As a parent, it’s difficult to watch your sweet baby suffer in any way. It’s especially hard when you don’t know the cause or the solution to their problem.
That’s often the case with baby eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. There’s no actual cure for eczema, but there are various ways to treat your little one’s skin and manage their symptoms. However, many treatments for eczema are far from natural and gentle.
So how can you avoid exposing your baby to chemicals like bleach baths and other harsh eczema treatments? If you want to care for your baby’s delicate skin with alternative and natural eczema treatments, you’re in the right place.
In this article, the baby experts at Mustela give you nine of our favorite ways to treat eczema naturally.
What Causes Baby Eczema?
In order to decide on a natural eczema treatment, it’s important to first understand what eczema is and some of the potential causes or contributing factors.
While eczema is a common problem (between 10% and 30% of babies and kids suffer from eczema), that doesn’t make it any easier to see your baby with this bothersome condition. Their skin becomes red, rough, itchy, and dry, and it’s difficult to figure out the triggers or to predict a flare-up.
While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, it’s related to genetics, environmental factors, and the immune system. Of course, each baby’s skin is sensitive to different things, but below are some factors that typically make eczema worse.
1) Dry Skin
Eczema is much more than just dry skin, but not properly moisturizing your baby’s skin can make them more likely to have an eczema breakout.
Another factor that contributes to dry skin? The cold, dry air that winter brings. It can quickly zap moisture from your baby’s skin and make eczema worse. Use a humidifier in your baby’s room and apply Stelatopia Emollient Balm regularly to combat the effects of harsh winter air.
Before they’re even able to walk, your little one comes into contact with several irritants — through the air and through the products that you use to care for your baby and your home.
Dust, air pollution, soap, lotion, laundry detergent, shampoo, and cleaning products are just a few of the items that may irritate your baby’s skin.
Bath time has always been a source of concern for babies with eczema-prone skin because of all the possible irritants in the water, soap, and shampoo.
You can remove those irritants and make bath time safe and enjoyable again by adding Stelatopia Bath Oil to the water and washing baby’s skin and hair with Stelatopia Cleansing Gel and Stelatopia Foam Shampoo.
Heat is another factor that can worsen the symptoms of eczema. And that doesn’t just include the warmth of the summer sun. Heat could also be caused by too many layers of clothes on your baby’s body.
Diet can sometimes contribute to an infant’s eczema. And if you’re breastfeeding, that means that your diet might be the culprit. Food allergies, specifically, can aggravate eczema.
But even if your child doesn’t have an actual allergy, certain foods might cause a reaction and contribute to flare-ups.
5) Gut Health
Gut health is about much more than just your baby’s diet. Having a healthy gut means having the right amount of good bacteria in your digestive system. And gut health contributes to a healthy immune system, which is important in keeping eczema under control.
Natural Eczema Treatments
Now that you know a little more about eczema, here are nine great ways to naturally treat and calm your baby’s eczema-prone skin.
1) Apply Sunflower Seed Oil
What goes on your baby’s skin is important, especially if you’re trying to keep eczema under control. Using sunflower seed oil is a natural way to keep delicate skin moisturized. But it’s more than just great moisturization.
The National Eczema Association says that sunflower oil improves the skin barrier, helping to ward off bacteria, and “serves as an anti-inflammatory, which can be beneficial for patients suffering from the inflammation of eczema.”
2) Use Coconut Oil
Using coconut oil on your baby’s skin is another effective, natural way to treat their eczema. And like sunflower oil, it’s more than just another oil.
The National Eczema Association notes, “One study with atopic dermatitis patients showed staph bacteria on the skin decreased by 95 percent after coconut oil was applied to the skin (as compared to a reduction of about 50 percent in patients who applied olive oil instead).”
3) Give Your Baby A Soothing Bath
First, keep baths short and warm. It’s best if the water temperature doesn’t exceed typical body temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal bathing temperature for babies with sensitive skin is between 97 and 98.6 degrees.
Water that’s too hot and steamy will not only make your baby uncomfortable, but it can also dry out their skin and aggravate eczema. Also, limit baths to 10 minutes so that the water doesn’t dry out their skin even more.
