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(Article written in honor of Eczema Awareness Month)
There is nothing in the world that matches the sweet sensation of your newborn’s beautiful skin. It is silky smooth to the touch and feels wonderful against your bare skin. However, newborn skin is very delicate and ultra-sensitive to a host of potential irritants. Our little ones are surrounded daily by many environmental irritants that can cause rashes, allergic reactions or outbreaks of eczema on their fragile skin. From pollutants to laundry detergents and harsh fragrances, factors associated with eczema are everywhere!
Here are 5 tips you can easily apply at home to prevent and relieve your baby eczema symptoms.
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Why Are Babies Likely to Develop Eczema?
“Approximately 1 out of 10 babies will develop eczema”
– National Eczema Association
Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition characterized by dry skin, with red itchy patches or bumps that can appear in different parts of the body. According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, the exact cause of eczema is unknown. There are genetic, immunological and environmental factors that are associated with eczema, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. People and babies with eczema have a weakened skin barrier, resulting in allergens or irritants penetrating the skin’s layers and triggering inflammation and baby skin rash. Eczema rashes can also be aggravated by heat, overheating, excessive sweating and low humidity. Moreover, changes in temperature, dry air and certain clothing fabrics can worsen the itching.
Although certain triggers can sometimes cause eczema flare-ups (the appearance of a lesion or red patch on the skin) such as overheating, sweating, changes in temperature, low humidity, etc., there are a few things you can do to keep baby eczema in check when baby’s skin is dry. Read our tips below on how to treat baby eczema and protect your baby’s first line of defence.
How Can You Treat Baby Eczema at Home?
Tip 1 – Give Baby Oatmeal Baths
“It is estimated that 1 out of 3 children with eczema experience moderate to severe symptoms”
– National Eczema Association
Soothe irritated skin with daily oatmeal baths for baby. Baths allow moisture to penetrate the skin (as long as they are not too hot), and are extremely effective at alleviating baby skin rashes and irritations. Colloidal Oatmeal is well-known to protect the skin’s natural barrier, efficiently restore balance and reduce itching sensations. We recommend soaking baby in lukewarm water with a soothing bath soak (not longer than 15 minutes) to let the oatmeal coat and soothe baby’s sensitive skin. Wash your child at the end of the bath so he isn’t sitting in soapy water for an extended period of time.
After bathing, gently pat the skin and apply a generous amount of natural deep repair cream containing colloidal oatmeal (water-repellent protective barrier) to lock in moisture on your child’s skin, protect against dehydration, and reduce itching.
Tip 2 – Always Keep Baby’s Skin Moisturized
“You can help prevent eczema in your child by keeping the skin soft and moist and avoiding known triggers that cause itching and flare-ups” – Canadian Dermatology Association
Keep in mind that a hydrated skin is the best way to control eczema. Turn moisturizing into a relaxing ritual for baby by gently massaging him with natural skincare products for sensitive skin several times a day to protect and reinforce his skin’s outer layer. After bath time, and throughout the day, apply a generous and frequent amount of fragrance-free natural soothing body cream for sensitive skin.
For hand eczema, we recommend applying a natural protective ointment after each hand wash. Moist skin will help control eczema, as flares occur or increase in response to baby dry skin and itching.
Tip 3 – Use Hypoallergenic Skin Care Products for Sensitive Skin
“About 50% of people have sensitive skin” – International Journal of Dermatology
Curb dry skin and eczema flare-ups by taking control of damaging environmental factors and opting for natural skin care and household products for sensitive skin. Switching to hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products designed specifically for sensitive skin is a great option. In addition, washing their laundry with a gentle, enzyme-free and fragrance-free baby detergent and fabric softener.
Ideally use sulfate free bath & skin care products for your baby. This foaming agent found in several products can promote the formation of dandruff, and cause irritation and itching. We recommend to use a sulfate free shampoo and body wash for your baby’s sensitive skin. The best skin care products for sensitive skin are enriched with calming, hypoallergenic plant-based ingredients like oatmeal, shea butter, calendula and coconut oil, known for their amazing ability to reduce skin irritations and protect the skin’s natural barrier. Choose baby lotions for sensitive skin that are certified by the National Eczema Association (NEA). Products that bear the Seal of Acceptance meet the necessary criteria as established by the Dermatologist Review Panel and are free of ingredients that are known to be irritating. Opt for natural skin care products that contain Worry-Free ingredients, and Baby lotions that are EWG Verified™ and Top-Rated in EWG’s Skin Deep® Baby Lotion Database.
Tip 4 – Dress Your Baby In Loose, Comfortable Clothing
“Nearly 30% of children experience disrupted sleep five or more nights week due to symptoms of eczema, which affects mood and well-being” – National Eczema Association
Tight outfits and non-breathable fabrics like polyester can trap heat and sweat against your baby’s skin, which can lead to rashes and itching. Dress your baby in layers of soft, loose-fitting, breathable fabrics to keep him comfortable and make him sleep better at night. Use smooth natural fabrics like cotton, and avoid wool, linen and other rough materials like fleece, which can irritate very sensitive skin. Don’t overheat your child by bundling him up more than necessary, and consider a wardrobe change before cuddling your baby. Moisten your child’s bedroom air with a humidifier when they go to sleep at night.
Tip 5 – Prevent Baby From Scratching
“Scratching or rubbing can aggravate symptoms of eczema” – WebMD
Scratching and rubbing can further irritate or inflame the skin. Your child may try to get relief by scratching or by rubbing his face against the sheets during sleep. Use soft cotton sheets in the crib, and keep your baby’s nails short to prevent him from worsening the rash with cuts and infection. Put him to bed with lightweight cotton mittens or socks on his hands.
If the itching is severe, we suggest putting a cold compress on the affected area to cool your skin by wetting a washcloth with cold water.
Summary Tips: Dos and Don’ts to Control Your Baby’s Eczema
- Moisturize your baby’s skin throughout the day to keep it soft and hydrated.
- Use lukewarm water for bath time and soak bath with oatmeal.
- Wash your clothes with fragrance and enzyme-free laundry detergents.
- Double-rinse your clothing to remove any soap residue.
- Choose cotton for bed linens and clothing.
- Put a humidifier in baby’s room to keep air moist.
- Avoid skin contact with wool and other rough fabrics and wear breathable fabrics like cotton.
- Avoid harsh soaps, scented products and perfumes.
- Avoid exposing skin to excessive heat or low humidity.
- Avoid exposing skin to very hot or cold water.
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