After my oldest son was born, it was apparent pretty quickly that regular baby soap irritated his skin. He got dry patches of eczema soon after he started getting baths, even when the baths were infrequent. We switched to using a baby soap/shampoo that was designed for kids with sensitive skin. It was better but still not great. So I made the decision to stop using the soap on his body altogether. Once he started daycare at about 13 months, we started giving him nightly baths. I would wash his hair with baby shampoo a few times a week, but just let his body soak in the warm water.
After his bath I would put eczema cream all over him and get him into his pajamas. I never really questioned if this was the right thing to do. I just knew that every time we used soap on his body he would get itchy. And I figured he doesn’t really sweat, so he doesn’t stink, so it must be OK. When we stray from this routine (like when his dad thinks a bubble bath would be cool, or we run out of cream), the eczema always comes back. So we just stick to it, simple as that.
My second child also has eczema, although it never gets bad. I think that’s because he can ignore the itching more than my oldest ever could. My oldest would scratch in his sleep and wake up with raw skin. With my youngest, it’s dry and patchy, but it never gets any worse than that. He gets the same treatment when it comes to bath time to keep it at bay. Recently I decided to ask Google if I was doing this whole bathing-without-soap thing right.
The majority of the posts that came up first were from people who decided not to use soap for environmental reasons, or simply because they were choosing a more natural lifestyle. After I zeroed in my search term and typed in “eczema” and “kids,” I found a very informative website from the National Eczema Association. According to them, "Cleansers (like soap), additives (like bubble bath and epsom salts), and scrubbers (like loofahs and rough washcloths) can dry out your baby’s skin and further irritate it.
For these reasons, you should avoid using soaps, additives and scrubbers when you bathe your child.” This made me feel better and like I wasn’t just some weirdo with stinky kids. They go on to say that you should use unscented, dye-free cleansers only to wash the areas of their body that are dirty.
We were lucky to find what helped our kids’ eczema early on, and that it never really got severe. Eczema can have a number of triggers, and they’re not always so easy to find. If you have a child with eczema you may have to pay special attention to their detergents, clothing material, and other potential environmental irritants that could cause a flare up. We’ve heard from many parents that our organic underwear lines make a huge difference in their child’s skin when they have eczema, and we’re happy to hear that our products are making life easier for eczema sufferers.