Natural Remedies To Tackle Eczema In Babies
An irritated baby with itchy skin can make you feel quite helpless. Eczema or atopic dermatitis is common in babies, often making an appearance within a few months of birth. Babies with this condition have less body oils and their skins barrier function is compromised. Moisture, therefore, evaporates easily from the skin, causing cells to shrink and cracks to develop. Irritants and allergens then have easy access and cause inflammation. Red, crusty patches of skin, scaling, and itching follow classic signs of eczema that you may have come to dread.
Various factors such as viral infections, dust mites, and even teething can trigger eczema. This condition is more common in children with a family history of allergies. Food allergies may also have a role in around 10% of babies, foods such as eggs, milk, chocolate, or peanuts work as a trigger.12
Eczema is a chronic condition though some children do outgrow it. While there is no cure for eczema yet, there are plenty of measures that can ease symptoms and reduce chances of another flare-up. Lets take a look at what you can do to help ease this condition in your baby.
Best Ointment For Eczema Treatment
Finding the best ointment for eczema treatment has been a bit of a sore spot for me. Mainly because I researched like crazy, and each time I came across a new lotion that promised to be a miracle worker, I was disappointed.
I initially just used organic coconut oil on Hannahs skin. Coconut oil works a treat on me , and I wanted to keep things as natural as possible for my baby. But with increasingly dry skin, I eventually decided that shed need something more heavy duty.
As mentioned, Cetraben didnt work for Hannah. We were then prescribed another cream Epaderm without success. It seemed these thick, paraffin-based emollients just didnt agree with her.
I then tried Childs Farm after reading rave reviews. Some parents had hailed Childs Farm as a miracle cure for eczema. To be fair, it softened most of Hannahs skin a treat, so I bought bottles in bulk. But sadly it was too thin in consistency to make any real inroads on stubborn patches of eczema. And she was still itchy. It seemed that Childs Farm couldnt help Hannah when her skin flared up.
I moved onto Pure Potions Skin Salvation Ointment, which again had rave reviews. The thick beeswax-base cream is said to soothe itchy skin. This fared much better than Childs Farm as I noticed Hannahs dry patches softened within days. The Pure Potions ointment also helped Hannahs scars heal quicker.
Which Is The Best Emollient For My Baby
Emollients treat dry skin by providing a surface film of oils. This increases water in the upper layer of the skin, restoring and providing a robust skin barrier, to prevent the entry of environmental agents or triggers.
Emollients soften the skin and reduce itch. If they are used regularly to maintain skin hydration, they can reduce the frequency of eczema flares. Leave-on emollients include lotions, creams,ointments and gels.
The emollient advised or prescribed for your baby should prevent dry skin and not cause irritation. You might need to try several products until you find the right one. Apply leave-on emollients regularly, throughout the day for example, at every nappy change and after bathing.
Use the product liberally . To apply the product, dot it all over the skin, and then smooth it in, using a gentle, downward, stroking motion rather than rubbing in.
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Baby Eczema Treatment With Phototherapy
When other treatments have failed another option is ultraviolet light or phototherapy. How can phototherapy help?
UV radiation is known to suppress the immune system and prevent an overactive response that causes skin inflammation.
As with too much sun exposure, this therapy comes with several risks. The phototherapy may require several months to see improvement. The prolonged use of phototherapy increases the risk of sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging.
For this therapy, the child needs to be at least 3 years of age. Of course, you will have to discuss with your dermatologist if treating baby eczema with phototherapy is suitable for your child.
Best Way To Treat Baby Eczema Break The Itch
Now all the creams in the world wont help cure baby eczema if the itch-scratch cycle is in full swing. This is what I found hardest when Hannahs eczema was at its worst. As her problem area was on her neck, it gave her easy access to scratch. So shed feel itchy and scratch her neck. This would make her itchier and then shed scratch some more. And so the cycle went on.
One thing that really saved her skin was Scratchsleeves, which are essentially scratch mittens that are designed to stay on. Unlike regular baby mittens which constantly fall off, Scratchsleeves fit onto a baby like a shrug cardigan. The mitten part is cotton on the inside, and silk on the outside. The silk is designed to cool the skin on contact, so rather than making Hannah scratch more, it soothes the area of irritation. I put these mittens on Hannah at bedtime, which helps her sleep better as she doesnt scratch herself awake.
Most importantly, the Scratchsleeves minimise the damage caused by scratching, which can result in broken skin and infections.
While of course the Scratchsleeves dont cure eczema, they can really help a baby get through a very itchy phase. They are the one item I would recommend for any baby who is suffering with incessant itching.
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Treatments For Atopic Dermatitis And Eczema In Children
At Boston Children’s Hospital, we are uniquely qualified to determine the best course of care for children with skin problems. We’re known for our science-driven approach we’re home to the most extensive research enterprise located in a pediatric hospital in the world, and we’ve partnered with a number of top biotech and health care organizations but our physicians never forget that your child is a child, and not just another patient.
Although there is no cure for atopic dermatitis, treatment can decrease your child’s skin dryness and irritation, making her more comfortable. In severe cases, your child’s physician may prescribe your child medications to help alleviate her atopic dermatitis symptoms. Common medications include:
- steroid creams and ointments
- topical medications to help decrease skin inflammation
- examples are hydrocortisone, mometasone or triamcinolone
What can I do at home?
What is the treatment plan if a food allergy is triggering the atopic dermatitis?
How long will treatment take?
Give Probiotics To Deal With Food Allergies
As we saw earlier, food allergies may work as a trigger for some children with eczema. And tackling them can help ease the condition. The intestinal flora of children with allergies differs from those who do not have allergies. Treatment with beneficial bacteria or probiotics can, therefore, help tackle eczema linked to food allergies. According to a study, babies with food allergies experienced an easing of skin allergy symptoms when they were given the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus GG.13 Fermented foods such as yogurt may naturally contain probiotics but make sure you check labels to see if they have the beneficial strain. And do consult a doctor before you use probiotic supplements.
