A key part of managing eczema is nourishing the skin with a good moisturizer. So naturally the most common question asked by parents is what moisturizer to use on their babies.
Moisturizers help reduce the itch and protect the skin from infection and dehydration. There are many creams on the market. Aveeno, Lipikar Baume, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Calendula Cream, Cetaphil, Triple Cream, Emu Oil, Vitamin E, Chickweed Cream, Pure Potion, Curel Itch Defense, Charism Baby Balm and many others are all good moisturizers. Unfortunately, there is no one single product that works well for all babies. It is a personal preference and a game of trial and error. Some creams may feel too thick or sticky and uncomfortable for your baby. Also remember that more expensive creams may not be better -- so find a good one that fits your budget.
After trying many creams on my baby, I personally found that Tekadis's Shea Butter and Le Roche Posay's Lipikar Baume (which I later found out is also made from shea butter!) works the best. It reduces the redness immediately and spaces out the flare ups. The Lipikar Baume absorbs faster than the Shea Butter. However, my baby always screams with the Lipikar Baume when he has a bad flare up. Since I figured the Lipikar Baume stings him, I just use it on days when his skin condition is better.
Always check the ingredients before you buy any moisturizer. Normally, the less ingredients the better because up to 60% of the ingredients can be absorbed into the body. More chemicals means more toxins for your baby's liver to filter. As well, if your baby have a reaction to the cream, less ingredients will make it easier to identify what is causing the allergy.
So unless your baby has a specific allergy, how you apply the moisturizer is probably more important than what type of moisturizer you apply. Here's how:
1. With clean hands, soften your moisturizer by by rubbing it between your hands.
2. Instead of rubbing, gently smooth the moisturizer on the skin to avoid causing irritations. Smooth onto the skin with downward strokes.
3. Leave a thin film of moisturizer sitting on the skin surface. You can also add a layer of vaseline on top of your cream to lock in the moisture or if you will be going out in windy weather.
4. Repeat this process several times a day especially when the baby is itchy or after contact with water. Apply moisturizer at least 3 times daily. Remember that once you feel the baby's skin is dry, it is too late - keep it soft and hydrated at all times to prevent flare ups!
5. Don't waste your efforts. Protect your baby's skin by avoiding things that can dry it out -- such as soaps, exfoliants, coarse washcloths and hot water.