How can I find eczema friendly products?

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Learn how you can find which products could be triggering your child’s eczema.

Kids with eczema have very sensitive skin. Many products that touch their skin can trigger eczema.

To complicate matters, it can take time for your child’s skin to react. For example, an ingredient in your child’s shampoo could trigger an eczema flare. The flare could occur a few hours or days after using the shampoo.

3 things you can do to find eczema friendly products

Here are 3 techniques that can help you find products for your child:

  1. Ask your child’s dermatologist for product recommendations.

  2. Look for products containing the NEA Seal of Acceptance™.

    On the National Eczema Association’s website, you’ll find products that have earned this seal. Products include moisturizers, shampoo, cleansers, laundry detergent, sleepwear, and hydrocortisone creams.

  3. Choose fragrance-free rather than unscented products. Fragrance-free and unscented have different meanings. Unscented means that a fragrance is masked, so you cannot smell it. Fragrance-free means the products is free of all fragrances, even ones that you cannot smell.

How to avoid common product triggers

Use the following dermatologists’ recommendations to help your child avoid common product triggers.

Possible trigger What dermatologists recommend
Baby powder Best to avoid. Baby powder dries the skin. People who have eczema already have very dry skin.
Baby wipes
  • Best to avoid: They may contain ingredients that can trigger eczema. Rubbing also can trigger eczema.
  • Instead of baby wipes, try using a clean soft, cotton cloth, and warm water.
Bubble bath Best to avoid.
Clothes
  • Dress your child in loose-fitting clothes made from 100% cotton.
  • Avoid wool and synthetic fibers like polyester, which can trigger eczema.
  • Cut tags off clothes.
Dyes Talk with your child's dermatologist if you suspect that your child is sensitive to a dye found in food, clothing, or any other product. Testing can find allergens (what a person is allergic to), so you know what to avoid.
Laundry products: Detergent Use only detergent that is fragrance-free and dye-free
Moisturizer How to select eczema friendly moisturizer
Preservatives Talk with your child's dermatologist if you suspect that your child is sensitive to preservatives in skin care products. Testing can find what triggers your child's allergies, so you know what to avoid.
Shampoo Select a gentle shampoo that is fragrance-free.
Towels, sheets, and other bedding
  • Sheets, comforters, blankets, pillowcases, and towels should be made of 100% cotton.
  • Use down-filled pillows.
  • Wash towels and bedding before using.
  • Always wash bedding in hot water, using laundry detergent that is fragrance-free and dye-free.
Soap
  • Skip bar soaps, which can dry and irritate your child's skin.
  • Use a fragrance-free, mild cleanser.
Stuffed animals and other soft toys
  • Rough-feeling fabrics can trigger eczema.
  • Soft toys attract dust, which can trigger eczema.
  • If stuffed animals and other soft toys seem to be a trigger, limit or get rid of them.
Sunscreen
  • Sunburn can trigger eczema, so sun protection is important. Until your child is 6 months of age, protect your child's skin with shade and clothing. A stroller or carriage that has a hood can provide shade.
  • At 6 months, you can start using sunscreen. Choose one with the active ingredient titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. The sunscreen should also be fragrance-free, offer broad-spectrum protection, and have an SPF 30+.


Additional related content

How can parents manage eczema triggers at school?
Eczema friendly moisturizer: How to select
How to bathe a child who has eczema


References
Shaughnessy CN, Malajian D, et al. “Cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity in patients with atopic dermatitis: Reactivity to surfactants.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Apr;70(4):704-8.

Sidbury R, Tom WL, “Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Part 4: Prevention of disease flares and use of adjunctive therapies and approaches.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Dec;71(6):1218-33.