Expert Guest: Natural Skincare For Kids With Eczema

Filed Under allergies, Skin Care 

One of the most frequent questions I get from parents is “What can I use on my baby/child with eczema that’s safer?”  So please welcome my guest expert Jennifer of  It’s an Itchy Little World and  founder of The Eczema Company.  She has a child with eczema and shares her wisdom with us!  Check out Jennifer’s tips and recommendations for testing new products and for finding the right skin care for your child:

“What works for one child’s skin, may not work for another.”

This is the phrase that plagues me as a mother of a child with eczema. I wish I could tell you this isn’t true.  I know I am not the only one who has spent countless dollars on a closet full of half used products full of promise. Each product was sworn to be the eczema miracle because it worked for a friend’s child.  It’s true, some children’s eczema is mild enough that once you do find the right moisturizer, their skin will vastly improve. But for many kids, cream is not enough. Finding the triggers is critical for these children, whether it’s food allergies, hot/cold temperatures, detergents, fragrances, environmental allergies, etc. Identify the trigger and find the best skincare treatment and your child will be well on their way to healthier skin.

There is a moisturizer that will work best for your child, but finding it may require patience. There are many great natural ingredients that have powerful eczema healing properties. Here is a list of those that have proven most beneficial. These ingredients are available in a variety of products to include in an eczema skin treatment program – gentle soaps/cleansers, creams, balms, salves, bath oils, bath soaks, etc.

Natural Ingredients Beneficial for Eczema:

  • Unrefined Shea Butter – Very moisturizing with vitamins A, E, & F. Anti-inflammatory, skin rejuvenating, and rich in healing omega fatty acids. UV sun protection. Only buy raw or unrefined shea butter. If it doesn’t say this on the label, then all the natural healing properties have been removed during processing. (This is a tree nut, so be cautious when dealing with tree nut allergies.)
  • Virgin Coconut Oil – Very moisturizing. Anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Repairs damaged skin by fighting free radicals. Builds a protective skin barrier. Only buy virgin, cold processed coconut oil. Oil should have a mild coconut smell. Regular non-virgin varieties have been overly processed and stripped of their healing prosperities. (This is a tree nut, so be cautious when dealing with tree nut allergies.)
  • Sea Buckthorn Seed & Fruit Oil – Reduces inflammation and contains moisturizing and healing omega 7 fatty acids, as well as 3, 6, and 9.
  • Hempseed Oil – Anti-inflammatory and skin healing properties. Moisturizing emollient. Also great as an oral omega supplement.
  • Oats – Soothes and relives itching. Very moisturizing. Gluten-free oats are best to avoid cross contamination. Great in powder format when added to the bath.
  • Aloe Vera – Excellent skin hydrator, soothing, and antibacterial. Promotes healing. Be wary as many drugstore aloe products contain drying alcohol. Best format is directly from the plant.
  • Essential Oils/Herbs/Flowers – Use caution and only use small quantities, as essential oils are effective, but potent.
    • Tea Tree – Antibiotic properties, great for preventing infections after scratching. Also reduces inflammation.
    • Neem – Anti-inflammatory properties similar to cortisone. Antibacterial and analgesic (pain killer).
    • Calendula – Relieves itching and reduces flaking.
    • Geranium – Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory. Promotes skin healing.
    • Chamomile – Soothing, anti-itch and anti-inflammatory effects.
    • Chickweed – Relieves itching and heals wounds.
    • Red Clover – Anti-inflammatory.
    • Goldenseal – Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
    • Rosemary – Relieves stress and reduces inflammation.
    • Witch Hazel – Soothes and heals wounds. Reduces inflammation. Drug store variety does not contain tannins, so it’s not as effective.
    • Comfrey – Anti-inflammatory and promotes skin healing.
    • Marshmallow – Soothing, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory.
    • Thyme – Antibacterial and anti-septic.
    • Tumeric – Anti-inflammatory and promotes wound healing.
    • Plantain Leaf – Relieves itching. Anti-inflammatory and promotes wound healing.

