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How to Treat Itchy Skin on Babies

by
author image Sandra Ketcham
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."
How to Treat Itchy Skin on Babies
Applying lotion to your baby's skin after bathing may help itching. Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

Itching in babies is fairly common because the skin of infants is thin, sensitive and prone to irritation. Itchy skin on babies can stem from a variety of causes, including eczema, irritation from soaps and fabrics, allergies to food or other substances, dry skin and insect bites. While treating the underlying cause of the itchy skin is essential, most home remedies to soothe itching are equally effective, regardless of the cause of the symptom. Itching that is accompanied by other symptoms or has no obvious cause requires medical evaluation.

Step 1

Bathe your baby in cool or lukewarm water and use a mild soap when necessary. Very warm water, soaps and shampoos all contribute to dry skin and make itching worse. Adding colloidal oatmeal to the bathwater may also help soothe her itching.

Step 2

Pat her skin dry or allow her to air dry. Rubbing your baby's skin with a towel can increase irritation, dryness and itching.

Step 3

Apply a moisturizing lotion to your baby's skin as soon as her skin is mostly dry after bathing, when she wakes in the morning and before bed at night. Babies with very dry skin or eczema may benefit from an oil-based ointment more than from a water-based moisturizer.

Step 4

Dress your baby in breathable, lightweight, smooth fabrics such as cotton or silk. Avoid wool and other scratchy fabrics, as these can significantly increase itching.

Step 5

Keep your baby cool and avoid rapid temperature changes. Placing cool compresses or chilled, damp washcloths directly onto itchy areas may also help.

Step 6

Cut your baby's fingernails to prevent skin irritation and damage associated with scratching.

Step 7

Give your baby an over-the-counter oral antihistamine medication. These medications can relieve itching and control inflammation and other symptoms stemming from mild allergic reactions.

Step 8

Treat severe itchy skin on babies by applying an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to isolated itchy areas, with your pediatrician's permission.

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