There are numerous natural remedies for baby eczema, many of which are very effective for mild cases and some which can even help soothe more severe eczema flare-ups.
Online health forums are full of suggestions from parents of babies with eczema detailing their ‘magic’ eczema cure which may help some avoid the use of steroid creams or oral medications to control baby eczema. Not all natural remedies are safe for everyone however, and it is always a good idea to consult with a doctor prior to administering any new treatment regime, especially for a small child or infant.
The simplest natural remedies for baby eczema could be considered to be the removal of skin allergens, and other methods of preventing baby eczema such as determining if food allergies are triggering the skin condition and then eliminating that food from the diet. These strategies may reduce the need for any symptomatic eczema relief at all.
Not all baby eczema is caused by allergies however, although the actual cause remains unknown for the most part. A faulty immune response is thought to be involved in the majority of cases and natural remedies to support immune function are often used in an attempt to correct the underlying problem causing baby eczema.
A healthy immune system requires adequate nutrition and breastfeeding is advised for at least the first four months of an infant’s life, if not the first year in order to help build a strong immune system. Some atopic children are also benefited by the regular use of probiotic supplements to encourage healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. These beneficial bacteria play a significant role in the first line of immune defence in the gut and some allergies and food sensitivities are thought connected to impaired bowel flora.
External allergens are also problematic in some cases of infant eczema and parents may wish to switch to natural fibres such as cotton for bedding and clothing for their baby. Wool and synthetic fibres can be scratchy or irritating to a baby’s skin and eczema symptoms may improve by removing these possible triggers. Baby skin creams and lotions, as well as bath products, cleansers, and laundry detergents, are all possible irritants to sensitive skin and it is often preferable to use specific baby eczema creams instead so as to reduce the presence of potential skin allergens in a baby’s environment.
Popular natural remedies for baby eczema include using calendula cream, a compress of chamomile tea, unrefined olive oil, and oatmeal baths to soothe itchy and inflamed skin. A simple oatmeal bath can be a quick and easy way to calm an angry baby eczema flare-up.
Grind a couple of cups of oats, in a coffee blender or food processor, and add the oat powder to a lukewarm bath for baby to soak in for fifteen minutes before patting the baby’s skin dry gently and applying a baby eczema cream. Aloe vera is also good for relieving skin inflammation (especially for sunburn, for example), but some babies can be allergic to aloe vera and some gels can make the skin feel tight and dry rather than soft and moisturised.
Some parents will wish to make their own skin care products for their baby, rather than rely on products off the shelf. An anti-pruritic (anti-itching) skin cleanse can be made using herbal extracts such as a teaspoon each of ground comfrey root, white oak bark, and slippery elm bark, mixed with two cups of water heated (simmered) for half an hour. After the mixture cools it should be strained and then used as a gentle face wash for baby eczema.
Parents should be wary of using essential oils directly on a baby’s skin (or their own) as these often contain small amounts of alcohol which can dehydrate the skin, and they may be potent skin irritants in themselves. Mixed with carrier oils, such as sweet almond, or olive oil, some essential oils can, however, be helpful in calming down baby eczema.
Chamomile and lavender may be included in some baby moisturising creams, but parents should be wary of any irritation that these might cause, particularly in delicate areas of skin, such as around the eyes. Blueberry leaves, and raspberry leaves, are also excellent at relieving the itchiness of skin and could be made into a gentle cleanser or compress for inflamed areas of baby eczema.