Monday, August 24, 2009


I am concerned that what I am about to ask is going to make me sound like a racist a**hole.

That is entirely NOT my intention. I am seriously concerned about something and I need some assistance. Please help Internets!!

(But I apologize in advance if what I am about to ask makes me a douchewaffle. (And in fact, if you feel I am being a racist in the asking, please tell me, cause I really, really don't mean to be.))


I need help with Lana's skin.

Her skin is so unlike my skin. I'm afraid I'm really screwing it up.

The skin on her arms and legs gets quite dry, but we are keeping it soft and smooth with Eucerin or St. Ives Intensive Healing lotion several times a week.

But her FACE! Her poor face...I know I'm doing something wrong and the situation seems to be getting worse.

She has two extremely dry spots on her cheeks, and it's getting to the point that the skin on her cheeks looks several shades lighter than the skin on the rest of her face.

For a while I was putting my moisturizing lotion on her face, but she complained that it stung and it wasn't helping. So, I've been alternating putting BioOil and Vitamin E Oil on her face every day, and while it looks slightly better with this treatment, it still looks dry and the texture of her cheeks is...I don't know how to describe it - it's not bumpy, but it doesn't feel like healthy skin, it doesn't feel like the skin on the rest of her face.

Is there something I can get that is specifically made for Asian skin?

Please help! She does swim nearly every day, often for hours at a time. We put sunscreen all over her, and I'm wondering if the sunscreen is making things worse. Or the chlorine. Or a combination. I don't know.



Blogger StorkWatcher said...

I don't have experience with Asian skin, but my son has mild eczema, which can cause patches (often on face, in crooks like inside of elbows, behind knees, between fingers) that are discolored and dry.

There are 101 tried methods out there, shared by many moms to me.

What works for us:
I try not to bathe him daily in the winter, but it seems more often is better than less (although for some people, the opposite is true).

I use Aveeno products somewhat, Dove sensitive bar soap, and Aveeno baby sunblock.

Eczema can be an allergy related thing, or simply eczema - senstitive skin.

My ped recommends either Eucerin cream (we have one compounded at the pharmacy with a prescribed topical med - that's all that really helps the big patches) or Aquaphor.

One of my biracial nieces gets lighter toned skin patches some times - my sis was very worried that it was caused by some strange pigmentation disease, but the doc said hers is some sort of fungal? thing, so she had a prescribed ointment for it.

I'll be interested to read comments from others to see if this might be something many Asian people deal with.

I don't think this sounds rascist, by the way. My family has had to ask a lot of questions when dealing with my nieces' African and African-American hair and skin... We're just trying to learn!

Monday, August 24, 2009 3:40:00 PM  
Blogger NeuroMama said...

Not racist at all, just a concerned mom. My (dark-skinned Chinese)daughter had something that sounds very similar happen last summer. She had sort of white, patchy areas on her face. They felt almost like very fine sandpaper. They were sometimes itchy, but not always. Her pediatrician thought it was something fungal and prescribed a cream for it. It didn't help, so we went to a dermatologist. He said it was eczema and told us to put petroleum jelly on the patches 2-3 times per day. He also said to use a cream like neosporin twice a day until it cleared up. It was gone in a week, but if I take even a day or two off of the petroleum jelly (which I hate using because it's so goopy), the patches come back. Hope this helps.

Mom to Sunnee, Ryleigh, and Grayson (all adopted from China)

Monday, August 24, 2009 3:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ethan gets the exact same thing on his face. We finally found something that works. We use Eucerin calming cream, it's the only thing that does not burn. All my VN kiddos are dry skinned especially my big boys.

Monday, August 24, 2009 3:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Delurker here.

Check in with:

Adoptive mom of Southeast Asian boys who happens to be a doctor in a dermatological "something other". She posts a bunch about the issues that her sons have with skin and her studies.


