working Group list of Best Sunscreens

Environmental Working Group sunscreen report

9 truths about sunscreen

And here’s a list of lotion-based, chemical and hormone-free sunscreens

In the end, whichever route you choose, there are a few rules of thumb when dealing with sun exposure:

  1. 1. Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure, to give the ingredients a chance to activate.
  2. 2. Cover every inch of exposed skin (I know lots of people who apply it naked before dressing, to avoid missing those little slices of skin at your clothing lines).
  3. 3. Reapply regularly (every 2-3 hours at most—more often if swimming or sweating profusely).

Other pro tips:

  • Cover with lotion in the morning, then reapply with spray during the day (because it’s quicker).
  • Remember to get the back of your neck, your ears, your hands and feet (even the soles, if you’re planning on lying on your tummy for any length of time), and very carefully under all the hems of your clothing.
  • If you begin to feel over hot, or if your skin turns a markedly different color when you press your finger into it, get into the shade for a little bit and drink some water!

As much as possible, wear protective clothing to block as much sun as you can: hats, shirts, and loose clothing.

Which do you prefer? Spray or lotion? We had the discussion in the office, and everyone has an opinion and a reason! What are yours??


What is THAT?

When most people think of dermatology, they probably think of beauty. No longer are dermatologists known for removing embarrassing warts or moles, but for chemical peels and Botox. They are the go-to person for making skin beautifully flawless. But dermatologists also engage clients to help them deal with some of the more unsightly dermal concerns: skin abnormalities, rashes and cysts, among other things.

My own first meeting with a dermatologist was over a cyst. Cysts are a common abnormality that often appear on the face and neck, but can appear anywhere on the body. They’re just plain ugly, and coming from personal experience, I can assure you that they’re embarrassing and made me feel self-conscience. I even had people ask if I had cancer!


What is a Cyst?

A cyst is a noncancerous, closed pocket of tissue that can form anywhere in the body and is common on the skin. Skin cysts develop due to an infection, clogging of sebaceous glands (also called oil glands), and may form around foreign bodies in the skin, like piercings. Certain factors increase the possibility of developing a cyst such as:

• Acne
• Gender
• Age (30s or 40s)
• Damaged hair follicles (skin abrasions or wounds)
• Trauma (skin is crushed or broken from an injury, such as hitting your finger with a hammer)
• Birth Defects

Common Skin Cysts at a Glance:

Cysts are usually noticeable and tend to be slow-growing, painless and can be rolled under the skin. Some of the most common types of skin cysts include:

Epidermoid cysts (which men are twice as likely to have): the most common type of skin cysts (this was the type I had) and are often mislabeled as sebaceous cysts, which are a rare type of cyst. Epidermoid cysts range in size from ¼ inch to 2 inches (Mine was about an inch).
Lipoma: a fatty lump that tends to grow slowly over time and is usually discovered accidentally.
Pilar cysts: form from hair follicles and commonly occur on the scalp.
Milia: tiny white bumps or small cysts on the skin. These cysts are common in newborns, which then are called Epstein’s pearls, and go away on their own.
• Pilmatrixoma: a slow-growing, hard mass found beneath the skin. Occurs most commonly on the face and neck and is seen mostly in children under 10.

Treatments Aquasana Shower Filter

The treatment of most cysts depends upon cause, size and location. Removal of the cyst is done at your doctor or dermatologist’s discretion, as some cysts can be drained or aspirated, or injected with a cortisone shot (My dermatologist gave me a cortisone shot, which resulted in an infection, so instead of a smallish size cyst, I had what looked like a goiter. I went back and it was drained – yuck! – and removed). Some cysts disappear on their own without treatment. Most people elect to have their cyst drained or removed for cosmetic reasons or to prevent further growth of the cyst. Pilmatrixoma cysts are removed surgically as an outpatient procedure.


Some skin cysts can be prevented by keeping your skin clean and avoiding skin irritation. Using a shower filter that filters out harsh chlorine to keep your skin soft and less dry may help reduce irritation. Use gentle, oil-free cleansers, wear soft, cotton clothing, and adjust anything that may rub against your skin.

