Babies have extremely delicate skin and you never know what might trigger irritation. Beyond general sensitivities, up to 20 percent of babies also suffer from a dry skin condition known as atopic dermatitis or “infantile eczema.”
According to the National Library of Medicine, atopic dermatitis is due to a hypersensitivity reaction (similar to an allergy) in the skin, which leads to long-term swelling and redness (inflammation) of the skin. It’s most common in infants starting as early as age 2 to 6 months, but many outgrow it by early adulthood.
While medications may be necessary for extreme or frequent eczema flare-ups, home remedies can usually successfully prevent, manage, and treat infant eczema.
Here are 5 simple tips to treat infant eczema:
1. Bathe your baby less. Since bathing dries out the skin, give your baby fewer, shorter, cooler baths. Use a gentle, moisturizing, plant-based soap rather than conventional soap which can strip the skin of moisture and natural oils and promote flare-ups.
2. Make an oatmeal bath. This basic kitchen ingredient works wonders on relieving eczema (and other skin irritations). Simply blend or process about ⅓ cup of oats on the highest setting until you have a very fine powder. Sprinkle into a tub of running water and stir it in with your hand until the water has a milky look and a silky feel. (Note: it will make the tub more slippery than usual, so be careful!) Allow your child to soak in the magic mixture for 15-20 minutes and pat dry with a soft towel.
3. Moisturize. Plant-based healing balms and lotions with ingredients like soothing calendula and chamomile can help heal and protect skin, as well as provide relief from itching. Regular massages with high-quality plant oils can be very helpful, too.
5. Use a humidifier. Dry air exacerbates eczema, so use a humidifier during dry seasons. Buy a hygrometer from a hardware or home improvement store and shoot for moisture levels in the range of 35% to 50%.
Ultimately, you want to try to identify what causes your child’s eczema flare-ups to prevent them from happening in the future. Keep a journal to track diet and potential environmental exposures (triggers can include everything from animal dander and pollen to new clothes and wool upholstery). Here’s hoping your detective work leads to an easy solution to your child’s discomfort!
Have you dealt with eczema? What natural solutions have worked for you?
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Before undertaking any course of treatment, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.