Second, make the bath water work for you, not against you! Use a soothing, natural eczema treatment that can be added straight to the tub. You can add a bath oil (like Mustela’s Stelatopia Bath Oil), baking soda, or colloidal oatmeal.
Third, choose a cleanser, like Stelatopia Cleansing Gel, that won’t irritate your baby’s delicate skin. Stelatopia Cleansing Gel is specifically designed for extremely dry and eczema-prone skin.
The gel/cream hybrid envelops your little one’s skin in a silky, hydrating barrier that protects, moisturizes, replenishes, and soothes itchy red patches.
4) Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Speaking of adding skin-calming elements to baby’s bath water, apple cider vinegar is another natural treatment for babies with eczema. It can help fight infection, reduce inflammation, and help alleviate itching and calm skin.
Apple cider vinegar can be diluted and used in your baby’s bath, or you can dilute the vinegar and apply it directly to their skin.
5) Apply Moisturizer Right After Bath Time
When it comes to moisturizing, the what and the when are both important. Whether you moisturize with sunflower or coconut oil or use a gentle, fragrance-free lotion — like Stelatopia Emollient Balm — when you lather baby’s skin is something to keep in mind.
It’s best to apply moisturizer right after bath time when your little one’s skin is still damp. This keeps their skin from drying out post-bath.
6) Keep An Eye On Your Baby’s Diet
As we mentioned earlier, diet could be a contributing factor to your baby’s eczema flare-ups. Some baby eczema improves when certain foods — such as milk, wheat, soy, peanuts, or eggs — are eliminated from their diet.
Ask your pediatrician if eliminating foods would help your baby’s eczema. It may be as easy as getting rid of one of the foods you usually feed your little one. And if you’re still breastfeeding, you’ll be the one to eliminate certain foods from your diet.
7) Increase Vitamin D Intake
While heat and sweat can aggravate eczema, for some little ones, eczema actually gets worse in the winter. One possible reason is that without the sunny days, your baby’s vitamin D levels are often lower in the wintertime.
You can give your infant vitamin D supplements even if they’re still breastfeeding or on formula. Talk to your pediatrician about what supplement is best and how much time your baby should spend outside.
8) Take Advantage Of Probiotics
Probiotics improve gut health, immune health, and, often, baby eczema. Your breastmilk will provide your little one with much of what they need for good gut health, but you can up your game by taking probiotics yourself and giving probiotics directly to your baby.
Special probiotics are made specifically for little ones, and they’re easy to give. Liquid and powder probiotics are both available, so choose whatever is best for you and baby. Add the probiotic straight to formula or put it in solid food.
Note: Always consult your pediatrician before adding any supplements, like probiotics, to your baby’s diet.
9) Dress Your Baby In Gentle Clothes
Besides bath time and the occasional hour in just their diaper, your baby’s skin is almost always rubbing against their clothes. Putting some thought into how you dress your baby will go a long way toward relieving their eczema symptoms.
Be sure the fabric is soft, breathable, and natural (cotton, linen, or silk, for example). Stay away from synthetic fabrics. These materials might feel extra soft and cuddly, but they’re not eczema-friendly because they don’t let skin breathe and they don’t absorb sweat the way natural fabrics can.
As important as it is to think about the fabric that is in direct contact with your baby’s delicate skin, you’ll want to be sure that the outer layers are also made of breathable fabric. To keep baby cozy and warm, simply add more layers.
And of course, keep your baby’s eczema in mind at bedtime as well. Try special eczema pajamas, like Mustela’s Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas, to relieve itching and irritation overnight so your little one can rest easy.
Made from 100 percent OEKTO-TEX certified cotton and fibers containing all-natural ingredients, these unique pajamas are clinically proven to reduce your little one’s urge to scratch while keeping their skin moisturized and comfortable.
Now that you know some of the best natural and alternative treatments for your baby’s eczema, you’re ready to talk to your pediatrician and come up with a plan for soothing your baby’s irritated skin.
Start by choosing the right moisturizers, ramping up your bath-time game with Stelatopia Cleansing Gel, examining diet and vitamin intake, and trying soft, natural clothes. Hopefully, you’ll be a few steps closer to getting the upper hand on your baby’s eczema.