Prevent your baby’s eczema – 5 easy steps
Prevent your baby’s eczema with these 5 easy steps!
It’s fall! The annual pumpkin-spiced pumpkin spice (the pumpkin spiciest!) drink competition is at hand, winter clothes are being skeptically eyed for spiders and, yes, winter is coming!
For me, this is my FAVORITE time of year (I love cold weather).
But it is also the about the time when your baby’s eczema will start to break out and cause problems. I have many friends and readers who deal with this each and every late fall/winter. So I made this post for you, because NOW is the time to act to try and prevent your baby’s eczema from worsening!
PS – Yes, I know that this is a misuse of the “Winter is Coming” meme. And I apologize.
The CAUSE of Eczema
As you may remember from my prior article, the cause of eczema is the skin!
We often want to find the food, the detergent, the clothing or pet that is the cause of the eczema but if you want to treat eczema the right way you treat the skin FIRST.
We’re going to create that plan today!
Note for those Treating Eczema Naturally
Many of you want to treat your baby’s eczema naturally. I hear this from my patients all the time as well as through the emails and popularity of my article about “Treating Eczema Naturally.”
If this rings true for you, then this article is definitely for you!
Most of the problem with your baby’s eczema is that by the time I see your child the rash has progressed to a point that I NEED to use more medications (which is less natural).
So a good baby eczema prevention plan will be a key step toward treating your baby’s eczema naturally!
Baby Eczema Prevention Plan – Step 1 – Bath Time Plan
First, let’s create a plan for bath time. There are a lot of providers who recommend minimal bathing to multiple times a day of bathing and often there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to these recommendations.
Let me first clarify this point:
Bathing ADDS moisture to the skin, which is good for eczema. However, when you dry your baby off this removes moisture from the skin, which is bad for your baby’s eczema. Catch-22? Not really.
The key is to give your baby a bath and then cover them with a moisturizing cream while they are still wet and BEFORE you towel them off (and pat them dry, don’t rub with the towel).
This is quite a trick, because they will be slippery with water + moisturizer and (if they’re like my son Luke) will try their best to slide out of your hands.
(Note to my wife: Kristie, if you’re reading this, I have NEVER dropped Luke. He does a great slippery passive-resistance routine, though!)
Overall the bathing plan should be:
- Bathing anywhere from once a day to once every other day, based on your schedule.
- Use cooler water (notice I didn’t say cold. I’m not a monster!)
- Use MILD soaps and detergents. The more boring, the better.
- After the bath, cover them with a moisturizing cream while they are still damp
- Pat them dry with a towel afterwards (don’t rub)
Now THAT is a great bathing plan all year round, but especially good to start now.
Baby Eczema Prevention Plan – Step 2 – Moisturizer!
This step is also important year round, but as the weather gets colder and drier it becomes an important second step in your baby eczema prevention plan.
Plan to use moisturizer at least daily. If there is a stubborn area or a known eczema area, use it 2-3 times a day! In my house, it’s easy for me to forget to put it on our children. Our solution was to buy a lot of containers of moisturizing creams and put there everywhere: next to the TV, in the boy’s rooms, in the bathroom, near the bath, in the hallway landing area with the weird shaped corner that we can’t figure out how to decorate. Everywhere!
I am often asked what cream I recommend. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter as long as it is a bland cream. I usually recommend:
The key is that I don’t want “additives” to any cream. Surprisingly, even most “natural” creams contain oils or scents/perfumes which can cause eczema to worsen.
If you want a good recipe to make your own natural moisturizer cream at home, you can clickand I’ll share with you the recipe I recommend.
Baby Eczema Prevention Plan – Step 3 – Early Low-Dose Steroid Cream!
Ok, everyone who wants to treat eczema naturally – hear me out!
One of the problems I see when treating baby eczema is that it is often so bad that I need to use high potency steroid creams or even steroid liquids to get it under control. These are really strong medications and I like to avoid them if able.
However, if there is the start of a patch of eczema and you catch it early, you can often treat it with a very low dose steroid cream (which is really not absorbed into the body and is very low risk!)
In my opinion, I’d rather treat with a low dose / low side effect steroid cream early and PREVENT the need for stronger medications if I waited longer!
So the plan would be:
- Fully implement steps 1 and 2. This controls a lot of eczema
- If you see a patch start to develop, consider an over the counter steroid cream (1% hydrocortisone) and apply to the area once to twice a day, every day
- Continue this for about 5-7 days AFTER the rash visibly goes away. Once you can’t see it any longer, the inflammation is still there. Stopping too early will cause the eczema to come back.
Baby Eczema Prevention Plan – Step 4 – Watch for Triggers
Again, I discuss triggers fully in my prior article but always keep an eye out for possible triggers. These could include certain foods, soaps/detergents (including laundry detergents stuck to clothing), and pets.
Avoid these triggers as much as possible and this will help keep your baby’s eczema under better control.
Baby Eczema Prevention Plan – Step 5 – What if This Doesn’t Work
Finally, it is possible that many of your baby’s will still have eczema despite this prevention plan. Don’t worry. I have you covered too.
If this plan is not enough, or if your baby’s eczema starts to worsen, it often becomes time to see an allergist for help. I recommend allergy over dermatology because while both specialties can treat the skin only allergy also looks for triggers. One option is to request a consult to see an allergist.
Or you can ask me. Luckily, I am an allergist.
If you click here and answer a few questions, I will do my best to either help you or to guide you to the right answer.
A few things that either myself or an allergist would like to know:
- Do you have pictures? If not, take them. This is good advice for any rash
- What is your current skin care plan?
- What has been the response to medications in the past?
- Do you know of any triggers?
- Does anyone else in the family (mother, father, sisters/brothers) have eczema, allergies or asthma?
Share this Plan – Please!
I would love it if all my posts were viral phenomena and I was called the best blogger of all time. But we all know none of that is true. I mean, let’s face it: I’m not the best writer and allergies are not a thrilling topic.
But if you could share this post to as many people as possible with babies (or kids… or adults… or anyone with eczema) then maybe we can get ahead of this eczema season and help everyone feel better AND use fewer medications.