We all expect that our fresh bundle of joy will be born with smooth, soft skin that needs nothing more than a gentle wipe to stay supple. And it’s true, many little angels have skin to envy, but others need a bit more soothing.
Whether bambino was in the oven for a little longer than expected, has sensitive skin, or been diagnosed with eczema or allergies, there are lots of ways to calm irritated skin on babies and kids.
Rashes in babies
While rashes in newborns and babies are really common, it’s always a good idea to get them checked out. Rashes in babies are often caused by:
- hormonal changes
- clothing that’s scratchy
- being too hot or warm
- a reaction to a perfumed moisturiser or soap
- baby acne or milk spots
Eczema in babies
A red rash that is dry, itchy and scaly may be eczema, which tends to run in families, so if you have it your kids may also get it. Kiddos with eczema often have other conditions like asthma or hay fever. It often shows up on children’s cheeks, elbow creases and behind the knees, but might also appear on the neck, body, hands and feet.
It usually first shows itself in the first few months after baby is born, and it may only be on the face and scalp to start with. As your small fry starts to grow, eczema may appear in other places – for example on their lower legs when they start to crawl.
It tends to come and go and in between flare-ups your baby’s skin may look thick and dry. A lot of children eventually ‘grow out’ of eczema.
Eczema is often further irritated by things like:
- soaps or bubble baths
- fabrics like wool and polyester
- after viral or bacterial infections
- dust mites or animal fur
- after exposure to foods that your child is allergic to
- getting too hot
- being stressed
50 things to soothe babies with sensitive skin
From bathtime to bedtime, there are simple tips and specifically designed products that help soothe sensitive baby, infant and toddler skin.
We’ve consulted expert advice from the Eczema Association Australasia, Raising Children and the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne for handy tips, and also researched products specifically designed for babies and children with sensitive skin.
To make life a little easier, we’ve split our fabulous finds into categories for you:
For the bath
It can be a fine balancing act to keep baby’s irritated skin calm and clean, while not washing away natural protecting oils. Here are some products and tips to help during bath time.
- Make baths and showers lukewarm, not hot.
- Bath infrequently.
Gilly Goat Calm Baby Oil Bath Milk
Gilly Goat Calm Baby Oil Bath Milk ($34.95): Rich in vitamins A, vitamin E, chamomile and lavender this gently scented milk transforms the bath into a nourishing wash.
Willow By The Sea SOOTHE Baby Bath Tea
Willow By The Sea SOOTHE Baby Bath Tea ($29): A calming blend of organic ingredients that are specifically designed to help relieve redness and irritation caused by nappy rash, mild forms of eczema, allergies and sunburn. The oats moisturise and cleanse while the calendula flowers, rose petals and marshmallow root soothe skin.
Little Bodies Eczema Relief Wash & Shampoo
Little Bodies Eczema Relief Wash & Shampoo ($13): Designed to get the job of bathing done quickly, this clever wash and shampoo in one is made using colloidal oatmeal, which is traditionally used in herbal medicine to help relieve eczema and other minor dry itchy skin conditions.
Life Basics Konjac Body Sponge
Life Basics Konjac Body Sponge ($9.95): Super soft and made from 100 per cent konjac potato fibre, the sponge is designed to be used with a body wash for little tykes with sensitive skin. They are pH neutral to keep the skin’s acidity in balance.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (from $9.99): A soap substitute that preserves the skin’s natural protective oils. It also won’t sting bub’s eyes and helps soften skin.
Billie Baby Soothing Bubble Bath
Billie Baby Soothing Bubble Bath ($13.95): Goats’ milk and aloe vera make a pretty awesome combination to leave sensitive skin feeling soft and hydrated. It contains lavender, ylang-ylang and lemon which are designed to calm and soothe.
After gently cleansing sensitive skin, it’s time to protect it. This starts from the minute the bath finishes, including how to dry irritated skin.
- Apply a moisturiser within three minutes after bathing to ‘lock in’ the moisture
- Develop and maintain a daily skin routine (which won’t always include a bath)
- Use a cool compress if skin is irritated
Aveeno Baby Dermexa Moisturising Cream
Aveeno Baby Dermexa Moisturising Cream ($15.39): A unique lotion with naturally active Triple Oat Complex plus ceramides, it’s formulated to soothe dry, itchy baby skin and is clinically proven suitable for eczema-prone skin. It helps restore the skin barrier and calm uncomfortable skin.
Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser
Childs Farm Baby Moisturiser ($10): An award-winning moisturiser that is designed to protect and hydrate baby’s skin. Suitable from newborn, with shea and cocoa butter, it’s dermatologist and paediatrician approved as suitable for sensitive skin and safe for people prone to eczema.
Wild Botanicals Soothing Balm
Wild Botanicals Soothing Balm ($24.95): Bursting with healing ingredients like coconut oil, calendula and papaya extracts, shea butter and lavender oil, the balm can be used on nappy rash and teething rash and also works a charm as a sleep balm.
DermaVeen Baby Eczema Cream
DermaVeen Baby Eczema Cream ($9.95): Specifically for mild eczema, it forms a protective shield over the skin to lock in moisture. It also relieves itching and irritation and the moisture-binding colloidal oatmeal rehydrates delicate baby skin.
Sebamed Baby Lip Balm
Sebamed Baby Lip Balm ($6.95): Baby drool and using dummies can irritate bub’s skin around the mouth so this little lip balm can be used daily to protect those sweet little lips. It contains rich plant lipids to keep the lips soft and healthy, jojoba oil and shea butter to help make dry and chapped lips smooth again.
QV Baby Moisturising Cream
QV Baby Moisturising Cream ($17.95): A concentrated formula with five moisturisers, this non-greasy cream is easily absorbed into the skin to keep it hydrated for 24 hours. It’s suitable for use on dry skin, eczema, dermatitis and Psoriasis.
MooGoo Eczema and Psoriasis Cream
MooGoo Eczema and Psoriasis Cream ($18.50): Specifically designed to help with dermatitis, infant eczema, mild psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. The active ingredients include aloe vera inner leaf juice, Marinara chamomilla flower liquid extract, Flavonoid and essential oil compounds.
Milk & Co Baby Recovery Cream
Milk & Co Baby Recovery Cream ($14.95): Packed with aloe vera and Kakadu plum, this recovery cream helps soothe and repairs irritated skin, and can be used in the nappy area.
Mustela Bebe Dermo-Cleansing Gel
Mustela Bebe Dermo-Cleansing Gel ($16.95): Designed to be used on babies with temporarily stressed or naturally dry skin. Enriched with Avocado Perseose the gel helps strengthen bub’s cutaneous barrier and preserves the skin cell strength.
itchy baby co. eczema moisturiser
itchy baby co. eczema moisturiser ($19): An ointment created to relieve symptoms of mild eczema and itchy, dry, irritated skin. Lush and hydrating, it melts into the skin and combines two super soothing ingredients, oatmeal and coconut.
For washing clothes
Sensitive skin can be triggered by certain washing detergents and powders, so using formulas specifically designed with skin in mind helps eliminate another potential source of irritation for poppets struggling with skin issues.
- Always wash new clothing before wearing
- Washing clothing and bedding often
Red Star Laundry Leaf
Red Star Laundry Leaf ($10): Each leaf is a degradable bamboo leaf infused with a highly concentrated, low-allergenic washing cleaner, lavender oil and fabric conditioner. Simple toss a leaf into the wash and bub’s teeny, delicate clothes and the toddler’s grubby gear will come out fresh as a daisy without any nasties.
Abode Laundry Liquid Zero – Sensitive
Abode Laundry Liquid Zero – Sensitive ($15.95): Specifically formulated for people with sensitive skin, it’s free from nasty chemicals, enzymes, optical brighteners and fragrances of any kind. It uses plant and mineral based technology to make sure clothing is clean and won’t irritate.
Resparkle Natural Baby Laundry & Soaker
Resparkle Natural Baby Laundry & Soaker ($14.50): Formulated especially for young skin and made in Australia with 100 per cent plant-based ingredients, it’s certified organic, vegan and palm oil free.
The nappy area can be tricky to keep free of rashes and irritation – sensitive skin struggles in the often damp and confined space. But there are a few easy switches that help keep skin soothed and clean.
