Baby-soft skin isn’t a given when you have little ones. Unfortunately, at least one in five children has eczema, while 57 per cent of children suffer with some sort of skin sensitivity or irritation. Atopic eczema (atopic dermatitis) is the most common form of eczema, a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked.
Despite the figures, all babies’ skin is very delicate, so it’s very important that it’s treated with care. Sensitive skin can develop when the natural skin barrier becomes damaged, allowing moisture to escape from the skin. This moisture loss can lead to a frustrating circle – the skin underneath becomes dry, which leaves it vulnerable to irritants. These irritants then inflame the skin, which can make it tender and itchy.
Environmental factors – such as seasonal changes, fragranced products, washing powders and some baby wipes – can make a baby’s skin more delicate and prone to itchiness.
Dr Ross Perry GP and Medical Director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics specialises in eczema. He says, “Most people will outgrow eczema during childhood. However, it has been estimated that up to 15 million people in the UK could be living with eczema. In 2015, GPs in England wrote about 27 million prescriptions for the topical agents used in the treatment of atopic dermatitis [eczema] at a cost of approximately £169 million.”
The good news is that there are plenty of products available that promise to help sooth sensitive and eczema-prone skin, so we rounded up some of the best and put them to the test.
How we tested
Each steroid-free product was tested on an adult with sensitive skin before being patch tested on a nine-month-old baby prone to nappy and heat rashes. We looked at value, consistency, brand product ranges and how well we felt the product worked.
The best baby eczema products for 2022:
Best overall – Aveeno baby dermexa emollient cream: £8.50, Boots.com
Best for various uses – Kit&Kin magic salve, £7.99: Kitandkin.com
Best for fragrance-free – Weleda baby derma white mallow body lotion: £12.83, Amazon.co.uk
Best for hair and body – Nala’s baby body wash and shampoo: £5.50, Boots.com
Best for sensitive skin – Child’s Farm oatderma baby moisturiser fragrance-free: £7.50, Childsfarm.com
Best for gentle fragrance – Bloom & Blossom baby hair and body wash: £5, Waitrose.com
Best for the whole family – SOS Serum: £5, Sosserum.co.uk
Best for dribbly babies – Mum & You face the day stick: £10.99, Mumandyou.com
Best for bubble baths – MooGoo 2-in-1 bubbly wash: £11.90, Moogooskincare.co.uk
Best for repairing the skin barrier – Avène cicalfate and restorative protective cream for very sensitive skin: £13.50, Boots.com
Best for a gentle cleanse – Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser wash: £19.99, Boots.com
Best for soothing sore skin – La Roche-Posay baby cicaplast B5 multi-purpose repairing balm: £13.50, Boots.com
Aveeno baby dermexa emollient cream
The go-to brand for many parents, AVEENO is a pro at calming inflamed and delicate skin for both babies and adults.
This emollient cream has been specially formulated for babies with very dry, itchy skin who are more prone to regular irritation and itchiness. It’s enriched with ceramides – an essential component of the skin structure – which helps to strengthen the skin barrier function. We found the fragrance-free cream incredibly hydrating on our baby’s skin and was easily absorbed.
Buy now £8.50, Boots.com
Kit&Kin magic salve
Best: For various uses
Another one for both babies and their parents, we found that this 100 per cent natural, hypoallergenic, dermatologist-approved and pH-balanced magic salve not only remedied our baby’s nappy and dribble rash, but it also calmed dry skin and lips on adults, making it a go-to for the whole family.
One of the ingredients is marshmallow oil, which is used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis. Perfect to throw into the changing bag to treat any minor skin irritation on the go.
Buy now £7.99, Kitandkin.com
Weleda baby derma white mallow body lotion
Best: Natural formula
You might think that with a name like “white mallow”, this product would have an overly sweet fragrance, but that’s not the case – the range has the subtle but delicious scent of coconut oil. It’s also free from artificial additives and mineral oils.
A hastily applied sun lotion irritated our baby’s skin, resulting in a slight rash. But after applying this onto slightly damp skin after bath time for a couple of days, the rash soon cleared up. We continued to use the lotion as an after-bath treatment, as we found it wasn’t at all oily, absorbed easily and left our baby’s skin super soft.
Buy now £12.83, Amazon.co.uk
Nala’s baby body wash and shampoo
Best: For hair and body
The entire Nala’s Baby range is very impressive. The Black-owned, British-made baby skincare line created by rapper Krept, of Krept & Konan, following the birth of his daughter, Nala, was made to be inclusive of all skin types.
All the products contain 99 per cent naturally derived ingredients and are suitable for newborns upwards, sensitive skin and skin prone to eczema due .
With a subtle coconut-oil scent, we took the body wash and shampoo with us when travelling, for a gently scented, clean baby from top to toe.
Buy now £5.50, Boots.com
Child’s Farm oatderma baby moisturiser
Best: For sensitive skin
The oatderma range from Child’s Farmââ features sustainably sourced colloidal oatmeal and oat oil, which are both clinically proven to gently soothe and reduce redness even in the most irritated skin. We’ve always been impressed with the whole range, but are particularly big fans of this moisturiser’s consistency and how well it absorbed into our baby’s skin.
The oatderma range is fragrance-free but we’re sure it smells like marzipan (which is no bad thing!). We used it as a daytime lotion for moisture top-ups and teamed it at night with one of the brand’s new hair and body wash bars for a gentle cleansing experience that we felt kept our baby’s skin safe. We liked using it on our own skin, too.
