And because taking a bath is so ordinary throughout your day, you probably don’t give it much thought. However, bath time can be confusing and frustrating (to say the least) when your little one has eczema. It’s especially important to take precautions to make sure your child’s bath routine doesn’t aggravate the condition.
There are five different types of baths that can be beneficial for children with eczema: coconut oil baths, cleansing baths, detox baths, oatmeal baths, and bacterial baths.
Take a look at the breakdown of how and why each bath can improve your child’s eczema.
Coconut Oil Bath
Coconut oil’s antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties can relieve itching and reduce inflammation. As a result, coconut oil has long been an excellent option for treating baby eczema.
Coconut oil in the baby bath may not be a bad idea, but be careful because it will make the tub very slippery.
Here’s how to give your little one a soothing coconut oil bath:
- Fill the tub with lukewarm water.
- You can add a few drops of coconut oil to the bath water.
- Take a 5-minute to a 15-minute soak.
- Apply the treated water to the entire body using a washcloth or sponge.
- Remove from the tub and pat dry; rubbing can cause irritation.
- Apply a heavy coat of moisturizer right away to prevent moisture loss.
- Put the baby in clothing that is eczema-friendly like the ScratchMeNot. Fabrics that are breathable and cool are ideal for avoiding eczema flare-ups because they keep the skin from overheating.
Cleansing baths do exactly what you’d think. They clean your child!
When doing a cleansing bath, be sure to use lukewarm to cool water. You’ll also want to limit it to about 5 minutes.
When choosing soaps, focus on the ingredients of the soaps that you use during bath time and the creams you use post-bath. You might even consider adding baking soda to your bath if you have hard water. Just be sure to dissolve it in hot water first before cooling it for bath time!
During the bath, you’ll want to add oil or use moisturizing soaps. You could even try gentle essential oils like lavender or wild orange!
Detox baths remove toxins from the skin, boost the immune system, calm your little one down before bedtime, reduce inflammation, increase absorption of nutrients, and can calm the nervous system. Check out the below recipe for a detox bath!
- Recipe: Dissolve ¼ cup of baking + ½ cup Epsom salt (magnesium) + 2 tbsp bentonite clay + 1 tbsp oil in hot water. (No soap! Leave the soap in the cleansing baths.)
- Cool the water to lukewarm/cool. Keep your little one in the bath for 15 minutes.
If your baby has eczema and is constantly scratching at his or her skin, you may want to try an oatmeal bath.
If your infant has eczema, try adding some colloidal oatmeal to their bath. This oatmeal is made from milled oats that have been ground to a powder so fine that it may be absorbed through the skin.
If you suspect that your child has food allergies, you should research elimination diets before giving them this bath.
We suggest trying oatmeal baths for infants with eczema by:
Dissolve 1/4 cup of colloidal oatmeal, such as Conqueror Oatmeal Bath for Eczema, in warm water. Your infant can enjoy a 20-minute bath.
Bacterial Baths (aka Apple Cider Vinegar Baths)
Did you know that people with eczema are more susceptible to bacterial infections?
Instead of the often-recommended bleach baths, you can opt for a gentler apple cider vinegar bath! Bleach baths kill both good and bad bacteria, while apple cider vinegar leaves the good stuff behind!
Apple cider vinegar is also less drying than bleach. It can also relieve itching, reduce inflammation, slow down yeast growth, and boost your little one’s immunity.
- Recipe: ½ cup apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) + lukewarm/cool water. (Again, no soap!)
- Please note that you can add more ACV as needed but start with ½ cup and work your way up. Keep your little one in the bath for 10-15 minutes. After the bath, apply the lightest lotion/oil/cream onto damp skin. If your child is too wet, you can pat dry. Lastly, layer with the heaviest cream to lock in the moisture.
The Bottom Line?
It’s normal to feel a little (or a lot) overwhelmed when your child has eczema. You should be consistent with the type of bath you take. In order to see results, you should take these baths three to four times every week. As usual, consult your child’s pediatrician to choose the most appropriate treatment for your child.
The good news is you can take baby steps. You don’t need to tackle them all at once or do them each and every day. Start small and start a manageable routine based on your child’s needs.
And cut yourself some slack. You’re doing a great job mama!