Is your baby scratching all day from an eczema rash? Don't despair. Try these strategies to soothe the itchy skin.
Baths add moisture to dry skin and get rid of surface bacteria that can cause skin infections.
Use fragrance-free, mild soaps or soapless cleansers made for sensitive skin. Bathe your baby for 5 to 10 minutes. Pat her dry to retain some moisture on the skin, then apply moisturizer. Moisturizing after a bath is very important.
"It can be fun for Baby, and it's good for bonding with the parents," says Amy S. Paller, MD. She's a professor of pediatric dermatology at Northwestern University. "It's a wonderful way to get hydration into the skin."
To soothe dryness and itching, smooth moisturizer on your baby's skin at least twice a day.
Dry skin can make eczema worse and bring out more inflammation, says Lawrence F. Eichenfield, MD. He's the chief of pediatric dermatology at the University of California, San Diego.
Moisturizing often helps break what he calls "the itch-scratch cycle."
Thick moisturizing creams and ointments work better on your baby's skin than lotions, which have more water. If your doctor has prescribed anti-itch cream, apply it before the moisturizer.
You may want to switch moisturizers depending on the season. Petroleum-based ointments are ideal for cold-weather months, but they're too thick for summertime. A lighter cream is better in warm weather.
Organic and natural baby products are popular, but most have herbs and plant-based products that can cause reactions in babies with sensitive skin.
"People think about organic products as being healthy," says Nanette Silverberg, MD. "But most kids are going to be sensitive to some extract, fragrance, or flowers." Silverberg is the director of pediatric dermatology at Roosevelt Hospital in New York.
Her advice? "Ask your doctor for a product line that's been tested in children and is well-proven for sensitivities."