Our Guide to Bathing for Eczema Babies

Imagine being able to give your baby a bath that doesn’t cause discomfort or struggle.

As the parent of a baby with Eczema, you know that bath time can be quite challenging. It can be scary to bathe your baby when it makes them cry or causes further flare-ups. You want to clean them, but you are hesitant because there are so many unanswered questions.

These concerns are valid, luckily this guide offers a solution to your problem.

Our guide will help clarify all your questions. We’ve reviewed some of the most frequently asked questions parents with Eczema babies asked and give you practical steps to put them into action. Before giving your baby another bath, see how these suggestions can help your baby manage their Eczema.

How Often Should You Bathe a Baby with Eczema?

To many parents, bath frequency is a major concern. On one hand, bathing is necessary to clean your baby. On the other, how can you be sure you are bathing your baby the right amount?

It’s all about finding a happy medium.

You need to balance between too much and not enough. Too many baths will actually dry out your baby’s skin even further. Without enough baths, you will have a similar problem plus a smelly baby. For these reasons, the National Eczema Association recommends bathing your baby once per day

Daily bathing has many benefits for babies with Eczema. One reason is because it rinses off and washes away allergens that find their way onto your baby’s skin. It does the same for other irritants as well. In doing so, you can remove possible triggers or at least limit Eczema flare-ups. Triggers for Eczema include:

  • Fragrance: Found in personal hygiene or household products like soap, lotions, shampoo, detergent soap, perfume
  • Environmental: Dry air, hot or cold weather, change in season, low or high humidity, pets, dust
  • Allergies: food allergies, airborne allergies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Insect bites
  • Existing skin infection
  • Chemicals: found in glue, paint, carpet, plastic chairs

In addition to washing away allergens and irritants, bathing has another key role in combating Eczema: it helps retain moisture. As you know, Eczema babies have naturally dry skin which means that adding moisture is critical. To maximize moisture retention you should schedule bath time around your baby’s bedtime. This, plus adding moisturizer (more on this later) will help your baby avoid dry skin.

How Do You Bathe a Baby with Eczema?

 

The act of bathing a baby with Eczema can be intimidating. It’s pretty clear that it can cause discomfort to the baby and stress to parents if not properly done. Rest assured, there are ways to give your baby an improved experience.

1. Try Swaddle Bathing

To make sure your baby feels comfortable, try Swaddle Bathing. This is a technique that involves immersing your baby in a tub of water while loosely wrapped in a blanket. UC Health reports that 93 percent of babies show signs of stress and cry during a sponge bath. In contrast, swaddle bathing brought that number down significantly to 38 percent. Having a relaxed baby will limit one factor (stress) that is linked to Eczema flare-ups. 

You might be wondering how this works. Here are a few tips for parents trying this method:

  • Give them proper support. Holding your baby in the loose swaddle that opens in the front, support the head and underarm with one hand and use your other hand to support the baby’s bottom. 
  • Slow dip them into water. Gently dip your swaddled baby in the water feet first, using your other hand to support the baby’s bottom.

Swaddle Bathing and proper bathing techniques will help your baby stay comfortable and limit dry skin opportunities while in the tub. An added benefit is that over time, it will also help you build a bond with your baby and gain trust. Give it a try to see if this technique is right for you and your baby.

2. Limit Bath Times

In addition to using Swaddle Bathing, there are many other ways to limit Eczema flare-ups and discomfort while bathing. The length of a bath is one thing that parents can control that will have a major impact. Dermatologists recommend a 5-10 minute bath, not much longer. 

This seems rather short, but be sure to trust the experts. Although a long bath may sound refreshing and rejuvenating, it is harmful to babies with Eczema. Long soak times can harm the natural oils on your baby’s skin that protect against harsh chemicals and other allergens.

3. Be Aware of the Bath Water’s Temperature

Another way to ensure that your baby avoids increased dry skin while bathing is to use lukewarm water. If the water is too hot, it can actually dry the skin further and last longer. As a rule of thumb, try to keep the water temperature at or slightly below body temperature. This will keep your baby comfortable while also maintaining the moisture necessary to combat Eczema.

With these three pieces of advice, your baby’s bathing experience will improve greatly. Along with the added comfort, these methods are proven to provide help against dry skin. 

What Baby Wash is Best for Eczema?

We discussed how to give your baby with Eczema a bath in the previous section, but there was something missing. You are probably wondering what products to use when giving your baby with Eczema a bath. With so many options to choose from, this requires its own section.

