How We’ve Been Keeping Eczema Under Control

how to care for baby and toddler eczema cropped
Hanna Andersson family pajamas (we size up) & cardigans, hair clips, Yay Mats play mat

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.

Bath Thermometer

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.

best baby shampoo for sensitive skin
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.

Healing Ointment

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.

Buy at: Walmart, Amazon, Ulta, Target.

eczema routine kids baby 3
Non-Irritating Clothing

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.

best pajamas for toddlers with eczema
Anti-Scratch Sleeves

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.
anti-scratch sleeves for eczema

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.

gentle laundry detergent for eczema prone skin
Non-drying, Non-toxic Everyday Soap

Code JEANWANG for 10% off

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!

gentle effective everyday soap

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.

mini humidifier for small rooms
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  1. S. Mun wrote:

    Love your website!! My daughter is extra petite too. Thank you. Keep up the great work.

    Posted 8.17.23 Reply
  2. Lilly wrote:

    Hi Jean, have you found a daily sunscreen that works well for your kids? My little’s skin keeps getting irritated when we use sunscreen.

    Posted 10.30.22 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi there, stumbled across this post and curious to know your thoughts on Vanicream containing BHT as an ingredient. Concerning or not concerning? Want the most gentle, chemical free/safe product possible for my baby. 🙂

    Posted 4.4.22 Reply
  4. Tara wrote:

    I love Vanicream too. Both of my kids have had bad eczema with my older one (a little older than Nori) being prescribed multiple meds after trying a number of products.

    We ended up changing to dove sensitive bar soap. I’ve heard that body washes may contain an additive that irritates so the bar soap, which is fragrance free, is most gentle. You can buy it in a large Costco pack too.
    The other thing that I wish I knew sooner was something called the Aron regimen. It’s prescription but lighter in steroid/antibiotic using a base of vanicream or equivalent. My daughter has been on it for 3 months and it’s improved a lot as we weren’t able to manage her eczema with just over the counter ointments.

    Posted 2.14.22 Reply
  5. Anne wrote:

    It is heart wrenching to watch your see your baby itch and not be able to cure them. My baby came out scratching but she didn’t have a flare up until last fall when she was 9 months old. It was awful…we went to the allergist twice (found out she has a sensitivity to dairy and peanut butter) and have an appointment with the dermatologist in March. My mother in law found a webinar on infant eczema by the National Eczema Society that was helpful. These were my biggest take-always:
    1) The best way to apply product is to dot it all over then smooth it with long strokes from top to bottom. Rubbing product supposedly agitates the skin.
    2) Apply emollient product right before baby gets in the bath to sit. Apply more product afterward.

    I saw results after 1 day of doing this (with Vaseline bc that is what I had).. I bathe baby in a Stokke tub to mitigate slipping and give her a deep enough pool to soak in. We also use a Berkey shower filter, a humidity thermometer and aloe plant.

    I am definitely going to check out some of the products you recommended as baby is beginning to have another flare up. 🙁

    Thank you for your thorough posts. Wishing the best to your sweet babies!

    Posted 2.13.22 Reply
  6. Trude wrote:

    Just ordered that little humidifier, I think it’s the perfect thing for my daughter’s room! The others we have are just too much for her small space, but having one helps so much in our climate. Thanks for all the tips, my kids deal with this too! I mix jojoba oil into their lotion, love the baby one from CeraVe too. ☺️

    Posted 2.12.22 Reply
  7. kat wrote:

    Hi Jean, is that humidfier easy to clean ? Are there any areas that you cant access? I’ve owned several and they always have certain parts that is impossible to access to clean it well. Also, I see that there is a light option. Can that nightlight option be turned off? Thank you!!

    Posted 2.11.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Kat, it’s easy to clean as it’s just a screw on and off lid. If you run it at high you’ll need to refill it each night. I haven’t noticed the light or tried to turn it off. sorry!

      Posted 2.16.22 Reply
  8. E wrote:

    I def second the recommendation for the vanicream, like to use it sometimes mixed with aquaphor! I recently also installed a whole home humidifier and I’m hoping that makes a difference with my skin.

    Posted 2.11.22 Reply
  9. EAC wrote:

    I’ve tried everything for 50 years. I found two that actually help and allow me to sleep and not wake up painfully itching from the eczema. The first is the blue indigo Tatcha. It is expensive, and the top layer of your skin eventually turns a tiny bit blue, but you won’t notice unless you wax your legs and the top layer comes off. The second, I found at…Target! It’s the Aveeno for eczema in the tan-ish tube with the light blue lid. The smell dissipates right away. Instant relief. For less than $15.

    Posted 2.11.22 Reply
    • Anne wrote:

      Thanks for sharing! I’m sorry you have been dealing with this for so long.

      Posted 2.13.22 Reply
  10. Christy Elento wrote:

    Thank you for your post! My hubby has sensitive skin as well. What does your hubby use when taking a shower?

    Posted 2.11.22 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Christy, he usually does not use body washes and body soaps per his doc’s guidelines and when he does, he switches between products a lot! Sometimes the kid’s stuff because it’s extra gentle, sometimes Eucerin eczema shower products.

      Posted 2.16.22 Reply
  11. Sara Mattes wrote:

    -very helpful….thank you.

    Posted 2.11.22 Reply
  12. Carla wrote:

    I hate when I order a tee from somewhere and it arrives washed in Gain etc. I have Tech Guy open all those packages so I don’t get an instant asthma trigger. Synthetic fragrances are from the devil! Thanks for the new list of products. I need to find shampoo that doesn’t make my scalp itch.

    Posted 2.10.22 Reply

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