First your baby’s skin is covered in vernix. Then, she develops a bad case of baby acne. Just as that clears, you notice reddened, raised areas behind her beautiful, chubby little knees! What is going on?! You thought babies were supposed to have soft, smooth skin!
Well, she most likely has a case of atopic dermatits, or more commonly known as eczema. And she’s not alone – it affects 10-20% of all infants born. Eczema is a dry, itchy skin condition which usually crops up before a child is five years of age. There is a genetic component, and there is also a question about whether it is related to allergies. No matter the cause, all we want is our baby’s soft skin back. Here are some helpful solutions for treating baby eczema.
Bathe Baby Sparingly
In order to prevent baby’s skin from drying out, you will want to avoid bathing too often or for too long (10 minutes is plenty). It may also help to wait until the very end of the bath to use soap, to keep the water at a luke warm temperature and to stay away from bubble baths and other additives.
Choose a Mild Soap or a Non-Soap Cleanser
Since most soaps can cause further dryness and irritation to sensitive skin, it is very important to choose a cleanser for your baby that is dermatologically recommended. Since our son has recurrent eczema that has been difficult to get rid of, our Nurse Practitioner recommended to use the brand Cetaphil. We had been using the regular line of Cetaphil for our son for a few months, but recently I have learned that they also have a Baby and Eczema line.
When Cetaphil wanted to partner with The Mama Nurse, I jumped at the opportunity since they are a brand that I already trusted and felt my reader’s may benefit from. They sent us the complete baby line and we love it. Right now, Cetaphil has a contest on their website called the Baby Bathtime Photo Contest, which is open until June 30 and all you have to do is post an adorable picture of your child in the bath to Instagram using the hashtag #CetaphilBabyBathTime. The prizes are amazing and you should all check it out!
Cetaphil is also providing a baby bath time giveaway prize pack to one lucky reader of The Mama Nurse valued at $49.88, which includes the Cetaphil Baby wash & shampoo, daily lotion, moisturising oil and ultra moisturising wash. Yay for free stuff!
Check out this LINK on my Facebook page to enter!
Moisturise! Moisturise! Moisturise!
If your baby is dealing with eczema, you should moisturise their skin at least twice daily and especially right after their bath while their skin is still damp. Cetaphil has a great moisturizer made specifically for eczema. Here is a full list of eczema products that have the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance™.
Use a Topical Steroid
If good hygiene care and frequent moisturising doesn’t do the job, you may need to add a topical steroid. If you have a check-up coming up with your doctor you can ask them to prescribe one or you can find a mild hydrocortisone ointment at your local pharmacy. Just make sure to use the topical steroid sparingly – only on the raised area of your baby’s eczema, and only until it is gone. Using steroids in excess can cause thinning of the skin.
Stay Away from Harsh Chemicals
If your baby has eczema, you will want to wash all of your baby’s bedding, towels, and clothing with a fragrance-free laundry detergent made for sensitive skin.
In addition, you will always want to make sure to wash your baby’s newly bought clothes before using them, as there may be residual chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin from the factories where they were made.
Keep on Top of Baby Drool
A common area of eczema on infants is on their cheeks, chin, and neck. The potential culprit? Excess drool from teething. If you notice that your baby’s skin and clothing are often wet, you will want to change clothing and bibs frequently and try a barrier like Vaseline within the skin folds to prevent eczema from getting worse and give the skin a chance to heal.
You will want to keep an eye out for yeast infections in this area, as well. If you’re not sure what you’re dealing with, it’s always best to ask your health care professional.
Look for Signs of an Allergic Reaction or Other Causes
While most cases of eczema are unrelated to food allergies, you will still want to keep a look out for any commonalities during flare-ups. If you notice that your baby seems to break out with eczema only after eating certain foods, you may want to discuss your findings with your doctor and she may want to do some allergy testing. At home, you can also try limiting that food from your baby’s diet to see if it helps at all first and go from there.
Use a Humidifier
Eczema is more common in the winter months, mostly due to the increased dryness in the air. If you find that your house is very stuffy and dry, you could try putting a humidifier in your baby’s room or in your living area.
I really hope you found these tips helpful for treating your baby’s eczema. I know with my son’s sensitive skin it is so hard to stay on top of a good skin care regimen and his eczema seems to come and go. Please check back often with The Mama Nurse for more parenting tips, tricks & giveaways!