News & Fact Sheets

News & articles

Should peanut butter be rubbed onto the skin before giving it orally?

by Anne Halbert

The answer is a definite NO! Rubbing foods onto the skin CAN CAUSE allergy. When introducing a new food, it should be given in small quantities orally.

Should petroleum based products be avoided?

by Anne Halbert

Vaseline, also known as petroleum jelly, is one of the most studied topical preparations available. Studies consistently show it is safe, does not cause allergies and helps hydrate and protect the skin. It is not absorbed into the body.

Preventing Eczema in Babies

by Anne Halbert

Pregnant women often ask what they can do to help prevent their baby developing atopic eczema and allergies. Studies have shown the following;

Excluding dairy, wheat and peanuts during pregnancy is associated with an INCREASED incidence of eczema and allergies.

If possible and safe, a vaginal delivery is preferable to caesarian section, helping the establishment of a normal gut microbiome.

Breast feeding is preferable to formula feeding.

Probiotics in pregnancy and early infancy may be associated with a slight reduction in atopic diseases (not enough to be routinely recommended)

Most important: Good moisturising in early infancy – can reduce the risk of eczema by up to 50%

Propranolol and infantile haemangiomas

by Anne Halbert

Since the first reports of propranolol being used to treat infantile haemangiomas in 2008, over 40 studies have now been published. In Pediatric Dermatology 2013;30:182, authors Marqueling et al reviewed 41 studies with 1264 patients. The response rate was noted to be 98% overall, far superior to previous treatment with corticosteroids. The most common side effects were sleep changes (11%), bluish hands and feet (5%), gastrointestinal upset with diarrhoea or reflux (3.4%) and respiratory symptoms such as wheezing (2.9%). Serious side effects were very rare and included symptomatic low blood pressure (5 patients), reduced heart rate (1 patient) and low blood sugar (4 patients).

This review confirms there is strong evidence for the good efficacy of propranolol, with side effects generally being mild and manageable.

Massaging babies with oils

by Anne Halbert

We are often asked if it is alright to massage babies with oil. Over the last few years we have discouraged using nut based oils such as almond oil or peanut oil, in case the baby becomes sensitized to the nuts through the skin. In a recent study published in Paed Dermatol 2013;30:42-50, it was shown that olive oil actually harms the skin barrier and can cause irritation. In contrast, sunflower seed oil improved skin hydration and did not cause irritation, making it a better choice for baby massage. Coconut oil is also fine to use.

Father and Daughter with Giraffe Image