3 WAYS TO TREAT BABY ECZEMA! (It really works!)
How to Treat Infant Eczema Naturally
Eczema is a skin condition that causes the skin to become inflamed, itchy, dry, and prone to oozing. Infants normally experience eczema on their cheeks, forehead, and scalp — later moving to their arms and legs, or even the whole body.Your doctor can prescribe steroidal creams that can drastically reduce eczema inflammation, but there are at-home, natural remedies that can fight eczema outbreaks. First, you’ll want to diagnose your child with eczema (with the help of a doctor preferably) and then you’ll want to treat their skin directly with mild soaps and gentle moisturizers. After you’ve got your infant’s outbreak under control, you can work on identifying and eliminating the source of their eczema.
Diagnosing Your Infant’s Eczema
Look for dry, reddish, itchy skin.Most likely eczema — in its various forms — will appear on your baby’s face, elbows, behind the knees, and on the hands and feet. Like most irritated skin, eczema will only worsen if scratched. In infants, eczema usually begins around the age of six to twelve weeks. The acute form generally lasts about one to two months and is followed by the chronic form noticeable by its big splotches of red, irritated skin.
Identify what kind of eczema your infant has.There are six predominant types of eczema. If you can properly identify the type of eczema your child has, you’ll be able to better treat their condition. Some forms are the product of allergens like eggs, milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, fish, dust mites, pet dander, or mold spores. Other infants with eczema might simply have a genetic predisposition towards skin conditions.
- Atopic dermatitis: This is what is most commonly referred to as eczema, and it is common in infants. It is a reddish rash that can be itchy. It is usually chronic, or long-lasting.
- Allergic contact dermatitis: This form is often caused by contact with allergens such as nickle, topical antibiotics, poison ivy or poison oak and causes a red, itchy reaction at the site of contact. It does not spread.
- Contact eczema: This is similar to allergic contact dermatitis, but it caused by an irritant. It does not spread once it has appeared on the skin.
- Dyshidrotic eczema: This type of dermatitis appears on the hands and the soles of the feet with moderate sized, clear blisters that are itchy and tend to burn.
- Nummular eczema: This skin condition produces round, coin-shaped patches that are common on the arms, the back, the buttocks, and the lower legs.
- Seborrheic eczema: This eczema type causes oily, yellowish, and scaly patches of skin to appear on the scalp, face, neck and chest.This type is common in infants.
See a doctor.In most scenarios, you’ll want to visit a doctor to get a diagnosis and to learn about treatment plans. Some cases of eczema are so mild that you may simply overlook them. In other cases, eczema can be a major irritant and seriously painful to your infant. In these cases, visit your doctor immediately. Remember that eczema can lead to pain, infection and even scarring if left untreated.
- See a doctor right away if your baby has signs of infected skin (increased redness, swelling, drainage of pus, warmth of the skin, fever, or is very irritable). Also to see your doctor if the eczema isn’t getting better or is getting worse, or your baby is very uncomfortable or unable to sleep due to their eczema.
- Doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, like topical steroids or topical calcineurin inhibitors (TCIs), to treat inflammation. Oral antihistamines may be recommended to help with itching and to help your baby sleep at night. Occasionally, oral anti-inflammatory agents are needed to treat the most severe cases.In most other cases, your doctor will prescribe soothing baths and moisturizers designed to combat eczema.
Bathing Your Infant to Soothe Eczema
Give the infant a warm bath.Most experts recommend not bathing your baby more often than every other day. Do not use hot water. Use mild unscented soaps (e.g. Oil of Olay, Caress, Camay, Dove, Aveeno, and Purpose). Never scrub the baby’s skin. Gently apply the soap, moving the soap in small circles.Gentle soaps are better than natural antibacterial products like tea tree oil, which may trigger eczema flare ups.
- Baths should last no longer than 10 minutes.
- Avoid bath additives that will further dehydrate your infant’s skin like Epsom salts.
- An oatmeal bath with natural colloidal oatmeal, or Aveeno oatmeal bath packets, can also help.
Add chamomile, licorice, or fenugreek to your infant’s bath for added effect.These three ingredients are anti-inflammatories and will reduce your infant’s eczema redness. Just add four or five drops of chamomile or licorice (the root, not the candy) into your child’s bath. Fenugreek comes in powdered seed form. Simply add a teaspoon to the warm bathwater.
Consider a bleach bath.Some doctors will recommend a bleach bath for babies with extreme eczema. Bleach baths help prevent infections. Staphylococcus aureus is a bacteria that lives on the skin of many children with eczema and can occasionally cause flare ups. Bleach baths fight off this bacteria. If your doctor recommends it, substitute a normal bath for a bleach bath 2 times a week.
- Pour 1/4 cup of bleach into a half-filled, warm bathtub. This is the equivalent to one to two teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water. This small amount of bleach added to the bath makes the water soothing to your baby, not harsh.
- Make sure to dilute the bleach before contact and avoid contact with the eyes.
Gently pat your baby’s skin dry.Vigorous drying will only further inflame your child’s skin condition. Take a soft towel and pat your baby until their skin and hair is dry.