Certain brand names may be better than others, but you need to know what to look for in your baby’s bathing supplies. Before making a purchase, you should be aware of each product’s description. As you are shopping, here are a few things to give special attention to.

Using naturally occurring ingredients can decrease the likelihood of a flare-up. With already sensitive skin, you want to avoid things that your baby might have a reaction to. Instead, look for natural ingredients with healing elements or that help retain moisture. Some examples include:

  • Shea Butter. This is an anti-inflammatory that also softens skin with its high vitamin concentration.
  • Glycerin. This is great for sensitive skin and retaining moisture.
  • Lanolin. Using lanolin allows the skin to hold moisture. With dry skin, this is effective.
  • Hyaluronic Acid. This is naturally produced in the body and has been used to treat various wounds and sores.
  • Oatmeal. In addition to having healing benefits, oatmeal also helps to ease itching. When bathing a baby with Eczema, this can create a great sense of comfort.

A final note on this point is that soaps and shampoos without scent are less likely to have harmful irritants or non-natural ingredients. Be sure to keep your baby’s skin safe by choosing natural products.

You should also look for recommendations from the National Eczema Association (NEA) to help guide your search. When you see that a given product is recognized by the NEA, it means that it has been widely tested and used by people with Eczema. On this organization’s website, you can search by product to make sure that it is safe for your baby. 

Along with choosing the right bathing products, it is also important to moisturize your baby. After bathing, pat your baby dry then add lotion. This will reinforce any efforts you made in the tub to help your baby’s skin. The NEA has recommendations for this and you can also check out some ideas we came up with.

Be sure to dedicate some time to researching your baby’s Eczema safe bathing products.

Key Takeaways for Parents

Managing your baby’s Eczema while bathing will help them live a better life. By following our guide to bathing babies with Eczema, your baby will be more comfortable and have less dryness. 

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All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

Treat Baby Eczema: Recommended Products

Does your baby have Eczema?

Eczema is a dry skin condition that causes red, irritating rashes that can be very itchy. Rest assured, you are not alone. This is extremely common, in fact about 10 to 20 percent of all infants have Eczema. Although there is no known cure for Eczema, it can be managed effectively.

 

Watching your baby cry, itch, and scratch relentlessly can be unbearable. At times like this you might feel helpless. Luckily, you are far from helpless–there are things within your control you can do to help ease the discomfort. 

As a parent, you are in control of the products your baby uses. Ranging from bathing products to sleeping material, there are many different ways to treat baby Eczema. These can help your baby sleep through the night more often and reduce irritation.

With such a wide range of products on the market, it can be hard to decide which ones are best. 

Instead of spending hours scouring the internet for information, just keep reading. This article highlights some of the best moisturizers, bathing products, and other ideas that you can use to treat your baby’s Eczema.

Moisturizers

As mentioned earlier, Eczema can cause dry skin. Using moisturizers is a great way to combat this problem. By choosing the appropriate moisturizers for your baby, you can limit skin irritation and discomfort. 

There are dozens of moisturizers on the market. When deciding what to use, you need to consider which ones are specifically for babies with Eczema. The brands mentioned below are highly recommended.

Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream

Aveeno is one of the most trusted brands on the market. Here are some of the main selling points:

  • Pediatrician-recommended baby moisturizing cream is clinically proven to reduce itching and irritation caused by eczema.
  • Developed with leading dermatologists.
  • Soothing natural Colloidal Oatmeal cream.

In general, parents feel safer knowing that this is recommended by pediatricians and dermatologists. Knowing that medical professionals back this brand makes it easy to see why it continues to garner more reviews.

In addition to its proven track record, Aveeno has another great selling point. The key ingredient in this formula is oatmeal. Oatmeal works to keep the skin in balance and also provides moisture. When dealing with Eczema, these are crucial.

Triple Cream Severe Dry Skin/Eczema Care

As the name of the product suggests, this is geared specifically for babies with Eczema. Triple Cream emphasizes the following in its description:

  • Soothes the worst cases of dry skin associated with eczema.
  • Chosen specifically to deliver fast, lasting relief.
  • Provides a superior blend of healing, soothing ingredients.

There are a few reasons that this cream stands out. It not only moisturizes the skin, this cream also soothes the body. When dealing with itching and pain, the ability to deliver fast relief can help greatly.

Another reason to consider this product is that it works well after bathing. Any dryness that occurs during a bath can be offset and improved by applying cream.

Mustela Stelatopia Dermo Pediatrics Moisturizing Cream

This is another excellent option for parents to use to treat baby Eczema. When looking at this brand, here are things to consider:

  • Replenishes, soothes and restores your baby’s eczema-prone skin.
  • Made with Sunflower Oil Distillate and Avocado Perseose. 
  • Safe for daily use from birth on.