Skincare Products to Try:

Tips for Testing a New Product:

  1. Keep a Journal – Document everything – when skincare is applied, food consumed, change in detergents or cleaning products, change in weather, etc. It may not be the skincare that causes a reaction.
  2. Keep it Simple – Avoid long ingredient lists, which have a higher potential for containing an unknown allergen and makes it harder to identify the offending ingredient.
  3. Patch Test – Any ingredient could potentially cause a negative reaction, so it’s best to proceed with caution. Test on a very small patch of skin a couple of times a day. Choose a spot on the body that is typically the most sensitive. If there is a reaction, discontinue use of the product and try to identify the ingredient, which caused the reaction. Note in the journal.
  4. Two Week Trial – Some creams work best when continuously applied and the benefits may not be seen immediately.

About Jennifer: Jennifer is a work-at-home mother of two. One with eczema, food allergies, and asthma. One with mild eczema. She blogs about her family’s battles with allergies, eczema, and asthma at It’s an Itchy Little World. Jennifer is the founder of The Eczema Company, which offers specialty clothing and natural skin care for children with eczema.

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your insight with SafeMama readers!

Posted by: SafeMama Kathy on February 24, 2012

Comments

8 Responses to “Expert Guest: Natural Skincare For Kids With Eczema”

  1. Katy on February 24th, 2012 9:31 am

    Do you have any suggestions for laundry detergents that might be more gentle and natural?

  2. Michelle on February 24th, 2012 11:30 am

    Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Nipple Butter and Angel Baby Bottom Balm have done wonders for my kiddos eczema.

  3. Wendy C on February 24th, 2012 3:18 pm

    I am a fan of Bubble & Bee’s unscented body butter for my toddler, who has eczema breakouts every now and then. He has it right now, and I like to lather the stuff all over him after baths, and on no-bath days I put it on his dry patches.

    I’m also considering cutting out gluten, or at least reduce our gluten intake.

  4. Shannon224 on February 24th, 2012 7:10 pm

    Kathy, this list is so nice; your heart is very caring to families!

    This list is prompting me to get these at my local natural grocery store:
    *shea butter- I haven’t bought in awhile & this motivated me to get it again.
    *oats- I want to try to this!.. heard of these properties for so long.
    *marshmallow- I suppose I’ll buy the tea?
    *aloe vera- I do have this & want to use it more often.

    There are so many beneficial plants in creation! God’s heart loves to provide!!

  5. Jennifer on March 5th, 2012 8:36 pm

    Hi Katy –

    Yes, soap nuts are a great allergy free option. They are natural and super gentle and fragrance free. I like to use a few drops of tea tree oil to help kill any lingering laundry bacteria.

    Jennifer

  6. Jennifer on March 5th, 2012 8:38 pm

    Hi Wendy –

    We cut out gluten, as well as dairy, soy and a few tree nuts, and my son’s skin started healing. It was amazing. Yes, gluten can be a big trigger. It’s not as hard to remove as you’d think. Just prepare and stock your pantry with easy gluten free substitutes and you’ll be fine. On my blog all the recipes are gluten free. Take a look. http://itchylittleworld.wordpress.com/

    Thanks.
    Jennifer

  7. Nicole on March 14th, 2012 1:52 pm

    Hi, Regarding your list of recommended products ~ Monkey Balm has soy oil in it (non organic) and Omega Balm has Emu [oil] in it. According to Wikipedia commercially marketed emu oil supplements are poorly standardized and vary widely in their potency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration highlighted emu oil in a 2009 article on “How to Spot Health Fraud.” As a mom of a toddler with eczema we use Mountain Rose Herbs Organic Comfrey St. John’s Wort Compound with Calendula, Olive Oil and Beeswax. It works for us and is all organic. Thanks for this article.

  8. Coyote Kazarinoff on March 24th, 2012 12:56 am

    dead sea salts are supposed to help with eczema bathing in them everyday. I use the company San
    Francisco Salt Company as not all companies are really dead sea salts. The salts do help with my itchiness as I live in Colorado and your skin is dry