Skipping the Bedtime Bath Routine

Updated on February 22, 2008
C.B. asks from Roselle, IL
43 answers

My son has a little spot of eczema on his face so from the advise I have seen out there I shouldn't bath him everyday. Unfortunately he loves his night time routine which includes his relaxing bath. I have stopped using any kind of soap directly on his face, but I can't stop him from splashing, dunking his face, and puting soap bubbles on his face. Anyone have any suggestions on what to substitute with on the non-bath nights? He has been doing so well with going to bed with a regular night routine I am afraid to break the routine, but I want the eczema gone off my handsome boys face.

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So What Happened?

Wow! Thanks everyone for the great responses they have been very helpful. It's been a couple of days now and I have been covering the spot with vaseline during his baths and then continuing to follow up his bath with the Aquaphor and we have noticed a dramatic improvement.

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M.A.

answers from Chicago on

My son had 2 patches of very dry skin - bumpy and scratchy, I guess like eczema. We're filipino and these patches stood out because they were very light in color. My pediatrician recommended Eucerine. We started to apply it 2-3 times a day and it made a huge difference. Eventually, the light color evened out with his skin color.

Good luck,
M.

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R.A.

answers from Chicago on

I honestly wouldn't worry about skipping the bedtime bath routine. I myself had the same problem with my son except it was in a few places. What I would recommended and worked well is the following. After his bath and when he is completely dried place just a dab of Lotrimin regular strength on it and rub it in. Then rub some Aquaphor on it. When I did this the next morning I saw a huge difference. It was almost gone. To this day even though the eczema is gone I still lather him up with Aquaphor. I buy the big tub and it lasts a long time. It doesn't have any fancy smell to it or anything but it works.

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J.C.

answers from Champaign on

I bath my child (2 1/2) every day, very important for us. And we use california baby soap, which is gentle enough for eczema skin. Back up with lotions/cream. I have good luck with Aveeno Baby oatmeal bath whenever she is a bit read as well!

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J.B.

answers from Chicago on

Try putting a little Eucerin or vaseline on his face as a water barrier to protect the eczema on his face while he is taking a bath. My daughter had eczema when she was a baby and has outgrown it.

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M.W.

answers from Chicago on

depending on his size, you could let him bathe something else either in the tub, or the sink.

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K.L.

answers from Chicago on

Hi C.,
My son has struggled with eczema since he was a baby (he's now 5). We do not bathe him every day, but our allergist doesn't agree with this. She suggests a lukewarm bath for no more than 10 minutes. Maybe if you limit the bath time instead of eliminating it that would work just as well. I would also suggest you talk to your doctor about food allergy as there is a pretty high correlation between eczema and dairy allergy. Good luck. My son's skin has been clear for a long time, so there's hope!

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N.G.

answers from Chicago on

My children also have very dry skin and i only give them baths every other night in the winter. It helped our boys to have a non bath night routine, also. Wash hands, brush teeth, extra books and songs and a bit longer cuddle time before bed. Let me know how it works!

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J.P.

answers from Chicago on

When my daugher was around two yrs old, she also had eczema on her face, so I understand how you feel. Her pediatrician recommended I use Cetaphil. It's a very gentle cleanser (you can find it in the facial care aisle). After a couple of weeks I noticed such a difference and she has been eczema free since!

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C.D.

answers from Chicago on

Hi there,

have you looked into what is causing the problem? Eczema is sometimes a symptom of an allergy, sometimes food. If you could find the cause of the problem, it might clear up on its own. Eczema is often a secondary manifestation of a different problem. Good Luck!! I have a son with food allergies I see this come up on my yahoo group allergy list quite a bit.

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B.H.

answers from Bloomington on

My kids all have eczema to one extreme or the other. You shouldn't have to skip the bath, just don't make the water too hot and don't make it a long bath. What really helps with my kids skin is Vanicream. It's an over the counter cream, but you have to ask for it at the Pharmacy. For some reason they have it back there. I use this all the time for thier entire bodies after their baths. But if there are eczema spots I mix half Vanicream and half hydrocortizone cream and put it on the effected areas. It works incredibly well. Sometimes if it's bad enough, I'll just put straight hydrocortisone cream on it. I buy the kind with 10-12 different moisturizers in it. Good luck!

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V.G.

answers from Champaign on

A bath shouldn't be necessary every day. You don't need to use soap every time either. You could replace bath time with story time. We found that my daughter loves story time if we put her in her crib and read to her. She is super attentive and happy.