Unlike some brands that are safe for older children, this can be used immediately from birth. For parents with infants, this could be a great option from the very beginning. It is also ideal for a baby’s face, whereas other lotions and creams may only be for other parents of the body. 

Another selling point is the use of natural ingredients such as Sunflower Oil and Avocado. Natural products have a lesser likelihood of triggering outbreaks than something synthetic. Overall, a very solid option for parents.

For Bathing

Frequent bathing by itself can cause dry skin and irritation. When caring for babies with Eczema, you should pay special attention to the bathing products you use. 

When examining a variety of baby shampoos, there were 3 brands that stood out. Each has special features that help your baby maintain moisturized skin even after bathing. 

Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo

This is a great 2 in 1 product. Cetaphil serves as both a baby wash and shampoo that fights dry skin. Some of the main features of Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo include:

  • This tear free formula blends into a rich, lathering wash and shampoo that gently cleans your baby’s delicate skin and hair without drying.
  • Formulated with organic calendula: Our gentle wash & shampoo rinses clean, leaving a soft, fresh scent
  • Dermatologist Recommended Brand.

This product has unique traits that make it stand out from other brands. When bathing a restless baby, soap and water in the eyes is always a possibility. Having a tear free product ensures that your baby will be safe from eye irritation. 

It also uses organic ingredients that lower the risk of further outbreaks. Lastly, dermatologists who specialize in skin care recommend this product. Parents looking for an all in one product should consider Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo.

CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo

CeraVe is a highly sought after brand in this space. The best part is that it is an all in one solution. Here are some other features:

  • Tear-free.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Non-irritating, even for sensitive skin.

This brand pays special attention to the needs of babies. It offers a tear free solution that does not irritate the skin. When dealing with Eczema, you want a product that pays special attention to sensitive users. 

Finally, this product is fragrance free. Oftentimes, the fragrances come with artificial scents that tend to irritate the skin (which is why CeraVe left it out). This is another awesome solution for babies with Eczema.

Ever Eden Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

The Ever Eden brand has a 2 in 1 shampoo and body wash that is great for dry skin. As you evaluate potential bathing options, these are some features to consider:

  • Very gentle and non irritating for babies with extremely dry and eczema-prone skin.
  • Avoids the use of ingredients that increase allergy exposure.
  • Recommended by the National Eczema Association. 

Like other washes and shampoos reviewed, this is specifically geared towards babies with dry skin and Eczema. Having a gentle, not irritating solution makes bath time more enjoyable and helps maintain moisture after bathing.

Another exciting feature is that it avoids using ingredients that increase allergy exposure. Using natural, plant based ingredients is the safest bet with irritable skin. The final selling point is that the National Eczema Association recognizes this brand with their Seal of Approval. This is a strong endorsement that parents should pay attention to.

Other Products 

When most people think of dry skin, they tend to think of products that you directly apply to the body. Knowing which body washes and moisturizers to use is a great start. On top of this, there are a variety of elements that contribute to dry skin prevention.

To take this a step further, you need to think outside the box. Treat baby Eczema using these great products.

Tide Free & Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent can actually have an impact on a baby’s skin. Be sure to consider these exciting features:

  • Hypoallergenic.
  • Amazing Tide clean from America’s #1 detergent based on sales.
  • Deeper clean that is gentle on skin* (*vs. leading national competitor Free detergent).

The biggest takeaway from Tide Free & Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent is that it is gentle on skin. For babies with Eczema, this can have a huge difference.

Mustela Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas 

This is the second time that Mustela is mentioned in this article for Eczema related products. Here are some reasons this is worth considering:

  • Deliver replenishing moisture to the skin.
  • Reduce the desire to scratch.
  • Contribute to better sleep for the baby and you!

When a baby has Eczema, maintaining skin moisture can be difficult. Clothes that reduce itching and maintain moisture serve babies with Eczema better than other options. Also includes natural ingredients.

Burt’s Bees Baby Fitted Crib Sheet

Another overlooked item that can help reduce Eczema outbreaks is Burt’s Bees Baby Fitted Crib Sheet. Since baby’s spend most of their time in bed, it makes sense to consider the following:

  • It’s best for a baby’s delicate skin.
  • It lasts wash after wash.
  • 100% organic, GOTS certified, breathable cotton.

There are many great qualities found within this crib sheet. Having a texture that does not irritate the skin is essential. With organic, breathable cotton, your baby will have less issues with irritation.