Monday, August 24, 2009 4:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zoe has eczema too. We use Cortisone on the dry spots and then either Aveno or a Mustela product called Stelatopia (I can only find it online or at Babies R Us). Our doctor gave us a prescription strength cortisone to use when it's really bad.

If you can't control it with over the counter treatments, I think it would be worth consulting a dermatologist.

Monday, August 24, 2009 5:08:00 PM  
Blogger j'lynn said...

My son has very very pale skin and this sounds like his Eczema when it flares up. I would take her to the doctor/dermatologist to see what they recommend and then people here have offered some really great ideas too!

BTW, you did not sound racist at all in asking this! You just sounded like a mom who doesn't claim to know everything, especially about unfamiliar skin types.

Good Luck!

Monday, August 24, 2009 6:19:00 PM  
Blogger thecurryseven said...

This sounds like my boys' skin in winter when it's really dry. I wonder if the chlorine in the pool is the cause for the dry skin in summer. For TM and K, I use's gross but it works.

I used to think I had ruined their skin, when I would compare what they looked like in winter with pictures from when they were in VN.

We haven't had to deal with eczema here, thankfully, but have had various girls complaine that some things some Baby Bee products.

I'm just realizing how rambling this is...oh well, I'm hitting publish anyway.


Monday, August 24, 2009 7:43:00 PM  
Anonymous N said...

My son's pediatrician told us to use a hydrocortisone ointment on eczema, as the regular hydrocortisone creams are drying to the skin. I could not find an over-the-counter generic ointment, but Cortizone makes one.

Monday, August 24, 2009 8:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone already beat me to it, I was going to say it sounds like the eczema that my older son A used to get. Also Zeeb gets extremely dry lips and the area around his lips gets just plain gross - like blistery almost. I use vaseline, or if it's really bad, neosporin and that helps a lot.
And no, you didn't sound a tiny bit racist.

Monday, August 24, 2009 8:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Aquaphor, its gentle & very hydrating. My dermatologist swears by it

Monday, August 24, 2009 9:37:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

Bag. Balm.

Its sold in the sewing section of your local wallyworld type store...i think it was actually intended for use on cow utters or something grody but it works on just about every skin problem. i swear.

just roll some on with a qtip (the bacteria from your fingers is best avoided) everynight...and viola!

Monday, August 24, 2009 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Wild Wendi said...

Thanks for posing the question...I've been searching the internet for tips on how to care for An's hair and skin. She hasn't had any spots on her face but from what's been described in the rest of the comments, I'd say she has mild eczema. She itches all the time. I asked the doctor about it right after we got home and he said cetaphil or eucerin and "only bathe her when she stinks". It's really, really (and I mean really) dry in Idaho so we've put that to practice and sometimes we wonder to ourselves whether she had a bath in the past week.

Monday, August 24, 2009 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

That's not racist at all! My guess is that it's not an Asian thing at all, but could be the daily exposure to water and sun. The sunscreen you're using could definitely be causing a weird reaction, too. I know my facial skin is really funny about certain sunscreens. I also have eczema, which was mentioned by someone else. Have you ever heard of Paula's Choice skin care? I switched to that brand of skin care products a couple years ago, and my skin problems (of which there are many) have improved a lot. They can also be used on kids. I also like a lotion called "Vanicream" for eczema and dry skin patches.

As far as the areas on her face being lighter, I'm sure that's because of the constant irritation, BUT- there is also a fungal infection (which I see has already been mentioned) that can cause that, too- which, of course, will require meds from the Dr. That's probably not her problem, but I'm just throwing it out there as something you may want to think about.

And may I just say thank you for my new favorite term "douchewaffle?"

Monday, August 24, 2009 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Trying Traditional said...

If you are wanting an all-natural approach we have done coconut oil for the one of the twins with great sucess. You want virgin coconut oil. It melts quickly when in contact with skin or in a room that is not cold and feels very good on the skin. It has natural anti-bodies that seemed to take care of her similar issue in the diaper area.

