The softness of a newborn baby's skin is legendary, however challenging skin conditions such as Eczema are common in babies and kids and can be rather anxiety inducing for parents.
I’m sure that googling “Atopic dermatitis on baby’s face” or “Baby skin cracking in folds” is not something you thought you’d be doing, certainly not in the first 6 months of parenting, however Eczema is a very common condition in babies and children and usually first appears between ages 3 and 6 months.
Here at WOTNOT, we pride ourselves on creating natural, toxin free baby products that are safe and nourishing for baby’s skin. Along the way we have gathered some tips on how to manage Eczema, based on our experience as parents, feedback from our customers and our insights into creating organic and natural products. Eczema is a uniquely challenging journey for each family. We encourage you to reach out to your baby’s paediatrician or family GP for a definite diagnosis and treatment plan.
What Is Eczema? (EK-zeh-ma):
Eczema is a condition where the skin gets irritated, red, dry, bumpy, and itchy. There are several types of eczema, but the most common is ‘Atopic dermatitis’. Usually, some family history of asthma, hay fever, and skin rashes may make a child prone to developing eczema. However, any child may develop this skin condition. Additionally, an environmental exposure may trigger the rash, causing a predisposition towards having a reaction in the future.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Eczema?
Symptoms can vary:
- Infants younger than 1 year old usually have the eczema rash on their cheeks, forehead, or scalp. It may spread to the knees, elbows, and trunk (but not usually the nappy area).
- Older kids and teens usually get the rash in the bends of the elbows, behind the knees, on the neck, or on the inner wrists and ankles. Their skin is often scalier and drier than when the eczema first began.
How can parents help?
The goals are to ease itching and inflammation of the skin, increase moisture, and prevent infection and stay away from triggers that cause flare ups.
Below are some tips on eczema relief for kids:
- Baths or showers with warm, not hot, water. Air dry or gently pat dry the skin afterward. You can set a timer to try to limit the length of a bath. This is helpful for parents to keep track of timing but also for toddlers who need some warning for transitions out of the bath! Use a gentle, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic cleanser. We suggest Wotnot 100% Natural 3 in 1 Baby Wash, Shampoo & Bubble Bath that has also nourishing ingredients to replenish the skin.
- Don’t scratch the skin. Try to keep your child from scratching as it makes the condition worse and can also cause infection. It’s easy to say ‘Don’t scratch’ but getting your little one to listen when it’s oh so itchy, is another story. Kids may be less likely to scratch if it’s covered up. Moisturising, loose clothing and some distracting them can also help.
- Keep fingernails short. Trim or file your child’s nails to keep them short and prevent scratching. You could try having your child wear comfortable, light gloves to bed if scratching at night is a problem. Or you might have a sleep suit where you have the option to cover the hands.
- Use moisturisers – use moisturisers frequently. Apply them directly after the bath ideally within 3 minutes after your child gets out of the water so as to avoid skin drying out. Keep a moisturiser next to the sink after hand washing. It’s also important to apply moisturiser throughout the day to the body. Look for moisturisers with natural ingredients to benefit sensitive skin and avoid environment irritants.
We highly recommend the WOTNOT 30 SPF NATURAL BABY SUNSCREEN because of its clean ingredients, it’s super moisturising and also a sunscreen (win -win) so you don’t have to apply both during the day. We receive rave reviews about how much it helps little ones with Eczema.
** WOTNOT pro tip: if you’re applying moisturiser or sunscreen to a toddler, use a make-up brush! We use the WOTNOT VEGAN MAKEUP BRUSHES Amazingly applying with a brush takes away the toddler battles (most of the time). It is truly a game changer! You can keep one brush aside for their sunscreen and one for other body moisturisers.
- Wear soft, natural clothing. Try to find clothes that “breathe” such as those made from cotton. Wool or polyester may be too harsh or irritating.
- Keep Cool. Try to keep your child as cool as possible. Getting hot and sweaty can make your little one more uncomfortable. Avoid using a heater as it’s a fast way to dry out skin.
- Drink water. Encourage kids to drink plenty of water by having a water bottle on hand.
- Stay away from Triggers. Various factors can contribute to a flare up. Common triggers include irritants such as wool, soap or chemicals Other triggers include allergens such as eggs, dust mites or pet hair. For more information about triggers check out our chat about Eczema with Belinda Kirkpatrick – Naturopath and Nutritionist.
- Change products. Look at swapping out products such as bath soaps, laundry detergents, pyjamas and baby wipes. The WOTNOT 100% NATURAL BABY WIPES gently cleanse without stripping natural oils.
- Begin taking photos or notes. Take photos of your child’s skin when there are flare ups – try to get a before and after photo and take notes of possible triggers such as food, weather, clothing. You can save these to notes on your phone, so they are easily accessible when you talk to a medical professional.
- Seek Medical Advice. Please remember to talk to your child’s paediatrician, or GP for guidance and treatment. They will be able to help with a treatment plan or they might refer you to a dermatologist if the eczema is severe.
It is very stressful and emotional watching a child deal with any kind of illness or challenging condition. If you are reading this blog, you are probably searching for how to best help your child manage their Eczema. We hope that some of these tips can help guide you a little on your journey. If you have any questions about our products and how they might help your family with skin conditions, please GET IN CONTACT. We would love to hear from you.
Contributor: Marianne Randall