If your little one has suffered from nappy rash, cradle cap or their skin is dry and prone to eczema flare ups, these tried and tested natural remedies are definitely worth a try. All of them are gentle to the skin, however if your child’s eczema or any other skin condition is severe, always consult with your doctor first before you try any new products or homemade remedies.
ECZEMA/ DRY/ SENSITIVE SKIN
First of all, eczema is a very common skin condition in children and adults alike, and there many triggers for it, including washing powders, shampoos, body washes, house dust mites, pet hair, and most commonly food intolerances. Therefore, it is always best to consult with your doctor to ensure that the root cause of the problem is addressed. Below remedies can certainly ease the symptoms of eczema but may not cure it, unless the root cause is addressed.
1. Oatmeal bath
First of all, many cheap bath products contain harsh detergents (such as SLS and SLES) which can lead to an allergic reaction so avoid those as much as you can. I also don’t use any products that contain paraffin/ mineral oil. Many products aimed to address or treat eczema are often sold claiming that paraffin creates a protective barrier – this is partly true as it does create a film on your skin which in turn prevents external irritants from entering your skin but at the same time, the paraffin doesn’t let the skin breathe and actually doesn’t have any moisutiring properties. Soaking your child in oats which have well-known skin nourishing properties not only will help soothe dryness and itchiness, but most importantly, it will moisturise the skin from within.
You will need the following ingredients to prepare this bath:
- 1 cup of oats for baby bath or 2 cups for full bath
- mill/ grinder
- cold water
- Mill the oats and then soak them in cold water for around 15 minutes.
- Cook the oats until the mixture thickens.
- Let the mixture cool down.
- Transfer it into your bath (you may want to use a sieve so that the oats don’t float) and fill it up with more water.
- Soak your child in this skin nourishing concoction for at least 5-10 minutes. Don’t use any other products during or after the bath – the protective coat from the oats will be sufficient to nourish your child’s skin. (And remember to remove the oats from the bath before you drain it if you haven’t sieved them earlier!)
If you do this bath on a regular basis, I suggest you mill enough oats to last you for a week or so and keep it in an airtight jar/ container. That way you don’t have to mill the oats every time you need to run the bath. I know that some people also use unmilled oats but I have found that soaking them milled makes the water more ‘silky’.
2. Starch (potato or rice) bath
You may find this odd but there is existing evidence of rice starch being effective on damaged skin – you can read it here. Soaking your baby/ child in starch bath can have a soothing effect on inflamed and itchy skin, it also helps heal nappy rash as well as heat rash spots.
You probably need to search a bit for potato or rice flour as I haven’t seen them in any supermarket – your best bet is buying them online.
You will need the following ingredients to prepare this bath:
- 1 tbsp starch (rice or potato starch/ flour)
- 2-3 tsp cold water
- 500ml boiling water
- Mix cold water and starch.
- Add boiling water and keep stirring.
- Boil the mixture until it becomes thick and gloopy, and starts to bubble.
- Pour this mixture inside your baby’s bathtub and add more water until water’s temperature is adequate for your baby but also to ensure the consistency of the water is ‘silky’ rather than thick.
- Bathe your baby for at least five minutes (ideally 10-15) without using any other washing product.
- Pat dry your baby’s skin rather than wipe, in order not to disrupt the protective layer from the starch.
3. Chamomile tea bath
With its soothing properties, chamomile is ideal for treating itchy or flaky skin. You can either run a bath using two cups of freshly boiled (ideally organic and loose) chamomile tea. Just brew the tea for a few minutes (as per pack instructions) and then transfer it into your child’s bath and add a bit more water. If you use use teabags, then don’t throw them away – instead, place them on your eyes – chamomile is perfect for soothing those dark circles under your eyes or puffy eyes! You can also wait for the tea to cool down and apply it to your child’s clean skin with a soft cloth.
4. Shea butter
Shea butter is not only a wonderful emollient, deeply moisturising the skin, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties so it is ideal to calm redness and itchiness. Always choose raw unrefined and ideally organic shea butter – I wholeheartedly recommend Fushi shea butter. It has a wonderful nutty smell and absorbs really well – just rub it in your palms and apply straight after your child has had a shower/ bath when the skin is still a bit wet – this will aid the application and the butter will sink in better.
- Shea butter and coconut oil
Both are brilliant at soothing inflammation and healing wounds so start with either of these first – in fact, I alternate between these when changing my son’s nappies as a way of preventing nappy rash. However, I’ve also used them directly inside my son’s red bottom which he got after a few runny poos, and the redness and soreness disappeared literally overnight. I have tried quite a few coconut oils but for babies, I particularly favour Kokoso coconut oil – it absorbs beautifully and leaves the skin wonderfully soft. If you’re using cloth nappies, make sure you use a liner as the oils can deteriorate the fibres in the cloth nappies.
2. Potato/ rice starch bath.
Follow instructions above when your little one’s rash gets bad. This bath has excellent soothing properties and helps heal damaged skin.
CUTS, SCRAPES AND GRAZES (INSECT BITES, SUNBURN AND SCARS TOO!)
Shea butter is truly a miracle product! Due to high contents of Vitamin A (which helps repair the skin), it is excellent for healing wounds. Always choose raw unrefined and ideally organic shea butter as other grades of the butter will not have the same unique benefits.
Coconut oil and tea tree essential oil
I have used this combination to treat my son’s cradle cap recently and it’s worked wonders. In the palm of your hands, melt the coconut oil (I recommend Kokoso coconut oil) and add 1 drop of tea tree oil (no more than that as essential oils are potent – max. 1 drop per 5ml of carrier oil), then apply to your baby’s head. Leave for 5-10 minutes, then shampoo their hair as normal. Afterwards, use a soft bristle brush (if your little one doesn’t have hair) or a comb (if he/ she has hair) to brush out the cradle cap. Repeat this every other day and you will shortly see results.
Have you tried any of these methods before? Do you have any others to share? If so, please leave a comment below.