What is the Best Baby Wash for Eczema?
If you checked out our Guide to Bathing Babies with Eczema, you’re probably aware that bathtime can be a great way to hydrate dry, eczema-prone skin. Although frequency of baths is somewhat debated, I’m a big advocate of a daily bath since soaking in water can actually help lock moisture into the skin, when done correctly (Quick refresher: Stick to short, 5-10 minute baths in lukewarm water, around 98 degrees. Pat skin dry with a towel, don’t rub. Follow immediately - within 3 minutes - with moisturizer, preferably an ointment or cream).
So we’ve covered bath basics. Now the big question: What’s the best baby wash for eczema?
We’ll dive into some of my top picks, but remember to keep in mind that what works for one child may not work for another. You may find yourself going through several cleansers before you find the best fit for your little one’s skin.
- Selecting The Best Baby Wash for Sensitive Skin
- My Picks: The Best Baby Wash for Eczema
- 3 Things to Consider After Bathtime
Selecting The Best Baby Wash For Sensitive Skin
With so many options out there, it can be hard to determine what will be a good fit for your little one’s skin. Although all baby skin is delicate, eczema-prone skin requires a little extra TLC, and unfortunately, not all washes are created with sensitive skin in mind. Many soaps and washes contain harsh chemicals that can further irritate sensitive skin. The goal is to find a gentle cleanser that will preserve the moisture in your baby’s skin and allow the good bacteria to protect the skin from irritants. Before we dive in, there are a few things to consider when looking for the best baby eczema body wash:
1. Opt for “Cleanser”
Rather than using baby soap for eczema, I recommend sticking to a mild cleanser. Just like bubbles, soaps often contain sodium lauryl sulfate to create it’s foaming action, and unfortunately, sodium lauryl sulfate can irritate sensitive skin (I recommend avoiding bubbles for the same reason).
Also, the average pH level (acidity or alkaline) of soap is 9 to 10, while the skin’s normal pH level is 4 to 5. Soap increases the skin’s pH level and can lead to more irritated, dry skin. Studies show that emollient-rich cleansers dry out the skin the least and provide a protective layer that slows down water loss.
I’m not knockin’ soap for baby eczema; I just haven’t tried it. There are so many great cleansers out there that are specially developed for sensitive and eczema-prone skin and because I’ve personally had success with some of them, I tend to prefer them. That being said, there are some gentle soaps on the market that don’t contain lauryl sulfate, like Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Soap and Weleda Calendula Soap, which may be worth trying.
2. Avoid Fragrances
Fragrances are commonly added to baby soaps (and lots of other stuff, for that matter) for purely cosmetic reasons. Although cleansers that smell like lavender and chamomile sound relaxing, they can wreak havoc on sensitive skin. It’s best to stick with unscented products.
3. Look for Keywords
Per number one, “cleanser” and “body wash” are big ones. Other keywords to look for include sensitive, gentle, therapeutic, eczema, or hypoallergenic. These products take into consideration the extra TLC that sensitive skin needs and they’re usually made with better, less-irritating ingredients.
4. Analyze Ingredients
When looking for the best baby wash for eczema, be sure to take a quick glance at the ingredients. Steer clear of things like alcohol, glycol, propylene, sodium lauryl sulfate, and parabens (commonly used as a preservative). Cleansers using natural ingredients like almond, milk, cocoa butter and olive oil are best for sensitive skin.
My Picks: The Best Baby Wash for Eczema
Please note: I do NOT participate in affiliate marketing. I am not compensated in any way for my recommendations.
Not every product is great for sensitive skin; luckily, there is no shortage of great options! Safe, gentle and effective cleansers are a must for eczema-prone skin, so I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of cleansers that are specially designed with sensitive skin in mind. The best part: Most of them are very reasonably priced!
Exederm Baby Eczema Wash - $11.99 I’m not shy about my love for Exederm’s baby wash because this cleanser worked wonders for my son! Exederm keeps the focus on functionality rather than appearance or smell. Their objective is to cleanse baby's skin and simply put, “bubbles and foam are not necessary to do that.” A trusted leader in the eczema community, Exederm hit a home run with this wash that gently cleanses without stripping away natural moisture and without leaving skin feeling 'tight', red or irritated. It’s impressively been awarded the coveted National Eczema Association 'Seal of Acceptance' with a 5/5 score from the expert review panel. This is my choice for the best baby wash for eczema but that’s simply because I had a great deal of success with it.
