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Baby Skin Rash Causes and Natural Remedies

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Both my darling daughters have sensitive and dry skin. I hate seeing my baby girl scratching away at her legs and arms, not understanding why her skin is so itchy. Most parents don’t realise this, but eczema is most common in infants where it occurs in around 1 in 5 children under 2 years of age. And with 2 under 2 years, we are constantly treating some kind of skin rash, eczema/dermatitis, cradle cap! I have spent quite a bit of time researching various eczema treatments and natural remedies to provide relief for these skin irritations. We’ve played around a lot with our diet, tried lots of different products and spent a load on various organic skin care.

While everyone’s situation, medical background and environment is different, I hope I can provide some insights based on our own experiences with infant eczema and hope that you also find it useful.

While there is no actual known cause for eczema, we do know that it typically begins due to some kind of allergy. The tricky part is that we don’t always know yet what our children and babies are allergic to in order to remove it from their environment. So we need to do a bit of detective work to figure out the root problem causing skin irritations. I look at it from 3 perspectives:

1. What are we putting into our body? 

  • Consider your bub’s diet – dairy, wheat, eggs, soya, nuts. Remember that intolerances to artificial colours and preservatives can cause skin irritations in some people.
  • If you are breastfeeding, then also keep in mind your own diet.
  • Trial a week without the suspect foods and see if it makes a difference. If your bub’s skin improves, then start introducing the foods one at a time to see if it causes the eczema to flare.
  • We tried this but found it made no difference so we then figured it is more likely a type of allergy reaction to something our babies have come into contact with. Remember, your personal situation could be different.

2. What are we putting onto our body?

  • Consider what skin care products you currently rub onto baby’s skin.
  • We found that our daughter’s skin rash became most inflamed during bath time. She sits in the bath and scratches like crazy. We stopped using the bubble bath, soap, baby shampoo and body lotion we were using at the time and now only use organic products that contain 100% organic, natural ingredients. The effect was immediate. Find out more about  certified organic skincare here.
  • After bath, we moisturise their skin with an organic moisturiser suitable for babies. You will find our recommended  organic baby moisturisers here.

Did you know that there is little regulation and legislation that protects us from harmful toxic ingredients, including known carcinogenic (cancer causing chemicals) in our cosmetics and these can be found in products for our babies too! To check out more we recommend you visit the  Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website.

And this article in NY times about Johnson’s baby shampoo is a MUST read:

3. What are we putting around our body?

  • Consider the home environment and items around your baby.
  • Clothing – synthetic fibres, chemically dyed, restrictive or itchy type fabrics are best avoided. They can cause itchy skin rashes and overheating. The best alternatives are bamboo, organic cotton or 100% cotton as they breathe well and are much softer on the skin. Find out more on  organic cotton clothing here.
  • Even consider the towels you are using on bub – organic cotton is luxuriously soft and gently on the skin. Remember to pat dry baby’s sensitive skin and not rub. See our range of  organic cotton towels.
  • Pets – A common misconception is that pet hair causes allergic reaction, however it is actually pet dander that creates the problem. In any case, you will notice a fairly instantaneous reaction if bub comes into contact with a pet and is allergic. Our daughter gets a bubbly looking skin rash/skin hives after touching our dog so our beloved dog has to live outside and we limit the contact they have for the time being.
  • Detergents used to clean surfaces your baby comes into contact, particularly the bathtub and floor. We found this was another major contributor to our daughters skin reaction during bath time. I realised I was using a harsh chemical based product to wash our shower and bath time – the type where you feel like you need to be wearing a gas mask after spraying! Needless to say, we converted to a  natural cleaner for the bath tub.
  • Dust mites – we shudder to think of what little mites may live in our mattresses, pillows and the soft toys that our children hug but they are hard to avoid. Dust mites can be kept to a minimum with a good trusty vacuum cleaner such as a Dyson vacuum cleaner. They often come with attachments that can be used to clean your mattress where dust mites can be lurking.
  • Generally, most houses in Australia have floorboards, but those with carpets and rugs should also consider what shampoo you use to keep your carpets and rugs clean. Regularly vacuuming is a must with kids around and especially crawlers who are always on the floor.
  • Pollen – think about the garden and what the plants in it. Inhalant allergens can sometimes cause a worsening of eczema in spring and summer. This is usually due to pollen sensitivity. Often sufferers of eczema also suffer hay fever symptoms so there could be a link there.
  • Temperature – temperature changes such as heat or overly heated rooms can lead to dry skin. We use a humidifier in both dry and cold weather.

Natural Treatments for Baby Eczema

We have used many products with varying results. I am not going to write about those that did not live up to our expectation because they are still great brands, we just found that the following products yielded better results for us.

1. Nature’s Child Wonder Balm

This has been the most used product in our household. We use it for any rash that appears be it to provide relief from heat rash, nappy rash or those eczema break outs. My eldest daughter is an avid thumb sucker to the extent of causing a bad rash on her thumbs and we have used it with success on this also. Find out more about  Nature's Child Wonder Balm here.

2. Skin Juice Green Juice Balm

Our youngest daughter has had an extremely dry scalp and we have had regular bouts of cradle cap to content with meaning she has lost most of her lovely hair. Over the past few weeks we have been regularly applying Green Juice to her scalp as part of her bath/bed time routine and it has been a miracle product for us! I have photo documented the progress along the way, although I won’t be winning any prizes for photography - it is pretty hard to take a photo of a baby’s head when they never sit still! They were taken with my phone’s camera so image quality is not the highest but the improvement to baby’s dry skin is clear and that is what I want to show.

24/9/2014: You can see from the images below the dry flakey scalp/cradle cap type skin condition. It's not the worst it has been but my daughter was waking every morning with this dry skin and so we went on the hunt for a deep moisturising balm and began applying regularly throughout the day and before bed.

baby dry scalp cradle cap back of head baby dry scalp cradle cap side of head

baby dry scalp cradle cap forehead baby dry scalp cradle cap close up

26/9/2014: Within 48 hours we could see a clear improvement to baby's dry skin. There was still some persistent dry patches on the back of her head where she rubs it in her bassinet but a definite improvement. We continued to apply regularly throughout the day and before bed.


28/9/2014: This is how my daughters scalp now looks - so much better than the dry crusty scalp a few days earlier! You can also see that her hair growth has improved a lot as well. I am not sure if this is related but it makes me happy none the less! We still use Green Juice nightly on her scalp after bath before bed time to prevent the skin dryness from reappearing.

baby dry scalp cradle cap treatment baby dry scalp cradle cap natural remedy

Comparing start to end:

baby dry scalp cradle cap before and after

From our experience, we would recommend a combination of either of the following (depending on you personal circumstances) for treating eczema and other common skin irritations:

  • Moisturise bub every day and as often as you need to.
  • Use cotton (preferably organic cotton) or soft fabrics. Its best to avoid rough, scratchy fibres.
  • Take lukewarm baths and showers, using mild soap or non-soap cleanser
  • Gently pat your child’s skin dry with a soft towel – do not rub.
  • Apply a moisturiser within 3 minutes after bathing to “lock in” moisture.
  • When possible, avoid rapid changes of temperature.
  • Learn your child’s eczema triggers and avoid them.
  • Use a humidifier in dry or cold weather.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails short to help keep scratching from breaking the skin.
  • You may find it helps to remove carpets from your house, and give pets dander treatments.