Many moms I know said their child's excema was food related. Dairy is always the first one to check. Even if the baby isn't eating dairy, if you breastfeed and are eating dairy, he could react to that. I think there are many articles online. Just know that it takes AT LEAST a month to rid the body of the allergen, so don't expect results overnight.

I would also look into what type of fiber your son is wearing, what kind of detergent you wash clothes in, and how much detergent you use. In my washer, if I use a full cup of detergent, it takes about *3* washes to rinse all the detergent out. Do a 2nd wash with no detergent and check out your clothes during the agitation to see if there are bubbles.

Hope this helps.

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J.E.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter also has patches of eczema on her face. She is currently 6 mos old. What products are you using? I feel Aveeno baby soothing wash is very gentle. I also protect the areas with Aquaphor when they flare up. It does a great job of clearing it up. I would also try a cool mist humidifier in the baby's room. The drier the air, the worse My daughter's eczema. I hope this will help save your routine.

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J.E.

answers from Chicago on

Our allergist told us to bath to give back the water that he is loosign from the ezema. and no soap but some can use a special dove bar it is a certain on i will have to check and write you back it is the only kind to use. but after your bath splash water on his face and then put eucerin to hold in the moisture and that should help actually. I have had freinds where the child is so bad and the special hospital they are sent to in AZ they have to bath 3 times a day and wrap in gauze etc to help lock in the moisture.
are you against steroid creams from the dr? they can get rid of it in days and you can start from fresh with him then too.
Good luck
J.

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

My son has had excema since he was 5 months, now 5, and it wasn't until this year that I found relief using Arbonne's Baby Care (ABC) products. They really are great b/c they are botanically based and all natural, so for little one's with allergies, they don't experience irritation. It is formulated without nut oils!!! So many little ones with excema have food allergies, specifically and almost always to nuts. So many OTC products contain some nut oil derivative...ABC has none! If you go to www.kristenstemple.myarbonne.com, and click on "Discover ABC" you will read a letter from a 15 year veteran in pediatric medicine who is now "prescribing" ABC for her patients with excema, especially instead of steroidal treatment! It really is an awesome line of products. The ABC line includes a Hair and Body Wash, Body Lotion, Body Oil, Herbal Diaper Rash Creme, and Sunscreen. I strongly recommend the Wash, Lotion, and Oil! The letter from the pediatrician will tell you exactly how to use the products to gain the most benefit. On my son's face, I have found that to first apply the ABC oil on the affected area, then to apply the ABC lotion over the oil really works on those difficult spots on the face. Arbonne's products are formulated without mineral oils, meaning, they are absorbed readily by the skin, leaving no oily, greasy residue. Other products like Aquafor and Eucerine are formulated with mineral oil, which means they are acting like a barrier, not absorbed by the skin. And while they are preventing moisture loss by the skin, they aren't providing any moisture to the skin...b/c they are formulated with mineral oils that clog the skin's pores. These are good products, and I have used them both on my children for other things, but never for providing necessary moisture replenishment to their skin!!! Good Luck with whatever you choose!

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G.C.

answers from Chicago on

Hi C.,

My daugher has all over severe dry skin and was also advised not to bathe daily. I stared using aveeno baths instead. She enjoys adding the packet to the bath. There are no bubbles but we use boats or other floating toys to play with. The aveeno, which is oatmeal soothes the skin and is safe to use daily. The water does get "murky" but is otherwise fine. I hope this helps.

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M.M.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter suffers with this too and especilly in the winter months we only bathe her every other day but keep the routine going by substituting bath time with just wiping her off with a wet washcloth and then "play on mommy and daddy's bed and put lotion on" time. We also went thru a number of body washed for her because the Aveno (which I had heard was really good too) actually irritated her skin more so you may have to use trial and error to see what works best for his skin. Good luck :)

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J.

answers from Chicago on

You can try a soap-free bath and only use soap and shampoo every few days. You didn't mention if you are using bubble bath, but if you are I'd eliminate that at all baths. My older son has eczema and his baths are just water until the very end when he gets a quick shampoo/sudsing.

You can also start working on other nighttime routines, adding them to the nightly ritual at first and then eventually dropping the bath if necessary. We have done different things over the years but some of the favorite activities before nighttime story are things like cuddling or wrestling type games (ride on dad's back, that type of thing), singing and motion games (round and round the garden, hokey pokey, heads, shoulders, knees and toes) and for toddlers, hide and seek.