Using Emollients to Soothe Eczema
Choose an “emollient.”Emollients hydrates the baby’s skin while providing a layer of protection. Apply these to your baby's skin twice a day. The best time to apply is right after a bath. Since your infant’s pores will still be open from the warm bath, the emollient will work better. There are many store-bought emollients to choose from. Aquaphor, Elta, DML Forte, Moisturel, Aveeno, Curel, Purpose, Dermasil, Neutrogena, Eucerin, Cetaphil and CeraVe are great products that will alleviate chronic dry, itchy eczema skin.Look for ointments and creams rather than lotions.
Make a coconut-lavender moisturizer.Coconut oil is a powerful moisturizer and has antimicrobial properties. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are very important for skin health. Lavender oil is relaxing and has antibacterial properties.
- Mix 1/2 cup coconut oil and two to three drops of lavender essential oil. You can use a cup and a spoon to mix the solution. Store in a covered jar and keep away from light. Warm the oil in the microwave to a lukewarm temperature before applying it to the irritated area, making sure it's not too hot.
Use aloe vera.It has been used to treat burns and can help heal wounds. You can buy aloe vera from your local pharmacy or you can purchase an aloe vera plant from your local garden center. Cut off a leaf and gently rub it on your baby’s skin.
Try cocoa butter.Cocoa butter is rich in vitamin E, which promotes skin elasticity and moisture. You can purchase it at your local pharmacy or beauty supply store. Just take a small dollop of cocoa butter and apply it to your baby’s skin.
Apply some sweet almond carrier oil.Aside from smelling great, almond oil is vitamin rich and contains ursolic and oleic acid which are both anti-inflammatories and repair damaged skin. Massage it on your baby’s eczema before and after bath-time to prevent dryness.
Adjusting Your Infant’s Diet
Visit an allergist.Ask them if your diet or your baby's diet may be causing eczema outbreaks. If your baby is still breast-feeding, you need to watch what you eat. If your baby has an allergic reaction — in the form of eczema — to what you eat, you’ll need to take precautions.
- Your allergist may recommend special vacuums or dust mite covers if your baby may be sensitive to dust mites or if you have pets.
- If your infant drink formula milk, make sure that you choose a type that doesn't contain an ingredient your baby is allergic to. Talk to your doctor about using a hypoallergenic formula such as Enfamil Nutramigen, Similac Alimentum, and Hipp Organic 1 if your baby may be allergic to milk or soy.
- Similarly, your child may be having an eczema outbreak if their foods are prepared with too many chemicals or pesticides.
Eat vitamin D rich foods.Low vitamin D levels have been associated with a heightened risk of eczema.
- Foods like trout, salmon, portobello mushrooms, tofu, butter, buttermilk, pork, and hardboiled eggs are rich in vitamin D.
Consider introducing nuts into your infant's diet at around six months.Certain nuts (such as almonds) have anti-inflammatory properties. Since eczema is an inflammatory skin condition, eating nuts may help naturally combat outbreaks.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics has advised parents to be wary of nuts as many children are highly allergic to peanuts. Be aware that the eczema fighting properties of nuts and whether or not you should feed them to your infant is constantly changing.It may be appropriate in some cases to expose your child to nuts at around six months. Talk to your doctor to get the best advice for your child. If you give nuts to your children, do so in a soft form (such as nut butters), as young children may choke on hard nuts.
Avoid common food triggers.This includes food fed to your baby as well as what you eat if you are breast-feeding. There is not a defined list of foods that cause eczema. Regardless, doctors agree that there are common offenders that you’ll want to avoid. Citrus fruits, pasteurized dairy products, tomatoes, processed sugary snacks, alcohol, chocolate, sugar, yeast, and black tea can all lead to eczema outbreaks.
- Pay attention to your baby's diet and see what foods precede an outbreak. Try removing those foods from their diet. If your infant's eczema is the result of a food allergy, you'll eventually find the culprit.
QuestionMy baby has eczema all over his body. What should I do?
Doctor of MedicineDoctor of MedicineExpert AnswerFollow the instructions in the article. When the eczema is all over the body, bathing gently and moisturizing the skin can be helpful. In addition, the baby may have allergies that are causing the eczema to be all over his body. Talk to your baby's doctor or a dermatologist for further care.Thanks!
QuestionMy two year old's skin gets so dry and develops wounds. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAvoid trigger foods and see your doctor for advice as soon as possible.Thanks!
- You can also apply cool compresses to red, irritated skin, and to talk to your doctor about wet wraps if the eczema is severe.
- Use a humidifier to keep the air moist during cold, dry times of year.
- Don’t overdress or over-bundle your baby, as this can lead to increased sweating, which can aggravate eczema. Try to avoid extreme hot or cold temperatures with your baby.
- Use laundry detergents labelled “free” or “clear” and avoiding products with extra fragrances or dyes.
Sources and Citations
- Ulbricht, C. et al Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L. Leguminosae): An Evidence-Based Systematic Review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration
- Bo L. Chawes, Klaus Bønnelykke, Pia F. Jensen, Ann-Marie M. Schoos, Lene Heickendorff, Hans Bisgaard. Cord Blood 25(OH)-Vitamin D Deficiency and Childhood Asthma, Allergy and Eczema: The COPSAC2000 Birth Cohort Study.PLoS ONE 9(6): e99856
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