Over the years, dealing with eczema within our family has resulted in many trips to doctors and specialists. From babies to adults, it’s been heart-wrenching seeing their raw skin and discomfort during flareups, so feels amazing to say we have it mostly under control now with consistent daily care. There is no magic cream for us, rather persistent treatment and re-evaluating all of the household products we use and come in contact with.
Below are some of the gentle, tried & true products in our daily routine. For a more in-depth overview of all things eczema from bleach baths to food allergies (25% of kids with eczema also have a food allergy), please see my detailed prior post.
Per our dermatologists and the National Eczema Association, frequent (daily) lukewarm baths around 10 minutes are recommended, with the water temperature being the same as you natural body temperature or below. This thermometer duck makes it easy and fun to check the temperature! Note: newborn babies usually require a higher bath temperature, so please consult your pediatrician.
Shampoo & Body Wash
Our dermatologists recommend using body soaps minimally on eczema skin, so we usually skip it for the kids. For shampoo, we like Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash as it’s gentle, fragrance free, dye free and hypoallergenic. As an alternative we have also used Honest fragrance-free, tear-free wash since the kids were newborns with no issues.
Everyday Moisturizing Cream
For everyday use, Nick and the kids love Vanicream (Cerave cream, not to be confused with ointment, is very similar and also great). It’s thicker than regular lotion and has no fragrance whatsoever. After bath time, I gently pat the kids’ skin with a towel and then apply a thick layer of cream while their skin is still slightly damp, in order to lock in the moisture. Per the National Eczema Association this should be done within 2-3 minutes of getting out of the bath.
It’s important to moisturize frequently, so in addition to post-bath time we try to re-apply every other diaper change for baby, if possible. We have also used Tubby Todd All Over Ointment which is more like a cream-ointment hybrid that can be used all over. It’s a little pricier and less thick than the clear ointment below, which we use just on trouble spots.
One of the most critical parts of eczema care. Ointments differ from creams in that they have more oil content in them, and as a result, are recommended for treating eczema as they protect the skin moisture barrier better plus are less likely to sting on any raw skin patches, rashes and open wounds.
Our go-to Cerave Healing Ointment also also has the seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association and is one of Nick’s must-have products ever since he started using it last year! We literally have a tub of these in every room. We gently pat a thick layer on dry, cracked or red patches and like that it’s less sticky than Aquaphor. Again, frequency is key so we make sure to apply several times a day on the trouble areas.
For the kids we usually avoid wool and anything too tight that doesn’t allow the skin to breathe. Sweat is a major eczema trigger for them, so we try not to layer on too much, and usually buy cotton or bamboo-based fabrics.
For warmer weather we like Kyte Baby (slightly thicker) or Little Sleepies which are made of very lightweight bamboo viscose. Kyte Baby sleep sacks are a DREAM they’re so soft, and Little Sleepies have fold-over mittens up to size 12 -18 months which are great for anti-scratching.
For cotton, we love Hanna Andersson pajamas which are made of medium to thicker weight 100% organic cotton and have smooth flat lock seams on the interior. An affordable option is Kids Tales made of a cotton/spandex blend.
During flareups these were so helpful for keeping our little ones from scratching themselves raw. The mittens flip up when you want to expose their hands, and flip over to a very soft and smooth surface when you need to cover their hands. Nori got pretty good at playing happily even with the mitten side on!
- Scratch Me Not – my favorite brand of sleeves, made with organic cotton and silk mittens. The kids have worn and washed these countless times. Fit is pretty TTS if you go by their wingspan size chart.
- ScratchSleeves – we bought these only when we needed a pair quickly because they’re available on Amazon. The quality and fit is not as good as Scratch Me Not and the mitten area runs narrow (allowing for less mobility of their hands), but I wanted to mention for anyone in a pinch.
Gentle, Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent
Nick has an almost immediate reaction to clothes washed in heavily fragranced detergents, even if it’s just someone in the home and not his own clothes. We’ve use these two gentle detergents and also provided the kids’ previous nanny with it, since she was in close proximity daily. The Everspring is by far the best value if you’re doing a lot of laundry.
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As a product we use many times a day on our hands, this one is super important and we’ve used the Follain Everything Soap (also available on Amazon) for years now. I always buy several refill packs at a time for the best value. It has ingredients like saponified olive and jojoba oils which help keep the skin moisturized during and after cleansing. Their soaps are naturally fragranced with essential oils and my personal favorite is their lemongrass scent!
Since the kids’ rooms are very small we use this mini desk-sized humidifier that is easy to refill. We don’t use it daily year round, but typically in the colder months when we have to run the heat (which can be extra drying on sensitive skin).
I initially bought it for use on my own nightstand, but have found it helps on nights when the kids are congested with a stuffy nose. It is recommended to keep humidity levels around 40% or below to avoid mold or mildew issues.