Need a little less skin irritation in your life? Check out our shower filters to keep your skin soft and from drying out! Click here to receive half-off during July 2011!

What is dermatology?

As you may or may not be aware, dermatology is the field of medicine that focuses on the skin: skin diseases and disorders. This includes things as varied as hair removal and implantation, skin cancer treatment, skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis and (the most unfair of plagues) acne, to plastic surgery like liposuction and face lifts.

And just how, you might ask, is dermatology related to water and water filtration?

For hair removal issues, plastic surgery and cancer, water is important for all the usual health reasons, but has little impact aside from that. Where water becomes an essential component of dermatology issues are in the areas of skin health and skin disorders. Proper hydration is often the heart and soul of health in general, but it particularly affects the skin. Lack of adequate hydration can exacerbate (or cause) rashes, eczema, allergic reactions and other topical ailments.

Along the same lines, the water you wash with can affect the quality and vitality of your skin in surprising ways. City water contains a whole raft of contaminants in varying concentrations, some of which have been shown to be harmful to your skin. Chlorine in particular is cause for concern. We all know how it feels when you get out of a chlorinated pool: the itchy, dry, tight feeling plagues you until you can rinse off with less chlorinated water. But there’s chlorine in your shower water, too, if in lesser amounts, and it’s still not good for you.

Dermatology and you

For the next several weeks, be on the lookout for blog posts, Facebook and Twitter activities, and general buzz on and our other community channels that relate to dermatology and skin issues. The subject is near and dear to our hearts, and we have undertaken a mission to shed light on various dermatology topics. With that in mind, we’ve found some really excellent resources about dermatology and skin conditions out there on the net:

Related, interesting sites on dermatology…

American Academy of Dermatology
National Eczema Association
Kids Skin Health

Oh, say can you see all the activities?

The Fourth of July brings on a lot of planning for any family—which festival to go to, what recipes would everyone enjoy, what games would the kids enjoy—or, if you have yet to start a family, where’s the best happy hour? Even with all the decisions to be made, The Fourth always ends with the flash and bang of fireworks, unless you’re in the middle of a drought, of course. In that case, what in the world are you going to do? When planning a whole day of activities, it’s helpful to consider several ideas and choose which best fits your family.

Aquasana Holiday Tips1) Food for The Fourth! Holiday recipes are always a fun idea and great to get kids involved. A hot day always deserves cold food so think fruit! Strawberries are always a tasty, healthy treat and simple to make festive for this holiday. Grab a bag of white chocolate chips, melt them down and then have the kids dip the strawberries one-by-one into the chocolate then top them off with blue sugar crystals, allow the chocolate to harden, and Voila! Instant edible patriotism! Wash it down with a red, white and blue drink, which is equally simple to make. Fill a glass with ice then add cranberry juice first, then a wild berry flavored sports drink and lastly, diet 7-up or Sprite. Make sure to pour each flavor over the ice so not mix the colors and always put the drink with the most sugar first.

2) Home for the Holidays. If you’re throwing a Fourth of July party at home, it’s always a great idea to have activities lined up for the kiddos. Since they’ll be outside most of the day, anything that causes a mess is a winner. Buy a finger paint paper roll, which can be found at crafts or school supply stores, roll it out in the driveway and have the kids paint what they think symbols patriotism and Independence Day. If you’re not crazy about paint, classic sidewalk chalk is always fun for little ones.

3) Firecracker, Firecracker, Boom, Boom, Boom! Most communities host Fourth of July festivals. A couple ways to find out which local festival best fits your family, visit the city’s website or browse your local newspaper for a schedule of events. Most festivals offer live entertainment, kid friendly activities and contests, and, of course, fireworks. If fireworks are out of the question this year due to lack of rain, alternative ideas are to watch a laser show, bring a blanket to watch a movie at a park or if you don’t want to deal with the traffic, light sparklers in the yard for the kids to enjoy then gather in front of the television with the lights turned off and watch the numerous fireworks shows across the country together.

Whatever your plans are this holiday always have safety at the top of your list!

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July from everyone at Aquasana!

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