Shampoo/body Wash That's Good for Eczema

Updated on December 11, 2013
J.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
26 answers

My 16 month old has always had eczema on her legs, but it was very mild (diagnosed by her pediatrician). For some reason, it has gotten significantly worse in the past week or so. I have not changed the bath soap (Dove unscented) nor made any changes to her diet. Moms of older kids whose kids had ezcema as babies/toddlers have recommended Aveeno and California Baby, but it appears that the forumla of these products have recently changed, and are no longer as effective (I actually used California Baby for a bit when my daughter was an infant, and did not think it was all that great). So far, I've used California Baby, Dove unscented bar soap, and Earth Mama Angel Baby unscented soap, and I also use Aquaphor (recommended by her pediatrician), but have found that none of these are particularly helpful for my daughter's eczema. Any recommendations?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your suggestions! I forgot to mention that I've already tried Dr. Bronner's castile soap (unscented), and it didn't help either. :(

Featured Answers


answers from Boston on

The best treatment for eczema is not topical - not lotions, not shampoos/washes, etc. It's a systemic reaction and you really have to address it from the inside. Remember the skin is the largest organ and is highly affected by food intake, toxins, inability to process certain foods - so the body reacts with a type of autoimmune response (which is true of most if not all autoimmune conditions).

The external products make very little difference. Some may be less irritating than others, but none of them are going to get rid of the problem. In my experience, that's much more effective when done from inside with cellular nutrients, not meds.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I used Excederm (spelling maybe off) that I got at CVS. I thought it helped with my son. I also used California Baby lotion. My pediatrician recommended Hydrocortizone cream to clear it up, which worked, and then I used these as more of a preventative, but when it got bad, I used the Hydrocortizone cream again. He doesn't get it bad now, so I use a oatmeal based soap and lotion and it seems to keep it at bay. I also only bath him every other day, maybe every two days depending on what we do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My SIL (lives in London) uses Aveeno that comes especially for Excema.
I have also seen a lotion for Excema.
My nephew is 15 months old.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

I typically agree with Diane B, but his time I must respectfully, mostly but not totally, disagree. I suffered horribly form eczema as a child and back then the doctors my parents took me to didn't even know what it was. I was probably 7 or 8 before they finally found one who recognized it for what it was. He prescribed a prescription topical cream that worked within days to make the worst of the patches disappear. I still have scars on one of my arms from a patch that was just so bad. For me, the only soap that didn't irritate me was Ivory, but again this was in the early 70's so there are many more options today. Currently I use Dove or Neutrogena bars, and if necessary a hydrocortizone creme. Eczema is an allergic reaction to something environmental. For most people it's usually a food product. Milk and dairy are the most common culprits. For me it's pollen. Most people get stuffed up with runny noses and sneeze a lot, me, I break out in rashes. While Diane is correct that soaps and washes won't treat it, many of them will make it worse, and there are topical creams that may help, especially if the root cause is airborne and not food-borne.

And on a side note; Hwerw J. you have been reported. Go proselytize somewhere else. This is an advice forum not a place to attempt to convert people.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would ask your dr about the following:
Cetaphil -- once a day
Washing with water once a day
Don't need to bath every day. cold baths when you do.
Immediately moisturize -- aveeno, aquaphor???


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The sudden change would bother me. I would consult my pedi .

That said... My almost 19 yr old had eczema pretty bad on her feet and legs as a baby and toddler.

We used a lot of Aveeno, Cetaphil, Eucerin to name a few. She did outgrow much if this by age 6.

We noticed that our frequent trips to the beach helped her skin. To this day, there's 1 spot on her big toe that will occasionally flare up.

There is hope!!! I just wanted you to know that your child can overcome the worst part if eczema.

We followed no special diets. We tried to figure out triggers and target on those areas.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Eczema is typically an allergy to something whether it be food or topical.

I would keep a food journal for her...find out what she eats and when the eczema flares...

In the mean time?

Aveeno Oatmeal body wash...

Or you can go to the VitaminShoppe and find out what natural body washes they have for eczema.

This is really expensive...but I hear it works well.

Hope this helps!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on
This is the link for the National Eczema Organization.
They have lots of info on it and per products etc.

You also have to know what triggers it in your child.
It can be different for each person.
For my Mom for example, it is citrus and oats or anything oatmeal, that triggers eczema in her. That includes, any beauty products with oatmeal in it etc. And also certain jewelry will trigger it on her skin.
Thus, it can be, anything topical OR something ingested, which MAY trigger it in some people.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I still struggle with eczema with my 7 year old. We have moved from food allergies as a younger child to environmental allergies. His eczema is horrible on the back of his legs and in the creases of his elbows. He also developed a patch on his face- a place where he has never had it before.
So my regiment- Cetaphil body wash and lotion. Pricey- but the best (I have tried it all.) And recently, I switched to Johnson and Johnson Baby Naturals shampoo to clear up a patch of eczema on his head. After a couple of uses, it was gone. I was actually shocked since we have used all different shampoos. I also apply Aquaphor ointment to the flare ups twice a day. So far, this combination of products has really helped.
My experience with California baby is ok. I love the conditioner for my daughter's hair, but I don't really like the wash or soaps. My personal experience with Dove has not been good on my own sensitive skin, so I try to stay away from all their products. I have a UV light allergy, and even the unscented sends my skin into a tailspin during an eruption.
Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

I just started using Udderly Smooth a Udder Cream on my daughter's eczema and it works great. It was originally developed to use on cows' udders. It does contain lanolin.

