8 Soothing Baths for Baby Eczema Relief

by Tara Saltzburg

In my opinion, one of the best things for baby eczema relief is to bathe your little one properly. In fact, I think bathing is so important, I’ve developed a comprehensive guide dedicated to bathing babies with eczema. Baby skin is already extremely delicate and it requires very gentle care. Mix in eczema and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Quick reminder - there is no natural cure for baby eczema. The cause of eczema is unknown so any eczema treatment you choose is only tackling the symptoms of the condition (think: reducing itch, calming redness, healing blisters, renewing moisture, or preventing flare ups). But don’t worry! Although there is no natural cure for baby eczema, there are lots of effective, safe treatments that work wonders for irritated skin, including one of my personal faves: a soothing bath!

A soothing bath treatment is a great baby eczema home remedy. When done 2-3 times/week a soothing bath can help alleviate skin irritation while locking in moisture. Added bonus: baths are naturally calming for kiddos of all ages!

baby-eczema-relief-soothing-bath

Here we’ll check out 8 soothing baths that can help alleviate itchy, red skin during those irritating baby eczema flare ups. It should be noted that these are great, effective treatments for anyone with eczema, not just babies!

Article Contents:

Bathing Babies with Eczema: A Quick Overview

Believe it or not, bathing is an effective way of putting moisture back into the skin and it just may be the best natural treatment for baby eczema. When the skin is dry, it’s not because it doesn’t contain enough oil; dryness occurs because the skin isn’t doing a very good job of retaining its own moisture. By following a few best practices when bathing eczema-prone skin, you can effectively help your little one lock in some much needed moisture, but note - it must be done properly.

Bathing your baby too often in hot water without properly moisturizing will do more bad than good. Before diving into the 8 soothing eczema baths for baby eczema relief, here’s a quick overview of the best practices to follow when it comes to bathing your little one’s eczema-prone skin. Again, it should be noted that these are really best practices for anyone with eczema or other dry skin conditions, so if you’re having issues, take note for yourself.

baby-eczema-relief-use-ointments-and-creams

Bath Tips for Eczema-Prone Skin:

  • Bathe daily but keep bath time short (5-15 minutes).
  • Fill tub with lukewarm water (about 98 degrees) and avoid bubbles, which usually contain chemicals that don’t agree with eczema-prone skin.
  • Always use a mild cleanser. Stay clear of soap which disrupts the skin’s pH level and typically contains irritating chemicals to create its foaming action.
  • After bath, pat baby dry with a towel (don’t wipe, which can cause irritation) and apply moisturizer within 3 minutes (we’ll share a recipe for breastmilk cream that you may want to try!).
  • Ointments are best for eczema-prone skin. If your little one (or you) don’t like the feel, a cream is the next best alternative. It’s best to avoid lotions for baby’s eczema, since lotions contain the least amount of oil.
  • Keep skin cool by opting for ultra-soft lightweight sleeping fabrics like the Modal in our baby sleeper gown (for babies 0-6 months) and two-piece sleep sets.

baby-eczema-relief-dress-in-cool-breathable-clothing

Unfortunately there are a lot of factors that may trigger an eczema flare and they differ from person to person. Try as we might to follow these best bath time practices, flare ups will inevitably occur and when they do, one of these soothing bath treatments may be just what the doctor (er, mom) ordered.

8 Soothing Baths to Alleviate Eczema Flare Ups

8-soothing-baths-for-baby-eczema-relief

1. Breast Milk Bath

Why Breast Milk Works For EczemaA homeopathic remedy for eczema in baby that has become increasingly popular over the last few years is a breast milk bath. Although there are no scientific studies that prove it, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence and individually documented experiments that show that a mother’s milk bath for baby eczema is full of benefits. Breast milk is so effective at reducing dry and itchy symptoms that one woman even claimed to have healed her babies’ eczema by having them bathe in her breast milk.

baby-eczema-relief-breastmilk-bathIt does make sense - after all, breast milk is comprised of tons of vitamins, nutrients, and fat. One of the key components is lauric acid, a fatty acid that softens skin. Lauric acid is also antimicrobial because it’s used to develop monolaurin, an agent that can fight bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses and other pathogens. Other components of breast milk include Palmitic acid, Oleic acid, Vaccenic acid, and Linoleic acid. These fatty acids are abundant in breast milk and are moisturizing and anti-inflammatory, making it an effective treatment for dry and irritated skin. To some it may sound strange, but making a breast milk bath for baby may be one of the best ways to combat eczema. Photo: Kelly Kristine Photography

 

 

 

 

Quick tip: Try breast milk for diaper rash! For all of the reasons above, breast milk works wonders on irritated bottoms!