Key Takeaways for Parents

Dealing with baby Eczema can be challenging. Take advantage of exciting products that help combat dry skin and limit Eczema flare-ups.

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All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

The Difference Between an Allergic Reaction and Eczema Flare-up: What Parents Need to Know

  • Eczema may flare up when your child’s skin is exposed to any number of triggers, such as food.
  • Food allergic reactions should be reliable and reproducible. If your child has a food allergy, they’ll reliably develop an allergic reaction shortly after eating that food.
  • The red itchy rash associated with eczema is different from the hives that food allergies can cause
  • Food allergic reactions should only appear when your child is exposed to an allergen. Eczema is most often chronic or lifelong, with symptoms persisting regardless of your child’s exposure to allergenic foods
  • Eczema and food allergies belong to the atopic march. In other words, eczema is a precursor to food allergies, and eczema symptoms usually appear before food allergies. 

Food allergies and eczema are closely related, as both conditions involve the immune system. Babies with eczema are at the greatest risk of developing food allergies. Foods can not only case allergic reactions, but also eczema flare-ups.

But how can you tell the difference between an allergic reaction such as hives and an eczema flare-up to determine the best treatment? We break down what parents need to know.

What Triggers Food Allergic Reactions?

Our immune systems protect our bodies from foreign invaders, like viruses and bacteria. But when someone eats a food they are allergic to, their immune system mistakes the proteins of that food for a foreign invader. The immune system signals their body to over-defend itself against those food proteins, and this triggers an allergic reaction. 

Food Allergic Reactions: What do they usually look like?

In babies and young children, the most common signs of an allergic reaction are hives and vomiting.

Mild or moderate allergic reactions can also cause swelling of the face, lips, and eyes.

Usually, these symptoms appear seconds to minutes after someone eats a food that they are allergic to. They’ll almost always occur within 2 hours of eating the food. 

People with food allergies don’t always develop the same symptoms every time they have an allergic reaction. So, you can’t predict what an allergic reaction will look like in your child. 

Most importantly, remember that mild to moderate reactions can potentially, and quickly,  turn severe. This can happen even if your child has never had an allergic reaction before. 

Severe Food Allergic Reactions: What do they look like?

Symptoms of a severe food allergic reaction can include:

  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Swelling or tightness of the throat 
  • Struggling to swallow
  • Struggling to breathe
  • Noisy breathing
  • Persistent coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Struggling to vocalize
  • Change in voice or cry
  • Diarrhea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Collapsing or fainting 
  • Pale appearance 
  • Feeling floppy (only in infants and young children)

When a food allergic reaction causes severe symptoms in more than one organ system, it is classified as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening.

Eczema Flare-Ups: What triggers them?

Your child’s eczema may flare up when their skin is exposed to any number of triggers. If your child has food or environmental allergies, their allergens could trigger a flare-up. In addition to allergens, dry skin, dry air, heat, existing skin infections, and irritants may also trigger eczema flare-ups.

Some irritants that may trigger flare-ups include fabrics (like polyester, nylon, or wool), fragrances (found in soaps, laundry detergents, lotions, and shampoo) chemicals and metals.

Eczema Flare-Ups: What do they look like?

Eczema makes the skin dry, red, and itchy. It can cause patches of red or dry skin, rough and itchy skin, or crusty scales and bumps that may leak fluid. These flare-ups often appear on the forehead, cheeks, scalp, knees, elbows, arm joints or leg joints. 

Eczema flare-ups v. Allergic reactions

Foods can trigger both eczema flare-ups and allergic reactions. So, how can you tell the difference?

If someone has food allergies and eczema, a food allergic reaction may make their eczema worse.

But, the red itchy rash associated with eczema is different from the hives that food allergies can cause. And as seen above, there are many other symptoms of an allergic reaction that aren’t associated with eczema (like swelling and vomiting).  

Hives caused by a food allergy. Source: https://foodallergyeducation.org.au/basics

In addition, as the National Eczema Association explains, food allergic reactions are “reliable, reproducible, consistent and timely.”

If your child is allergic to a food, they’ll certainly develop an allergic reaction shortly after eating that food, every time they eat it (even though the symptoms could differ each time). Once you remove the allergens from their diet, they will no longer show symptoms of a reaction. 

But what if someone with eczema sometimes gets flare-ups when they eat a certain food, and sometimes eats that food with no issues? If they don’t show other symptoms of an allergic reaction, and don’t consistently flare up when they eat a certain food, they probably don’t have an allergy to that food.

