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:
- Any natural product containing one or more of the ingredients above, OR
- Makeda Unrefined Shea Butter
- Monkey Balm with sea buckthorn (recently reviewed in Family Circle)
- Eczema Ease Body Balm with hempseed, shea butter, and herbs
- Omega Cream with hempseed oil and essential oils
- Sweet Knee – organic skincare line
- Souris Verte – organic skincare line
Tips for Testing a New Product:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!