We have also used Yes to Carrots body butter. It is paraben-free and 97% natural and is certified organic. It has also worked great.

Found the udder cream at the dollar store and we buy the carrot body butter at Target.


answers from Washington DC on

The only soap that worked for my daughter (and still does) is a gold bar of soap from Melaluca...I think that's how it's pronounced/spelled/



answers from Los Angeles on

I read through and noticed that no one mentioned the water that she is bathing in. When my daughter was about a year old she started getting blisters that would itch and turn into sores on her behind. She did have an allergy to dairy which I never put the two together because we never fed her dairy. I started realizing that it would happen after her baths. I didn't bathe her everyday because of her sensitive skin so this stood out to me. I kept telling my husband we need a home water filter system and when we finally made the jump (it was a little costly) her skin cleared up right away. This was after a lot of trial and error with soaps, shampoos, detergents, etc. we live in Orange County, Calif. and at that time the water smelled badly of chlorine. Not sure how it is now, but, these things seem to get worse over time not better. I imagine now there is even more chlorine and other chemicals put in the water. My husband works on water treatment plants and the stories he tells me makes me not want to drink the water at all filtered or not. But we can't really do that. At that time I found a water filter ball that was for the bath. I never tried it because it was right before we got the home system. You might want to try that first. I think it was only $10 or $20 at the time. Just look online. Hope this helps. I know how hard it is not knowing what the problem is.


answers from Sacramento on

I don't use any soap to wash with and haven't since May! Norwex has a whole line of bath & body microfiber, and the most popular (and my personal favorites) would have to be the Norwex face cloths – the Body Pack Cloths & the Makeup Removal Cloths. In a nutshell these cloths completely clean & exfoliate your skin with JUST WATER – no soaps or cleansers needed.

Makeup Removal Cloths:
• they are velvety and soft & have suede like texture.
• extremely gentle for those with sensitive skin
• great for the tender skin around your eyes.
• they exfoliate your skin, but they’re not SUPER exfoliators… they just give your face a mild dose of dead skin removal! This makes them ideal for everyday use, you can use them both morning & night.
• they remove all traces of makeup from foundation to mascara.
• they are smaller than the Body Pack, which makes them easy for kids to wrangle!
• even with my oily skin, these cloths are my pick for the dry winter months, when my poor cheeks take a beating from the cold.

Body Pack Cloths:
• they are a looser weave and a fuzzier texture.
• these are SUPER-exfoliating cloths! If you have rough, dull skin from dead skin build up, you will be amazed at the transformation in the look and feel of your skin when you use one of these cloths. When I first started washing my face with the Body Pack Cloths, I just wanted to touch my face all the time because it felt so velvety & smooth.
• they are great for every day use IF you have oilier, “tougher” skin (like I do), but I don’t recommend them for daily use if you have sensitive or dry skin. If your skin is sensitive & prone to dryness, you should use the Makeup Removal Cloths daily, and only use the Body Pack Cloths once or twice a week for extra exfoliation.

Things about them that are the same:
• both the Body Pack & Makeup Removal Cloths have micro silver woven throughout them for self sanitation purposes
• the washing care instructions are the same for both… in the washing machine, no bleach, no fabric softeners (or dryer sheets), and they can be thrown into the dryer!

They come with a two year warranty! Paying attention to the type of laundry detergent you use is important as well. Norwex laundry detergent is filler, phosphate, SLS, perfume free. It costs 4 cents a load for a HE machine. Make sure you're not using those toxic dryer sheets or any fabric softener either. This coats your clothing and bedding and the chemicals are continually absorbed into the skin. Have you heard of the EWG website? This non-profit organization does a LOT of research for consumers. You can find ingredients of all kinds of products you use in your home. The United States of America Federal Code of Regulations exempts manufacturers from full labeling of products if used for personal, family or household care. [Source USA FCR: Section 1910.1200C, Title 29, Section 1500.82 2Q1A]



answers from Anchorage on

rather then soap of any kind try Cetaphil (not sure about the spelling). That is what they recommended for my son when he was younger and had issues with his skin.



answers from Los Angeles on

My son had eczema and it was food allergies. We didn't know this so we treated the eczema directly. We did everything you did and we tried all these products. I would like to suggest that it is worse now since it is winter. My husband and I get very dry skin this time of year.
Doing all the things you at doing I would keep doing, and I would drop down to 2 baths per week. That is what worked for our son. We would spot-clean him but more than twice per week was just making his eczema worse.



answers from Minneapolis on

Cetaphil (can be pricey, both Target and Walmart have their own version)

I have had good luck with the Aveeno lotion for eczema, but the body washes have changed?