Buy now £7.50, Childsfarm.com
Bloom & Blossom baby hair and body wash
Best: For gentle fragrance
This hair and body wash contains the naturally relaxing scent of jasmine and lavender, to help create a peaceful bedtime routine. The range is also 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free.
Suitable for sensitive skin and for babies who may be prone to eczema, it is paediatrician and dermatologist approved and suitable for newborns.
If you’re still uncomfortable about using fragranced products, this body wash may not be for you, but we found that it was a gentle solution and left our little one squeaky clean.
Buy now £5.00, Waitrose.com
Best: For the whole family
We’ve already sung this brand’s praises for its sun protection, which works for the entire family, and this serum is no different.
Highly moisturising for the face and body, the SOS Serum soothes all types of dry, sensitive and uncomfortable skin (including eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, cuts, bites, stings and minor burns). It also restores hydration to wind-chapped and sun-damaged skin, and is suitable for all ages.
The lightweight serum felt almost gel-like and cooling on our baby’s skin. We also used it to treat some nappy rash, and found it provided a great barrier against a rubbing nappy (it’s also just the right size for popping in the nappy bag). We even tried the serum as a make-up primer, which worked extremely well, so perhaps another use to add to the list!
Buy now £5.00, Sosserum.co.uk
Mum & You face the day stick
Best: For dribbly babies
We think this is a brilliant idea. A twist-up stick to gently swipe across your child’s face and neck, it’s perfect for when you’re out and about – especially as it’s the perfect size for popping in the changing bag.
The face the day stick consists of 99 per cent naturally derived ingredients, is dermatologically tested, and is also clinically proven to be suitable for eczema prone skin. Made from sunflower and coconut oils, beeswax and shea butter, it forms a barrier to protect delicate areas from the elements and soothe dry and sensitive skin. An all-weather must-have, we found this really helped to protect our baby’s face from dribble rash, wind and drizzle.
Buy now £10.99, Mumandyou.com
MooGoo 2-in-1 bubbly wash
Best: For bubble baths
We’ve found that many bath products for babies with eczema-prone and sensitive skin are bubble-free, which may be good for skin but isn’t much fun come bath time! This bubbly wash from MooGoo is a natural, gentle cleansing wash that also makes bubbles for bath time, which our baby really enjoyed.
We used around five to six squirts of this generously portioned bubble bath (500ml), which created a pleasing amount of fragrance-fee bubbles that didn’t dry out our baby’s skin and were easily rinsed away. We took this bubble wash away with us, as it can also be used directly on skin as a soap and as a natural shampoo, too.
Buy now £11.90, Moogooskincare.co.uk
Avène cicalfate and restorative protective cream for very sensitive skin
Best: For repairing the skin barrier
It’s great to be as preventative as possible when your baby has eczema-prone or sensitive skin, but sometimes the damage is already done and healing needs to happen.
Suitable for the whole family, this thick cream is formulated to nourish, protect, soothe and repair dry and irritated skin. We had previously used the Avène line on some adult sensitive skin to good results, so were confident about using this product on our baby’s nappy rash – and we weren’t disappointed. The cream was a perfect match for her sensitive skin – not too thick, nor too runny, and it helped to calm the rash. We also used this cream to ease some adult sunburn.
The bottle is a rather large for the changing bag but definitely one to keep in the nappy caddy.
Buy now £13.50, Boots.com
Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser wash
Best: For a gentle cleanse
Often found as part of an adult’s cleansing routine, this well-known cleanser is actually suitable for all ages, including babies. If you’re in a pinch, this cleanser can work as a baby soap and to clean hair, as it gently yet effectively cleanses without causing dryness.
We used this non-foaming cleanser on our baby’s skin in the bath to help sooth some raised heat rash. It washed away leaving no residue and we felt that our baby’s skin was cleansed gently and didn’t irritate the rash further. The bottle is a generous size (473ml ), so there’s plenty enough to go around the whole family.
Buy now £19.99, Boots.com
La Roche-Posay baby cicaplast B5 multi-purpose repairing balm
Best: For soothing sore skin
This multi-purpose repairing balm is said to soothe, restore and protect a baby’s delicate skin. The formula contains no fragrance or parabens and is 100 per cent hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (won’t block pores). It also contains antibacterial agents, so we were confident using it on our baby’s sensitive areas.
We used this easy-to-squeeze tube of balm as an everyday nappy change balm, as we enjoyed the smooth consistency and found it absorbed extremely well into the skin, while leaving a pleasant, non-greasy barrier for protection.
Our baby had developed some sore skin on her elbows and knees from crawling about, so we used this cream as a barrier on those areas, and found it worked well to moisturise and repair the damaged skin.
Buy now £13.50, Boots.com
The verdict: Eczema treatments for children and babies
It’s no surprise that Aveeno comes out at the top of this list. We loved the incredibly hydrating formula, which moisturised our baby’s skin without leaving it feeling sticky. We also liked how we could pair the cream with the rest of the Aveeno products, too, and would recommend the entire range for the whole family – there’s something for everyone.
For nappy rash or other kinds of skin damage, we loved the La Roche-Posay Baby Cicaplast B5 Multi-Purpose Repairing Balm for a smooth, easily absorbed, antibacterial barrier cream, which can be used top to toe.
For the latest discounts on eczema treatments and other skincare offers, try the below links:
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