Prior to becoming a mama, I anticipated having to handle earaches and scraped knees and—cringe—stomach bugs. But it never occurred to me that skin issues would be something I’d be analyzing and attempting to treat 24/7. My sweet, 7-year-old daughter is plagued with eczema on her hands all winter long (true story: I douse her fingers in Aquaphor nightly and have her sleep with socks on her hands!), and in the summer, when she’s in chlorinated pools nonstop, the itchy eczema flares up all over her belly. And then it will dissipate, and then it flares up again. It’s. The. Worst.

To help me navigate this perpetual conundrum, I reached out to renowned New York City-based dermatologist and “Skin Rules” author Dr. Debra Jaliman for some expert advice on how to treat eczema in kids.

First, there’s some good news: “Anything that makes your child uncomfortable is concerning, but parents should know that the many kids will grow out of it,” she explained. “The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which seems to be passed down in families. One in 10 kids will develop eczema.”

If your biggest pain point of the summer is eczema, you’re not alone, mama! Dr. Jaliman says implementing a few easy practices can alleviate the inflammation ASAP.

4 dermatologist-approved tips to treat eczema in kids

Here are Dr. Jaliman’s top tips to managing and preventing eczema flare-ups in kids.

1. Shower kids daily

Preferably at night to wash off all that sweat and dirt—with lukewarm to cool water. For bigger kids, showers are preferred over baths to avoid them sitting in water for too long.

2. Pat skin dry instead of rubbing

“Always apply a fragrance-free, hydrating moisturizer right after the shower or bath to seal in the moisture. Some parents use cleansers and lotions with fragrances added and this can only irritate the skin of the child.”

3. Use a humidifier

A humidifier in your kiddo’s room to keep the air hydrated (especially if you’re in a dry climate).

4. Choose fabrics wisely

Avoid clothing with synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester. “Cotton is always the fabric of choice because it allows the skin to breathe,” she advises. “Silk is also a great fabric option. It’s lightweight and lets a child’s skin breathe… it’s also naturally anti-microbial.”

13 products to relieve eczema in kids

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1. Eczema Therapy Itch Relief Balm

Why Dr. Jaliman loves it: “This balm/lotion temporarily protects and helps to relieve skin irritations and itching that is caused by eczema or rashes. The oatmeal soothes and protects the skin, while the glycerin helps to seal the water in the skin and keeps it hydrated. Lotions are good for daytime and creams and balms are better for nighttime.”

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2. Olive Oil All Purpose Rescue Balm Gel

Why our editors love it: The gel-to-cream formula spreads super easily without leaving the skin greasy. Since it’s 100% natural and unscented, it doesn’t sting at all. It’s also a total slam dunk in treating cradle cap and chapped hands from washing so much. Win-win-win!

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3. Eucerin Baby Body Lotion

Why Dr. Jaliman loves it: “It contains panthenol, which acts as a skin protectant with anti-inflammatory properties. This can help improve skin’s hydration. It’s also got shea butter, which is a natural moisturizer… it will help children with eczema because of its high oil content and fatty acids. Shea butter is loaded with vitamins!”

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California Baby


4. Eczema Shampoo & Body Wash

Why our editors love it: “The organic oatmeal, calendula extract and aloe vera cleared up my kid’s eczema patches in a few days. I’ll more than likely buy the gallon size to get through the winter.”

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5. Baby Eczema Soothing Lotion

Why our editors love it: “Not only does it actually work, but it’s also safe for babies as young as 3-months. It’s also great for minimizing irritation and redness that can often come from eczema.”

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6. Eczema Soothing Hair & Body Wash

Why Dr. Jaliman loves it: “This is fragrance-free and paraben-free. It has aloe, which is cooling and soothes the skin and it’s anti-inflammatory, so it gets rid of redness and helps with irritation (making it great for those who have sensitive skin!). It also comprises calendula and chamomile, which are both great, gentle ingredients for a little one with eczema. Chamomile is wonderful for conditions such as dry skin and eczema because of its anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties.”

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7. Stelatopia Emollient Cream

Why our editors love it: “Ultra-rich and super nourishing, this is the perfect thing to slather on before bedtime. And since it’s 99% natural ingredients and free things like fragrance and parabens, it’s easy to trust on my baby’s skin.”

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8. Honest Company eczema soothing therapy balm

Why our editors love it: “I use this steroid-free balm on my skin all the time. I love that it’s gentle enough for baby, but strong enough for mama.”

Save 15% on your first Honest order! Use code HONESTCO15

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9. Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas

Why our editors love it: “Using microcapsule technology, these cotton pajamas deliver skin moisture to the skin throughout the night so my little one doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night with itchy skin. A study found improved sleep quality after seven days—I’m sold!”

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Baby Bum


10. Baby Bum Natural Monoi Coconut Balm

Why our editors love it: “The plant-based formula is very gentle and the balmy texture is really soothing. It also smells like a beachy vacation.”




11. Moisturizing Skin Cream

Why our editors love it: “This family-friendly moisturizing was truly a lifesaver for us last winter. My oldest child has eczema and his hands were really taking a beating from so much hand-washing. We tried everything from prescription steroid creams to other thick lotions and this is the one that finally did the trick—without ‘burning’ his hands in the process like some others did.”

Dove Sensitive Skin Soap Bar



12. Sensitive Skin Soap Bar

Why our editors love it: “This tip comes straight from a friend who is a dermatologist! She said that gentle soap bars—specifically Dove—are great options for cleaning up during baths without further irritating sensitive skin.” Price is for four bars.




13. Ultra Hypoallergenic Eczema Dermatitis Flare Control Cream

Why our editors love it: For eczema flares in kiddos age 2 years and older, this fast-acting cream is a total lifesaver. (It contains hydrocortisone, so consult with your doctor first!) We’ve used it on our own flare-ups and not only does it relieve itching super fast, it’s cleared up stubborn spots in less than 48 hours.

Whether you’re expecting in months or mere days, let Motherly guide you with our registry featuring curated collections of essentials for you and baby. Click here to check out Motherly’s essential registry guide. 

A version of this story was published October 7, 2021. It has been updated.