Eczema is one of the personal challenges I’ve faced with both my kids. Eczema is a condition that can be highly genetic (I suffer from it), and babies’ sensitive skin can just be prone to it.
To control my babies’ eczema, I used a variety of products and remedies. With these methods, I was able to have it completely gone by the age of 1 for both babies. This seems long, but the nature of eczema can be on and off depending on so many factors. So let’s go over the most effective methods I’ve found.
What I did to control eczema
Oatmeal is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. You often see “colloidal oats” as an ingredient in over-the-counter eczema relief creams. Oatmeal baths are a great way to get just that ingredient directly onto your babies’ skin. This will act as an itch relief and mild cleanser. My trick for a clean and easy oatmeal bath is to use my homemade oatmeal bath balls, which are easy to make and perfect for my young toddlers.
Honey-baths can be combined with oatmeal baths! The honey has similar anti-inflammatory properties, along with antibacterial properties. This is especially good for soothing any open areas caused by dryness.
Zinc Oxide creams
Zinc diaper-rash creams can be applied anywhere that is red and inflamed on your baby’s body. This can be especially helpful in fold areas where there is chaffing like the arm-pit, the back of the knees, or wrists and ankles. There are different strengths of Zinc Oxide creams. The strongest one I’ve found was a 40% Zinc Oxide cream that was very effective in healing open red areas.
This is a clean, one-ingredient barrier that can be used on top of a chosen moisturizing cream. Petroleum jelly will not interfere with the ingredients of another cream, whereas natural oils might.
Plant-based lotions are made with ingredients that are derived from natural sources. These anti-inflammatory and moisturizing ingredients are great for sensitive, reactive skin. The brand A-derma has some of the most effective products for eczema-prone skin. The whole line is great, but I specifically use the Exomega Emollient Cream.
NO natural nut oils
I avoided nut oils. When trying to rule out allergies and skin irritants, it was best to stay away from natural oils such as shea butter, coconut oil. Especially with the lack of moisture balance in my babies’ skin, these are more of a barrier that would lock moisture in, so a moisturizing product would have to be used first. Natural oils may interfere with the ingredients of a moisturizing, anti-inflammatory cream.
My second daughter had eczema worse than her older sister. Our family physician prescribed Hydrocortisone cream. This did NOT work for her. It kept the inflammation under control for a day or two, then it did become worse after. So, we kept with the route of keeping the inflammation and dryness under control with other methods mentioned.
Pay attention to Diet
You may want to try ruling out any allergies that could be causing or contributing to the dryness. Dairy can be a common culprit, especially in babies that were breastfed and have had no dairy-based formulas until the age of 1 year old.
If breastfeeding, you can still try to rule out a dairy allergy. Some dairy proteins will pass through your breastmilk. If your baby is sensitive to this, reducing dairy can be beneficial.
Is your baby passing stools well? Constipation can be a sign of food sensitivity or dehydration, both things that can also contribute to eczema
Rule out external irritants
Laundry detergents and fabric softeners, even the sensitive branded ones, can cause irritation to your baby’s sensitive skin. Wash your baby’s clothes separately for a few days to rule this out. You can also watch for use of irritants from laundry in your own clothes, bedsheets, and towels that come in contact with your baby.
Another external factor can be something as simple as the moisture levels in the home. A cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room can potentially help by keeping the moisture balance in the air.
Reduce baby’s scratching – your baby may develop a habit of scratching due to constant itching. This could cause a flare-up on a spot that is trying to heal. Keep their nails low and put on sleeping mittens overnight.
Contacting a physician – As always, when noticing any new condition with your baby, see a doctor. A doctor will confirm whether what you are seeing is eczema, or something else. prescribe topical ointments or creams.