How to Make a Breast Milk Bath:

  1. Fill baby's bath with lukewarm water.
  2. Add 6-10 oz to warm water bath so the water is cloudy.
  3. Soak for 5-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the tub and pat dry - do not rub, which can cause irritation.
  5. Immediately apply lots of moisturizer to lock in hydration (perhaps try a breastmilk cream - recipe below)
  6. Dress baby in eczema friendly clothing. Cool, lightweight fabrics allow the skin to breathe and prevents eczema triggers like heat and sweat.

According to lots of mamas, milk bath + baby = 🙌, but for added benefit, you can also try a breastmilk cream that can be applied directly to the skin after bathing. Here’s how to make it at home:

How to Make Breastmilk Cream (Courtesy of Kidspot):

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Beeswax
  • Few drops of Vitamin E oil
  • ½ cup breast milk (room temperature)

Instructions:

  1. With the microwave set on low, heat the oil and beeswax together until the beeswax has just melted – about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the Vitamin E oil.
  3. Slowly pour in the breast milk while whisking the oil mixture rapidly.
  4. Allow the mixture to emulsify and thicken. Leave to cool before using. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

    2. Colloidal Oatmeal Bath

    baby-eczema-relief-colloidal-oatmeal-bathWhy Colloidal Oatmeal Works for Eczema: If you think oatmeal’s just for breakfast, think again! An oat bath for baby can be a very effective eczema treatment. In fact, oatmeal has been used for centuries to ease irritated skin. Although it sounds tasty, they type we’re talking about here is “Colloidal Oatmeal” which refers to oats that have been finely milled and then suspended in liquid or gel. The oatmeal binds to skin and forms a protective barrier while locking in moisture, restoring essential minerals, and easing inflammation. If that isn’t enough, it cleans the skin, too, making an oatmeal bath for baby eczema relief a great natural option!

    In June 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially approved colloidal oatmeal as an effective and safe ingredient to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and rashes. You can purchase a premade oatmeal bath treatment like the Aveeno Baby Soothing Bath Treatment (which has earned The National Eczema Association  “Seal of Acceptance”) or you can easily make your own.

    How to Make a Colloidal Oatmeal Bath:

    1. Using a food processor, grind 6 cups of whole rolled oats into a soft, fluffy powder.
    2. Fill baby's bath with lukewarm water.
    3. Add 1/3 cup oatmeal (1-2 cups for older kids) of colloidal oatmeal under the faucet. Break any clusters of oatmeal with your hands.
    4. Soak for 5 to 15 minutes.
    5. Remove from the tub and pat dry - do not rub, which can cause irritation.
    6. Immediately apply lots of moisturizer to lock in hydration.
    7. Dress baby in eczema friendly clothing. Cool, lightweight fabrics allow the skin to breathe and prevents eczema triggers like heat and sweat.
    8. Store the colloidal oatmeal in an airtight container in a cool area to keep fresh. 

    westyn-baby-our-story

      3. Coconut Oil Bath

      Why Coconut Oil Works for Eczema: Coconut oil and baby eczema have always been a great pair. Coconut oil has antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that can help soothe itchy skin and reduce the inflammation. On top of that, coconut oil contains lauric acid, the same skin softening and antimicrobial fat found in a mother’s breast milk.

      baby-eczema-relief-coconut-oil-bathCoconut oil for babies is perfectly safe and believe it or not, it may be the best oil for baby eczema. Of all the natural ingredients used to treat eczema, coconut oil has the most scientific evidence to back it up. A 2018 study showed that the use of coconut oil was effective at reducing the presence of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other pathogens. Another study in the December 2013 issue of the International Journal of Dermatology focused specifically on children and concluded that virgin coconut oil applied topically to the skin for eight weeks improved skin hydration for kids with eczema. Sounds like throwing a little coconut oil in baby bath isn’t such a bad idea, but be careful -  this will make the tub very slippery!

