Have you noticed dry, itchy, red patches on your baby’s skin? If so, your baby may be suffering from a very common skin condition called eczema. Many times pediatricians will prescribe a topical steroid to ease eczema flair ups, but there are several safe, more natural alternatives that may help your baby’s skin.
What’s causing your baby’s eczema?
The causes of eczema in infants and children vary from child to child. Many times there is a food allergy to blame. Other times, it may just be genetics. Often, babies will outgrow their eczema within the first few years of life.
If your baby’s eczema stems from a food allergy, dietary changes are your best bet for clearing up the problem. Always consult with your child's healthcare provider. Otherwise, here are several ideas for treating eczema breakouts naturally.
It is extremely important to keep a baby’s skin moisturized if they are suffering from eczema. Coconut oil is a great option because of its natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. Not to mention, your baby will smell like a yummy tropical paradise! When shopping, look for an organic virgin coconut oil (you can find this at your local grocery or health food store). Just a little bit of it will go a long way. You can also try a coconut oil based product made especially for the skin like Capri Clear Natural Soothing Fluid.
Probiotic supplements work to increase good bacteria in the intestines, which aid in digestion and is thought to help prevent and promote the healing of eczema (particularly if the eczema is caused by dietary issues). You can find some strains of probiotics in food such as yogurt (look for the Live & Active Cultures seal), but you can also buy supplements in powder or chewable form that are made especially for babies and children.
Calendula (better knows as pretty yellow marigold flowers) has been recognized for centuries for its skin soothing properties. Today you can find many creams and special lotions made with calendula extract that are perfect for easing the discomfort caused by eczema. Check out California Baby’s Calendula Cream or consider buying straight calendula extract and mixing it with coconut oil for a personalized solution.
Vinegar or Oatmeal Bath
Vinegar and oatmeal are both popular treatments for the healing and relief of eczema.
Add a cup or more of vinegar to your child’s bath. Vinegar kills bacteria and promotes the skin’s healing.
Blend oats up in to a fine powder and add to bath until the water looks milky. You can also purchase an oatmeal bath powder like Aveno Soothing Bath Treatment. Oatmeal works to relieve the itching and discomfort caused by eczema.
A humidifier, especially during dry winter months, is a great way to infuse a little bit of extra moisture in to your baby’s skin. Choose a cool mist humidifier to avoid burns, like one of these adorable animal shaped ones from Crane, and keep it running in your child's bedroom while they sleep.
While there hasn't been a ton of research on the affects of sun exposure on eczema, some researchers believe that low levels of vitamin D (much of which we get from sunshine) could be linked to eczema and other allergies. A 2012 Australian research study of 7,643 children did find that kids living in low sunlight areas were more likely to suffer from eczema and other allergies compared to their high-sun exposure counterparts. Obviously, with sun exposure you always want to make sure your child isn't out for too long and wears sunscreen or protective clothing. A vitamin D supplement, particularly during winter months, may be beneficial as well.
Tips for Preventing Eczema Breakouts
- Dress your baby in soft, cotton clothing
- Use a gentle, non-scented laundry detergent
- Avoid bubble bath and use mild soap for sensitive skin
- Use a gentle lotion or lubricating agent to lock in moisture immediately after bath time
- Determine if diet is to blame (common allergens include cow's milk, peanuts, eggs, fish, wheat and soy)
Source: National Eczema Association & WebMD "Does sunshine prevent childhood eczema and allergies?"
Photo Credit: Dreams To Do