When my little one was 2-month old, she has been diagnosed with severe eczema. Poor girl was crying all the time, her skin was dry, red and scaly, she couldn’t sleep and… I was feeling devastated. Doctors prescribed steroid creams, which made me even more nervous and worried than before, because of the possible side effects. As a first-time mum, I didn’t know what to do, or where to seek advice. Then I started talking to people, reading books and researching on the Internet for advice on alternative options, remedies and natural treatment. I was looking for something which would have no side effects, would treat the reason of the eczema, and have long-term positive effects. I came across a great professional homeopath, an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner and some very friendly people who were happy to help my daughter. Below are my “secret” (not any more”) weapons to fight and prevent eczema in kids, which helped my little sunshine in a matter of weeks!

START FROM THE INSIDE-OUT
Good diet for a mother when breastfeeding is essential. Apart from lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of water throughout the day and avoiding highly allergen food like peanuts and strawberries, a few tips which really helped my daughter were:

Probiotics
My daughters’ favourites here are Udo’s Choice and OptiBac.

Udos ChoiceUdo’s Choice Infant Blend Probiotic contains 7 infant & toddler-specific bacterial strains at an appropriate strength, designed specifically to reflect healthy infant microflora.
The bifidobacteria, including B. infantis, B. bifidum and B. breve, should represent the largest population of beneficial bacteria in babies. Babies pick up these friendly bacteria from their mothers during their passage through a clean and healthy birth canal. Studies show that B. infantis was found in approximately 60% of full-term newborns who were born vaginally and only 9% of babies born by caesarean section. Formula fed babies also have significant differences from breastfed babies in the composition of their gut microflora because the heat used to pasteurize formula kills all bacteria.

In our case, OptiBac Probiotics For your child’s health proved to stop eczema in its tracks. Containing a unique mix of friendly bacteria naturally found in healthy infants and children, it’s suitable for pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and children. 

Unlike topical treatments which treat the skin directly, ‘For your child’s health’ is taken internally, working from the inside out.  By balancing the levels of friendly bacteria in the gut, it gets to the root of the problem, rather than simply masking the symptoms. 

Probiotics can significantly reduce the symptoms of childhood eczema, putting an end to itchy, flaky red skin. Taken during pregnancy, these probiotic & prebiotic sachets can halve the chances of your child developing the condition later in life. The neutral flavoured sachets can easily be added to cold food and drinks, and they are suitable for children as young as six months. Perfect for busy parents, ‘For your child’s health’ is shelf stable and sugar-free – another load off your mind!

Herbs
Those may not reduce the eczema directly, but will boost yours (and your babies’ when breastfeeding) immune system. Cook with turmeric, basil, ginger, theme and fennel. Besides their immune-response properties, they will add some great flavour to your dishes, which babies can “smell” as well through breastmilk. If weaning your baby, avoid adding any herbs, salt or sugar to her meal.

Go organic, fresh and home-made
Many of the food additives and colouring are provoking skin reaction and allergies, including worsening the eczema, so it is best to avoid them. Aim to cook organic, eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid processed food in a favour of yummy home-made dishes. When weaning your baby once she is 6-months old, make her pureed baby food from organic products only.

BATHING WITHOUT BUBBLES (BUT DON’T MISSING THE FUN)
Initially I used a handful of oatmeal as a substitute of soap. Oatmeal reduces the itchiness, it’s nice to the sensitive baby skin and gently cleans the skin.

Then I discovered the Erbaviva oatmeal bags which are as nice with the benefit of oatmeal being packed in a bag, making it fare more easy-to-use. The Erbaviva Baby Washbag is an unbleached muslin sachet filled solely with herbal ingredients exuding a delightful aroma. I found it the gentlest way to bathe my child as it maintains the necessary oils natural to skin and important for good hydration, while leaving baby clean and fresh.

With my baby growing I wanted to start using some kind of natural soap without the nasty chemicals. Then I found Organic Babies’ wash – 100% natural and organic, so gentle to the skin that would never irritate the eczema the way other soaps do. I also started using it as a shampoo, and never felt guilty about it. Both the chamomile and the lavender wash are mild and gentle for everyday use and super concentrated too – a little goes a long way! For my little pumpkin, it was “love from the first touch”… and after nearly 2 years, Organic Baby wash is still her (and mine) favourite baby wash.

Going out of a nice bath, what could be more soft and natural to the skin than an embrace of the organic bamboo apron towel from Cuddledry! Did you know that:
– Bamboo is incredibly eco-friendly – it grows naturally without the need for chemical pesticides or fertilisers, is 100% biodegradable and naturally regenerative.
– It is naturally antibacterial, containing an agent called ‘bamboo kun’, which prevents any bacteria from growing on it.
– Bamboo holds the record as the world’s fastest growing plant, growing one third faster than the fastest tree. It can grow up to a metre a day, meaning it can be harvested every three to four years.
– It is naturally organic so does not irritate sensitive or allergic skin.

So no wonder why it was our first choice!

SKIN CARE
We all know that top tip for treating eczema is to moisturizing the skin.When it comes to this, my choice is natural and organic again– the miracle Rescue Salve for Irritated Skin from Organic Babies. This Certified Organic salve is made with 96% organic ingredients including Hemp and Calendula to help reduce inflammation and soreness of the skin.  Rich in Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids which are essential for healthy skin Baby Salve is ideal for babies with nappy rash and is designed to provide quick relief for baby’s irritated, sensitive skin. Beeswax in the formula creates a water-resistant barrier for baby’s bottom holding the dampness away from the skin and allowing it to heal. This’ rescue salve’ is scented with fairly traded Lavender which creates a calming aroma for baby.