When my son was little and had eczema we had good luck with both of these. When I have a flare-up I use Cetaphil or Aveeno.

For a sudden change I would consider checking with her doctor for possible allergies.



answers from Los Angeles on

I use Aveeno baby wash.



answers from Houston on

I swear by Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castile Soap. When my son went one week without it, everything irritated his skin. It seems to form a healing barrier for him. I think that he's outgrown the eczema at this point--almost 3--but we still use it. I recently bought the liquid soap, as well, just because I wanted it for me, but letting his legs soak in it is so good. That's the key, soaking in it. A quickie wash does not get it done.

We oil/grease/lotion him with different things based on how his skin is doing. I don't have to explain to you how important it is to keep these areas clean. Even if she can't get a full bath, wash those areas thoroughly with the castile soap. Then, apply whatever medicine or therapy. Do not put Aquaphor on unless you put medicine on underneath. The aquaphor must only be thought of as a sealant, NOT a moisturizer. If you're going to seal it up and keep the area from breathing, then you should make sure that the medicine is in place to do its job. In fact, Aquaphor is great for that purpose. Depending on how he's doing, sometimes his "therapy" is Lubriderm lotion.

Another thing that helped more recently was a dose of Benadryl every day for about two weeks. He had some allergy stuff going on, and I didn't want my baby getting it from so many angles--runny nose, scratchy throat, irritated skin. I don't know if that jumpstarted permanent healing or if it was just time for him to grow out of it, but that might be an option for her to have some lasting relief, especially once you establish that the castile helps with the outside.



answers from Detroit on

Do they still make Basis bar soap? I had to use that for years.

Google tells me it still exists. Might be worth looking in to?



answers from Washington DC on

I put a thin layer of Desitin 40% zinc oxide on my dd's excema patches BEFORE putting her in bath water. The hot water drys the skin and makes it worse. The water is probably more of a problem than the soap. My pediatrician said to try to give as few baths as possible because of this and when I do to put on a barrier like zinc oxide.



answers from Iowa City on

My daughter has eczema pretty much 90% of legs and feet. On our pedi's advice we skipped soap all together. And we just use regular kid's shampoo (shampoo/conditioner hasn't seemed to be enough to affect her). We use Eucerin Skin Calming lotion after bathing. Dry winter air, like when we have the furnace on makes it worse here. GL!



answers from Los Angeles on

Not really an answer to your question, but helpful maybe:
My son had eczema on his legs for a year, and petty badly. The medical lotions didn't help that much either. In the end I got an aloe vera plant, maybe for my face, and started putting it on his legs. The eczema was gone within two weeks and never came back! Definitely worth a try!



answers from Phoenix on

My oldest son had eczema as an infant and the pediatrician suggested Cetaphil liquid soap. It was labeled as unscented but personally I found the smell off-putting so we didn't use it very long and luckily my son outgrew the condition around 1 yr of age. I'm currently using Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash on my 9 month old and love it! It's gentle, non-irritating, and smells really nice like honeycomb. I also like that it's free from phthalates and sulfates. I'll add a link below for more info. Best wishes! :)



answers from Columbus on

We use Aveeno, unscented, extra moisturizing, and in the winter, immediately after bath, we pat him dry and moisturize all his skin, using Cera Ve (I think that is the spelling for the lotion). We also don't bathe every day in the winter, only about every 2 or 3 days. We make sure he drinks lots of water and regularly takes his allergy meds. We also give him an omega 3/DHA daily supplement. It mostly works in keeping the eczema at bay. For really bad patches, we put aquafor or petroleum jelly on the patch.

If Aveeno doesn't work for you, try either unscented goats milk soap (this helps my DH's eczema) or castille soap (it should say "100% olive oil" -- Dr. Bronner's is not true castille, unless they recently changed the formula, since it uses other oils beside just olive oil).

We also cut out all scented fabric detergent and only use Charlie's Soap laundry soap, and no fabric softener except occasionally 1/4 cup white vinegar added to the rinse cycle. And no, it does not make your clothes smell weird. :)

We make sure to buy unscented hypoallergenic wipes and other products that are used for cleaning.



answers from Los Angeles on

I know you have a lot of answers but I had to chime in! I had eczema as a baby but grew out of it. It came back around 5 years ago and this past year it got unbearable! I have tried all the products mentioned here (plus prescription creams) with no success. I thought I was going to have to stop using soap. I was in Lush one day and mentioned my issues and they suggested I try Dream Wash and Dream Cream for a month and see what happens. I did and my eczema is almost completely gone and I feel so much better. I will not use any other body wash or lotion ever. I also recommend not bathing her as often as water is drying. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I used ivory soap in the bath then lathered almond oil or renew lotion which is made by melaleuca, they also make a gold bar soap that is excellent. These worked better than the prescription hydrocortisone.

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