Managing eczema in our precious babies
If your family includes a baby with eczema, the first thing to know is that you’re not alone! The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that eczema affects up to 20 percent of infants worldwide.
Secondly, we really feel for you. A new baby is priceless beyond words, but any new parents are tired out from lack of sleep, unsure of how to deal with feeding, burping, bath time and how this whole baby thing works… adding a sore, upset pēpi into that already demanding situation is really hard.
Babies with eczema often struggle to sleep well, and can be in pain or frustrated with itchiness and this leads to extra sleeplessness for everyone, and the heartache of watching your beautiful baby suffer.
The causes of eczema are so widespread that scientifically they are “unknown”. Identifying triggers is key to managing your baby’s eczema but this can be really hard to begin with, as triggers can be as subtle as pollen or due mainly to genetic predisposition.
Eczema help for babies with sensitive skin
First, let’s talk about ways to reduce the causes of eczema in babies. Here are some triggers that can cause baby eczema to flare up:
Simple, soft, loose fitting cotton clothing is ideal for babies with eczema. If you can find organic cotton, or well used cotton hand me downs, these are less likely to contain pesticide residues from the cotton farms. Many babies are comfortable in natural merino fibres too, but wool can be a trigger for baby eczema due to the fine fibres irritating their sensitive skin. Keep a good eye out for the first signs of this.
Look for natural brands and lower concentration eco friendly options. Laundry liquids and powders leave residues in the fabric fibres which can irritate sensitive skin, triggering eczema.
Standard household cleaners
Swap to natural household cleaners to eliminate some of the nastier chemicals from your home. Look for low sensitivity options (which normally means they left out synthetic fragrances).
Speaking of perfume…
Synthetic fragrances contain combinations of 1500 different chemicals labelled as ‘fragrance’ - 95% of these are petrochemical derived and can be highly toxic, as well as endocrine (hormone) disruptors and potential carcinogens. Choose a natural perfume like Circe and apply sparingly to areas which won’t touch your baby. The traditional ‘wrists, behind the ears and decolletage’ are all places we hold our babies against.
Not so cute! Frequent vacuuming can help remove excess dust and allergens from the floors and couches in your home. Lay down a blanket before placing your child on the floor even when it is clean. Leave shoes outside the door so particulates and pollutants are not walked inside.
Eczema care for babies
Great. Now your home has less chemicals, and baby is wearing lovely soft natural fibres, let’s talk about eczema care products for treating your baby’s eczema.
Skin barrier care
Our skin’s outer layer is arguably our most essential defence against infection and bacteria. In babies with eczema the outer layer is damaged – so repairing the skin and providing a temporary seal is key to healing eczema. Our Kawakawa Repair Balm is the top performing product for this purpose.
With a high concentration of Kawakawa, our Repair Balm contains myristicin, a pain-blocking substance, and soothing anti-inflammatory and natural analgesic properties for pain relief.
The Kawakawa leaves used in our Kawakawa Balm and Kawakawa Body Oil also provide antimicrobial actives to fight bacteria, preventing more damage, and lignins and antioxidants for skin healing and repair. Our skin soothing Colloidal Oat Bath Soak also contains oat proteins for skin repair and soothing.
Our recommended routine for baby’s eczema care is:
1. Bathe daily before bed, in lukewarm water which has our Colloidal Oat Bath Soak sprinkled in.
2. Pat the skin gently dry, do not rub.
3. Apply Kawakawa Balm to the areas where baby has eczema, then
4. smooth Kawakawa Body Oil over the remaining skin.
5. For care and treatment of baby eczema, we do recommend that you apply Kawakawa Balm twice more each day to baby’s eczema inflamed skin.
6. Once you see the skin has healed, reduce your applications of Kawakawa Balm to once a day, as continued use can help prevent eczema flare ups.
Of course we do recommend that you do consult your preferred health professional first and foremost. Visit your health professional, GP or Naturopath to assess your baby’s eczema. They can help eliminate any infection and arrange for allergy testing.