The 10 Best Body Lotions For Dry Skin

Head’s up: If your baby is being super irritable or fussy for no reason and constantly rubbing her skin, it's possible that she has eczema.

“Eczema is said to be the itch that rashes,” explains Alexandra Clark, M.D., division chief of general pediatrics at Loma Linda University Children’s Health. “For babies that are predisposed to eczema, their skin barrier is less and they feel itchy, leading them to rub their skin on surfaces to get rid of the itch.”

How common is baby eczema?

Eczema in babies is common (nearly 10 to 20 percent of all infants have or will have it). Many babies grow out of it, or at least see their symptoms improve over time — usually after the age of 2.

“We are not always sure what causes eczema in babies,” explains Stephanie Jacks, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital and Society for Pediatric Dermatology Committee Chair. “Genetic factors certainly play a role, and babies who have at least one parent with eczema are two to three times more likely to get eczema. However, some babies have eczema even with no family history of the condition.”

In adults, eczema usually appears as pink or reddish skin that is rough and dry. But the skin condition can show a little differently in babies. Itchy cheeks are usually one of the first signs of infant eczema, Dr. Clark says.

“In most infants, eczema is not due to an allergy to foods or other triggers but instead reflects an intrinsic tendency for skin that is more dry and easily irritated by temperature, clothing and other external triggers,” says pediatric dermatologist Kara Shah, M.D., of Kenwood Dermatology in Cincinnati, Ohio. “As such, the basis for treatment is good skin care.”

To treat infant eczema, you might try giving baby a lukewarm bath (let her soak for no more than 10 to 15 minutes) and apply cream immediately after to lock in moisture.

What to look for in a baby eczema cream

First, avoid lotions. Not only are they thinner, which means they won’t create as thick of a barrier on skin, but they also may contain alcohols that are drying or irritating. (Yikes.)

Another tip? Look for “fragrance-free” on the product label.

“While it is easy to be led astray by buzzwords like ‘organic’ and ‘natural,’ parents should keep in mind that organic products are not inherently hypoallergenic, and in fact, many contain fragrances and botanicals that can further irritate the baby’s skin,” explains Dr. Jacks.

Don’t get discouraged if your baby’s eczema doesn’t get better right away. “Sometimes it is a trial and error,” says Dr. Clark. “Give any new product a minimum of two weeks to see if it works before abandoning it, as the body’s healing process takes time.”

Finally, talk to your pediatrician if baby's eczema gets worse or doesn’t improve after baths and cream application. They may recommend that your little one see a pediatric dermatologist, who can determine if baby needs a stronger steroid cream to ease symptoms. You should also tell your pediatrician if you notice scabbing on baby's skin, since this could lead to an infection.

Here, the best baby eczema creams to help moisturize your little one's dry, irritated skin.

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