      How to Make a Coconut Oil Bath: 

      1. Fill baby's bath with lukewarm water.
      2. Place a few drops of coconut oil directly into the bath water.
      3. Soak for 5-15 minutes.
      4. Use a cloth or sponge to apply the treated water to all areas of your body.
      5. Remove from the tub and pat dry - do not rub, which can cause irritation.
      6. Immediately apply lots of moisturizer to lock in hydration.
      7. Dress baby in eczema friendly clothing. Cool, lightweight fabrics allow the skin to breathe and prevents eczema triggers like heat and sweat.

      You can also try making “coconut oil melts” that can be thrown directly into the bath water.

      How to Make Coconut Melts (Courtesy of The Coconut Mama):

      Ingredients:

      • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
      • Molds or Ice Cube Trays (or heart molds)

      Instructions:

      1. Heat the coconut oil on low heat for 1-2 minutes or until coconut oil is completely melted.
      2. Mix well and pour the melted coconut oil into your molds.
      3. Let the coconut oil bath melts cool. If it’s warm in your home this may take some time. You can place them in your fridge to cool quicker if you like.
      4. Once cooled, pop the melts out of the molds and store them in a container in a cool place.

      baby-eczema-relief-westyn-baby-about-our-breathable-sleepwear

      4. Bleach Bath (for babies over 6 months)

      Why a Bleach Bath works for Eczema: Diluted bleach baths are well documented as being helpful with reducing irritation caused by eczema. Bleach is antibacterial, and studies have shown that a diluted bleach bath may help eczema symptoms by reducing bacteria and inflammation on the skin. If this sounds scary, it’s similar to putting a child in a pool with chlorine. Eczema can cause breaks in the skin’s protective surface (scratching can also cause breaks in the skin) that provides an opportunity for bacteria that live on the skin’s surface to create infections. A mild bleach and water solution is thought to decrease inflammation and bacteria on the skin, thereby reducing skin infections.

      Although they’re safe for babies over 6 months when done correctly, it’s recommended that you speak with your child’s dermatologist before trying a bleach bath.

      How to Make a Diluted Bleach Bath:

      1. Fill baby's bath with lukewarm water.
      2. For a baby or toddler, add one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water directly to the tub water as it’s filling (never apply bleach directly to your child’s skin). Be sure to wait until the bath is fully drawn and bleach is poured before child enters the tub.
      3. Soak for 5-15 minutes.
      4. Remove from the tub and pat dry - do not rub, which can cause irritation.
      5. For especially irritated areas, use a soft washcloth to add some of the treated water directly to the area.
      6. Immediately apply lots of moisturizer to lock in hydration.
      7. Dress baby in eczema friendly clothing. Cool, lightweight fabrics allow the skin to breathe and prevents eczema triggers like heat and sweat.

      Note: Always Use regular strength 6% bleach for the bath. Do not use concentrated bleach.

      5. Sea Salt Bath

      baby-eczema-relief-sea-salt-bathWhy Sea Salt Works for Eczema: Mineral rich sea salts are a great way to battle itchy flare ups. According to Catina Stavroulakis, the founder of The Salt Project, sea salt contains a whole family of minerals from the ocean...The amniotic fluid that we were born in is the same mineral composition as the ocean, so when you impart those minerals onto the surface of the skin, there is a very synergistic exchange that promotes healing and conditioning of the skin.” Sea salt speeds up the healing of nicks, cuts, and wounds and it also helps to reduce inflammation and some of the itchiness from eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, among other conditions. Bonus: Sea salts are an overall skin conditioner - they soften the water and in turn, soften the skin.

