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Oh eczema, how much I loathe you. The enthusiasm with which you attack and spread your nasty red patches all over our precious tiny humans disgusts me. Our babies are pure and innocent, and their skin so delicate. And it’s just not fair that you can come in whenever you feel like it, making them sore, itchy and uncomfortable.
Seriously, though eczema is the devil.
I have fought tooth and nail with eczema with all three of my kids – especially during our dry Colorado winters. I’ve had night after miserable night of trying this lotion and that ointment, not to mention the not-crunchy-whatsoever steroid creams.
When it’s ugly red patches first appeared on baby #3, I wanted to cry. Then I pulled myself together and decided, nope, this mama bear was not letting eczema win. My baby was keeping his soft, perfect skin, and this eczema was going down.
And let me tell you, I did win. Baby #3 is now 16-months old, and he’s been eczema-free for ten months now!
So, what did I do to heal my baby’s eczema?
(Obviously, I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I’m just a mom sharing my personal experiences dealing with eczema, and while I truly hope this is helpful to other mom’s dealing with their kid’s/baby’s eczema, keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for everyone.)
#1: Daily bath
There is a lot of contradicting advice about how often to bathe a baby dealing with eczema – some say once a week, some twice a week, and others (like me) say daily. But daily baths can be quite effective in treating eczema, and it’s even recommended by the National Eczema Association.
It works because skin with eczema is dry and thirsty, and water and moisture is what it craves.
But there a few important things to remember when incorporating a daily bath:
- Water temperature: not too hot, or too cold. I aim for body temperature (98.6 F or 37 C). This is the cutest little bath thermometer, if you don’t have one. It just floats around in the tub, and let’s you know if the water is too hot or too cold. I’ve had it for a year and a half now, and it still works great.
- Soaking time: 5 to 15 minutes. The skin needs at least 5 minutes to let the water soak in, but if there is an active eczema flare up soaking for more than 15 minutes could make it worse.
- No scrubbing: scrubbing or rubbing eczema patches can make them more irritated, even if you’re using a soft baby wash cloth.
- Gently pat dry: I wrap my baby in a towel for a few minutes and let the towel do its job, until we apply lotion to seal the moisture in from bath time.
#2: Use gentle soap, only 1-2x a week
Even though daily baths are recommended only use soap, or other mild cleanser once or twice a week. Soap really messes with the skin’s ability to rebuild it’s natural moisture levels.
I have tried so many soaps and cleansers, it is ridiculous. My kids have had bad reactions to the mildest of mild baby soaps, and even soaps made specifically for eczema.
The only product I found that my babies didn’t have a reaction to during a severe flare up is Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. It’s cream based cleanser with no soap, so it softens the skin as it cleanses. It is non-toxic and safe to use on babies, the only down-side is that it does contain parabens. But I do still feel comfortable using it, because I only use a small amount and very infrequently.
If my babies aren’t having a severe flare-up my absolute favorite soap to use is Shea Moisture Chamomile and Argon Oil Baby Wash & Shampoo. It’s super gentle and free of parabens, sulfates, and all that other bad stuff, and it’s 100% cruelty-free. Also, the smell 😍 – it makes me want to inhale my baby all day long. I love it.
#3: Seal in moisture after the bath
Sealing in the moisture after bath time is so important in getting those eczema patches healed. The issue I had was finding a product that didn’t sting, burn, or further irritate my baby’s eczema. And similar to the soap situation, I have tried them all – the gentlest, mildest baby creams, lotions, and ointments, and also all of the creams, lotions, and ointments made specifically for eczema. But after LOTS of trial and error, I finally found system of sealing in the moisture that seems to work.
How do I seal the moisture in?
After bath, gently pat dry baby with a soft towel. It’s okay if to leave baby’s skin a little damp. I usually just keep my baby wrapped in the towel for a few minutes, while we sing a song or brush teeth, and let the towel do the work for me.
Next, do this two-step process:
1: From head to toe, smear a layer of Cerave Moisturizing Cream. This product does contain parabens, and it’s not the crunchiest moisturizer, but I still feel comfortable using it because of it’s effectiveness and because I limit my kids’ exposure to parabens elsewhere. Also, the toxicity of parabens is debatable.
2: Next, smear on a thick layer of Aquaphor. Baby might feel a little goopy after this, but that’s okay, itchy eczema is more bothersome than the goopiness.
Even when it seems like the
devil eczema is gone, it’s important to maintain the daily bath and moisturizing routine, or else eczema will slither it’s way back in.
Also, during these times of clear healthy skin I absolutely love using this Shea Moisture Nighttime Baby Lotion with Manuka Honey and Provence Lavender. It smells so freakin’ good and it will make you want to inhale your baby. Also, we’ve never had a bad reaction to this lotion or any of the other Shea Moisture products.
Quick Tip: If you are nervous to use a scent on your babies sensitive skin, but you love the smell, just rub a small amount on your hands and then rub your hands on baby’s clothing, and viola! A heavenly scented baby without the risk of a skin reaction.
#5: Consider other irritants: diet, detergents, allergens
Irritants can be a big factor in eczema flare-ups, especially if allergies run in your family. Although, I have not been able to pin point any one specific thing as an irritant for my kids unfortunately.
BUT I do try to keep our home as natural and non-toxic as possible, and I do try to keep our every day diets healthy, plant-based and unprocessed. I think this helped a lot in our eczema healing process.
#6: Don’t despair, and remember it is not your fault!
Eczema just happens. It will attack anyone, any age with no rhyme or reason. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or keto, if you’re formula feeding or breastfeeding, or if you’re young or old. Eczema loves all the skin.
And if your baby has eczema, it’s okay. You’re still a great mom. You wouldn’t be reading this and trying to figure out how to heal your baby’s eczema if you weren’t a great mom.
Anyone else have some tried and true eczema advice to add to this? Or can anyone else relate to hating eczema as much as I do?
Thanks for stopping by! I hope this helps other moms triumph over eczema because it is the devil.
Have a beautiful day!
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