Our Guide to Baby Eczema Care
By: Sarah Shoemaker
Our Guide to Baby Eczema Care
By: Sarah Shoemaker
Learn more about how to care for babies with eczema and the important link between baby eczema and food allergies.
Eczema affects up to 20% of children, and 70% of all cases begin in children before the age of five. In addition, 67% of babies with severe eczema will develop a food allergy. Learn more about how to care for babies with eczema and the important link between baby eczema and food allergies.
For more information on how to care for your baby's eczema, watch this video from Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Latanya Benjamin and Mustela:
First, identify baby eczema.
Eczema (or dermatitis) is a general term for a group of inflammatory skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, causes red, dry, and itchy skin. In babies, this form of eczema usually affects the face, scalp, and skin creases, but can also involve other areas of the body.
How does eczema differ from cradle cap?
Cradle cap is a dandruff-like rash with scaly patches. It’s not as red as eczema.
Next, treat the eczema.
Can I give my baby or little one a bath when they have eczema?
- Do not use soaps. Use unscented, mild body wash for baby's bath.
- If your baby has cradle cap, scrub the scalp with a bit more vigor to remove the scales.
- After bath time, only partially dry baby. Keeping some moisture on the skin will help the moisturizers to sink in.
- Add moisture.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil can help hold in moisture, ease swelling and redness and even keep certain bacteria from growing. Virgin cold-pressed coconut oil works especially well because it is not heat processed, so it keeps more of its germ-fighting powers.
- Moisturizer with ceramides: Ceramides are lipids or fats of the skin. Moisturizers with ceramides often indicate they are "for eczema" on the front label.
- Use dye-free and perfume-free detergent for laundry. Don't use fabric softeners for laundry.
- Use mild and unscented body wash when bathing your baby. Be sure to bathe them daily, and use a moisturizing routine when bathing.
- Add a humidifier to their sleeping environment 1 or 2 nights per week.
- Keep your little one cool. Heat can exacerbate the rash.
- Dress your little one loosely in natural cottons. Avoid rough and itchy fabrics, as well as tight clothing.
- Use no-scratch mitts on your baby, especially while they sleep, to discourage scratching.
4. I’ve heard that babies with eczema can have a higher risk of food allergies. What should I do?
While food allergies develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors (such as changes in lifestyle and diet), eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is the most important risk factor to consider. That’s because research shows that babies with eczema are at the highest risk for developing food allergies. In fact, up to 67% of babies with severe eczema and 25% of babies with mild eczema will develop a food allergy. (However, food allergy does not cause eczema.)
New guidelines from the NIH on food allergy prevention are specifically focused on babies with eczema, as this risk group needs food allergy prevention, and in turn, early allergen introduction the most. In addition, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend feeding allergenic foods such as peanut and egg starting at 4 months of age for every baby, including those with eczema, without any prior screening required.
Learn more about how the new 2020 USDA Guidelines Report recommends feeding peanut and egg starting at 4 months to prevent food allergies for every baby here.
About Sarah Shoemaker: Sarah is passionate about removing the stress from the tiny moments in parenting. Trained in child development from top Harvard child development experts such as Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, an on staff parenting expert Dr. Maureen O’Brien, and a consumer insights process while working in a juvenile product career, Sarah’s passion and understanding of infant development and what parents and babies are capable of is front and center. She went on to start her own companies, and is currently focused on removing stress from baby’s bath. Sign up to open the door to Hummingbird Infant’s Baby Buzz – snackable insights for new parents -- to help you bring your best parenting self forward. Plus, a free guide, How to Give a Happy Baby Bath and printable My First Bath and My First Big Kid Bath signs.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your infant has severe eczema, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.