E1 has really bad eczema, inherited from his daddy. Two weeks ago it got so bad that he scratched a gaping hole behind his knees and left a trail of blood all over the pillows. That, coupled with a neverending runny nose, was the straw that made me bring him to a private paediatrician.
Eczema sufferers know how annoying the itch is and how dry the skin gets. E1's entire neck was like sandpaper and was troubling his sleep. It was heartbreaking and tiring.
The paed took one look at him and said yup, it's bad. So he was prescribed adult-strength topical steroids and Physiogel AI Cream. Apply 3 times a day, alternating with the steroid cream when it's bad. Well I don't have a picture of his skin at its worst, but this is him when it recurred 2 days ago:
Reddish, slightly scaly. And after 1.5 days with Physiogel:
Voila! Good as new! Amazeballs!
The cream itself is white with a medium consistency but easily spread. Kinda like frosting buttercream. There's a hint of a smell that I can only describe like a greasy cookie, though it doesn't linger for long. Once spread, there's a very thin film left on the skin that's not quite oily, not quite waxy.
Of course I'd seen this AI (stands for anti-inflammatory) cream in pharmacies before, I just never had the need to buy it. Why does it work so well?
This is the ingredient list taken from the website (E1 had already gotten to the box and squashed the life out of it):
Aqua, olea europaea, glycerine, pentylene glycol, palm glycerides, olus, hydrogenated lecithin, palmitamide mea, squalane, betaine, palmitamide MEA, sarcosine, acetamide MEA, hydroxyethyl-cellulose, sodium carbomer, carbomer, xanthan gum
Wait, what? But that's just olive oil! Amongst other things.
So now I'm not so surprised, as I'd been inducted to the world of natural skincare and am a believer of the power of using oils on the skin. My own skin is kept hydrated and alive using facial oils (I'll tell you what brand hmm maybe in future) and it's never been better. After all, it is standard care in the hospital I have just left to ensure that burns patients, and those with skin grafts, use olive oil regularly to promote skin healing.
I went back and dug through all the other creams that we had put on E1 - Cetaphil, QV, Mustela Stelatopia, no-brand aqueous cream, paraffin - and sure enough the only oils I found were mineral oil and sweet almond oil. I don't have anything against mineral oil, I just think there are better oils out there. The other organic lotions (Gaia and Four Cow Farm) had plenty of good oils, but none as hydrating as olive oil and were too thin in consistency imo.
Which brings me to my next point- this cream is really expensive. Our 50ml tube costs a whopping $35. After using it for 2 weeks, it's difficult to get anything out in just one squeeze.
Would I buy this again? Maybe, as a backup. But since I have so many creams left, I have a good mind to just mix in some good ol' olive oil into them. AND I have an itch to try another organic product which is formulated for eczematous skin.
Verdict: 50% Rave
The crazy price is quite off-putting.
Physiogel AI Cream is available at selected pharmacies, $35-38 for a 50ml tube.
Apparently this cream is marketed in Australia as Calming Relief Cream and costs a grand total of 8.99AUD. That's 1/3 the price here! But it is also apparently not as thick, although the ingredient list appears similar.
Also, I failed to mention that "Using innovative high-tech methods, a unique Derma Membrane Structure (DMS) and N-Palmitoylethanolamine (PEA) base of PHYSIOGEL™ AI Cream is obtained". Yada Yada. Sounds very man-made. So unless I've exhausted all other options, I'll keep searching for something more naturally-derived.