How Can I Prevent Baby Eczema
Since several factors can cause eczema in your baby, theres no way to completely prevent the condition. You can help your baby reduce their risk of developing a flare-up of symptoms by:
- Avoiding triggers, irritants and allergens.
- Using moisturizer on your babys skin daily.
- Giving your baby baths with warm, not hot, water that is between five to 10 minutes long.
- Choosing moisturizers or ointments without fragrance, designed for babies.
Does Your Child Need To See A Doctor About Eczema
Yes. Take your child to see your GP if your child:
- might have eczema for the first time
- is very itchy and uncomfortable
- has eczema thats weeping or bleeding
- has eczema that hasnt improved much after a few days, even though youve been treating it as usual
- is having trouble sleeping because the rash is so itchy
- has painful or eczema that has developed pus
- has eczema and is generally unwell for example, has a fever and/or is sweating, feeding poorly or tired.
You should also take your child to the GP if youre not sure whether the rash is eczema.
If your childs eczema doesnt improve with a combination of medical treatment and management at home, your GP might refer your child to a dermatologist. If the GP thinks your childs eczema might be from allergies, they might also refer you to an allergy and immunology specialist.
When To See A Doctor
While you can do a lot to control your babys eczema, sometimes you have to seek medical attention. Look out for the following signs and see a doctor if any of these occur.
- Unresponsiveness to over-the-counter medications. There are a lot of over-the-counter creams available that can sooth eczema. These ointments are very good at treating eczema for your baby. If they arent working, however, you should see a doctor to get prescription medicine instead.
- Changes in responsiveness to prescription medicine. Just because one medicine is working today doesnt mean it will always work. If you have prescription medication for your babys eczema and you see it doesnt work as well as it previously did to control symptoms, its time to reevaluate the medicine. Your doctor will be able to examine your baby and see if another medicine will be better.
- Appearance of yellow crust on the eczema patches. Yellow crust indicates that there may be a bacterial infection. This needs to be checked out immediately by a doctor because if it goes untreated, it will get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if antibiotics should be prescribed to stop the infection.
- Development of pus-filled blisters on the eczema patches. Blisters are also a sign that there may be an infection. They are also very painful and a sign that the eczema isnt being managed adequately. A doctor can evaluate your management plan and make adjustments, so you can better control your childs eczema symptoms.
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What Is The Difference Between Psoriasis And Ear Eczema
Psoriasis and ear eczema are two different skin conditions. They differ in where the disease appears on your body, how much it itches and how it looks.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disorder, which means its a skin condition that doesnt go away. People with psoriasis have thick, discolored patches of skin covered with white or silvery scales.
Ear eczema affects the skin in, on and around your ears. Eczema also causes more intense itching than psoriasis. Many people, especially children, can get both eczema and psoriasis.
How Is Eczema Treated
There is no cure for eczema. But treatments can help with symptoms. The doctor will recommend different treatments based on how severe the symptoms are, the childs age, and where the rash is. Some are topical and applied to the skin. Others are taken by mouth.
Topical moisturizers. Skin should be moisturized often . The best time to apply moisturizer is after a bath or shower, with the skin patted dry gently. Ointments and creams are best because they contain a lot of oil. Lotions have too much water to be helpful.
Topical corticosteroids, also called cortisone or steroid creams or ointments. These ease skin inflammation. Its important not to use a topical steroid prescribed for someone else. These creams and ointments vary in strength, and using the wrong strength in sensitive areas can damage the skin, especially in infants.
Other topical anti-inflammatory medicines. These include medicines that change the way the skins immune system reacts.
Medicine taken by mouth. These can include antihistamines to help itchy kids sleep better at night, antibiotics if a rash gets infected by bacteria, and corticosteroid pills or other medicines that suppress the immune system.
Other types of treatment can include:
- wet wraps: damp cloths placed on irritated areas of skin
- bleach baths: bathing in very diluted bleach solution
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Key Points About Atopic Dermatitis In Children
Atopic dermatitis is a long-term skin condition. Its common in babies and children.
A child with allergies or family members with atopic dermatitis has a higher chance of having atopic dermatitis.
Itching, dryness, and redness are common symptoms.
The goals of treatment are to ease itching and inflammation of the skin, increase moisture, and prevent infection.
Staying away from triggers is important to manage the condition.
It usually gets better or goes away as a child gets older.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Eczema
- if your child has eczema, their skin feels dry and rough to touch, and it is itchy
- their skin can become inflamed , and may even get infected , particularly with scratching
- in babies, the rash often involves their face
- in older children, the skin in the creases of their knees and elbows, around their neck and on their hands is often affected
- in some children, the skin over their entire body is affected
- at times your childs skin will look good and at other times it gets worse this is part of eczema and not necessarily caused by bad care
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Indications Of Atopic Eczema In Babies
- Itchiness is a strong factor but babies tend to rub more than scratch. Look out for redness in the forehead and the wrists as well as cracking and breaking of the skin.