- Change nappy frequently
- If using cloth nappies, look for soft, absorbent materials
Wotnot Biodegradable Baby Wipes
Wotnot Biodegradable Baby Wipes ($6.95): Using gentle natural extracts including organic aloe vera and vitamin E, baby’s skin is cleaned while being cared for. These wipes are approved for use with the most sensitive skin, including eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
Sudocrem (from $6.99): Popping on a layer of Sudocrem after a nappy change creates a protective barrier to stop wee coming in contact with bub’s skin. It also helps with nappy rash and eczema.
Nature’s Child Bottom Balm
Nature’s Child Bottom Balm ($24.95): Works with both cloth and disposable nappies, with a beeswax base and a host or organic ingredients to help soothe and calm.
A soothing environment
Taking a look around the home and bub’s general environment is also a great place to spot any potential sensitive-skin triggers.
- Wipe the drool as quickly as you can
- Avoid letting your bub get too hot
- Turn down the heater
- Cut fingernails short so itchy kiddos can’t scratch
- Teach older kids calming techniques – stress aggravates skin conditions
- Reduce dust mites
- Pinch and pat itchy skin rather than scratching
Numu-roo Cot Mattress
Numu-roo Cot Mattress ($399): A mesh cot mattress that means there’s nowhere for dust mites to live. The 100 per cent air circulation also means less chance of sleeping beauties getting too hot, and is friendlier for asthma and allergies.
Protect-A-Bed Mattress Protector – Tencel
Protect-A-Bed Mattress Protector – Tencel ($35): Helps create a cool sleep surface, thanks to the natural wool-based fibres. Protects from the allergens caused by dust mites, mould and bacteria and wicks irritating moisture away from the skin.
MedeScan Rainbow Mist Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
MedeScan Rainbow Mist Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier ($66.95): Humidifiers are recommended for babies and children with sensitive skin, as the mist helps keep skin and hair moist and relieve dryness.
Bambi Wool Cot Underlay
Bambi Woollen Underblanket ($69.95): Soft and snuggly with the seal of approval from the National Asthma Council Australia, it helps keep bub cool when needed.
uimi Merino Wool Baby Blanket
uimi Merino Wool Baby Blanket ($149): Made from 100 per cent Australian merino wool (a recent Australian study found that superfine merino wool may help calm eczema symptoms in children) to keep bub toasty in bed and on the go without being too warm.
What to wear
Choosing the right fabric for sensitive babies and kids is key to helping keep them comfy and irritation-free. Certain materials have been found to help skin breathe and regulate temperatures, which helps keep sensitive skin calm.
- Organic cotton is a great choice as no harsh chemicals are used in making the garments, it’s also less likely itch and more absorbent, to draw away moisture.
- Superfine merino wool has been shown to help calm eczema symptoms in children.
- Use baby mittens for newborns and babies to stop accidental scratches and itching.
Eczema Mitten Sleeves
Eczema Mitten Sleeves ($35.95): For kids who scratch and rub themselves to try and soothe their inflamed skin, these bamboo and elastane sleeves mean there’s no chance of extra damage from nails. The silk outer layer is gentle on skin.
Boody Stretch Jersey Wrap
Boody Stretch Jersey Wrap ($32.95): A snug and soft swaddling cloth for babes that is made from anti-odour and anti-bacterial material. It’s also moisture-wicking and thermo-regulating to avoid over-heating or getting too cold at night.
Merino Nightie (from $30): Made from super soft merino wool it includes fold-over mitten to stop scratching.
ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag
ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag ($36.95): Made from breathable and skin-friendly bamboo to prevent sweating, which can irritate inflamed skin.
Comfymitt T ($27.95, two-pack): Created for kids who are desperate to scratch their irritated skin, these built-in mittens won’t come off. The seams are flat inside and out so the top won’t make the skin itchy and it can be used as a dry layer over wet wrap bandages.
Read next …
Want more ways to help care for baby’s sensitive skin? These next articles have a heap of information and product ideas:
- 16 sunscreens for babies with sensitive skin
- Merino wool clothing for babies with sensitive skin
- Natural skincare brands for babies