We did have one additional issue when Little Miss started drinking cow’s milk. Shortly afterwards her cheeks and chin developed a bad eczema patch. I was trying to keep them coated in Aquaphor® but it wasn’t even slowing it down. I tried switching her to soy milk (which she loves anyway because it is like a melted vanilla milkshake) and those cheeks cleared right up.
-BATHS: Keep baths to every other day (at most) and use lukewarm water. Limit baths to 10-15 minutes if possible and wait until the end to use soap. Avoid bubble bath. (I’m such a fun-sucker.) All of these will help prevent the drying effects of bathtime. Oatmeal bath products alleviate itching for a short period of time and bath oils have shown no benefit. Pat baby dry after the bath and apply lotion as soon as possible.
-LOTIONS: Be willing to try a few different products to find what works best. You are looking for something without dyes and fragrances and you should be able to see a difference within a week of starting to use the lotion twice daily. The National Eczema Foundation has a list of products that have earned their Seal of Acceptance which is a good place to start looking if you are overwhelmed by the lotion aisle. When applying more than one product always go from medicated products to watery products (lotions) to greasy products (ointments) as the thicker ointments will keep out anything applied on top of them. (This rule applies for anytime you are applying skin products.) Petroleum jelly is the cheapest ointment you can use and it will do the job but it is also more sticky/messy.
-LAUNDRY: Consider buying a laundry detergent for sensitive skin to prevent irritation. Look for tagless clothing (the greatest invention ever) and wash new clothing before using.
-OTHER: Keep fingernails short to minimize scratching damage. Maintain comfortable temperature and humidity levels (through “thermostat manipulation” or dressing the child in light layers) to further prevent skin drying or irritation (due to sweating).
Phew! That was way too long. As a wrap-up I should note that these management tips are for mild cases of eczema only. You should always have your pediatrician confirm that the rash is eczema and that is does not need any further treatment. It is especially important to have anything that oozes, or otherwise looks infected, checked out.
If you would like more information, EczemaNet has in depth information on eczema all reviewed by dermatologists. The American Academy of Dermatology has some information on their site but it is harder to navigate and the American Academy of Pediatrics has a good summary.
So let’s throw this out there: Does your baby have eczema? What works for you?