Tallow Balm for Baby Eczema: Is It Safe? [Mom-tested]
If your little one is suffering from baby eczema, tallow balm can be an effective natural remedy.
Tallow is a common ancestral skincare treatment for eczema in adults and children, and there's no evidence that tallow balm is harmful for infants when used appropriately. In fact, it contains many helpful nutrients that will nourish and protect their skin.
I've personally used tallow balm to treat baby eczema in one of my children, so I've seen firsthand how it can provide relief to little ones suffering from dry, itchy skin caused by eczema.
Keep reading to learn how I used tallow balm to treat baby eczema naturally, why tallow balm is a great alternative to commercial eczema treatments, and important safety considerations to follow when using tallow balm on your baby.
» MORE: Try the tallow balm I recommend for baby eczema
How I used tallow balm as a natural remedy for baby eczema
I used tallow balm as a natural remedy for baby eczema after my fourth child had a mild reaction to something he ate. He was about six months old at the time.
We had eaten out at a restaurant, so he was exposed to a few foods I wouldn't normally feed him: processed white bread, raw tomato, and ham. He woke up the next morning with an upset tummy. Otherwise, he seemed fine — until I noticed a rough, red rash on his elbow. I immediately identified the rash as an eczema breakout.
To treat baby eczema, it's important to keep the affected skin moisturized and covered to protect the skin while it heals. So after gently rubbing tallow balm on his skin, I dressed him in a long sleeve shirt. I reapplied the tallow balm every few hours, just often enough to keep the skin moist. I also kept him in long, loose clothing until the skin had fully recovered.
In addition to using tallow balm, I did a couple of other things to protect my baby's skin and help him recover from the eczema breakout. Since I knew that food had caused the breakout, I only fed him breast milk for 24 hours to give his body time to recover from the histamine reaction. I also avoided using soap (even natural soap) on or around his elbow because I didn't want to dry the skin out any further.
It took a few weeks for my son's eczema breakout to fully heal, but his skin started to look better as soon as the second day. I can't guarantee tallow balm will work as well for your baby as it did for mine (every person's skin microbiome is different), but having seen the results up close, I think tallow balm is a great first option before resorting to commercial eczema treatments.
Why I chose tallow balm over regular baby eczema treatments
When my little one had an eczema breakout, I chose to treat it with tallow balm because it's made from all-natural ingredients that are highly beneficial to the skin.
Benefits of tallow balm for baby eczema
Grass-fed tallow is high in vitamins D and E, which are responsible for keeping the skin smooth, protecting it from sun damage, and reducing inflammation. It also has vitamin K2, which supports the body's ability to create elastin (which, like it sounds, is a protein that increases the skin's elasticity).
Like other animal fats, tallow is rich in saturated fatty acids that correct imbalances in the skin associated with eczema breakouts. (Learn more about why tallow balm is great for eczema in people of all ages.)
Just as importantly, tallow balm doesn't have the harsh side effects of common eczema treatments like hydrocortisone cream and crisaborole. These commercial eczema creams are full of artificial ingredients I'm not comfortable using on myself — much less my baby! Those synthetic ingredients can help with eczema symptoms, but they often lead to other skin issues, especially with extended use.
Why I didn't use hydrocortisone to get rid of baby eczema.
Since my baby's eczema breakout was relatively mild, I wanted to avoid any products that could cause other negative health effects, now or in the future.
Hydrocortisone and other steroid creams break down the skin barrier, weakening it and leaving it vulnerable to other skin problems. They don't just dry the skin out (a common complaint) — they decrease its ability to stay hydrated and actually disorganize the cell structure in your skin!
Common side effects of hydrocortisone cream include burning, itching, irritation, and dryness. Unless it's a severe eczema flare-up, those side effects may be worse than the symptoms you're trying to treat! (They certainly were in my baby's case.)
What concerned me even more than the short-term side effects is that long-term hydrocortisone usage has been linked to hormonal disruption and high blood sugar. That's why doctors typically recommend using hydrocortisone cream on babies for no more than five days at a time.
