Does your baby experience the itchiness and inflammation associated with baby eczema? While you may find temporary relief in a prescription medication, preventative measures are best for long term management.
Here are some tips to help you prevent and treat future outbreaks.
- Simplify your baby’s skin care regimen. Have you eliminated unnecessary fragrances and chemicals from your baby’s skin care routine? The additives in baby lotions, body wash and sunscreens may be triggering allergic reactions and causing the eczema outbreaks.
You may want to try bathing your baby without soap or body wash for 2-3 weeks to see if the condition improves. As you reintroduce soap, try out, fragrance-free, food-based soaps sparingly to make sure the new one does not cause a reaction.Baths should be in lukewarm water for brief periods of time. Adding a natural oil to your baby’s bath can also help.
- Moisturize your baby’s skin regularly.If your baby has eczema, his skin does not retain moisture very well. This can result in dry patches, scaliness, red rashes or even pus on many parts of the body.Moisturizing often with fragrance-free, simple ingredient lotion or massage oil can go a long way in the management of your baby’s eczema. You can try an organic brand such as the unscented line by Natures Paradise or plain olive oil for daily use.Dr. Greene, author of Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care recommends treating eczema with a pure moisturizing lotion at least twice a day. He says this can be as effective as some of the over the counter and prescribed cortisone creams.
- Do all you can to prevent your child from scratching. Keep your baby’s nails short and clean. Excessive scratching can cause more irritation and spread bacteria causing infection. Frequent moisturizing should help soothe the itching sensation.
- Use clean and pure laundry detergent. You want it free of dyes, phosphates, chlorine, optical brighteners, fragrances and anything you can’t pronounce. You can try one of the green brands of detergent or opt for plain baking soda to launder your baby’s clothes.
- Monitor your baby’s food intake.The baby eczema outbreaks could be a reaction to foods your baby is getting directly or through breast-milk. Cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, fish, wheat and soy are common culprits.Remove the foods all at once. If the condition improves within a couple of weeks, reintroduce them one at a time to identify the true culprit(s). If the baby drinks formula, switching to a hypoallergenic formula could resolve the problem. Dr. Greene says food-triggered outbreaks can be outgrown over time.
- Dress your baby in comfortable, natural fiber clothing. Organic cotton clothing is a great alternative to fleece and polyester. Wool can sometimes be the trigger, so you may want to avoid wool clothing, blankets and carpet, to see if this resolves the problem. You will also want to avoid materials that make your baby sweat as this is another common trigger of baby eczema.
- Keep the air in your home moist and dust free. Dr. William Sears, M.D. says humidity in your home should be between 25 and 40% to maintain appropriate moisture in the air.He also says while dust, mites, mold and pollen in the air don’t cause baby eczema, that one of the keys to controlling it is minimizing your child’s exposure to allergens that irritate them.
The eczema treatment your baby needs is probably right under your nose. Assessing your baby’s environment, moisturizing regularly and monitoring what touches your baby’s skin can help you provide the relief that makes you both feel better.