Dr Jennifer Shu is the co-author of the award-winning parenting books “Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality” and “Food Fights” as well as editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ book “Baby and Child Health” and the AAP’s parenting web site, HealthyChildren.org. Dr. Shu is also CNNHealth’s Living Well expert doctor and doctor on WebMD.
Parents of babies with eczema face unique challenges related to the management of eczema, very often, receiving many advice (from almost everyone!) on how to make the eczema go away. We know that eczema is a chronic condition, and while there’s no miracle cure, it’s certainly important to manage the eczema so that our babies can be well and happy. MarcieMom is privileged to have Dr Jennifer Shu, board-certified pediatrician and mom, to answer the questions unique to parents taking care of eczema infants.
Thank you Dr Shu, I’m so glad to have you answer some questions that I frequently hear parents of eczema babies ask, especially first-time parents who are often even more at a loss what to do. So let’s jump right in to having the top questions answered!
Question: I’ve written on showering my child and on bleach bath, but I know when it comes to bathing a newborn, there are many differing opinions on how often and how to bathe. Eczema can be triggered by sweat, heat and eczema skin tend to have more bacteria, e.g. Staph bacteria, thus bathing can help but moisture can also be lost in the process of bathing.
How often would you recommend an eczema newborn to bathe, and while water alone is fine for non-eczema babies, would eczema babies require a bath oil or non-soap cleanser for every bath?
Dr Jennifer Shu: You can refer to the various links below –
1. HealthyChildren.org, relevant extract:
“Warm (never hot) showers may be preferable to baths. In addition, moisturizing baths in lukewarm water for 20 minutes add moisture to the epithelial layer and cleanse the skin by lowering the number of bacteria. Gently pat your child dry after the shower or bath to allow some water to remain on the skin. Apply a moisturizer or lubricating cream to the whole body within 3 minutes, while the skin is still moist. This helps to keep the skin from drying out. Your child may also benefit from wet wraps, particularly if your child is an infant or a toddler.”
2. Post from my colleague, Dr Jeffrey Benabio at:
Yes. Showering less frequently is often good for eczema.
Although showering moisturizes the skin, it also strips the oils off your skin. When the moisture evaporates, your skin is left dryer than it was before. Showering too much or using harsh soaps makes eczema worse and worse over time.
The best thing to do is to take a lukewarm bath or shower (hot water removes more needed oils), use only non-soap cleansers, then apply a moisturizer immediately after, while your skin is still damp. This locks the moisture in your skin, preventing evaporation and helps heal dry, eczema skin.