Natural Remedies For Baby Eczema: Which Ones Work A Review Of The Evidence
Calendula cream has been used to promote healing and treat skin conditions for centuries. While it has not been scientifically proven as effective of baby eczema, the results of small scale studies are encouraging.
We know from experience that watching your child suffer the constant itch and irritation of baby eczema is frustrating. It doesnt help when you feel there is little you can do to make the itch go away and while the doctors have a cupboard full of conventional remedies, they dont always work as quickly, or well as we parents would like.
A combination of natural remedies and the prescriptions from our doctor really helped us to control our kids scratching, especially during the all to frequent flare-ups. To make sure we were really helping our son we did some research into which traditional and other natural remedies for baby eczema actually make a difference.
Here is our run-down of the evidence supporting the most popular natural remedies for baby eczema:
How To Use Topical Corticosteroids
When using corticosteroids, apply the treatment accurately to the affected areas. Unless instructed otherwise by a doctor, follow the patient information leaflet that comes with the medicine.
Do not apply the corticosteroid more than twice a day. Most people only have to apply it once a day.
To apply the topical corticosteroid, take the following steps:
Speak to your prescriber if you’ve been using a topical corticosteroid and your symptoms have not improved.
Natural Solutions For Babys Itchy Skin
If youve pinpointed an underlying behavioral cause of your babys irritated skin and youve already addressed those issues, its time to focus on treating the current irritation.
Keep in mind that every babys skin is different, and while the below solutions are generally considered safe, a child can be allergic to any of these natural remedies.
If your baby has extensive skin irritation, consider switching your regular bath time soap for colloidal oatmeal. This naturally occurring ingredient can help soothe dry or itchy skin and is easily found at places that also sell health and beauty products.
Be mindful to use warm not hot water for oatmeal baths and to keep bath time to a maximum of 20 minutes. Be sure to gently pat your baby dry after bath time and immediately follow up with a thick cream moisturizer.
Castor oil is a multifaceted natural oil thats been linked with improved hair growth and helps deeply moisturize dry skin. While it can be a little heavy as a moisturizer, its great to use alone without the need for a carrier oil to promote wound healing for skin irritation.
Specifically, the oil helps maintain a moist skin environment that encourages healing and prevents the affected area from drying out. It can also stimulate tissue growth and work as a barrier between the skin and the outside environment to prevent the risk of infection.
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What Is Baby Eczema
Eczemaa condition that causes the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamedis one of the most common skin problems in babies.
There are several types of eczema, but the most common in babies is atopic dermatitis. This type of baby eczema causes dry, scaly, and itchy patches on babys skin that often appear on the scalp, forehead, and face.
Hydrocortisone Cream And Ointment
Creams are better for skin that is moist and weepy. Ointments are thicker and greasier, and are better for dry or flaky areas of skin.
Most people need to use hydrocortisone cream or ointment once or twice a day. If you use it twice a day, try to leave a gap of 8 to 12 hours before putting on any more.
Important: Fire warning
Skin creams can dry onto your clothes and bedding. This makes them more likely to catch fire. Avoid naked flames.
The amount of cream or ointment you need to use is sometimes measured in fingertip units. This is the amount of you can squeeze onto the end of your finger.
A fingertip unit is generally enough to treat both sides of your hand.
For babies and children, the right amount depends on their age. Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you.
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How To Use Hydrocortisone Cream
Please follow the procedure below before applying hydrocortisone cream on your babys skin.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you apply the cream on your baby.
- Squeeze out as much cream as required on your index finger, then spread it as thinly as possible on the affected part of the skin.
- Gently rub it in until the skin absorbs it completely. Be gentle while applying the cream on to your babys skin as rubbing can cause irritation.
- Avoid using hydrocortisone on the areas that are not affected. This will lower the risk of it getting absorbed into your childs bloodstream and having a negative impact on his growth and development.
- Avoid applying the cream anywhere near your babys eyes.
- If you find that your babys skin turns red and is splattered with whitish patches or has a transparent yellow liquid oozing out, it might mean the skin is infected. In this case, consult your doctor immediately.
Is The Use Of Hydrocortisone Cream Safe For Babies
The use of hydrocortisone cream on a babys skin has been up for speculation for a while. While it is often recommended to older kids and adults, it requires some amount of precautionary measures before being used on a babys delicate skin. This is because the chemical can get concentrated in the babys bloodstream after getting absorbed through the skin, making it dangerous with prolonged usage. Using this cream on the babys diaper area is also not advised.
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Have A Discussion With Your Doctor
The first step toward any complementary therapy should involve a conversation with your doctor. The most important thing is having a provider you feel well connected with, Jhaveri said. Find someone who can help you navigate treatment options safely.
