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Can Baby Wipes Cause Eczema

Yes, baby wipes can cause eczema, allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis according to the Australasian Occupational Dermatology Research & Education centre

That's because they can include fragrances and preservatives commonly found in baby wipes which cause skin irritation or allergic reaction which may present as 'nappy rash' or a rash on baby's skin.

Can baby wipes make eczema worse?

Yes, baby wipes can make eczema worse. Speaking from experience, using disposables wet wipes caused one of my worst ever eczema flare ups. I was diagnosed with eczema when a child more than 40 years ago, and never quite grew out of it as the Dr said that I probably would. 

Usually I manage to treat my eczema with a combination of keeping my skin well moisturised and steroid cream for really bad flare ups. However when my son was born, I used disposable wipes for a few weeks, thinking that they were the convenient option. Those few weeks of use were enough to leave my hands covered in a red itchy rash, bleeding and covered in weeping blisters.

I didn't want to use cotton wool and water as it was a faff, and as my son was in reusable nappies, it made sense for me to switch to using reusable wipes.  My eczema started to clear up almost immediately. Not because reusable wipes were a miracle cure, but because they just didn't include the ingredients which irritated and upset my skin.

'Absolutely brilliant , wish I'd found them earlier, they have literally changed my little girls life, my daughter has suffered with eczema all of her life & always had issues with baby wipes, I then found cheeky wipes, they have been a god send & made nappy change so much nicer & less painful'. Vicky, Trustpilot

Reusable Baby Wipes Kit - everything you need to make switching to reusable wipes easy

What are the best baby wipes for eczema?

The best baby wipes for eczema are those that contain the least amount of chemicals. Reusable wipes are brilliant for this because you can simply use water to gently cleanse your baby with nothing else! 

Of course reusable wipes can also be soaked with soaking solutions such as essential oil or chamomile teabags which make them smell great and have additional benefits for your baby.

The important things is that you're in control and know exactly what you're applying to your baby's delicate hands and face.  I prefer using one natural ingredient instead of many fragrances or preservatives, which can contain potential allergens.

Plus of course reusable wipes are the more environmentally friendly baby wipes and reusable wipes will save you money too.

The Cheeky Wipes all-in-one reusable wipes kit was developed after I had my flare up reaction to disposable wipes. The kit has all you need to make using reusable wipes easy, which is important with a small baby. 

The kit contains a box to soak the clean wipes in with water and some lavender & chamomile oil solution. There is an extra box for dirty wipes and a mesh bag so you don't have to touch them before washing. Lastly, there are wetbags for your clean and dirty wipes. When you're out, you can easily take a few clean wet wipes and be ready to go!

'Love the product! It is not only good for the environment but also for my baby’s bump. Nappy rash has gone away after few days of using these wipes! Before we used waterwipes…' Kotryna, Trustpilot

Aveeno Shea is great for eczema prone skin

What is the best thing to put on baby eczema?

The best thing to put on baby eczema is a good moisturiser for the dry skin and any medication your GP recommends if necessary.  

Finding a good fragrance free moisturiser that works for your baby will help a lot, although be careful applying moisturiser right before bed as the heat might make your little one even itchier!  Apply straight after bath whilst skin still retains some moisture and give it time to be absorbed well before bed-time.

Your Doctor may well prescribe an emollient such as E45 or Diprobase, however I have found the Aveeno Shea range to be the best for my sensitive skin. The combination of colloidal oatmeal and shea butter helps break the 'itch-scratch cycle' and heal my skin better than pretty much anything else. It's even better if it's applied straight from the fridge!

The important thing to recognise with eczema is that finding what works for your sensitive baby may well involve some trial and error to see what works for them. And more importantly, what doesn't.

Some GP's recommend using vaseline or petroleum jelly as a barrier after nappy changing and before eating to prevent diaper rash and protect skin. It's also great in winter when taking your baby outside to prevent chafing from wind and cold.

Baby Eczema on Face - Courtesy of National Eczema society

Image courtesy of National Eczema Society

How do you clean a baby with eczema?

To clean a baby with eczema, be gentle and avoid scented baby washes, bubble bath, or soaps to protect the skin. Whenever possible, use plain water. Use plain water whenever you can. 

If there's any particularly grubby spots rub some moisturiser in and then gently wipe away.  If it seems strange, consider using oily makeup removers to gently remove makeup and mascara. They work really well!

If you're looking to soothe inflamed eczema, a bath in lukewarm water of 10 minutes or so is a good idea and here again is where colloidal oatmeal can REALLY help. 

Colloidal oatmeal can be made really simply, just by blitzing normal porridge oats in a blender until they're a really fine dust. Tie these inside a muslin and chuck into the bath before running the water in and you'll see the bath turn milky white. This really helps take the itch away and is great for chicken pox too!

We hope you enjoyed this article, but if you're interested in further reading these posts might be of interest:

5 Top tips for making reusable wipes easy

5 ways to save thousands of pounds when expecting a baby




About the author: Helen Rankin is a Mum of 4 and founded Cheeky Wipes, with her the most-trusted reusable wipes kit back in 2008 after disposable wipes caused her eczema to flare up. She went on to develop their range of 'Simple Reusables' to include period pants, reusable sanitary pads and reusable makeup removing pads. The team pride themselves on providing relatable friendly advice and just LOVE to chat pee, poo and periods all day long! The Company was recognised for their hard work in developing environmentally friendly products with the Queens Award in Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2021.