Being a parent of a newborn is hard. Dealing with issues you’ve never dealt with before can seem overwhelming. Nothing feels worse than having a new baby whose skin is making him or her miserable. Our sweet boy #3 had horrible eczema as a baby. His poor skin would crack and bleed and just looked awful. It was obvious that something was terribly wrong. We tried some old wives' tales, we tried over the counter eczema creams and lotions, but the poor guy was not getting better. After trying many things without success and seeing our poor boy suffer, we went ahead and went to the dermatologist. The advice she gave us was life-changing for him. Of all the parental advice I pass on to friends, this is at the top of my list. I’m not a medical doctor, and I can’t guarantee that your baby’s eczema will disappear, but I am happy to share with you what we learned at that meeting and still use years later. It consists of simple tips, from a bathing routine to a detergent for sensitive skin.
1. Bathing RoutineIt seems odd, but the way the skin works, water can actually work against you and dry the skin out even more. Lots of new parents like to bathe their baby every night as part of their routine, but that can make their sensitive skin worse. The dermatologist recommended that we only bathe him once a week, twice if things were really yucky. We wiped him down regularly with wash cloths. She recommended not using soap, as it is too harsh with sensitive skin. Instead, she urged us to use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. You can use it with or without water! This really helped get rid of the funk (baby spit up in crevices, anyone?), without requiring a full blown bath.
2. Lotion, Lotion, and More LotionThe more the better! Smear it on! That said, most lotions irritated his poor little skin. Again, we needed to pay attention to what lotion we were using. Some were not as sensitive as we would have liked, or dried out his skin. The dermatologist recommended Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (note—that is cream, not lotion, and it comes in a jar). This thick cream worked wonders on his poor skin. We put it on about 4-6 times a day. He loved the free massage! When my skin gets dry in the winter, I use this and it softens right up!
3. Call in the ExpertsAgain, if your poor baby is suffering, please don’t hesitate to see a dermatologist. The advice our doctor gave helped us, but your baby’s delicate skin might need a different protocol. Our sweet boy did in fact need to use a steroid cream for several days. We had tried to avoid this, but the eczema was so bad that it could have become infected, and we needed relief sooner rather than later. We only had to use it that one time. Once we got our son on a skin care routine, we were able to stop the eczema before it went out of control.
4. Switch to HypoAllergenic Detergent(As with any household detergent, keep out of reach of children.)
This was one of the best decisions we ever made. Not just for our sweet baby, but for our whole family. In 2005 we switched to “all” free clear and have never looked back. I stand behind this product 100% because it’s one I use on a daily basis! Our dermatologist recommended a detergent for sensitive skin, and after trying a few others, “all” free clear was the winner. There is no overwhelming smell (which is great for #1’s asthma), and the detergent works fabulously with my HE washing machine. It is 100% hypoallergenic, but still tough on stains. 4 boys = Lots of stains. It is also the #1 recommended detergent brand by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for sensitive skin.
5. Consider other Laundry optionsYou’ve taken the time and effort to use hypoallergenic detergent, so be sure you are also using hypoallergenic fabric softener and dryer sheets. “All” free clear has both of those available as well. I love them just as much as the detergent because of many of the same reasons. Just walking down a laundry aisle in the grocery store can trigger my asthma with the smells. “All” free clear leaves my towels and sheets super soft, without any overwhelming scents. The dryer sheets are perfect for this as well. I throw a few in my suitcase to keep my clothes fresh.
By using the tips above, and “all” free clear in our laundry room, our son is able to “live free” from his eczema. He doesn’t have to worry about other kids seeing a rash on his legs or arms, and he doesn’t have to worry about his clothes or sheets being itchy. I love that “all” free and clear “let’s kids be kids”. The tips above helped my son tremendously. We were able to put his sensitive skin back in check and he has no memory of his poor miserable achy skin.
I hope these tips help someone out. Please let me know if you try them, or any advice your dermatologist passed on to you!