- A dry skin is very indicative of atopic eczema.
- If the eczema is infected it will be weeping and oozing and there may be yellow/brown crusting.
How To Give Your Baby An Antiseptic Bath
You should only give your baby an antiseptic bath when they have active eczema. This is when their skin is infected or very itchy, dry, and red.
Antiseptic baths are perfectly safe when prepared and carried out the correct way. To do this:
- fill your bath or tub with enough warm water – please read our Bathing page for how to do this safely.
- add bleach and mix well, following these ratios:
- for bleach that is 4.2% strength add 1 ml for every litre of water
- for bleach that is 3.1% strength add 1.3 ml for every litre of water
- for bleach that is 2.1% strength add 2 ml for every litre of water
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Whats The Best Natural Cream For Baby Ear Eczema
If your baby is prone to eczema, it can sometimes flare up in and around their ears. Ear eczema is very distressing and painful for tiny people, causing crying, upset and sleepless nights, so its pretty important to get it under control.
Some important points to consider
- If youre worried about your baby’s eczema being infected: see your GP
- Caution should be taken with using topical steroids on the face please read up about their appropriate use and side-effects before use, and talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the best creams to use on babies.
- Never poke into your babys ear canal with a cotton bud or anything else! Damage can lead to infections and can affect their hearing.
- Dont try to put cream into the ear: only use drops if the eczema is inside the ear canal save the salves for outside the ear.
Will My Baby Grow Out Of Eczema
Sadly, it is impossible to predict whether your baby will have eczema for life or for just a short time. So far, there is no cure for eczema. Eczema is a chronic condition with periods of flare and periods of remission, and most people with a history of eczema still have problems with dry and itchy skin. If your child has a difference in their filaggrin gene, they will not grow out of it. Even if your baby appears to grow out of their eczema, it may return during the teenage years or in adulthood.
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What You Can Do
You can help reduce your childs discomfort by:
- keeping their fingernails short to reduce the damage to their skin from scratching
- washing them with aqueous cream instead of soap ask your pharmacist about aqueous creams and always follow the instructions on the product
- using non-biological detergent and a double rinse cycle when washing their clothes or bedding
- avoiding herbal, natural or alternative creams these can make eczema worse, as they may contain bacteria or high doses of steroids
- rinsing and drying them well after swimming
- dressing them in cool, breathable fabrics like cotton
- keeping them away from anyone with a cold sore as the cold sore virus can cause eczema to become infected
- using extra moisturiser on areas your child scratches a lot
- avoiding anything you know that causes your childs eczema to get worse
Around 6 out of 10 children with eczema will grow out of it by the time theyre teenagers.
How Do I Get Rid Of Eczema In My Ears
To get rid of your ear eczema, its important to determine whats causing it. Try to determine what triggers or worsens your ear eczema, and then avoid it. The goal is to reduce itching and discomfort and prevent infection and additional flare-ups.
The following home remedies may relieve your ear eczema:
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Ways To Prevent Baby Eczema
Eczema itself cannot be prevented, but knowing and avoiding triggers can help prevent flare-ups of the condition.
Some ways to reduce triggers include:
- Keep your child out of cold, dry air.
- If they are 6 months or older, make sure your child gets an annual flu shot.
- Read labels on products to help your family avoid common irritants.
- Double-rinse your laundry to remove detergent residue.
What Causes Atopic Dermatitis In A Child
The exact cause of atopic dermatitis is not known. But some things are linked to it. They include:
Genes. This skin problem can be passed on from parents to a child.
Immune system. An immune system that isnt fully developed may affect how much protection the skin can give.
External factors. These include being in winter weather, using hot water for bathing, using soap, and being in dry, hot temperatures.
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Natural Remedies For Baby Eczema
If you need some extra help soothing babys skin, these natural eczema treatments may make things better.
- Wet a washcloth. Drape cool, wet washcloths or gauze over your babys irritated skin for five to ten minutes at a time or however long you can get your squirmy worm to cooperate.
- Try an oatmeal bath. Sprinkle a bit of uncooked oatmeal, colloidal oatmeal or even baking soda into the tub when you wash your baby. All can naturally relieve eczema and irritation.
- Combat dry air. Running a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s bedroom can help keep her skin super-hydrated. Clean it frequently to prevent bacteria and mold buildup.
- Dress your little one in layers. Sweating can reboot the eczema cycle, and thats the last thing you want. Layers let you customize babys outfit for toasty temps.