When Wong began exploring alternative treatments, she found a doctor of Chinese medicine, who uses traditional herbs, acupuncture and dietary modifications to treat various health issues.
Finding the right specialist is key, Wong said. Dont be afraid of asking questions and doing your research beforehand. I asked my practitioner a billion questions, and she helped me understand my symptoms.
Depending on which symptoms or comorbidities youre trying to address, Jhaveri said your doctor can help you integrate the right conventional and complementary therapies.
What Will Happen If You Forget To Apply The Hydrocortisone Cream
In case you forget to apply the hydrocortisone cream on your babys skin, you need not worry. Here is what you can do
- If the cream is to be applied twice a day, you can apply it no later than four hours after the timing prescribed. If you fail to apply it in the next four hours, simply wait for the next dose.
- If the cream is to be applied once a day in the evening hours, you can simply apply it in the morning. Ensure that the cream is applied a minimum of eight hours before the prescribed evening dose.
- If you are meant to apply it in the morning, do the same as above. Apply it in the evening, at least eight hours before the morning dose.
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What Causes Eczema In Babies
The first step in preventing eczema is to learn what causes it, and unfortunately, there are many causes.
One of the biggest factors in whether or not a child develops eczema is the childs own health history, specifically his or her genes. If baby has a relative diagnosed with eczema, he/she is more at-risk for developing eczema as well.
In addition to babys unique genetic makeup, environmental triggers affect future flare-ups. The most common triggers include:
Concerns Surrounding Hydrocortisone Cream
Your babys skin is designed to protect them from the world around them from air pollution to water, as well as bacteria that are airborne or exist on the things they touch and explore every day.
However, your little ones skin cells aren’t impermeable. That means that chemicals and bacteria can squeeze by and penetrate your infants sensitive or thin skin, causing an allergic reaction and potentially flooding their bloodstream.
When hydrocortisone cream is used extensively, it disrupts skins natural acid mantle and can significantly thin or weaken your babys skin and increase their chances of a number of viruses. Likewise, since hydrocortisone is a steroid medication, it can build up in your little ones body over time.
If hydrocortisone cream is administered, it is very important to apply ONLY the amount of hydrocortisone recommended. Never use it more times per day than directed, and only for the time period that your doctor recommends.
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Natural Alternatives To Topical Hydrocortisone
Topical hydrocortisone is commonly used as a steroidal medicine to relieve inflammation and other symptoms related to certain skin conditions. You might use topical hydrocortisone to treat itching, redness and swelling from dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema. Certain herbal creams might provide benefits similar to those of topical hydrocortisone, but you should consult your doctor before replacing hydrocortisone with an herbal remedy.
Who Can And Cannot Use Hydrocortisone Skin Treatments
Most adults and children aged 10 years and over can use hydrocortisone skin treatments.
Do not use hydrocortisone skin treatments on children under 10 years old unless their doctor recommends it.
Hydrocortisone is not suitable for some people. Tell your pharmacist or doctor before starting the medicine if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone or any other medicine
- have a skin infection or eye infection
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or you’re breastfeeding
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What Is Hydrocortisone Cream Used For
As a topical treatment, hydrocortisone cream is designed to manage skin discomforts such as redness, itching, and swelling associated with:
- skin rashes
- even insect bites or stings
Its readily available as an over-the-counter medication since you dont usually need a prescription to obtain it. You can easily find a topical 1 percent hydrocortisone cream in drugstores or the medication aisle of supermarkets and big box stores.
There are also stronger versions you can obtain, but youll need a prescription to do so.
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Usually, the instructions recommend that you only apply OTC hydrocortisone cream for a maximum of 7 days. During that time, youre instructed to apply a thin layer to the affected area anywhere from one to four times per day.
However, it shouldnt be applied to broken skin or delicate areas, such as in your eyes, or taken orally. And most experts recommend that any area where hydrocortisone cream is applied should be left uncovered unless instructed otherwise by a physician.
If after 7 days your condition hasnt improved, you should stop using it and speak with a doctor.
Natural Ingredients In Eczema Moisturizers
These natural ingredients commonly show up in moisturizers for baby eczema, including moisturizers approved by the National Eczema Association. However, not all of them are clinically proven to treat baby eczema.
Calendula: Calendula comes from the marigold flower, and may help reduce inflammation when applied as part of a baby eczema moisturizer. It has been used for many years to treat various skin conditions, including baby eczema. Studies haven’t yet proven it effective, though.
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help fight skin infections. It may also help to soothe dry skin. So, it has been used in moisturizers to help treat baby eczema. Although its antibacterial properties are proven, more research is still needed on aloe’s effectiveness on baby eczema.
