London-based beauty blogger Julia Ferrari is a long-time eczema sufferer and mum to a little boy who also suffers. These are her top tips on how to soothe this tricky skin condition...
As parents of eczema-prone babies and those who deal with the skin condition themselves will know, this dry, red and flaky skin can drive you insane. It makes you feel frustrated, exhausted and demotivated. It’s particularly difficult for a parent to watch their little one get increasingly irritated and angry. They try to deal with a maddeningly itchy feeling they just can’t shake. Whether you suffer from, have suffered from, or are parents of children suffering from eczema, you’re not alone. NHS consultant dermatologist Tee Wei Siah confirms: “childhood eczema is very common and affects 15-20% of UK children”. So, here are some of the tips and products that have helped me navigate the minefield that is eczema.
Avoid heavily fragranced products
As a beauty blogger I’m always up for trying a new scent (sprayed on hair, not skin to avoid irritating it). However, I just don’t believe babies need to be introduced to perfume so early in life. And when it comes to eczema-prone skin, a fragrance is to be avoided where possible. NHS consultant dermatologist Tee Wei Siah highlights the National Eczema Society advice that fragrance is a common trigger of eczema. With that in mind, I’d rather keep my baby’s exposure to fragrance to a minimum and stick to fragrance-free products such as Baby Dove Sensitive Moisture Lotion.
Look for oil-based body washes
Bathtime can quickly turn into a headache for parents of babies suffering from eczema. With a bit of trial and error needed for when it comes to finding which products work and which set off a flare-up. In the bath I use soap-free head-to-toe washes. However, I’ve recently discovered La Roche-Posay Lipikar Gentle Cleansing Oil, a gentle soap-free oil that protects the skin from drying out. Depending on the area you live in you may also want to consider installing a water softener, as hard water can exacerbate the skin condition.
Seek out nourishing ingredients
Aveeno is one of those brands that are well known to eczema sufferers. It has always been part of my key tools to keep skin under control. It’s no different for my baby’s skin. Founded in the US by two brothers who worked with a dermatology centre to create a natural bath additive containing 100% colloidal (very finely milled) oatmeal. The range is ideal for dry and sensitive skin. The skincare benefits from oats range from moisturising dehydrated skin to soothing sensitive skin. It creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface. The change of temperature that comes with seasons or excessive central heating plays havoc and can exacerbate any dryness. I use Aveeno Baby’s soap-free Daily Care Gentle Body Wash to moisturise and soothe dehydrated skin.
Apply an emollient regularly
Once you’ve given your baby a bath it’s important to thoroughly pat skin dry in the creases, where eczema tends to develop. Moisturising is key. Aim to apply a rich emollient morning and evening. You might even find that moisturising can become part of the nappy change routine if your baby’s skin is particularly dry and requires several applications throughout the day. La Roche-Posay Baby Lipikar Baume is a hypoallergenic and dermatologically-tested moisturising balm providing 24-hour hydration for even the driest and sensitive skin.
Choose natural fibres
Light and loose clothing will allow skin to breathe, especially in hot weather. Natural fibres such as cotton, linen and cashmere work best against baby’s delicate skin. I’ve learned to steer clear of tight polyester tops and acrylic sweaters. For babies and children Little Green Radicals offers comfortable designs using organic fairtrade cotton. The brand often focuses on colourful prints, but you can also find simple white clothing for your little one. And if your newborn tends to scratch away at their skin some mittens will definitely come in handy.
For more beauty tips, follow Julia @freshbeautyfix on Instagram and Twitter.