- Ask your pediatrician about probiotics. Studies are underway to see whether probiotics may ease eczema when added to dry baby formula or served as a dietary supplement. Get your doctor to weigh in before giving it a go.
How Is It Treated
Treating ear eczema depends on both the underlying cause and area it affects. If you have allergic eczema, you might need to stop using certain products or wearing earrings, to narrow down whats causing the irritation. If you still cant figure out whats causing it, you may need to undergo allergy testing.
If you have seborrheic eczema, you may need to apply an antifungal ointment to the affected part of your ear. Your doctor might also prescribe a topical steroid to reduce inflammation, especially if the skin behind your ear is affected. If you have symptoms in your external ear canal, your doctor can prescribe steroid ear drops.
Its important to keep the area moisturized, regardless of the type of eczema you have. Avoid using harsh soaps and cleansers around your ears, which can dry out your skin and make your symptoms worse.
Instead, look for a gentle cleanser. Shop for one designed for eczema-prone skin. You should then follow up with a moisturizer that contains colloidal oatmeal. Try one like this. Colloidal oatmeal is a natural anti-inflammatory with proven benefits for protecting and soothing dry, irritated skin.
Try to stick with products that have the seal of acceptance by the National Eczema Association. These products have been evaluated to ensure they dont contain any known skin irritants, which can make eczema worse. Regardless of the products you choose, make sure you dont use any long objects, like a cotton swab, to apply them to the inside of your ear.
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Eczema In Babies With Black And Brown Skin
According to the National Eczema Foundation, eczema affects more African American babies than any other racial background. About 1 in every 5 thats about 20% African American babies has some form of eczema. This compares to 10.7% of Hispanic babies, 12.1% of white babies, and 13% for Asian and Native American, respectively.
Eczema doesnt appear red like it does on white skin. Instead of red patches, eczema may cause gray, darker brown, or even purple patches. These discolored patches may still be dry, warm, swollen, itchy, and/or scaly.
When Should My Baby Go To The Doctor For Eczema Treatment
If your baby has symptoms of eczema and at-home treatments have not helped, make an appointment with your pediatrician.
If your baby’s eczema is crusty, oozing fluid, or if your baby is showing any other signs of infection , call your pediatrician right away. Eczema rashes can become infected and may require antibiotic treatment.
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Eczema Coping Tips Diet
In most cases, eczema isnt caused or made worse by diet. If you notice that your eczema seems to get worse after eating a particular food, you may be an exception to this. See your doctor or dietitian for proper allergy testing and dietary advice.Never self-diagnose or you risk depriving yourself of enjoyable and nutritious foods for no good reason. Unnecessarily avoiding certain foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
What Else Should I Know
Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis in the diaper area or skin folds can get infected. Talk to your doctor if the rash gets worse or there are any signs of infection .
Cradle cap and seborrheic dermatitis in infants usually get better by 12 months of age. Seborrhea may come back around puberty as dandruff.
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Does Baby Eczema Go Away On Its Own
Baby eczema needs treatment to go away completely. The best treatment is using moisturizer daily or several times each day to keep your babys skin hydrated.
Most cases of baby eczema clear up by the time they start school, around age 4 or 5. Sometimes eczema can go away or reduce in severity as your child reaches adolescence or by the time they turn into adults. As your child grows, they may have sensitive skin or flare-ups of eczema symptoms throughout their life.
Importance Of Eczema Treatment
There is growing evidence that allergens introduced into the body through the skin can lead to the later development of food allergy, asthma and hay fever. Aggressively treating eczema in children and taking steps to restore normal skin barrier function may lower the risk of future development of these conditions.
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Other Types Of Eczema
Eczema is the name for a group of skin conditions that cause dry, irritated skin.
Other types of eczema include:
- discoid eczema a type of eczema that occurs in circular or oval patches on the skin
- contact dermatitis a type of eczema that occurs when the body comes into contact with a particular substance
- varicose eczema a type of eczema that most often affects the lower legs and is caused by problems with the flow of blood through the leg veins
- seborrhoeic eczema a type of eczema where red, scaly patches develop on the sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears and scalp
- dyshidrotic eczema a type of eczema that causes tiny blisters to erupt across the palms of the hands
Page last reviewed: 05 December 2019 Next review due: 05 December 2022
Should I Worry About Using The Topical Steroids Prescribed By My Healthcare Professional
No, you dont need to worry, as long as you follow your healthcare professionals specific instructions. Topical steroids are first-line treatments for babies with eczema. These creams have been used to treat eczema for more than 50 years, so there is a good understanding of how they work.
If you dont treat the eczema promptly and adequately, skin damage is far more likely to occur through scratching into the deeper layers of skin.
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