baby with mum applying oilatum to their face

How to recognise and soothe eczema prone skin

Your baby’s skin is 20% thinner than yours and much more delicate as their skin barrier is still developing throughout the first year of their life. This makes it more susceptible to moisture loss and dryness associated with eczema prone skin.

Up to 20% of the world’s children suffer from eczema, so it’s a common condition. Here are some signs that your baby has eczema prone skin:

  • Skin is visibly very dry
  • Skin is rough
  • Very dry patches may appear on your baby’s face and in skin folds (on the neck, elbow and back of the knees) and on their hands, wrists and ankles.
  • You may notice them scratching as their skin is very uncomfortable, especially in baby’s skin folds and creases. A toddler can tell you when their skin is irritated, however a baby will show their discomfort more audibly – they’re likely to be very irritable and difficult to settle.
  • If your baby’s skin is excessively dry, painful cracks can appear. In extreme cases it can be very painful and may even bleed or become infected. In these cases it’s recommended that you visit your doctor immediately.             
  • A child who goes on to develop eczema is more likely to develop other allergic conditions such as asthma as they get older. This is why it’s important to take good care of eczema-prone skin. Here are some tips for soothing eczema-prone skin:

Keep your home comfortable

Hot, dry air from central heating can irritate eczema prone skin so try to keep your thermostat no higher than 16-20°C. A humidifier can keep moisture in the air and help prevent your baby’s skin from drying out. Frequently air rooms, damp dust and vacuum to banish house dust mites. It’s also best to avoid contact with pets as shedding from animals could irritate your little one’s skin.


Bathe your baby 2-3 times a week and more frequently as they grow older. Try using Oilatum Junior Bath Additive to help soften very dry patches and reduce itching. Don’t keep your baby in the water longer than 10-20 minutes, as this could dry out their skin further. After the bath, gently pat them dry with a soft, warm towel.

Help relieve itching

Apply emollient cream to the affected areas on your little one, where their skin is very dry. Do this directly after bathing, while water is still trapped in the skin, for extra hydration. Oilatum Junior Cream is clinically tested to significantly reduce itching for 8 hours*, which can help to support a good night’s sleep when applied before bed.

Moisturise routinely

It’s recommended that you moisturise your baby’s skin at least 2-3 times a day, or as often as required. Introducing moisturisation as part of your daily rituals can make this more achievable. Apply cream when your baby wakes in the morning, check their skin for very dry patches during nappy changes throughout the day, always moisturise after bathing, before they go to bed.

Dress them in comfortable clothes

Your baby’s eczema prone skin can be irritated by the clothes they wear. Choose fabrics that are kind to their skin, such as cotton, and avoid fabrics such as nylon, wool, polyester and rayon, which can irritate skin. As they grow older try to make sure their underwear is 100% cotton. Check your baby’s nails are cut short after their bath (when they’re softer and easier to cut) and put mittens on their hands at night to help reduce the chances of them scratching and damaging their skin.

If you are worried about your baby’s skin we recommend you talk to your doctor.

*Study conducted in adults with dry, itchy skin.