Pros: It works GREAT! Better than anything we've tried short of steroid creams.
Cons: Tub too susceptible to breakage.
My son, the three-year-old nicknamed "Boo," has suffered from eczema, arguably, since he was born. It first manifested as spates of uncontrollable diaper rashes and scaly skin behind his ears. Within a short period of time it turned into scratching that in its worst phases kept him up all night. The traditional baby lotions, in addition to smelling more or less pleasant, just didn't cut it. Certain steroid creams worked wonders, but it's ill-advised at best to use steroids for long periods, and some which we have been prescribed have recently been linked to cancer. There had to be a way...
About a year ago, our doctor recommended using Aquaphilic after showers and twice daily. I was dubious. After all, why should it work when nothing else did? However, we were desperate, and so I resolved to slather said cream all over the Boo morning and night for a period of a week. When it failed, I would return to the doctor armed with hard data about how his most recent fix didn't work, and he could get down to prescribing something that actually would. I've been through lots of over-the-counter remedies at the doctor's behest, and none work. I'm convinced it's just a stalling tactic while the patient heals by the workings of Mother Nature.
What is Aquaphilic?
Aquaphilic is a white cream or ointment which is a bit heavy when first applied to the skin. It takes a while to really "soak in," and if applied carelessly or too lavishly, can easily rub off on clothing or furniture leaving a white residue which resists removal short of all out washing. Be warned if you're applying it to a squirming child.
Its ingredients are available on the website and easily located on the package, but for those who prefer all their information in one spot, I'll go ahead and list it:
Water, Stearyl Alcohol, White Petrolatum, Urea, Propylene Glycol, Sorbiol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lactic Acid, Methylparaben and Propylparaben.
It is available with or without 10% Carbamide, the presence of which Aquaphilic recommends for eczema sufferers. We've tried both, and I can't really say I see a profound difference, but since I've had enough nights up with a scratching Boo to last two lifetimes, I'm partial to the Carbamide formula.
At all the drugstores I've used, they keep the stuff locked behind the counter. You need only ask, though, and they'll cheerfully produce a vat for you.
Enough already, how did it WORK?
I am thrilled to report that my initial skepticism was proved wrong. The first application had no effect other than to cause Boo to scream and howl as if he were being boiled in oil. No, that wasn't Aquaphilic's fault, he just didn't like the injustice of being held down and greased like a pig. He scratched and scratched all night. I prepared my presentation for the doctor, which gave me something to do all night since I wasn't sleeping anyway. The second day's applications went much the same, but that evening I fancied he might have scratched less. Still, I was sure it was the placebo effect, and vowed to maintain my vigilance. The third day, something amazing happened: he stopped scratching. By the fourth day, the scratch marks which had covered his stomach, buttocks, thighs and calves had vanished.
We have been scratch-mark-free for 6 months now. We occasionally miss a single night, and it doesn't seem to matter, but if we miss two in a row, a sleepless night is in my future. No "cures of Mother Nature" happened, he still has eczema, and he still scratches himself silly whenever we are too lax with the Aquaphilic. In 6 months we've had several occasions to test the efficacy (read: we forgot), and our results have been repeatedly confirmed. The product has no offensive ingredients, is completely safe, and is odor-free.
Now, if he were an adult, I could then report to you that he saw the value of the cream, and so ended his protestations. He's not an adult. He screamed nightly (as we were eventually able to reduce the applications to once daily except during particularly bad outbreaks) for at least the next 6 months. I can't say that was pleasant, but it beat the heck out of keeping himself (and me) awake scratching all night.
A complaint about packaging
Ok, it's minor, and it's not entirely Aquaphilic's fault. The stuff comes in a 1 pound tub which lasts us, I would guess, about 4 months. Great, right? No. You see, the tub is rather easily broken when a child in the midst of a screaming fit bumps it onto the floor, or just grabs it to play with and runs a truck over it. Don't ask why a child would do that, or why a mother would let it happen, lets just pretend that I'm speaking hypothetically on this point. Yes, that's it. I'm speaking hypothetically.
So when the hypothetical child, who isn't Boo, breaks the container, the airtight seal is broken. It doesn't actually escape the container, but air gets in. When that happens, the stuff dries out, and eventually turns into a pastier, much harder to apply substance. Strangely, it still works as long as you don't mind letting it sort of melt and warm in your hands for a bit first, and it takes longer to apply to the screaming child.
A squeezable tube or a non-breakable form of plastic would be a MUCH better packaging alternative. We've had 2 of the last 3 containers end up broken, which is a pain. We've saved the survivor for transfusions from future broken tubs, and if hypothetical children at your house might somehow hypothetically get yours, you might want do do likewise. Hypothetically.
The Final Word
For dry skin or eczema, I can not recommend it strongly enough. Try it, every once in a while there really IS a miracle cure.