Causes And Triggers Of Baby Eczema
The causes of baby eczema are unclear, though it is generally agreed that the conditionstems from a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Knowing what triggers babyeczema can be useful in keeping the condition under control. Common triggers include:
- Dry skin: When the skin becomes too dry it becomes susceptible to rashes and flare-ups of eczema.
- Moisture on the skin: From sweat, milk, saliva or wet diapers.
- Chemical irritants: Natural or artificial chemicals found in everyday products canmake an outbreak of eczema more likely. These chemicals can be found in products such asshampoo, soap, laundry detergent and disinfectants or surface cleaners.
- Dust mites: Some research shows that prolonged exposure to dust mites increases thelikelihood of an infant developing eczema. Further research in the area suggests thatreducing the number of dust mites in the home makes little difference to the frequencyand severity of eczema flares after the first diagnosis.
- Stress: Babies can become extremely irritated by eczema which can in turn exacerbatethe condition further.
What Can Make It Worse
Each baby is different. But there are some common eczema triggers to avoid, including:
Dry skin. It can make a baby’s skin itchier. Low humidity, especially during winter when homes are well-heated and the air is dry, is a cause.
Irritants. Think scratchy wool clothes, polyester, perfumes, body soaps, and laundry soaps. These can all trigger symptoms.
Stress. Children with eczema may react to stress by flushing. That can lead to itchy, irritated skin. And that, in turn, ramps up their eczema symptoms.
Heat and sweat. Both can make the itch of infant eczema worse.
Allergens. Its not certain, but some experts believe that removing cows milk, peanuts, eggs, or certain fruits from a childs food may help control eczema symptoms. Remember that your baby can get exposed to these foods if their mother eats them before they breastfeed. Find out the connection between food and eczema flares.
What Do I Do When My Child Has A Flare
Your childs eczema will improve more quickly if it is treated soon after you first notice the rash. Prompt treatment will also reduce the likelihood of complications, so its best to see your doctor or pharmacist at the first sign of a flare-up.
Keep your childs fingernails short to avoid them scratching as much as possible.
Eczema is often treated using a steroid cream or ointment. You should get advice from your doctor or pharmacist about the best one to use for your specific case as different creams are used depending on the part of the body, the severity and the age of the child.
If your childs eczema does not improve after two days of regular treatment or if there are signs of infection, weepy, crusted or broken areas, it is important to see a doctor.
There are many treatments that can be used to treat eczema. For many children, eczema is a condition that comes and goes, and changes in intensity over time, so you may need to see your doctor a few times for the same condition.
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Baby Eczema Vs Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is another common condition that can cause flaking skin, so its important to be able to distinguish between eczema and cradle cap. Luckily, if you take a look at the color and location of your babys dry skin, you should have no problem identifying the correct condition.
Eczema typically appears red and pink, while cradle cap results in white or yellow flakes. Cradle cap also typically occurs on the scalp, behind the ears, on the eyelids and eyebrows, or on the sides of the babys nose.
What Triggers My Childs Eczema Or Causes It To Get Worse
Some of the most common eczema triggers include:
Even your babys stuffed animals may be a trigger for eczema
- Dry skin
- Allergens such as pet dander, pollen or dust
Your childs eczema may be worse in the winter when the air is dry. Saliva from drooling can also cause irritation on your babys cheeks, chin and neck.
The best way to manage your childs eczema is by getting to know their symptoms and triggers so that you can help keep it under control.
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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.
How Often Should I Bathe My Baby
If your baby has eczema, a daily bath with an emollient will help soothe the eczema and reduce dry skin and itching, while cleansing the skin, removing dirt and repairing the skin barrier. Use leave-on emollients instead of soaps, baby washes or bubble bath, or alternatively use emollient wash products or bath additives. Avoid any perfumed products and keep the water tepid, as heat can aggravate eczema.
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Where On The Body Can Eczema Appear
Eczema can appear in any area where your child has come into contact with one of their triggers.
For example, if they have a grass allergy and rolled around in the backyard, they might have rashes anywhere there was exposed skin.
A child could get eczema around the outside of their mouth after eating acidic foods, like pineapple, or in the folds of their skin if they were sweating.
If your child had eczema as a baby, you might think youre a pro at identifying it. However, the symptoms of eczema in toddlers are actually different from the symptoms in babies. As kids get older, the location of their rashes can change.
Babies are prone to rashes on their faces and heads remember cradle cap? Thats a kind of eczema! Toddlers and older kids are more likely to get eczema in the following areas:
- creases of their elbows
What Should I Do If My Babys Eczema Gets Worse
If your baby has wet, weepy skin and their eczema is not getting better with steroids, their skin may be infected and they may need antibiotics. If your babys eczema flare does not get better with the standard treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence , your GP should refer them to a dermatology specialist. If they suspect an allergy, they should refer them to an allergist or joint dermatologyallergy clinic.
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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.
What Can Make Eczema Worse
In addition to knowing the potential causes for eczema, understanding the factors that can exaggerate this skin condition can help you minimize your babys discomfort.
- Dry environments: Being in environments that can dry out your babys skin can make eczema worse. Many babies develop more severe cases of eczema in the winter, when the air indoors is incredibly dry because of the use of heaters.
- Heat: Being hot and sweaty can aggravate eczema.
