Make Your Children's Bath Time Eczema Friendly

Your children's bath time is one of the best times of their day. The bubbles, the splashing and all the empty bottles that transform into bath toys. They can stay in there for ages!

If your child is an eczema sufferer then bath time can be a little stressful. It may also need some forward planning, but it can still be fun for your little one.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Child?

There seems to be two trains of thought on this. Some say that it does no harm to give your child a daily bath. Others say that two or three times a week is better, as frequent bathing can cause more damage to the skin.

Babies don't tend to get too dirty. You may find that you can just use a flannel and water on the days between bathing.

Keeping the skin clean is important when your child has eczema. It removes any dirt or other irritants from the skin. It also clears away dead skin cells.

Removing these can help the skin to absorb topical treatments.

Cleaning can also reduce the number of bacteria on the skin. The bacteria Staph aureus can cause eczema to become infected. The infection makes it tougher to treat the eczema, and the symptoms are more severe and stubborn.

As children get older they start getting a little messier! Food, drink, playing, you name it they find a way to get dirty with it!

You may need to start giving them more frequent baths. There are some things you can do to reduce the effect that your children's bath time can have on eczema.

Making Bath Time More Eczema Friendly

  • Use warm water. Hot water strips the skin of it's natural oils
  • Make the bath no longer than 15 minutes. Water has a drying effect on the skin, so being in the bath for longer than that may cause the skin to dry and break
  • Use bath products that don't irritate the skin. A lot of products that go in the bath, and shampoos contain chemicals, preservatives and fragrances that can irritate eczema. Even some products labelled as safe for babies and children contain them
  • Use a special bath preparation. There are a number of products that are marketed to be used in the bath if you have eczema. Check the ingredients before using, as they may contain something that irritates your skin. You can also use your favourite emollient in the bath. Just be aware that they can make the bottom of the bath very slippery, so a bath mat may be a good investment. They can also make your child very slippery!
  • Clean the bath before your children's bath time. This is especially important if any family members use chemically filled products. You'll be able to clear any residue away before filling it with water
  • Use a soft cleaning cloth. Avoid using loofahs, dry flannels or anything else that will cause further damage to the skin

Natural Products To Use In The Bath

  • Oatmeal – A great natural moisturiser. It also helps to relieve itching and reduce inflammation. You can make your own oatmeal bath bomb. Cut off the foot part of a pair of tights. Fill it with some rolled oats and tie the top so it's pulled tight. After you've run a bath place it in the water for around 10-15 minutes before your child gets in. You can also use colloidal oatmeal, very fine ground oatmeal, directly in the bath. Add it to the water under a running tap and mix well
  • Coconut oil – The main benefits of coconut oil are it's anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also a super moisturiser. You can add some to a warm bath, making sure that it is mixed well. It is also a great choice as an after bath moisturiser. Apply a small amount to the skin and massage gently into the skin
  • Lavender oil – It soothes the skin as well as relaxing the body. This can help your child to get a better nights sleep, especially if bath time is in the evening. Mix one or two drops to the bath and mix well

There are other oils that are safe to use during your children's bath time

The Best Way To Wash Their Hair

When they are still a baby you may get away with just using water to rinse their hair. If your little one has cradle cap you can read more about it, here.

If you want to use some to wash the hair then look for a product that doesn't contain a whole list of chemicals, especially sodium lauryl sulfate.

You can also try using a natural organic product in the bath that can also be used to wash your child's hair.

After Your Children's Bath time

What happens after your children's bath time can be just as important as the actual bathing.

  • Wrap your baby in a soft, cotton towel. Gently pat them dry to remove any excess water, especially on areas that are affected by eczema, as rubbing can cause further skin damage
  • While the skin is damp apply some of their emollient. Doing it while the skin is still damp can help to keep some of the moisture in the skin
  • Once they are dry you can apply emollient can never apply to much!
  • It is also important to think about theproducts you use to clean the bath. If you're just cleaning the bath after your child has been in then you may find that a damp cloth will do the job

I've recently heard about microfiber cloths. They are great for cleaning all over the home. Because of how they are made you don't have to use cleaning products with them. I haven't tried one yet, but once I do I'll let you know what I think.

If you'd still like to use a cleanser then you can try making this home-made version

  • Put ¾ cup of baking soda, ¼ of liquid soap, ¼ cup of water and 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Put the lid on and shake well to mix
  • Spray on the bath and use as normal

It's important to make your children's bath time as safe for their skin as possible, but it's also as important to make it fun for them.

Toys are a great distraction, especially as a lot of products that are safe to use in the bath don't produce bubbles.

Babies are a lot easier to amuse than older children, and just splashing them with water keeps them smiling. Though if you make bath time too much fun for older children you might find that they want to stay in there longer than they should!

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