What to know about sea moss for baby eczema

Sea moss, also known as Irish moss or Chondrus crispus, is a type of seaweed rich in vitamins and minerals. Sea moss may have benefits for inflammatory skin disorders, such as eczema.

Sea moss is a red seaweed that grows in tide pools and waters along rocky coasts. It is edible and present in some cosmetic products for topical use. Some people believe it can improve hair and skin health, although reports of cosmetic benefits are largely anecdotal.

This article discusses baby eczema, the possible benefits of sea moss for baby skin, and considerations for potential side effects. We also consider alternative treatments for baby eczema.

Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is the most common chronic inflammatory skin disorder in children. It affects 25% of children, with 60% of cases occurring during a child’s first year.

Baby eczema causes dry skin, itchiness, and scratching, and presents as itchy lesions on the skin.

The lesions typically appear in distinct areas which differ between age groups.

In infants up to 6 months, eczema most often appears on the face, chin, forehead, and scalp. The skin may appear red and may ooze from the lesions.

In infants between 6–12 months, eczema typically presents on the knees and elbows. If the lesions become infected, they may form small pus-filled bumps or a yellow crust.

Parents and caregivers should always seek advice from a medical expert on how to treat baby eczema.

Treating baby eczema as early as possible is important to prevent the condition from worsening. Babies with eczema may be more prone to skin infections, as eczema may make it easier for viruses and bacteria to enter through the skin.

A common treatment for eczema is corticosteroids or cortisone cream. Some doctors recommend parents and caregivers not treat children younger than 2 years with hydrocortisone.

According to the National Eczema Association, children who have exposure to excessive amounts of hydrocortisone cream may experience delayed weight gain and slower growth.

Other side effects from hydrocortisone cream can include:

  • skin irritation
  • dry and cracking skin
  • slow healing of wounds
  • changes in skin color
  • burning sensation
  • increase in hair growth

If a healthcare professional recommends using sea moss as an alternative to corticosteroids, people may either feed this plant to an infant or use it as a topical treatment.

While there are currently no clinical studies on the benefits of sea moss, seaweed has several potentially beneficial properties, including:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antifungal
  • antiviral
  • antioxidant
  • UV-protective
  • antidiabetic
  • immunomodulatory

Seaweed also contains many vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers, such as:

Seaweed also contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

One potential concern in treating baby eczema with sea moss is exposure to iodine. People need iodine for healthy thyroid function. However, overexposure can be dangerous, particularly in babies.

Research has found possible links between exposure to iodine and hypothyroidism in babies under 12 months. While thyroid dysfunction as a result of iodine exposure is typically mild and temporary, it can be life threatening.

Excessive intake of iodine can also cause:

Large amounts of sea moss may also cause reactions in people who have allergies to shellfish or sulfur.

A person should always discuss treatment with a medical professional. It is important to note that more research is needed on the use of sea moss as a treatment for baby eczema to determine its safety and suitability.

A doctor or dermatologist may recommend:

Gentle bathing

People may use lukewarm water and gently cleanse dirty areas of the baby using fragrance-free products.

People should not scrub the baby’s skin and should moisturize the skin after a bath with fragrance-free products. If the baby has itchy skin during the day, people can use gentle moisturizers.

Eliminating triggers

Certain things can trigger or worsen baby eczema, such as:

  • scratching
  • sweat
  • dry air
  • pet dander
  • products such as soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, baby powder, or wipes

A doctor may recommend removing triggers from a baby’s environment where possible to relieve eczema.

Topical corticosteroids

A doctor can help choose the safest and most effective medication and advise on safe amounts and the duration and frequency of treatment.

Topical corticosteroids are available in lotions, creams, or sprays.

Sea moss is a potential alternative remedy for eczema. Seaweed has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may relieve skin conditions such as eczema.

However, a person should not use sea moss as a substitute for traditional treatment without the advice of a doctor. Healthcare professionals can work with parents and caregivers to find the best treatment for baby eczema.