Whenever your child appears to have a flare-up, keep track of all their surroundings, including what they ate within the past 2 hours. For example, note what fabric their clothing is made of, the soap you might have used on them, and whether their lotion or shampoo was fragranced. This can be difficult, but finding and removing other consistent eczema triggers can help you figure out whether food is an eczema trigger—or an allergen. 

Still, allergy testing is the most reliable way to determine whether your child has a food allergy. And food challenges are the only form of testing that can definitively diagnose a food allergy.

The Atopic March and Chronic Eczema

The atopic march describes how children with one allergic condition are at increased risk for others, and how allergic conditions tend to appear in a certain order (one usually “marches” after the other).

Eczema and food allergies are both considered allergic conditions, and both are part of the atopic march.  Babies usually develop eczema before food allergies, and infants with eczema are at increased risk for developing a food allergy. 

This means that the order your baby’s symptoms appear can indicate whether your baby has eczema or food allergies. Eczema is usually the first to appear. 

Most food allergic reactions like hives should go away within a few days or weeks and by avoiding the allergenic or “problem” food, should go away altogether. On the other hand, eczema can often be a chronic condition and usually starts in infancy. Chronic eczema is the most common type of eczema and can be lifelong. 

Reducing Eczema Babies’ Food Allergy Risk

If your baby is less than a year old, and does not show signs of peanut, egg, or milk allergies, ask your doctor about introducing them to peanut, egg, and milk early and often. After all, the AAP, NIH, and FDA all recommend this approach to food allergy prevention.

Feeding your baby these foods consistently, starting between 4-11 months of age, can help reduce your baby’s food allergy risk by up to 80%. This introduction is especially important for babies with eczema, because of their increased food allergy risk.

Your doctor may recommend allergy testing before you start, though, only if your baby’s eczema is severe.

 

Our Guide to Wet Wrap Therapy

 

If your baby’s eczema flares become severe, your doctor may recommend wet wrap therapy. Learn how to do wet wrap therapy to help your child’s skin heal. 

What Is Wet Wrap Therapy?

Eczema flares range from mild to severe. If you child’s eczema flares are severe, your doctor may recommend wet wrap therapy.  Wet wrap therapy requires multiple steps to help make your child feel more comfortable and improve their skin barrier.  This treatment helps heal the skin so that your child does not develop an infection (as infections can be more common in children with eczema). Through wet wrap therapy, so you can hopefully avoid the use of additional medications. It has been shown that there is a dramatic improvement in eczema flares when wet wrap therapy is conducted for three or four days in a row.  

Wet Wrap Therapy: What You’ll Need

To start wet wrap therapy, you should have the following materials ready for when your child finishes bath time: 

  • Large bucket filled with warm water or access to a sink with warm water 
  • Topical steroid as needed (prescribed by your doctor)
  • Moisturizer 
  • Cotton clothing that can be soaked in water: preferably pajamas, multiple sets of socks (for feet and hands), underwear or a dressing (if smaller areas of eczema need to be treated).  
  • Dry pajamas (it may be helpful to have pajamas a size larger than what your child typically wears, to make them easier to put on)
  • Cotton tube socks (to be cut by scissors)
  • Cotton gloves for the hands
  • Plastic wrap (used to cover food) or vinyl gloves

7 Steps For Wet Wrap Therapy

Here are our step by step instructions for wet wrap therapy (in addition to this helpful video from the National Eczema Association):

  1. Soak your child in the bathtub with warm water.  
  2. Take your child out of the bath and immediately apply a topical steroid to the most severe areas of eczema on the child’s skin.  (It is important to do this step when the skin is still damp.)  For the other areas of the skin, apply a moisturizer to the rest of the skin.
  3. Use the bucket of warm water to get the clothing slightly damp.  
  4. Cover your child in this wet layer of cotton clothing or a wet dressing to keep the moisture in the child’s skin.  You can use the two sets of socks to cover the hands and feet if those areas have severe eczema too.  
  5. Add another layer of dry, cotton pajamas to your child.  If you are using wet socks for the feet, cover these areas with dry socks as well.  You can use wet cotton gloves for the hands and put plastic wrap or vinyl gloves over the hands. (Tip: if you are only treating arms, then you can cut out holes in the ends of tube socks where the toes are so a child can use the sock as a make-shift sleeve to cover and treat the arms).
  6. Keep your child in these dressings for at least 2 hours or for the entire night if possible.  
  7. Repeat this process every day for a few nights until the eczema improves.

Once the skin heals, it’s possible that you may have to do this treatment again.  Note: you should not apply this treatment for healing the skin on the face, as face treatment should be performed by a medical professional skilled in this area.