Monday, August 24, 2009 11:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

If it is eczema, we've found that different things work for different kids (because all of our kids get it to one degree or another, but the oldest two get it the worst, and they always had to use different lotions). However, that being said, one thing I've found that works for ALL of my kids is Arbonne NutriMin C Refinish Hydrating Body Lotion.

Ummm . . . and how was your question even remotely racist? Seriously, if anybody is going to get their undies in a bunch because you recognize *and* acknowledge that your daughter's skin is different from yours, well, they need to get over it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

California Baby Calendula Cream

Caroline has the exact same thing, rough dry patches on her cheek and chin that left a light discoloration when it cleared up. I do think it was brought on by using sunscreen.

I used a tiny bit of Noxema on her cheeks for a few nights and it cleared up quickly. Now I wash her face with Cetaphil every night, then use a small amount of the Calendula cream and it has made a huge difference.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 9:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Lina said...

I don't see how that could be taken as a racist question at all. My daughter has the same issues with her skin. By the end of the summer she used to look like she had that disease where the pigment in the skin is lost.

What worked for us is to use Cetephil on her face twice per day and to use only Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen. This year is much better than it ever has been before (she's 9 years old now).

Cetephil is expensive - it's the tub that works (around $11-$13 each). You could try Curel too. That is what I used on my son's skin (he also has issues).


Tuesday, August 25, 2009 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter is allergic (but she gets a rough red rash) to all sunscreens except

Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen

Even with that she is still a bit sensitive so I tend to skip the sunscreen unless we are at the beach for 10 hr stretches. She has very tan skin to start with so she does not seem to need it as much as her oh so white and Irish skinned mom.

For the white spots our Dr said cortisone.

She has very dark skin and bug bites will make big blotches dark & light that take forever to go.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicki said...

I will try to keep this brief. It is not racist and in fact some VN people's skin does need different care from what our midwestern skin needs. Case and point (and not the solution that will work for you but still...) my 14 yo suffered from eczema his entire life...until we moved to Houston (whose climate closely resembles VN). Similarly Addison had perfect skin in VN, in MI she got HORRIBLE eczema on her face and body and has not had any since we moved to Houston. My boys also suffer from other skin ailments that are related to being VN (and relieved by living here).

Anyway the one thing I did that helped more than anything was a "soak and seal" bath. It can be hard to "soak" the face area but you can do it with a washcloth for 20 minutes and then do not dry it - seal it with vaseline or another moisture sealing product. Google soak and seal baths to get more ideas (it's been almost 3 years!!). Also while I'm really opposed to cortisone on a regular basis, zapping the spots to get them under control and then carefully keeping the area moisturized can be SO helpful.

Finally it definitely could be the sunscreen or the chlorine. Both gave some of my kids eczema. They are, in generally, sensitive kids who also can't handle other synthetic products like perfumes and deodorizers in detergent, dryer sheets, soaps, etc. If you don't already, make sure you have Lana bathe after every time in the pool and use a good chlorine-releasing soap (they sell these specialized for swimmers) every time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 4:04:00 PM  
Blogger Melissia said...

Just a suggestion, do not use cortisone cream on the face without doctor's supervision as it can cause a rebound skin infection that is almost impossible to get rid of called periorbital dermatitis and cortisone applied to the skin of the face can cause thinning of the face in the persons 30s. Your best bet is to take her to a dermatologist and have those areas of her skin examined under a black light ( for some types of fungus, the area scraped and examined under a microscope and the appropriate creams or medications given.
Your question was not racist at all, simply the questions of a loving concerned mother, looking for answers about an area in which she is not familiar.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 6:06:00 PM  
Blogger My Franks said...