Mustela Stelatopia Cleansing Cream - $12.50 Another one of my tried and true favorites formulated by another well known and trusted name in sensitive skincare - Mustela. Mustela's Stelatopia Cleansing Cream gently cleans without stripping the skin of natural oils. It’s composed of natural ingredients including Avocado Perseose, Glycerin, and Sunflower Oil Distillate, each of which plays an important role in keeping eczema-prone skin healthy: Avocado Perseose protects and strengthens delicate skin; Sunflower Oil Distillate soothes skin; and plant-based Glycerin moisturizes and prevents water loss.
Live Clean Baby Eczema Body Wash & Shampoo - $4.80 Live Clean was developed for baby's delicate skin using plant and water derived based formulations enriched with certified organic botanicals that are safe for baby. Enriched with a Multi-Oat Complex of Colloidal Oatmeal, Oat Kernel Extract and Oat Oil, this formula temporarily protects and helps relieve baby’s dry, itchy, cracked and irritated skin caused by eczema. Added bonus: it also acts as an eczema shampoo for kids.
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser - $9.00 As an eczema mom, you’ve likely heard of Vanicream. Although this is a facial cleanser, it’s ideal for sensitive skin associated with eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, and winter itch, so I thought it deserved a spot. It’s effective yet gentle on sensitive skin and it’s been formulated without harsh detergents and common chemical irritants. It helps remove dirt, oil and makeup without drying the skin, leaving it clean and soft.
TruKid® Eczema Face & Body Wash - $10.49 TruKid® Eczema Wash gently cleanses the skin while balancing the pH level. A natural, moisturizing blend of aloe, calendula, chamomile and borage oil hydrates while cleansing red, itchy skin. This non-drying wash is naturally free of steroids, gluten and fragrances which allows it to soothe sensitive skin while supporting its barrier function.
CeraVe® Baby Wash & Shampoo - $8.92 CeraVe® tear-free wash & shampoo was developed with pediatric dermatologists. This non-irritating, gentle wash features a unique patented formula containing vitamins and 3 essential ceramides that help maintain baby’s protective skin barrier as it cleanses. CeraVe® Baby Wash & Shampoo is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes - nothing is left behind but soft, clean, healthy skin and hair!
Baby Pibu™ Bathtime Wash Tear-free Hair & Body Wash - $15.00 Developed by a pediatric dermatologist and mom, Baby Pibu develops quality, natural baby products made from hypoallergenic and clinically-tested ingredients that are safe, soothing and gentle. This tear-free formula has natural conditioning ingredients that will nourish sensitive skin and leave hair and skin feeling super soft.
Eau Thermale AvèneXeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil - $33.00 Yup, this one’s pricey. Coming in at $33.00, it definitely wouldn’t be my first choice unless I’ve exhausted quite a few others. That being said, it’s a 13.5 oz bottle that packs a powerful punch. It’s unique oil texture lathers (without lauryl sulfate) to seal in moisture and restore the skin's barrier without stripping its natural microbiome. It’s safe for infants, children and adults. In 2014, it won Allure’s Best of Beauty: Best Cleanser for Sensitive Skin and it’s received the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance. Not too shabby!
MDMoms Baby Shampoo & Body Wash - $11.99 Developed by pediatrician moms, this concentrated 2-in-1cleanser is soap-free, sulfate-free and has been clinically tested and rated “tear-free”. It does not contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, lanolin, mineral oil, petroleum, waxes, wheat or gluten. The blend of gentle ingredients includes Marine Silk Complex, certified organic aloe and antioxidant vitamins E and B5. Hard-working enough to clean away all evidence of baby’s busy day, but ultra gentle so it won’t interfere with skin’s natural moisture barrier!
California Baby Eczema Bodywash and Shampoo - $14.99 Steroid-free and gluten-free, this shampoo and bodywash gets rave reviews from eczema sufferers who’ve tried everything. This unscented, skin friendly wash is made with plant-based cleansing ingredients that gently clean without drying or irritating the skin. The active ingredient, gluten-free certified organic colloidal oatmeal, is very effective in relieving eczema breakouts, rashes, and insect bites. For extra relief, they add certified organic calendula extract and aloe vera to soothe, moisturize, and keep skin hydrated. Bonus: It’s proudly women owned and all of their products are blended, manufactured and packaged at their headquarters in Los Angeles.
Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo and Wash - $14.72 This new and improved formula was rated #1 in safety by EWG (The “Environmental Working Group” which assesses products based on strict safety standards that include ingredients, safe manufacturing processes, and transparent marketing). This extra gentle plant-based cleanser soothes and nourishes skin, relieving dry skin conditions like eczema and cradle cap. Clinically tested as hypoallergenic, this certified organic Nutri-Soothe Blend is rich in vitamins and antioxidants with a skin soothing combo of chamomile, watercress, kudzu and calendula.
Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns - $12.50 Mustella’s Foam Shampoo is a great baby eczema shampoo. It gently exfoliates and rinses away flakes due to cradle cap, but it can also be used for other drying conditions like eczema. It’s composed of 99% plant-based ingredients, including Avocado Perseose, a patented natural ingredient that helps protect and hydrate the scalp, as well as Climbazole, which works to prevent cradle cap and dryness from recurring. It’s effective and gentle for newborns, babies, and toddlers!
CLn Gentle Shampoo - $31.35 CLn hit a home run with this highly customer-rated eczema shampoo for toddlers, infants, and adults. This gentle formulation is a mild, therapeutic cleanser that cares for sensitive and normal-to-dry scalps prone to itching and flaking caused by dryness, dermatitis or eczema. It’s fragrance free, hypoallergenic, and can be used daily without irritating or drying the scalp. It does not contain antibiotics, parabens or triclosan. Although it’s not a tear-free formula, CLn states that it can be safely used for infants, children, and adults.
3 Things to Consider After Bathtime
Regardless of the cleanser you choose, there are some things to keep in mind after bathtime. You may find the best baby wash for eczema but if you don’t properly care for the skin after a bath, it won’t matter. In fact, you may be making the condition worse! Here are three things you should always do after bathtime:
1. “Soak and Seal”
The National Eczema Association recommends always following bathtime with the soak and seal method:
- After bathing, pat the skin lightly with a towel leaving it slightly damp (don’t rub as this can cause irritation!).
- Apply prescription topical medication to the affected areas of skin as directed (if applicable).
- Within three minutes, liberally apply a moisturizer all over the body. It’s important to apply the moisturizer within three minutes or the skin may become even drier.
2. Choose the Right Moisturizer
Ideally, choose a moisturizer that is high in oil content. Products that are high in oil content, such as petroleum jelly and mineral oil, are particularly good for treating eczema. They don’t burn when they’re applied to sensitive skin, which is definitely a concern with some creams and lotions.
If your little one doesn’t like the feel of an ointment, your best alternative is a cream. Creams are second to ointments in the amount of oil they contain, and they do a good job of sealing in moisture. Because they contain less oil, they are not as greasy to the touch.
Lotions contain the least amount of oil and because they are primarily made of water, they evaporate quickly. They also often contain preservatives that burn when applied to skin that’s scratched or broken. It’s best to just avoid lotion and stick to an ointment or cream, if possible.
3. Opt for Soft, Breathable Clothing or Pajamas
Sweat is one of the most common triggers of itch in people with eczema. After bathtime, it’s imperative that you dress your little one in lightweight, breathable sleepwear, preferably without tags or seams that can cause itchiness and make the condition worse.
WB sleepwear is made from modal, a fabric which presents with a smooth, silky feel that glides over the skin without rubbing or being abrasive. Because modal is made from the pulp of the Beech Tree, it’s naturally breathable and cool to the touch, which regulates the skin’s temperature and allows it to breathe, reducing eczema flare ups.
So there you have it - some of my favorite cleansers for little eczema sufferers. As I’ve said many times before, dealing with eczema is more of an art than a science - there will usually be some trial and error. Just be patient, Mama.
In short, remember these few things when you’re searching for the best baby wash for eczema:
- It’s usually best to opt for a cleanser. Many soaps disturb the skin’s pH and they are often formulated with irritating chemicals that are used to create a lather.
- Avoid products that have added fragrances which can be irritating to sensitive skin.
- Look for keywords like sensitive, gentle, therapeutic, eczema, or hypoallergenic.
- Analyze ingredients and steer clear of things like alcohol, glycol, propylene, sodium lauryl sulfate, and parabens (commonly used as a preservative).
- After patting the skin dry (not rubbing), liberally apply moisturizer within 3 minutes.
- Moisturize with an ointment which is usually best for eczema sufferers. If not an ointment, the next best alternative is a cream.
- Opt for ultra-soft, breathable clothing that glides over the skin and allows it to breathe. Softness and breathability are infinitely important when dealing with sensitive skin!
Our long sleeve pajama set and short sleeve pajama sets are a perfect option to keep your little one’s skin cool and calm. You may also want to consider a garment with mittens if eczema is affecting her face. If your little one is in the 0-6M range, our baby sleeper gown is a great option. Plus, it makes middle of the night diaper changes super easy!
Do you have another fave that didn’t make the list? Share in the comments so I can check it out!
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