      Even the National Eczema Association recommends trying a sea salt bath for baby eczema. Many eczema sufferers report a decrease in itching, inflammation and redness and they’re safe for babies and toddlers! Salt is natural, therapeutic and has a cleansing effect.

      How to Make a Sea Salt Bath:

      1. Fill baby's bath with lukewarm water.
      2. Add 1/8 cup of salt for baby (for older kiddos: 2 cups for a full bath or 1 cup for a half bath).
      3. Soak for 5-15 minutes.
      4. Remove from the tub and pat dry - do not rub, which can cause irritation.
      5. Immediately apply lots of moisturizer to lock in hydration.
      6. Dress baby in eczema friendly clothing. Cool, lightweight clothing allows the skin to breathe and prevents eczema triggers like heat and sweat.

      For added benefit, try mixing sea salt with Epsom salt. We dive into the benefits of Epsom salt next. 

      baby-eczema-relief-westyn-baby-eczema-friendly-sleepwear

      6. Magnesium (Epsom Salt) Bath

      Why Magnesium Works for Eczema: While sea salts are mineral rich, Epsom Salts are simply magnesium. Magnesium is the second most abundant element in our bodies, and is used in regulating over 300 enzymes and reactions in the body, but most people are actually deficient in magnesium. This may be because much of our food no longer contains magnesium, partly because of the growing use of pesticides. That being said, it’s a little known fact that magnesium is actually much better absorbed through the skin rather than through the gastrointestinal tract, making a bath soak more effective than an oral supplementation.

      According to Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified and nationally-acclaimed dermatologic surgeon, magnesium helps reduce inflammation which is the root of many health conditions. By lowering inflammation, magnesium can help improve overallskin health and function.

      How to Make a Magnesium / Epsom Salt Bath:

      1. Fill baby's bath with lukewarm water.
      2. Add 1/8 cup of salt for baby (for older kiddos: 2 cups for a full bath or 1 cup for a half bath).
      3. Soak for 5-15 minutes.
      4. Remove from the tub and pat dry - do not rub, which can cause irritation.
      5. Immediately apply lots of moisturizer to lock in hydration.
      6. Dress baby in eczema friendly clothing. Cool, lightweight clothing allows the skin to breathe and prevents eczema triggers like heat and sweat.

      For added benefit, try mixing Epsom salt with sea salt. All the great benefits mineral rich sea salts are noted above (#5)

      7. Baking Soda Bath

      Why Baking Soda Works for Eczema: First, let’s be sure we’re on the same page; baking soda and baking powder are not the same thing. Baking powder can be harmful to individuals with skin issues and should not be used for bathing. What we’re looking to create here is a baking soda bath for baby eczema.

      baby-eczema-relief-baking-soda-bathBaking soda for eczema is a safe, natural home remedy. Baking soda is just sodium bicarbonate, a natural salt-like mineral. Not surprisingly, baking soda shares many of the same benefits as a salt bath. It’s naturally antiseptic and cleansing, plus it helps balance the skin’s pH, it detoxifies the skin, and it reduces rashes and inflammation. Bonus: like colloidal oatmeal, a baking soda bath for eczema is very effective, but it can also work wonders on other skin conditions like diaper rash! It helps soothe the raw skin and promote faster healing. Just soak the affected area in the bath 3 times per day for ten minutes at a time. Pat the area dry completely before putting on a new diaper.

      How to Make a Baking Soda Bath for Baby:

      For a knockout combo, try mixing baking soda with sea salt and/or Epsom salt.

      1. Fill baby's bath with lukewarm water.
      2. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the bath for babies and young children. Don’t use too much, because baking soda can be absorbed into the body through the skin.
      3. Soak for 5-15 minutes.
      4. Remove from the tub and pat dry - do not rub, which can cause irritation.
      5. Immediately apply lots of moisturizer to lock in hydration.
      6. Dress baby in eczema friendly clothing. Cool, lightweight clothing allows the skin to breathe and prevents eczema triggers like heat and sweat.