The 20 or so comments have probably solved your crisis- but what is one more!
Our daughter is Vietnamese and has had very itchy dry skin even before we brought her to a much dryer climate. Our doctor has told us that she has a mild case of eczema. Her trouble spots are her cheeks. They become red and inflamed, then get very dry and sometimes even small scabs form as her face heels, followed by the white blotches you described and then new smooth brown skin. We were able to keep on top of her dry, itchy, skin by applying lotion to her body after bathing. We put Eucerine or Baby Eczema cream by Gentle Naturals on her cheeks at night and more often when she has a flare up. (which she doesn't if we keep up with the lotion regiment!) These lotions do not burn her cheeks- even when the are raw and forming scabs.
Her trouble spot used to be her scalp. I used to feel very self conscious as a new parent toting my daughter around with slick shiny hair that looked like I had not washed it in months because I had slathered her head in lotion!
Good luck and no worries- I don't think you have ruined her skin!

Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:00:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

If wanting to learn and educate yourself so you can care for your child who is of a different race makes you racist, well, then, I don't even know what to say! I've sought out so much info for Molley's skin and hair care that I'd be one horrible person. :) Everyone else had great advice. It really does sound like eczema. We deal with Matty's with Eucerin, unless it's really bad, then we use rx steroids and Vaseline. It always works and the spots clear up very quickly. If you can't figure it out with OTC products, I'd recommend an appt with a dermatologist for the rx. I HATE using steroid creams on Matty, but unless things are really out of control, one or two uses clears everything up enough that maintenance with Eucerin is enough. Good luck!

Friday, August 28, 2009 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Melissia says, the regular cortisone creams are not recommended for facial areas. If the eczema persists, it's best to consult the doctor.

I'm of Asian descent and had severe eczema as a child. Luckily I've outgrown the worst of it. The best facial cream I've found is Webber Vitamin E skin cream, it's not greasy and doesn't dry out the skin. Link :

Hope Lana finds some relief soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corrected link for the above post -
Webber vitamin E skin cream

I've used it for quite a few years now, just as face cream. For hands & body I like the St. Ivess or Jergens.

All the best.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Browns said...

I'm half vietnamese and my brother and I (and even my 1/4 Vietnamese sons) get those pale, bleachy, itchy spots on our faces too. All the comments and suggestions you've gotten pretty much sum up the whole of all the various treatments I've tried over the past 30+ years. The best thing I've found is keeping my skin super hydrated. I use vaseline on my face daily and it's the best treatment I know of. I hope that helps.

And ps - that's not a racist question at all. We're all different and acknowledging and being aware of those differences doesn't make you racists - just observant, and a really good mom.

Monday, August 31, 2009 8:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our daughter also had bad eczema when she first came home from Vietnam. I don't know if what your daughter has is eczema, it may be worth seeing her physician to see what they think it is.

But if it is eczema, I think people have listed some great ideas, i got some of the same suggestions when we were dealing with it. But I found that products that worked for others didn't work for our daughter, so if one product doesn't work, just keep trying because each person's skin must be different. I tried Eucerine, Aveeno, etc. and those didn't work. What finally worked for us was to bath with Dove Sensitive Skin soap or Cethaphil Gentle Cleanser and to use Cetaphil lotion every day.

Initially we did work with our pediatrician and they gave us cortizone for 2 weeks and after that all I have been using is the Cethaphil and her skin is perfect. I have, however, noticed that she is sensitive to sun screens and clorine in pools so you may need to rinse her off right away and then use the lotions. We've used the Cetaphil spf 15 sunscreen and also the coopertone oil free, hypoallergenic, fragrance free sunscreen spf 45 with good results. But sunscreen and heat was definitely a trigger for her eczema.

Hope this helps, I didn't see that anyone else mentioned the Cetaphil products so I thought I'd let you know about those.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009 3:33:00 AM  
Blogger Cavatica said...

Our daughter, from China, does great with Butt Paste for eczema on her face. Yup, on her face. Fantastic stuff! Seems it is wonderful for both sets of cheeks!

Sunday, October 11, 2009 12:56:00 PM  

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