Why I didn't use crisaborole to treat my baby's eczema
Crisaborole (sold under the brand name Eucrisa) has fewer short-term side effects than steroid creams, but it also has distressing properties that I wanted to avoid. Most notably, crisaborole is an immunosuppressant.
During an eczema breakout, the body sends white blood cells to the surface of the skin. That immune response is what causes redness and inflammation.
Crisaborole works by weakening the immune system, which prevents the skin from releasing as many inflammatory immune responses. This reduces eczema symptoms, but it does nothing to strengthen the skin barrier or address the root cause of the inflammation.
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, and I can't give you medical advice. I just wanted to share the reasons I chose to look for a natural baby eczema remedy rather than one of these commercial eczema treatments.
Safety considerations when using tallow balm for baby eczema
Baby skin is incredibly sensitive, so I recommend taking a few precautions before using tallow balm (or any skincare product) on your little one.
First, check the ingredients list. Make sure it doesn't contain anything you know your baby is allergic to or has reacted to in the past.
If you have another child with highly sensitive skin, a family history or allergies, or you just want to be extra careful, patch test a small amount of the balm on your baby's arm or leg. Leave it for a few hours and verify your baby doesn't have a reaction before applying it to the spot of the eczema breakout.
Stop treatment and consult with your health care provider if symptoms worsen or your baby appears to be reacting negatively to the tallow balm.
The best tallow balm for baby eczema
The best tallow balm for baby eczema is an unscented or herb-infused tallow balm made from grass-fed tallow and other all-natural ingredients.
Research shows that grass-fed beef has a higher nutrient content than meat from other cows. Since tallow is rendered beef fat, this suggests grass-fed tallow will nourish your baby's skin more effectively than balms made from lower-quality ingredients.
Avoid tallow balms made with essential oils when treating baby eczema. Scented ingredients – event natural ones – are highly concentrated, which makes them dangerous for infants because their skin is so sensitive.
If you're concerned about the smell of an unscented tallow balm, I recommend trying our herb-infused tallow balm. The herbs give the tallow balm a pleasant aroma, and they also support your baby's skin health as their body absorbs their nutrients.
We make our herb-infused tallow balm by creating an infusion of whole organic calendula and rose in organic olive oil. We strain out the herbs, then use the herb-infused olive oil as an ingredient in the tallow balm.
Herb-infused olive oil is much less potent than essential oils, which makes it safer for infants and other people with sensitive skin. Plus, since it's made from whole herbs, the tallow balm retains the anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of the rose and calendula leaves. These properties aid in wound healing, further supporting your baby's recovery.
FAQs about using tallow balm for baby eczema
Is tallow balm a safe way to treat baby eczema?
Yes! There's no evidence that tallow balm is harmful for infants when used properly. Many parents (including me!) have used tallow balm to treat baby eczema.
What is the best tallow balm for baby eczema?
The best tallow balm for baby eczema is an unscented, grass-fed tallow balm made from all-natural ingredients. Grass-fed tallow contains nutrients that repair your baby's skin barrier and protect it from further damage, and it's gentle on sensitive skin. Never use any product that contains essential oils or other scented ingredients — they're highly likely to cause a reaction.
Can I use tallow balm in conjunction with a regular eczema treatment like hydrocortisone?
Yes. In fact, if you're going to use steroid creams for baby eczema, you'll have better results if you use tallow balm too. Research shows that natural animal fats like tallow are extremely effective natural moisturizers, and you need to keep the skin moisturized so it can absorb the eczema treatment!
A good treatment routine is to moisturize the skin with tallow balm, then wait 30 minutes (or until it fully absorbs) before applying the steroid cream.
Using tallow balm won't necessarily offset the side effects of the steroid cream, but it will nourish your baby's skin with the nutrients and vitamins it needs to stay healthy and prevent another eczema flare-up.