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Our baby is now over one year old and since about 3 months of age has always had dry skin. From the beginning, we used baby laundry detergent, purchased cotton clothes, and fragrant free soaps. Our pediatrician has always called it a minor case of eczema. We wanted to avoid the prescribed steroid creams since we knew it would only temporarily relieve the problem. We wanted and hoped that lotions we could find at the local store could solve his dry skin without introducing steroids. We started by looking for products that were hypoallergenic which led us to many lotions. Unfortunately, it didn't help much in the beginning. It wasn't until near one year when we found Eczema Creams. By his first birthday, his dry skin is not perfect, but much much better. Although we don't know with certainty the solution, we have learned a lot along the way.
- Avoid Lotion in Pump Bottles - Although super convenient, they contain alcohol to thin the lotion so it can be pumped. Alcohols dry out the skin. You're better of with a product that can be scooped or in a bottle.
- Creams and Ointments Over Lotion - Generally, creams or ointments (or both) are a better solution.
- Consider Nightly Soaks in Warm Water - We began giving him nightly soaks in warm water (not hot) for roughly 10 minutes before bed. We only use soap twice a week. After the soak, we apply the cream to his entire body.
- Use a Soft Sponge to Clean Skin During Soak - We found a very soft sponge (more below) to gently clean off the dry skin.
Different Types of Lotions, Creams, and Ointments
Before we discovered that we should avoid lotions (with alocohol), we tried many different type of lotion, creams, and ointments. Not to our surprise, the best products that we ended up re-ordering turned out to be creams. Note that Cetyl Alochol and Cetearyl Alcohols are counter-intutive and do not dry out skin. I listed them below for completeness.
- Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion - We used this mostly at night after his shower for full body, which the pump made easier. After finding out about avoid pumps, we checked the ingredients and found it contains Cetyl Alcohol and Benzyl Alcohol.
- Cetaphil Baby Eczema Soothing Lotion - We had this bottle of lotion in a pump bottle lined up, but did not get a chance to use it. This one contains Behenyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, and Cetyl Alcohol.
- Earth Mama Kids Eczema Cream - This was our favorite that we've ordered multiple times... currently on our fourth tube. No alcohols in the ingredient list.
- Eucerin Baby Body Lotion - This was one of the first products we purchased. It unfortunately contains Cetyl Alcohol.
- Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream - This one turned out to be the favored product at grandma's house. By chance, it happened to be a cream as well. Unfortunately, this one contains Cetyl Alcochol.
- Vaseline - Used this product (some leftover and some from Amazon) for a long time which I feel helped, but was so thick it may have been causing him to warm up too. So we decided to try something different.
- Mustela Stelatopia: Emollient Balm - This is a french product, and for some reason there isn't an ingredient list on the bottle, but based ingredient lists on their website, it contains no alcohols.
Our baby's allergist recommended CeraVe Baby Cream, but we noticed it also contains Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol. I'm thinking to continue purchasing Earth Mama, since it's the only product with no alcohols, despite the higher price.
Nightly Bath Soaks with Soft Sponge
This one is much easier. We use to only give him a bath twice a week always with soap, but I read online that for dry skin, it can be helpful for nightly soaks in warm water, with soap only twice a week. We had a hand-me-down baby bath tub which was perfect, so did not need to fill up the entire tub every night for his soak, so I'd recommend finding something similar if you don't have one already.
His skin was always dry and crackly and I'd always want to clean it off. I found this Konjac Sponge to be extremely soft when wet, and still fairly effective at removing the dry skin. With any sponge, do your best to squeeze out as much water as possible out of the sponge before air drying.
Lastly, right after the soak is done, immediately apply the Earth Mama Cream. The allergists recommendation is within three minutes of being pat dry (not rubbed).