Fighting Eczema? Check out these great tips!
Sensitive skin runs in my family. When I was a little girl, my skin cracked and burned painfully every time the cold, New England winters would make their way back around again. I lived on Chap Stick, petroleum jelly, and lotions of any and every kind. Now, both my babies suffer from some type of sensitive skin, having unfortunately inherited my skin and not their Daddy’s. As the years have passed since I became a mother, I’ve become more and more careful about the kinds of things to which I expose my kids. I’ve traded most paper products for cloth, most processed foods for whole and/or organic, and most health and beauty care products for allnatural alternatives. So, I’ve had to search for all natural alternatives to soothing dry skin as well.
Bear seems to struggle with eczema and sensitive skin more than his sister did. Born in the summer, these issues didn’t manifest themselves until autumn rolled around and the temperatures began to fluctuate. One day the weather would be warm and balmy and his skin would be clear and moist. The next day the temperature would drop and he’d break out into rashes and spots of eczema. He’s had a sensitive bottom since day one so I at least had a couple of natural skin care products on hand when the eczema began to rear it’s ugly head for the first time. Thanks to multiple products and remedies and a moisturizing routine that happens at almost every diaper change, we’ve been able to keep Baby Bear’s skin nice and clear without resorting to petroleum products or steroid creams.
The following is a list of all the things that we’ve used successfully on his baby skin, most of which are totally safe for cloth diapers.
Coconut oil is our goto moisturizer. Our local discount store carries them at a good price so we stock up and use it both in our food and for our skin care. We have a little tub of the wonderful stuff right by Bear’s changing table and he gets it on his bum at every diaper change and rubbed all over his skin at least once a day. If he’s really struggling with dry skin and eczema, though, I’ll rub him down 46 times a day.
Olive oil is more difficult to apply as a moisturizer, though it can be done. I put it in our wipe solution so that the wipes moisturize as they clean.
Unpetroleum jelly not only moisturizes, but it leaves a layer of protection against dry air and/or soiled diapers. When he’s combating a diaper rash (which in his case is usually a reaction to his poop), we like to use this to protect against future irritation.
Though I prefer the coconut oil, occasionally we switch between it and organic baby lotion.
I read that breast milk could fight eczema and fungal infections and I thought I might as well try it since I always have it on hand. Bear’s first bits of eczema actually looked like ringworm so I was eager to use something that combated both. At first, I felt weird squirting my milk onto my baby’s problem areas, but when I saw how it was really helping, I marveled at how God really has provided a mom with everything she needs to care for and cure her baby’s ailments. Breast milk is one of the most effective things for causing the spots caused by eczema to disappear. You can really see the results even in just the hour or two between diaper changes.
I really like California Baby’s calendula cream (not the diaper rash cream) to combat diaper rash. Apparently the actual diaper balm has something in it that may cause build up on cloth diapers, but the cream does not and we use it all the time. A little goes a long way and where unpetroleum jelly protects against future rashes, the calendula cream heals the ones that already exist. I like to mix this with coconut oil or unpetroleum jelly to use on the diaper area since it then both protects and heals. When we discovered Bear’s eczema, we started putting calendula cream on the trouble areas and found that it was almost as effective as breast milk, and easier to apply.
Lanolin is absolutely not safe for cloth diapers. It is the byproduct of sheep’s wool that causes wool covers to be somewhat waterproof. However, it is the best way to protect skin from further eczema breakouts. It’s super protective and seems to seal moisture in. I’ve used it as chapstick ever since Bunny was born and when I use it on my own hands, it lasts through a couple of hand washes—it’s that strong. If Bear has a particularly bad spot—like windchapped cheeks—I’ll lather this stuff on thick before bed and the problem area is as good as new by morning.
Cloth Diaper Rash creams
The only official cloth diaper rash cream I’ve ever used was the Grovia Magic stick, and I loved it. Many rash creams of its kind contain things like calendula oil and coconut oil and thus can be used for regular moisturizing as well.
When told about Bear’s eczema, most everyone suggested something like Vasoline or Eucerine as the only remedy that worked for them. Most people probably didn’t see the need to look for an allnatural or organic option to protect their baby’s skin. It was nice that I had a friend who gave me a couple of her allnatural suggestions (including some of those listed above). I was able to use those confidently as a starting point for fighting the eczema without exposing my son to chemicals that have unknown side effects.