      8.* Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

      Why Apple Cider Vinegar works for Eczema: An apple cider vinegar bath for eczema has been well documented as being effective at reducing eczema itch. Apple cider vinegar is a natural source of C and B-vitamins and contains antibacterial properties. The acidic nature naturally helps balance the body’s pH levels. Soaking in apple cider vinegar can nourish and moisturize the skin.Vinegars of all kinds, but particularly apple cider vinegar or ACV, can be used as a natural eczema treatment. Many people find that when added to a warm bath, it provides many benefits for the skin (including alleviating eczema flare ups).

      All that said, there are no guidelines or research suggesting that apple cider vinegar is safe for infants or babies. When used incorrectly, it can cause chemical burns, and it may damage an infant's sensitive skin. Due to its high acidic content, it could potentially injure the soft tissues of the mouth, throat, stomach and kidneys. Although ACV is well documented as providing many benefits for adults, I'm not as comfortable with an apple cider vinegar bath for baby eczema when there are so many other safe and effective soothing bath options.

      But hey, I’m not knocking it! I just recommend consulting your pediatrician before treating baby’s eczema with ACV. If your pediatrician recommends ACV baths, s/he will be able to advise on frequency as well as the appropriate quantity for baby’s bath.

      westyn-baby-helping-parents-manage-eczema

      Summary

      Try as we might as parents, eczema flare ups in babies and young children are inevitable. Luckily there are lots of safe, natural ways to combat irritated skin. During particularly itchy flare ups, a soothing bath is a great way to provide quick, effective baby eczema relief. But remember - what works for one child may not work for another, so be patient.

      If you’re breastfeeding, you may want to try a breastmilk bath and breastmilk cream for an option chock full o’ benefits. Many moms swear by a milk bath for eczema! Colloidal oatmeal and coconut oil are also very effective in treating eczema flares. Perhaps you’ll find that a salt bath or baking soda bath is the  best treatment for your baby’s eczema. Regardless of what you try, give it time to work. When treating flare ups, it’s recommended to try one of the bath treatments 2-3 times per week for the best results.

      Learning what works for you baby’s eczema takes time, so don’t be afraid to try different things. You may be surprised how effective these natural, soothing baths can be! And if you’re looking for other safe and effective eczema treatments, check out 15 Natural Remedies for Baby Eczema.

      Please note: This article is informational only and is not intended to replace medical advice.

      Xo, Tara

      Love it? PIN it!

      8-soothing-baths-for-baby-eczema-pinit-image


      Sources:


      https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/147954.php

      https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/eczema-and-bleach-baths

      https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/eczema-resource-center/skin-care/bath-additions

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24320105

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411017300871

      https://nationaleczema.org/get-facts-coconut-oil/

      https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/causes-and-triggers-of-eczema/

      https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/bathing/

      https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/breast-milk-bath-for-babies-benefits-and-how-to-make/

      https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/eczema/colloidal-oatmeal-baths

      https://www.adrescuewear.com/blog/best-and-worst-bath-products-for-eczema-sufferers/

      https://www.eczemacompany.com/best-products-for-eczema/   

      https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-to-make-your-own-oatmeal-bath-289466

      https://www.soothems.com/blogs/news/how-apple-cider-vinegar-provides-eczema-relief-for-babies

      https://www.kidspot.com.au/baby/baby-care/bathing-and-body-care/the-homemade-breast-milk-lotion-every-new-mum-needs-to-make/news-story/866e15212608dcca8beecf13822c1b33

      https://thecoconutmama.com/coconut-oil-bath-melts/

      https://wokemamas.com/2018/03/10/breast-milk-baths-yes-theyre-a-thing-and-this-is-why/

      https://nationaleczema.org/get-facts-acv/

      https://www.popsugar.com/beauty/Difference-Between-Sea-Salts-Epsom-Salts-2011-06-24-135543-18001730

      https://wellnessmama.com/4513/magnesium-salt-baths/

      http://www.bamboobubby.com.au/blog/soothing-eczema-with-baking-soda/

      https://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/real-life/in-the-news/mum-claims-she-cured-her-babies-eczema-by-bathing-them-in-her-breast-milk/news-story/5cff4095aa6de140c5f72017a8456fb0

      Leave a comment

      Comments will be approved before showing up.