One of the most common skin complaints with up to 15% of children in the UK affected, eczema can be a cause of concern for many parents. Put simply, eczema is an inflammation of the skin that causes itching and redness and is often referred to by doctors as dermatitis too. There is no real “cure” for eczema but, thankfully, there are plenty of ways that we can treat and prevent flair ups effectively - and that includes natural remedies too! Alongside a good skin care routine, you might want to also try baby massage to treat eczema. Lots of research has been done over the years which have found the practise to be hugely beneficial. One of the most influential studies was carried out by Dr. Tiffany Field, who over 25 years of massage therapy found that symptoms significantly decreased in infants who received a daily massage from parents. The results prove that simply applying moisturiser to skin may not be as effective as applying with a massage.
Eczema in infants (baby eczema) can be so uncomfortable for little ones but there are ways that you can help to ease the itching and soreness that is often associated with the condition. Here are some tips to try: Maintain a regular skin routine This is so important for your little one because skin conditions such as eczema require regular treatment in order to both calm and prevent flair ups. Regular bathtimes are important as the water helps to soften the skin and loosen scabs; it also prepares the skin for moisturisation. Make sure that you use lukewarm water and a gentle bath wash - even natural ingredients can still be grown with chemicals that can irritate eczema so do always go for organic products. If in doubt, always avoid products with chemicals such as SLS, parabens or petrochemicals as these are known skin irritants. Always moisturise This is so important as it can help to soothe itching and prevent your little one from scratching, which in turn can cause secondary bacterial infections. It’s important to moisturise within three minutes of your baby coming out of the bath, and always use oil rather than a lotion. Again, make sure there are no harsh preservatives or ingredients (as mentioned above). Good ingredients to look for include vitamin E, helianthus oil, calendula oil and jojoba oil. These are effective in soothing, calming and moisturising dry and itchy skin.
Make changes to diet Avoid processed foods (that often contain ingredients known to aggravate eczema) and instead cook meals from scratch with locally sourced or organic ingredients.
Stay hydrated Water is essential for good health and even more so for eczema sufferers. Our bodies are made up of around 70% water which we lose throughout the day so it’s important to keep it topped up to help with skin hydration and overall health.
Include probiotics and probiotic-rich foods in your baby’s diet Lots of research has been done into how gut bacteria influences our health and studies have shown that skin health is improved in patients who consume probiotics regularly.
WEAR IT RIGHT
Buy organic clothing What your baby wears is just as important as what you put on their skin in lotion form. Natural fibres such as cotton, organic cotton or silk are known to be a lot kinder to skin- unlike manmade fibres which can lead to scratching and discomfort.
Watch how you wash clothes Only use non-biological laundry products, or those made specifically for sensitive skin. Particles from laundry products are left in clothing after washing and react when we sweat, thus causing reactions and irritations.
Chamomile Oil has antiinflammatory, antibacterial and fungicidal properties and clinical trials have shown that it can be used to reduce dermatitis. Add a few drops into the bath to help soothe and enhance the healing process for the skin.
Hazelwood products are widely believed to help build and nurture an alkaline environment in the body which can help to prevent and soothe many of the symptoms caused by too much acidity. Hazelwood is an alkaline wood and by wearing it as a necklace, its properties can help with not only eczema, but also digestion, migraines, acid reflux, nausea, arthritis and other skin conditions.
Samantha is mum of three and founder of Mumma Love Organics (mummaloveorganics.com). She lives in Sussex.