- Certain irritants: Fabrics like wool and polyester, and products like soap and laundry detergent , can inflame eczema.
- Stress: Stress can worsen eczema, as it can cause the skin to flush.
Limiting babys exposure to these factors, and being hyper-vigilant about protecting their skin, can help prevent their eczema from intensifying.
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Does Breastfeeding Prevent Baby Eczema
There is some evidence that breastfed babies may be less likely to develop eczema. Although unproven, the antimicrobial properties in breast milk have also been studied as a type of treatment when directly applied to an eczema rash. To try this, rub a few drops of your liquid gold onto the rash regularly for a few days and watch for any reduction in symptoms.
Eczema Treatment: What To Do About Treating Baby Eczema In The Creases Behind Elbows And Behind Knees
Clean Eczema Skin Rash: Gently wash the irritated area with purified lukewarm water and a soft, clean cotton cloth. A Hypochlorous solution like SkinSmart Antimicrobial® can be an excellent way to initially treat the rash and minimize the urge to scratch the itch. Its mild, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic and eliminates harmful bacteria that can lead to infections.
Moisturize the Irritated Skin: Carefully rub a generous amount of a high-quality moisturizer like Vaniply® from Pharmaceutical Specialties, Inc. into the irritated areas. Vaniply is a mild and gentle ointment that helps soothe dry, irritated, itchy skin without a greasy feel. Vaniply will help prevent water loss, relieve and prevent dry, chapped, and cracked skin.
This process should be repeated at least twice a day and for as long as the skin irritation is visible. If the condition does not start visibly getting better or discomfort and itching persist consult your healthcare professional immediately.
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If your childâs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
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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.
How Can I Help My Child Live With Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis has no cure. But it will usually get better or go away as your child gets older. There may be times when your child has few or no symptoms. And he or she may have times when symptoms get worse. This is called a flare-up. To help prevent flare-ups, make sure your child:
Stays away from triggers. Common triggers include irritants such as wool, soap, or chemicals. Other triggers include allergens such as eggs, dust mites, or pet dander. Stress is also a trigger.
Doesnt scratch the skin. Try to keep your child from scratching. It can cause symptoms to get worse. It can also cause infection.
Always has short fingernails. Trim or file your childs nails to keep them short and prevent scratching.
Takes baths or showers with warm, not hot, water. Air dry or gently dry the skin afterward.
Uses moisturizers. Put creams or ointments on after bathing.
Wears soft clothing. Dont dress your child in wool or other rough fabric.
Keeps cool. Try to keep your child as cool as possible. Getting hot and sweating can make him or her more uncomfortable.
Doesnt get the smallpox vaccine. Its not a common vaccine, but people with atopic dermatitis should not get the smallpox vaccine.
Talk with your child’s healthcare provider about other ways to help your childs skin condition.
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What Else Could It Be
People may also confuse other skin conditions, such as erythema toxicum neonatorum and chickenpox, with baby acne or eczema.
Erythema toxicum neonatorum is a harmless skin condition that may occur within the first couple of days of life. It causes small spots and pimple of 14 mm in diameter on the arms and legs. Notably, the rash does not appear on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. It typically clears up by itself within 5 to 14 days.
Chickenpox is a contagious skin disease that causes a rash of blister-like spots and pimples on the stomach, back, and face. The rash can spread across the whole body and tends to occur alongside itching, tiredness, and fever.
Chickenpox can lead to severe complications in babies, so anyone who suspects chickenpox in a baby should take them to see a doctor immediately.
Baby Eczema And Cradle Cap Symptoms
- Thickened skin
- Darkened skin on the eyelids and around the eyes
- Changes to the skin around the mouth, eyes, or ears
Cradle cap causes symptoms not commonly seen in other types of infantile eczema, such as greasy yellow scales on the scalp that sometimes appear in a thick layer covering the entire top of the head. Over time, the scales become flaky and rub off.
Most babies do not appear to be bothered by cradle cap, though it sometimes itches.
A baby with atopic dermatitis has an increased risk of other atopic conditions, including asthma, hay fever, and food allergies.
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How Can I Stop My Baby Itching
Keeping your babys skin well moisturised and controlling any flares are the best ways to reduce the itch.
Try to work out any individual factors that trigger your babys flares and try to avoid exposing them to irritants. Scratching is a response to itch but it can become a habit, too. So, keep your babys nails short and use sleepsuits with built-in mittens. Keep the bedroom cool: around 18°C.
Is Cradle Cap A Form Of Eczema
Technically, cradle cap , is a form of eczema that affects nearly 70% of all infants by the time they are three months old. Cradle cap is characterized by crusty, flaky patches on your babys scalp.
Unlike classic baby eczema, cradle cap is typically not itchy and does not cause any discomfort to your little one. Usually, cradle cap clears up on its own, but there are some homemade treatments to try if youd like to try to get rid of it sooner.
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How Long Will My Babys Eczema Last
Baby eczema will first appear sometime between months 1 and 6. With proper treatment, a flare-up can disappear completely. If you can identify what is triggering your babys eczema, you may be able to keep their eczema completely away.
However, the possibility of another dry, itchy patch is always possible. You may see frequent flare-ups if you are unable to pinpoint the root cause.
Usually, children outgrow their eczema by the time they are 6 or 7 years old, but occasionally it persists into adulthood.
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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 child’s 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. It’s 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 skin’s 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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