Erbaviva baby oil is another top choice for both my daughter and me. Delicately scented with Mandarin, Erbaviva’s Organic Baby Oil is indispensable in caring for baby’s skin. Use it after the bath for hydration and protection, use it in the diaper area to keep skin clean and balanced, or use it on baby’s tender cheeks in cold weather. I use it when massaging her after bath, so she feels calm and happy, which improves her sleep (and mine, too).

We both found the Weleda baby range amazing for sensitive and easily-irritated baby skin. We tried the Calendula Moisturising Body Cream and it worked wonders! – A soothing and nourishing cream to protect dry or sensitive skin, allowing it to breathe freely.

Nappy area of babies and kids prone to eczema needs special care, too. We either use home-made nappy cream, or the Calendula Nappy Change Cream from Weleda. This is a deep-nourishing and protective barrier cream, which helps prevent soreness and reduce redness.

Essential Care knows that itchy, inflamed, broken skin can make life a misery. Their organic Repair Lotion moisturises and replenishes skin nutrients, without harsh chemicals and with only the purest organic plant ingredients like extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil to moisturise & nourish, Shea butter – to moisturize, Chickweed – to calm itchiness, Aloe Vera – in a therapeutic concentration to hydrate & mend skin, Calendula – to repair & calm, Lavender – to soothe, and Chamomile – to reduce inflammation. Whilst relief can be immediate, do bear in mind that the skin takes a full 28 days to regenerate and repair. Apply gently, to the affected areas, without rubbing, at least twice a day as needed.

I also use home-made salves and oils containing those three top ingredients: Evening Primrose Oil; coconut oil, and calendula oil. Have a look at our home-made baby cosmetics recipes HERE.

As a part of our daiy skin care, I started using for my baby only:

  • Soft organic cotton/ bamboo or hemp clothes
  • Cloth nappies (my choice was Imse Vimse bamboo, but there are plenty to satisfy your taste and needs – have a look at our cloth nappy guide HERE)
  • Reusable baby wipes. I’ve found Cheeky Baby Wipes, which for me are at the forefront of a bottom cleaning revolution! No more chucking endless baby wipes in the bin, no more worry about harsh chemicals on my child’s skin. These are a hassle free washable cloth Baby Wipes All-In-One Kit that’ll do your bit for the environment and save you money. I can use them at home or when out-and-about and besides being so convenient, I feel great knowing my little sunshine’s skin will remain soft and clean. And when you order your Cheeky Baby Wipes, they will send you two lovely essential oil blends to add to water for soaking your clean and dirty wipes. No harsh chemicals for your little one, plus your baby and wipes smell lovely!
  • Non-bio washing liquid.

Finally, boost your baby’s immune system by taking him/her out to fresg air and sunshine as often as possible.

I recently met Deborah Mason, who is the Managing Director of TalkHealth. The company started when she created the first Talk site, TalkEczema in October 2000. It was Deborah’s daughter Alice’s battle with chronic eczema that prompted her to set up TalkEczema. Alice was distressed a lot of the time and Deborah had to cope with the sleepless nights lying by Alice’s side, holding her hands to prevent her from ripping her skin to shreds. Deborah’s desire to learn as much as possible about eczema gave her the strength to cope. When she started TalkEczema, it quickly became clear that there was a real need for a group of support and information websites for other health conditions too. There are many thousands of people out there, just like Deborah, who need support and help, beyond what they receive from doctors, nurses, friends and family. Below are her top tips for treating eczema naturally.

  • Avoid feeding your child processed foods which often contain ingredients that can aggravate eczema – instead cook from scratch using good quality locally grown or organic ingredients. What we put into our bodies has an effect on all aspects of our well being, including our skin, so it’s important to make the right food choices.
  • Drinking plenty of water is important for good health and particularly important for people with dry skin conditions such as eczema. Our bodies are made up of about 70% water and drinking water regularly throughout the day will help with skin hydration.
  • Only buy clothing made from natural fibres like cotton, organic cotton or silk. Man made fibres used in clothing can irritate the skin, leading to episodes of scratching and discomfort.
  • Make sure you wash clothes in either a non-biological laundry product, or a laundry product made specifically for people with sensitive skin. Particles in biological laundry products are left in the clothing and when we sweat they react with the moisture and can cause irritation.
  • Use anti-allergy bedding, cotton or organic cotton, to keep the dust mite population down in your bed! Dust mites, or more importantly their droppings, can cause an allergic reaction and can make skin feel itchy.
  • Use a naturally based bath additive at bath time, and a natural body/hair wash. Bathing softens the skin, washes away any lose scabs and prepares the skin for moisturisation. Make sure you pat your child dry rather than wiping your child with a cotton or organic cotton towel. Patting the skin dry avoids unnecessary abrasion from the towel against the skin.
  • After bathing, use a naturally based emollient to moisturise the skin. Make sure your moisturizer is fragrance and paraben-free and double check the ingredients on the packaging. Babies and children with eczema lose moisture from their skin and this needs replenishing. It is important to moisturise eczematous skin several times each day.

Lastly, an interesting natural baby eczema remedy I recently came across at The Baby Show… which is not a remedy at all, but a beautiful necklace from Tearless Teething. Yes, a necklace made from Hazelwood tree, famous with its soothing properties by neutralizing the body’s acidity. Necklaces made from Hazelwood are effective for babies and children not only to treat and prevent eczema, but also relieve or prevent ailments such as teething, any skin irritations or colic. There are various sizes and colours you can choose from, and all are safety tested even for small babies. I got one for my little one, and she’s been happily wearing it since then.