Interested in going down the natural route to look after your eczema-prone baby? We’ve got some great tips for ways to manage eczema, naturally!
First, some definitions! When we talk about ‘going the natural route’, we’re not talking about curing eczema; we mean finding ways to soothe or manage flare-ups in eczema-prone babies without using medication as a matter of course. It doesn’t mean never using steroids or antibiotics in emergencies, and it doesn’t mean not consulting a GP for a diagnosis, support or advice.
And that’s in line with any effective model of looking after your eczema-prone skin! Eczema is a whole-body condition, and treating it is never simply putting creams on skin, natural or not. It’s a question of managing a chronic condition, avoiding triggers and giving your body what it needs to resist flares.
So what does that mean in practical terms?
Well, let’s split it up into different ways you can help your body be as strong, healthy and resilient as possible on a day-to-day basis!
Emollients are the first line of treatment for eczema, however mild or severe it is! Because eczema is a condition involving a faulty or impaired skin barrier, sufferers are more likely to be losing moisture through their skin, and letting irritants or infectious microbes in. So emollients can do the job of a kind of second skin, covering over the gaps and acting as a protective layer against moisture loss and external allergens/irritants like dust and pollen that can trigger a flare.
The best advice is to use emollients frequently, especially after bathing, but also last thing at night and first thing in the morning. But which emollient to choose?
Most conventional emollients are paraffin-based. Paraffin, a by-product of the petrochemical industry, is cheap and widely available. It is very effective at forming a fine water-proof layer over sore or damaged skin.
So why go natural? Natural emollients have several advantages over paraffin-based ones:
- They are less likely to contain irritant ingredients, such as perfumes, scent-maskers, emulsifiers and other ingredients which make the unpleasant base ingredient nicer to put on your skin!
- They are more likely to be breathable, rather than totally occlusive. We use beeswax at Balmonds, which is an effective protective layer, but allows skin to breathe rather than overheat under it.
- They are more likely to contain nourishing oils which feed the skin with the vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, natural anti-inflammatories, and other nutrients than eczema-prone skin can be depleted in. Conventional paraffin-based emollients might be good at waterproofing the skin, but it doesn’t nourish it or provide actively skin-soothing ingredients such as calendula, chamomile or hemp seed oil.
- They’re environmentally-friendly! Natural emollients made from plant oils and natural waxes can be as effective as paraffin but with considerably fewer environmental consequences.
Other strategies for managing eczema
There are several other ways of managing eczema naturally which can reduce or avoid the need for steroid creams or synthetic emollients. Here are some ideas:
Triggers: use a trigger diary to identify and then avoid your baby’s triggers. Culprits could include pet hair, dust mites, pollen, baby bath products, baby shampoos etc.
- Avoid soaps, bubble baths, baby shampoos or body washes with sulphates or soap in them until your baby is at least a year old, and then use SLS-free brands instead.
- Wash clothes and bed linen in hypoallergenic detergents; give them a second, water-only go round if necessary.
Environmental considerations: is your baby reacting to the world around it? Here are some ideas to help manage your environment:
- Use a HEPA air filter to filter out dust and pet hair
- Install a humidifier if your house is too dry and causing dehydration
- Wash linens at 60 or above to kill dust mites
- Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner
- Swap out your household cleaning products for natural, less irritant varieties
- Be pollen-aware: follow our guidance for pollen here: Top 10 Hayfever Hacks For Beating The Pollen Bomb
- Weather can affect eczema too: hot weather, cold weather or dry weather can all exacerbate eczema: see Top Tips For Itchy Little People In A Heatwave for more info!
Other strategies for managing eczema naturally:
Baths: see Top Tips For Bathing A Baby With Eczema for more detail!
- Oat baths (put porridge oats into an old sock or the end of a pair of cut-off tights; drop into a warm bath)
- Bleach baths (see Are Bleach Baths Safe For Babies With Eczema? for more details)
- Mineral salts baths
- Natural emollient bath oils, like Balmonds Bath & Body Oil, help mitigate against the dehydrating effects of water
- Soak & Seal: apply emollient oils or ointments immediately after bathing
Wet wraps: you can use natural emollients as well as paraffin-based ones under wet wraps. See How To Wet Wrap A Baby With Eczema for more information about wet wrapping
So there you have it: there are many ways to manage your baby’s eczema naturally! We’d recommend our natural range of products as effective alternatives to petrochemical-based emollients if you want to avoid synthetic or ecologically unsound creams and oils, especially our award-winning and 100% natural Skin Salvation balm, which is packed full of the essential fatty acids that eczema-prone skin loves!
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream
with shea butter and calendula
Bath & Body Oil
with lavender, hemp and olive
Balmonds Natural Shampoo & Body Wash
with calendula & chamomile