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.

4. Reduce exposure to irritants and chemicals. From laundry and bedding care to wipes and sunscreen, choose products made with gentle, safe ingredients.

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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heatherisagypsy Heather Jean

    Coconut oil!

  • shannon

    Baking soda half cup in a warm tub…once a week. However my son has had it since he turned 2 weeks old, he is now 6 years.

  • Missy

    I just kept rubbing a cocoa butter stick on my baby’s cheeks, and the eczema went away. I got that tip from a friend that had been dealing with bad eczema since we were little kids. A cocoa butter stick works better than ask the expensive medical creams she had to use.

  • Danielle

    Our son actually ended up having it as a symptom of food allergies. He was being exposed through my breast milk

  • Felicia

    Coconut Oil does wonders.

    • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

      Coconut oil has so many uses!

  • Lgd

    Aveeno eczema lotion ! Wear socks on your hands at night

  • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

    Thanks to everyone for sharing their experience and tips. It’s always helpful to hear from other parents and caregivers. We hope all your little ones are doing well and eczema free.

  • natural nurse

    Eczema is a symptom of immune dysfunction. You need to treat the underlying cause, such as food allergies, leaky gut, and vaccine reactions. According to the AAP, a child with eczema cannot be vaccinated (page 6 of their red book) because of the underlying immunological problem.

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  • Jenny

    Put your breast milk on the eczema. It is a miracle substance!

    • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

      Thanks so much for the natural treatment idea, Jenny.

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  • Jen

    Actually, bathing twice a day and immediately lotioning to seal in the moisture from the bath is better than bathing infrequently. I use Curel itch defense lotion on my son who sometimes has eczema flares. I stopped giving him diary and stopped eating it myself because of his it so it is mostly controlled now.

    • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Jen. We know how each person’s body responds is different. Too bad there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, because it would make helping our little ones so much easier! We’re glad it’s mostly controlled now.

  • GUEST

    I have been told that plant extracts can irritate a baby’s eczema sometimes. My son all of sudden just started having it after almost 2 years. I think he has a food allergy…

    • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

      We are so sorry to hear your son recently development eczema. We know how uncomfortable it can be for little ones. We hope these tips help provide relief — but, of course, check with your doctor or health care provider before undertaking any treatment.

  • Kelly

    All new research points to more bathing followed by cream to lock in the moisture. You really should edit this post and read up on current practices. . . .

  • greenherbinc

    Very effective tips and information giving by you i really
    appreciate your work . We are also in same field and welcome you to visit our
    website

  • Jessica Diaz

    Both of my boys have sensitive skin, and I’ve always used Aquaphor on any dry patches I notice. It heals them right up! I have also only used non- or lightly-scented organic baby wash and lotion on them- I currently use Honest body wash/shampoo and body lotion. The winter is always a little more brutal, but with my trusty products, we survive! :)

    • http://blog.honest.com/ Honest

      We’re glad we can make winter more comfortable, Jessica. Sending you sunshine so the warmer weather arrives soon!

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