Vitamin B12:One randomized controlled study has shown that topical vitamin B12 improves eczema symptoms in children.
Another key piece of baby eczema care is to identify and remove your baby’s eczema triggers. Read this article for more on the triggers that may cause your baby’s eczema to flare, and check out this article for more on caring for your baby’s eczema.
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 babys health.
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How To Use Hydrocortisone And Tcs Creams Safely
One of the key aims of treatment in atopic dermatitis is to break the itch / scratch cycle.
When the skin is itching the child then scratches causing damage to the barrier function of the skin, the skin gets more itchy, the child scratches more, the skin gets more itchy and so it goes on.
This can be further exacerbated if there is a secondary infection and the itch /scratch cycle spirals out of control leading to significant upset for the child and sometimes resulting in time lost from school or even admission to hospital if things are very severe.
Dr Hunt recommends using mild or moderately potent steroids as soon as the skin starts to flare.
The aim of this approach is to bring things back under control quickly.
Waiting for the skin to deteriorate beyond what is tolerable often results in the need for stronger and longer steroid treatments.
In the words of one of our eczema nurses, you should use enough steroid cream to make the skin glisten and continue to use the eczema hydrocortisone cream for a couple of days after the skin has healed.
Can Hydrocortisone Help Babies With Eczema
Hydrocortisone cream isnt recommended for children under 2 years old. It can irritate a babys sensitive skin further and has been linked to slowed growth and delayed weight gain.
Its generally considered safer to use a moisturizer specifically designed for babies instead. However, if your baby has severe eczema that isnt helped by moisturizers, bathing, or other care tips, talk to their doctor. Babies can be prescribed mild hydrocortisone in some cases.
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Using Hydrocortisone With Other Skin Creams
Do not apply hydrocortisone at the same time as other creams or ointments such as a moisturiser. Wait at least 10 minutes between using hydrocortisone and any other product. Try to use different skin products at different times of the day.
If you’re using a dressing like a bandage or plaster, wait at least 10 minutes after putting hydrocortisone on.
Which Cortisone Should I Use
The skin on your face is thinner than the skin on the rest of your body, therefore a mild cortisone isused on the face and a moderate to potent cortisone is used on the body where the skin is thicker.
Face: Sigmacort, Dermaid, hydrocortisone.
Body: Advantan Fatty Ointment, Diprosone, Elocon
Sometimes your childs eczema may get infected and they may need antibiotics. This looks like increased oozing and yellow crusting in the eczema. Sometimes blisters filled with pus may be present. The cortisone applications do not work when there is infection so your doctor may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics to treat the infection.
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Are Tcs Creams Like Hydrocortisone Safe To Use On Children
There are many studies, including this study from 2016, into the long-term safety of topical corticosteroids in paediatric patients.
Here is another study on the safety of topical corticosteroids in atopic eczema that shows the use of mild to moderate potency steroids does not cause thinning of the skin or suppression of a childs own corticosteroids.
These studies support the long-term safety of TCI and low to mid-potency TCS therapy in children with atopic dermatitis.
Studies looking at the use of a mild steroid Hydrocortisone applied daily twice daily for 6 weeks versus a moderate potency steroid applied once daily for six weeks found that there was a significant benefit with the moderately potent steroid in that eczema, in particular the itching, was more rapidly controlled than with the mild steroid.
No skin thinning or suppression of the bodys own steroid was seen in either group. Heres a link to the published paper.
How To Use Skin Cream Or Ointment
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How Are Steroids Used
Corticosteroid ointments or creams are applied to the affected areas of skin one or two times a day. A lot of people do this in the morning and/or in the evening. This treatment is continued until the inflammation has gone away. Its hard to say exactly how long that will take. The treatment can last anywhere between a few days and six weeks. This will depend on the strength of the corticosteroid and the affected areas of skin. Steroid medication generally shouldnt be applied to sensitive areas of the body for longer than a few days.
It is important to continue using moisturizing products on the skin during treatment with steroids. Doctors recommend waiting about 15 minutes between applying a topical corticosteroid and applying the moisturizing product. This allows the steroid to be absorbed properly. According to current knowledge, it doesnt matter which order you apply them in.
If the is severe, you can apply the topical corticosteroid first and then cover the affected area with a wet wrap in order to increase the effect of the medication. But there is no good research on the benefits and drawbacks of this approach. Some studies have shown that it is associated with a higher risk of side effects, such as inflamed hair follicles and skin infections. Using wet wraps can also cause greater amounts of steroids to enter your bloodstream. So its important to talk to a doctor about whether to use this approach beforehand.