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J.W.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter is a fourth generation eczema heiress! My grandmother, my mother, myself and now my daughter have all had it.
There is nothing wrong with bathing your boy every night - or getting water on his face for that matter. You can continue his routine, wash his face (use an oatmeal soap). Just remember to throughly rinse all the soap away and moisturize after. I use Aveeno Lotion for my daughter and it's wonderfull!

Good luck!

J.

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S.E.

answers from Chicago on

Dear C.,

I hate to be forward, but I work with a wellness company that researches, and develops a variety of products that are non-toxic and safer for your home. In addition, these products cost less than what you find in stores like Wal-Mart.

One of most popular and well known products is our Renew lotion and also our Gold Bar. These products have been clinically proven to relieve severely dry skin associated with Eczema. I have met so many people that have tried everything to help with this problem with little if any relief. We also have laundry detergent that is free of harsh chemicals and rinses completely clean from your clothes.

If you would be interested in hearing more about these products I would love to share the information with you.

Please fell free to email me or call if you would like, I would love to be able to help.

S. Echols-Moodie
[email protected]____.com
1-###-###-####

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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter has some spots and I have found using Cetaphil soap and lotion has really made a big difference. Also, our Dr. said warm baths help sooth the skin and allow the lotions to be absorbed relieving syptoms. Aquaphor also helps bad spots.

Good Luck!

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E.S.

answers from Chicago on

Have you tried singing to him a "bed-time only" song or some extra cuddle time? Or maybe introduce reading, if you haven't already. Also, our daughter used to get eczema a lot when she was younger (will be 4 next month) and we used Eucerin on it and that helped a TON. We actaully never bathed her every night. It would just dry her skin out too much.

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C.Q.

answers from Chicago on

My 8 month old daughter had a small case of eczema on her stomach and her pediatrician told me to use Eucerin ans it is completely gone and I also only use the Johnson & Johnson Soothing Naturals lotion, nothing too perfumey.

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi C. -
I've been where you are. My DS, now 3, has eczema since 1 mo. We used to bathe every night. Now it's once a week. Also, we don't use soap unless he's actuall dirty. We're looking into getting a water filter for the bathtub like this one, b/c there's a ton of chlorine and other junk in the city water (we had it tested; we're in naperville, FYI):
http://www.gaiam.com/product/eco-home-outdoor/water-quali...

Or, we might get a shower filter and fill up the bathtub w/ it instead (This one is pricey, but there are cheaper ones I've been cking out at Menards/Lowes): http://www.gaiam.com/product/eco-home-outdoor/water-quali...

I'm picking on the water now b/c it did aggravate my DS skin and also my new DD (8mos) has dry patches on her skin, but no red or rashy eczema.

Also, we don't use any soap on DD. My Ped. said that even shampoo isn't necessary unless the hair has gotten dirty w/ food or something. We just use water. Now and then, she needs some shampoo, but has cradle cap. And it gets worse when we shampoo. We even use Aura Cacia baby bath stuff! sheesh!

I was so opposed to changing the bathtime routine w/ my DS, too. But, in the end, I should hv done it as I think I made his skin worse by continuing to bathe him nightly. Even if he's little, an alternative is to rock in the rocking chair and/or read a book and/or sing songs to him. I did that and I know he still remembers how I used to sing to him.

Also, watch what creams you put on his skin. A friend told me about a database you can search for safe things: safecosmetics.com. I found a great shea butter from Trillium that's 100% safe and natural and is helping his skin so much. I love it so much I started using it myself and now sell it, too. Here's the link to it on my website:
http://bendickco.com/trillium_organics

HTH! Best wishes.

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

All three of my children had/have eczema as little ones. I was told it was fine to bath them everyday, just keep it short (no longer than 15 minutes), not too hot and don't use an irritating soap. My doctor at the time said to use Aveeno oatmeal bath packets. More importantly, keep cream on it- either whatever prescription your doctor has given or I used to just slather the kids with Aquaphor cream before bed. If they gave me a hard time putting it anywhere on their face, I would sneak in after they were asleep and put some on. Two of my three kids outgrew it totally, my 3 year old still gets occasional patches.

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H.L.

answers from Chicago on

Don't stop bathing him!!!! Don't you take a bath every day?! I can't for the life of me understand why some (not you) don't bathe their kids daily?!!! PEEW! LOL!! My oldest has eczema, but no current outbreaks. I have NEVER used soap on any of my kids faces!! That skin is way too sensitive! Now that she's a teen she uses special face wash but still no soap. I never have used it myself either, to this day!

