When Jackson turned 4 weeks old (on the dot) we started to notice the baby acne starting to appear on his face. My mother had warned me about this stage that several infants experience between 1-2 months fo life, where their skin starts to break out a little. So I was prepared. But when I saw the extend at which his skin was irritated, I was quite concerned. It started to spread up and on top of his head, down his chin onto his chest and down his upper back. A young 6 week old can't tell you that his skin bother him, and I didn't believe the nurses when they would tell me "Don't worry, it doesn't bother him." Oh really? So you're telling me that when your face pimples up and dry out to where it feels like leather to the touch - it doesn't bother you?
Needless to say, his baby acne lasted twice as long as any other child's I know and twice as severe as I had ever seen in an infant. This was also the time when Jax started to lose his baby hair. He literally had male pattern baldness, because he only had hair on sides and back.
Once the facial/upper chest and back acne went away - in raged eczema. He was another angry resident that forced us to use 2.5% Hydrocortisone all over Jackson's body. His outer upper arms and thighs had it the worst. It would also develop heavily in his creases. We catched the eczema around his body all winter and spring.
Then we had three beautiful months of wonderful skin that required no attention at all. Not even lotion!
About 4 weeks ago, Paul and I started to notice these tiny pimples on his lower back. There were seven of them grouped together. We just kept on eye on them. After about 2 weeks, they weren't being absorbed back into his body - so Paul scratched them open. Didn't bother Jax at all. But they weren't exactly pimples because what was inside - was actually a harden crystallized white material. They started to scab over and we thought we helped the matter.
Within a week - they were back - with a vengeance. Before we knew it they had multiplied. These tiny little pimples spread up his back and had started to creep over the top of his shoulders. They didn't seem to be rooted deep in the skin, because I could see that white material right underneath the top few layers of skin. At this point, I called the pediatrician to have her looked at it.
We had already been to the allergist four days prior for a skin test that confirmed Jax's highly sensitive allergy to eggs. The allergist had made a comment about the poxes, being something that he referred to as "dimple on a pimple". He called it by it's technical term, which I didn't catch.
Anyways, now we're at the ped's office who takes a look at him and think it's Molluscum. She said it was a wart like virus that will eventually go away on it's own. She recommended using Tea Tree Oil as a spot treatment to help cleanse and dry out the pox. She said it might help them go away, but there was no cure for it. ... lovely! We had our 12 mos well visit scheduled in two from there, so dr. just said we'll assess his skin then too.
I started doing my own research about Molluscum. The first thing I find out is the full name for the virus is Molluscum Contagiosum. Contagiosum?!? Are you kidding? Might as well call it "Don't Touch It - Or You'll Get It TOO!"
- common in children due to under developed immune systems
- will eventually go away untreated, will take 6-18 months. Can take longer for individuals who suffer from eczema. GREAT!
- is contagious through sharing of clothes/wash clothes etc.
- rubbing, scratching, breaking open of pox will cause spreading
- can be reoccuring
- pox usually do not cause pain, however healing may cause itchiness which can lead to spreading if scratched
Well, after 5 days - they had multiplied again. We're talking at least 50 pox. Now they were extending down his tummy. The Tea Tree Oil was doing NOTHING except severly drying out his entire body. My fear - his face. These wart/pox things going on his face would be very hard to deal with, on many levels.
I called for a referral to see a dermatologist. I took him in and the derm confirmed that was this condition. It is a variation from the pox virus family. There is no containing it. There is no way to prevent it from coming back. There is no way to get rid of it promptly. He had prescribed Retin A Micro .04%. It's a milder form of Retin A (but still very potent). This is normally given for acne treatments, but has shown to help Molluscum as well. When used as a spot treatment, sparingly and cautiously, it will dry out the skin - push the dead skin cells to the surface and help to heal the "imperfections". I was instructed to use it for 7 days - spot it on his pox with a q-tip at night, leave on for 20 mins and wash off. After the 7 days - leave it on all night long and wash off in the morning. The derm said it will get red, so be prepared for that. What he should have said was "you'll know it's working because at first - it's going to look A LOT WORSE".
This is what my son's skin looked like after using it for three days. Again, this was only on for 20 mins each of those three night. If you can see the tiny bumps, that's the Molluscum. (You should be able to click on the photo to enlarge it). But the red peeling patches are from the medicine. I was not aware that my son's skin was going to peel. I was not aware that it was going to develop red rashy spots. I freaked out. What in the hell did this stuff do to him?!? I loaded him up with neosporin on the peeling spots, cetaphil everywhere else and didn't use the Retin A for three days. Right after I saw this, I got online and researched how the prescription worked and if this was a normal side effect. It turns out - that is it! The skin will begin to look irritated and much worse at first - that was you know it's working. Peeling may occur, which means that the product needs to be used more sparingly. This is normal until the skin gets used to the product. If I would have been warned of these side effects before hand, I wouldn't have been so worked up. As instructed, I had prepared myself for redness.
Where on earth could he have gotten this? you ask...
Sadly, church daycare. I am a stay at home mom and he has little interaction with other children. The children he sees regularly do not have this. The only other place that he would have contracted such a virus - church daycare. I am heart broken over this fact, because I am reluctant to take him back.
1. Just getting over a nasty cold
2. Molluscum virus contracted, contagious
3. Can NOT receive flu shot due to egg allergy. I need to be extremely careful about what I expose him to.
How is Jackson handling this?
Like a warrior! Thank goodness, they do not seem to bother him. That's mainly because they all are currently hidden beneath his clothes. Now if they spread to his face...
He has a large dry patch on his lower back (where it all started), that itches him like crazy. I need a third arm during diaper changes and bath time to keep him from scratching it raw. Poor guy!
So currently, we have begun the RetinA Micro again tonight. We are switching every other night (front and back) to give his skin a break. At this point, I am NOT going to leave it on his skin over night until his skin gets used to the product, which I think is going to take a lot longer than 7 days.
I am trying to warp my head around the fact that this will be a issue for us for at least a year. Thank goodness it if not life threatening by any means!
I am praying that this does not go to his face or his "unmentionables" as these cases would be even more worrisome. I pray that they continue to give him zero aggravation. I pray for the patience and wisdom to make the right decisions for his treatment so it will resolve itself sooner than later.