ECZEMA IN BABIES
Living with eczema is the hardest thing some people will ever have to deal with in their lifetime. The same can be said for parents who have a child or baby suffering from this debilitating condition and with rates of baby eczema on the rise, the need for effective treatments has never been more necessary.
For the lucky ones, ⅔ of baby and childhood eczema will disappear before adulthood. This certainly comes as a relief to parents who struggle with the daily strain of a child who is in pain and suffering greatly.
Eczema in babies endures unspeakable levels of stress and sadness to parents. When your helpless child is in chronic discomfort, the frustration of trying to find the causes and treatment can feel insurmountable. As with adult eczema, wading through the range of possible causes and elimination processes can be unscrupulously time consuming, expensive and physically and emotionally draining which is why so many people turn to corticosteroids as a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive option.
Unfortunately topical corticosteroids come with their own set of problems, with potential side effects ranging from non-existent to skin atrophy, endocrine disruption and severe addiction. Some side effects present themselves later in life and some can present much sooner. Please refer to my article on Topical Steroid Withdrawal for more details.
In looking for a more natural and safer treatment of eczema in babies, parents are becoming better educated and very savvy to the dangers of certain drugs. As other methods are becoming better understood, the adoption of non-drug related treatments is gaining in popularity and becoming more widely accepted simply because of the incredible results they display.
Thankfully, many non-drug forms of eczema treatment can be found within your own home already. I will be updating this list as more information becomes available on other methods, but for the moment, here is a breakdown of some of the most common types of treatment used to help eczema in babies.
Ensuring the amount of bleach is similar to that of a swimming pool; many people have found bleach baths to be effective for treating the infection, redness and itch of eczema in babies. Though the use of bleach will cause the skin to lose further oils from the already oil depleted skin, it would pay to use this method sparingly and with caution as it could further damage the skin.
One of the most popular bathing treatments for eczema in babies is the oatmeal bath. Heralded as one of the most gentle eczema treatments, the benefits of oatmeal baths are vast. Because treating baby eczema requires careful consideration of their skins pH and moisture levels, using harsh chemicals can strip their delicate skin of essential microbial bacteria’s, and natural oils. This is why oatmeal baths are heaven sent for many parents because the oatmeal can actually help balance the pH and moisture levels of the skin, Oatmeal baths for baby eczema also contains antioxidants, acts as a natural cleanser and can also be used for other inflammatory conditions such as sunburn, ivy sting or insect bites.
Bentonite Clay/Green Clay baths for eczema in babies
Bentonite clay is a wonderful method of detoxing and removing impurities from the body. As a topical agent, bentonite clay has been used as a fast acting and gentle way of alleviating the itch and helping dry up ooze. Applied to a baby bath, bentonite clay can bring soothing relief to eczema by drawing away from the body impurities and bacteria which cause irritation.
Have you ever noticed that children’s eczema seems to improve after they have been swimming at the beach? This is not a hard and fast rule, but for a lot of eczema cases the inflammation and irritation is often worsened by bacterial growth in the broken skin. Salt works by killing the bad bacteria and subsequently gives the skin a chance to heal better.
There are a few different types of salts which people prefer to use for eczema in babies. Making sure, as with anything you would consider adding to your baby’s bathwater, that you research the proper dose to use and not add too much. The two most popular salts used by eczema sufferers are Dead Sea Salts and Epsom Salts. Both contain easily absorbed nutrients beneficial for both babies and adults alike.
LOTIONS FOR ECZEMA IN BABIES
The nature of the skin in a person with eczema is due to genetic factors, the skin cannot retain its own natural oils which cause dryness, differentiation, histamine response and subsequent inflammation and irritation. This is why in many cases of adult eczema and eczema in babies, that applying a topical barrier to replace the moisture levels and also help ‘lock in’ the moisture is very helpful.
The best time to apply a lotion is after bathing as the skin tends to become even drier for various reasons including the chlorine content and sometimes the fluoride found in tap water. Applying the lotion as soon as the baby is dried off is best to seal the skin and prevent further moisture loss. It is also important that the lotion you use is the most gentle and caring for your baby’s skin, taking care to always research before purchasing and check over the ingredient list like a hawk. Some manufacturers will hide unfavourable ingredients behind sneaky names or numbers, so research is important.
As a basic starting point; perfumes/fragrances, artificial colours and alcohol should be avoided like the plague. These are known irritants which have no place on your baby’s delicate skin.
Essential oils can either help or hinder eczema in babies, so it is advised to use these with caution. Coconut oil has also gained in popularity for many health uses and has been said to even cure some people’s eczema. However there are also counter cases which have shown a worsening of eczema symptoms in many people.
Vaseline is without a doubt, the most well-known aid for helping nappy rash and all manner of skin related issues, including eczema in babies. It is gentle and acts as a barrier to trap moisture in and help keep unwanted intruders out. It is not very moisturizing, even though it appears that way, because it sits on top of the skin and does not penetrate deep into the layers like other lotions do. Vaseline should be used after the skin has been cleaned and if the eczema becomes irritated after application, use should be discontinued. Find Vaseline here.
Aloe Vera gel is very moisturizing and packs soothing and antibacterial properties which have been touted as an effective treatment for eczema in babies. Commonly used for sunburn, these calming and inflammation reducing qualities extend to eczema skin, however if irritation arises, use should be discontinued. Lots of Aloe Vera gel products come packed with fragrances and alcohol, so always ensure you choose one which is free of these irritants. That is why we wanted to find a few options which were highly rated and free of nasties - here and here.
Zinc is a common deficiency in people with eczema symptoms. Zinc plays many roles in our body’s development, immunity and overall health however one possibly unknown fact about zinc is that it is antibacterial and has been known to bring dramatic relief to many people, and babies, with eczema. Some zinc lotions also come with a whole array of other ‘stuff’ in their ingredients list which can be unhelpful or even disruptive to eczema in babies. This is why many people prefer to make their own zinc lotion by using zinc oxide powder, such as this extremely well rated product.
A very easy treatment for eczema in babies where the issue is gut related, is the elimination of certain foods from either mums or baby’s diet. Unfortunately allergy testing can be quite inconclusive because a lot of food sensitivities do not show up on testing, which is why the elimination method is the most successful method.
If your baby is still drinking milk, there is a chance that what you are consuming can be the cause of the eczema flares. Of course ‘breast is always best’ as it will help boost baby’s immunity, however there are a few common dietary culprits that mum could try to identify through an elimination strategy. The usual suspects are (but definitely not limited to) dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, corn, nuts, food additives (preservatives, artificial colors or flavors) and shellfish and if these foods are easily avoided for a period of weeks (or months – the longer the better); you may be able to identify a reduction in the baby’s eczema symptoms. If symptoms do improve, introduction of each of those foods back to the diet one at a time may note the return of reactions, in which case you will know you shouldn’t eat these until the baby no longer requires breast feeding. Obviously care and medical advice should be taken where needed for treating the dietary concerns of eczema in babies.
People with eczema are generally very sensitive to ingredients, internally and externally, so ensure you advise your baby’s doctor before attempting to utilize any of the methods listed here.