If your son does truely have eczema you may want to put 1% hydrocortizone on the area twice a day. Never use more than 1% above the neck. That skin is super sensitive and absorbs more. So the side effects can be 10 times greater!! Not good!! The doc should have told you this, I am sure. But he honestly doesn't need soap on his face. I am sure you wash it through out the day after he eats. It's probably the cleanest part of his body, right?!!
Good luck! I am sure it'll clear up soon!!
Mom to four clean kids!

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V.F.

answers from Chicago on

You should continue to give him his regular baths and moisturize his skin IMMEDIATELY afterwards. There is no reason to skip baths because of eczema. I have 3 children with various degrees of eczema (mild to severe) and I have spoken to two pediatric dermatologists who say that new evidence shows that children fare batter with regular baths and moisturization. It's true. I bathe my kids, pat them dry and put on a mild moisturizer like Cetaphil over their bodies. For more severe bouts of eczema (rough, patchy, bleeding skin) I apply a prescription cream on top. I say keep with your bathtime routine but just continue to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

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D.L.

answers from Chicago on

Find organic skin product that only have natural plant & flower extracts. Go to the Jewel health food section. You can find all kinds of soaps & lotions that are great. The one I use for my 6 & 3 year old is Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash. It does not dry the skin; it actually helps moisturize it & helps releive itchy dry skin.

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J.F.

answers from Chicago on

C.,
I don't have an alternative to the bedtime routine, but I do have some thoughts on the eczema. My husband and I are the proud parents of two adopted African-American children. Our daughter has very sensitive skin and our son gets eczema so bad it looks almost like fish scales in some areas and can be found almost everywhere on his body. We use a combination of Arbonne Baby Care Body Oil and Arbonne Intelligence Skin Conditioning Oil on both of them after their baths and use the Arbonne Body Lotion twice a day. In their baths we use the Arbonne Hair & Body Wash plus a little Unwind Massage Oil (from the aromatherapy line). All the products are pH balanced so they don't strip the skin, are botanically based, pediatrician and dermatologist tested. We love the products so much that we have built a business around it. You can read more about the product line and company at julief.myarbonne.com or contact me at [email protected]____.com Our kids (2yrs 9 months, and 2 yrs 6 months) both love their baths as well and this is a way we have found to be able to continue the activity while still caring for their skin. Best wishes, J.

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M.S.

answers from Chicago on

Before youstop your bath times, have you tried an OTC cortizone cream on the spot? My daughter has the same thing and that's what I've been using. It's not totally gone, but soo much better. In between I smear Aquaphore on the spot to keep it moist during the day and at night before bed. It really helps keep the eczema down. You could do the Aquaphore before bathtime too as that may help the ater from penetrating too much and keep it from drying out. Good luck!

M. S.

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S.A.

answers from Chicago on

My sister's son has that too. She only gives him a bat 2-3 times a week & does a massage in place of the bath on the other nights. Her pediatrician recommended the Aveeno lotion for massage (if he has eczema in other areas than the face) and told her when he does get a patch of eczema rub olive oil on it. My sister swears by this advice and although on rare occasion he still will get eczema, usually in winter, it has greatly improved.

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B.W.

answers from Chicago on

I have excema myself as well as my 7 mo old son. Try aquaphor or aveeno just came out with an excema creme that is great. Moisturization immediately after the bath is pertinant. Also, it is very important to look at what soaps you are using. California Baby makes excellent soap without all the harsh additives. Also, using all free & clear laundry detergent helps as well. Good Luck!

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with everybody else. Rather than skip the bath that he loves so much, try Aquaphor healing ointment. Even before the bath (as was already mentioned). It really does wonders for dry skin, as well as heat rash (moisture rashes) and other skin afflictions.

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C.B.

answers from Chicago on

My son has been battling eczema since infancy (he is now 3 yrs. old) I've been doing baths with just enough soap to make the bubbles, then lathering his spots with Cetaphil cream after he's toweled off. If the spots are really bad, my ped. said to put the hydrocortizone on first, then put the Cetaphil on. However, I'm not sure if it would be different because it's on the face. It's hard to take away something that they're used to, especially when it's bathtime. Maybe if he just wants to play, do a soapy bath every other day and just fill the bath with water the other days so he can play.

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L.B.

answers from Peoria on

I would discontinue the use of bath bubbles for sure, it can dry the skin even more.
My daughter has eczema on her bottom and the doc told us that using Dove Bar Soap would be the best thing for her. So now i give her the bar and a washcloth in the tub.

