It’s hard to believe, but some of the first Bubbsi babies are now Bubbsi back-to-schoolers. Three years ago, our founder, skincare industry veteran Sweta Doshi, launched Bubbsi—in part out of her frustration with the lack of all-natural, effective eczema creams for kids on the market. Since then, a large community of families impacted by baby eczema—including Sweta’s own family—have found relief in a daily ritual centered around Bubbsi’s soothing Creamy Coconut Oil Shampoo + Wash, Coconut Oil Balm and Whipped Coconut Oil Body Cream. But while eczema impacts a higher percentage of babies, it does affect older kids as well.
What Causes Eczema in Kids
As hard as it is to watch a baby struggle though skin irritation, eczema in kids doesn’t always end after the diaper phase. In fact, according to the National Eczema Association (NEA), atopic dermatitis—one of the leading forms of eczema—impacts 13 percent of all U.S. children under the age of 18. While it’s estimated that about two-thirds of children grow out of eczema by the time they reach school age, others continue to have flare-ups throughout childhood and beyond.
Eczema in kids and babies is often caused by decreased levels of a special protein called filaggrin, which helps skin retain moisture and forms a natural barrier against bacteria and other environmental irritants in the outer layer of skin.
In addition to this genetic factor, the NEA says there are also a number of environmental factors that can trigger or exacerbate eczema in kids, including stress. Chemical irritants are often found in common household products babies and children come into contact with every day. They can include:
- Soaps and household cleaners
- Synthetic fragrances
- Anti-bacterial ointments like neomycin, the key ingredient in Neosporin, and bacitracin (which is a little crazy because these ointments are sometimes used as ad-hoc eczema creams for kids!)
- Isothiazolinone, an antibacterial commonly found in personal care products, including baby wipes, lotions and shampoos
How Eczema in Kids Changes As Children Age
In order to effectively treat your child’s skin issues, it’s important to identify if they are related to eczema or another problem, such as baby acne (which we wrote about here). It also helps to know how eczema in kids presents differently at different life stages. Here are some things the NEA says to look for:
- Under 6 Months: Eczema usually shows up in infants as red and weepy splotches on the face and scalp. While it can spread to other parts of the body, it doesn’t usually affect the diaper area.
- 6-12 Months: Look for flare-ups on the elbows and knees, which will be experiencing more friction as babies begin to scoot and crawl. If an eczema rash becomes infected, it may become very dry and flaky, with a yellowish appearance.
- 2-5 Years: Eczema in kids this age starts to appear in the creases of skin around the elbows, knees, wrists, ankles and hands. It may also affect the face around the eyelids and mouth. Sometimes, the skin can look dry, scaly and thick, with deep lines, called lichenification.
- 5+: In addition to the folds of the elbows and knees, atopic dermatitis in older kids and adults can appear on hands, behind the ears or on the scalp.
As children age, atopic dermatitis can both literally and figuratively impact their ability to feel comfortable in their own skin. The NEA reports that children with eczema have higher rates of depression and anxiety and may experience bullying and social isolation in school because of their condition. As little bubs get older, it’s more important than ever to develop and stick to a skincare routine that will help control eczema in kids.
Establishing Your Daily Routine With Coconut-Based Eczema Relief for Kids
Time and time again, all-natural coconut oil has been proven to be an excellent alternative to commercial eczema creams for kids. We have written before about how a bathing and massage ritual using coconut oil has been able to protect, fortify and nourish the skin of babies with eczema for generations, and how modern families are incorporating coconut oil products into their own routines.
As older children become more independent, they may feel less frustrated about their skin problems by realizing that some of the most effective keys to controlling their eczema are right at their fingertips. They can create their own everyday anti-eczema self-care regimen by washing their scalp, hair and body with Creamy Coconut Oil Shampoo + Wash, followed by Creamy Coconut Oil Hair Conditioner. After bathing, a daily application to the face and body of Whipped Coconut Oil Body Cream, in tandem with Coconut Oil Balm for those trouble spots, acts as a trusted, protective, all-over eczema cream for kids.
Other Ways to Help Soothe Eczema in Kids
In addition to using an all-natural eczema cream for kids and reducing the skin’s contact with, and exposure to, environmental irritants, dermatologists recommend that children with eczema have a humidifier in their room and stay hydrated, and that parents keep track of their routines and triggers. There is also some evidence that taking a Vitamin D supplement may help.
It’s a good idea to be mindful of the textiles that come in contact with your child. Synthetic materials like polyester, and even natural materials like wool, can spark flare-ups, as can detergents. At Bubbsi, we’re big fans of some of the following products to help limit contact with skin irritants:
- Dropps Laundry Detergent: Fragrance-free clean laundry detergent is dermatologist-tested and approved.
- Little Sleepies: These adorable pajamas for the whole family are made of sustainable, eco-friendly bamboo viscose fabric, and have a seal of approval from dermatologist (and mom), Dr. Anna Karp.
- Lark Adventurewear: Lark makes breathable, bamboo loungewear and pajamas for the whole family, and they even have a bamboo crib sheet to lay your little one down for a soft, soothing sleep.
- Canopy: Dry air leads to dry skin. While you can’t change the crisp cold air in the wintertime—short of moving to Florida—you can increase the humidity in your own house. Canopy makes our favorite humidifier.
Whatever products you choose for your home and family, the NEA recommends being “persistent and patient, as treating eczema can take several weeks or longer before you see real progress.” Once you’ve found what works best for your child, it’s important to help them stick with it. A consistent, soothing routine will pay off in a lifetime of healthier skin.