Also, you can ask your doctor for a type of steroid creme that helps tremedously.

Other than that, use a non-scented lotion to do a full body rubdown on nights that you skip the bath!

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M.R.

answers from Peoria on

I have had good results with using the Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash, followed by a combination of Eucerin, Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Lotion, and Aquaphor (I usually apply the Aquaphor to her cheeks, chin, and on chest right under her chin to protect her from all her drool). Also, the pediatrician told us to apply some hydrocortisone cream if the area gets particularly red and bumpy. Her eczema is not bad, and I'm not sure that all her dry patches are really eczema, but her skin almost always looks and feels much better the next day.

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K.A.

answers from Chicago on

All my children had some eczema on their face. They are now 5,4 and 2.  I have used prescription Cutivate on their legs and hands but was told its too strong for the face.  Our doctor advised simple Hydrocortizone. I mix a little 1:1 with Vaseline and smooth it on their cheeks, chin, etc. Also, don't stop bathing, keep the area clean of sugars from milk, juice, food, etc. then reapply a hypo-allergenic lotion or the vaseline combo. Its hard to manage the source of the allergy so just treat the symptom. Eventually, he'll grow out of it or at least won't react as often.  Actually, bathing with water and just a little "baby wash" on the cloth is probably best. Aveeno, Cetaphil, and similar are all good.

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

Nighttime routine is a scary thing to break especially if he's doing well with it. I don't have really any suggestions in that area except for maybe puzzle time or if you don't read a story regularly maybe try that as a substitute. But I wanted to suggest the hemp body butter from the Body Shop. I can't say that it will cure or should be used as a treatment for exzema (because I sell the body shop products) but my 6 year old neice has been using it for about 8 months and it has done wonders for her skin and my boss's husband started using it in November and he too thinks that it's helping better than the prescriptions he's tried. Just thought I would suggest it. Good Luck!

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C.E.

answers from Champaign on

When we moved from Texas to Illinois six years ago, my daughter (then 15 months) developed severe eczema each winter on the inside of her elbows and behind her knees, that would just spread the more she 'itched.' The itching kept her and us up so many nights. None of the OTC lotions or even a prescription lotion helped. A stonger prescription worked better.

What really worked for us was switching to dye- and perfume-free (all-natural) laundry detergent on ALL of our clothes, bedding, and towels etc. and also, no fabric softener of any kind. She hasn't had any problem in the last two years. In winter (and allergy season) we only wash her hair once a week and do baths two times a week, with sponge baths in between. In winter when she's not playing outside much so doesn't get 'really dirty' so it works well.

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D.A.

answers from Chicago on

Eczema is often a nutritional deficiency of essential fatty acids. Try feeding him Lemon Flavoured Cod Liver Oil. It actually tastes really good and will provide him with the fats that he needs. I recommend Carlson's. You could probably find it at any health food store.

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M.S.

answers from Chicago on

Skipping the wonderful bath time routine should not be an option.

What about trying something to cover the area of the skin that is affected. Try using a a generous amount of a water based ointment called Aquaphor. I like it because it is like a vasoline but water based and gentle. You could put it on his face before he goes in and then you could just wipe it off after the bath without using soap.

Good luck!!

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A.N.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter has battled eczema for nearly five years due to severe food/environmental allergies.

The advice I have been given regarding baths from my dermatologist and allergist is to bathe everyday in clear, warm water - no soaps/shampoos unless dirt is visible. The water helps keep the skin moist. After the bath, moisturize.

Have you uncovered the reason for the eczema? You may want to investigate; controlling allergens has made significant improvements for my daughter who was covered from head to toe in eczema patches before uncovering all of her allergies. She now breaks out occasionally, but these episodes are generally related to undeclared allergens in food, stress, heat, or contact with animals.

If your doctor offers meds in the future for him, we have had success with steroid creams not the ever popular ellidel.

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

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A.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hello C.,
My sons (3.5 yo)also is affected by eczema and food/environmental allergies. His allergist said it was very important to still give him a bath everyday. Just make sure that the water temp remains "warm", not "hot", and that the baths are short. You can use soap at the last minute (we use Aquaphor Baby Wash which has no soap products in it). Then pat him dry and "lube" him up (we use Aquaphor on the dry spots and Aveeno everywhere else). Good luck :) This weather is so hard to get through with the poor little one's skins.

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