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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.
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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Wrap Up In Cold Weather
Cold, harsh winter winds can dry out skin and cause eczema flares.
Keep the skin covered when temperatures are low. Also, consider covering the face with a scarf if eczema occurs on the face.
Many home remedies are suitable for babies and children, but always speak to a doctor before using them on kids of any age.
The following home remedies may help:
Natural Remedies For Babies With Eczema
Most often, creams, balms, butters and oils are recommended to treat baby eczema. Its important to be aware that lotions do not protect and seal in moisture well enough to work effectively as an eczema treatment. They are simple too thin.
Lets dive into my top seven recommendations for natural baby eczema remedies.
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How To Use Emollients
Use your emollient all the time, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms.
Many people find it helpful to keep separate supplies of emollients at work or school, or a tub in the bathroom and one in a living area.
To apply the emollient:
- use a large amount
- do not rub it in smooth it into the skin in the same direction the hair grows
- after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry and apply the emollient while the skin is still moist to keep the moisture in
You should use an emollient at least twice a day if you can, or more often if you have very dry skin.
During a flare-up, apply generous amounts of emollient more frequently, but remember to treat inflamed skin with a topical corticosteroid as emollients used on their own are not enough to control it.
Do not put your fingers into an emollient pot use a spoon or pump dispenser instead, as this reduces the risk of infection. And never share your emollient with other people.
Medical Treatment For Eczema
Eczema cant be cured. But it can be managed by preventing and treating flare-ups as soon as they appear.
If your childs skin is inflamed and itchy, theyll probably need some corticosteroid ointment or cream. For mild eczema, you can buy mild corticosteroids over the counter at your pharmacy. The most common is hydrocortisone 1% cream. For more serious eczema or if the over-the-counter products arent working, youll need to see your GP to get a prescription for a stronger corticosteroid.
Other eczema treatments include pimecrolimus, a non-steroidal cream. Doctors might prescribe this cream for children with mild to moderate eczema on the face and in body folds.
If your child is scratching at a rash, you could ask your pharmacist or GP about using an antihistamine medication for a few days. Together with a corticosteroid cream, this might give your child some rest and help the flare-up to settle.
If your childs eczema rash gets infected, your doctor will prescribe a course of oral antibiotics.
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Food Allergy And Eczema Flare
- Food allergies are a factor in 30% of young children with severe eczema. This factor is mainly seen in babies.
- The main allergic foods are cow’s milk and eggs.
- The main symptoms are increased skin redness and itching. Some parents report these symptoms start during or soon after the feeding.
- The eczema becomes easier to control if you avoid the allergic food.
Eczema And Food Allergy Risk
Babies with eczema are at sharply increased risk for developing a food allergy. In fact, babies who have eczema are at the highest risk for developing a food allergy in the future.
According to Dr. Jonathan Spergel, Board Certified Allergist and Member of the National Eczema Association Scientific Advisory Committee, Up to 67% of infants with severe eczema, and 25% of infants with mild eczema, will develop a food allergy.
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What Is Baby Eczema
Eczema is a dry, itchy skin rash that can appear anywhere on the body, but it commonly appears on the face and limbs. Anyone can have eczema, including infants.
Eczema in babies is very common. It affects 25% of children, 60% of whom develop it in their first year of life. While the condition can be lifelong, some children outgrow it.
Some things tend to make people more prone to developing eczema, including:
- Family history of eczema
- Family history of hay fever, allergies, or asthma
- Living in a cold, damp climate
- Exposure to environmental irritants
- Having an overactive immune system
Black children in the United States are 1.7 times more likely to develop eczema than White children. It is unknown why eczema disproportionately impacts Black children, but theories include disparate access to health care and that darker skin may mask the rash, resulting in later diagnosis.
Does Eczema In Babies Go Away
There is good news: Most children outgrow their eczema.
According to the experts at the University of Iowa Stead Family Childrens Hospital, many children see a big improvement in baby eczema by the age of three. About 66 percent of children with childhood or baby eczema outgrow it and only suffer from occasional dry skin during their teen years.
If your babys eczema does not let up, try keeping a journal to identify the triggers, then work to avoid those triggers. In the meantime, you can ease symptoms by treating baby eczema naturally.
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Use Skin Medications When Needed
For some babies and children with eczema, daily bathing and moisturizing is not enough for good control. These children also need a medical treatment plan, which often includes medicated creams or ointments that calm the immune system in the skin and control irritation. Medical treatment plans also include instructions on how often and when to apply the cream or ointment.
There are a variety of skin medications available for eczema, each with a different strength. The strength of the medication prescribed should be right for the area of the body that needs medication. For example, a child may have one medication prescribed for the face and another one for the elbows and knees. Do not use the percent on the label to judge the strength of your child’s medication. Speak to your child’s doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about medication strength.
Follow the treatment plan provided by your child’s doctor, so your child gets the most possible benefit from the medication. It is especially important to follow your doctor’s advice about how much of the medication to apply, so you do not use too little or too much. Some doctors recommend applying a layer of medication to eczema patches every day for about two to four weeks. The medication is more effective if you apply it to skin immediately after the bath, while the skin is still damp.
Can Food Allergy Cause Eczema
Although food allergy is more common in children who have eczema, they are separate conditions.
Food allergy does not normally cause eczema, but having eczema may increase the chance that a food allergy develops. For a description of how eczema may increase the risk of food allergy, please refer to the section on the next page called: How can good eczema control help prevent food allergy?
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Managing Babys Eczema: Moisturizing
Regular moisturizing is just as crucial for managing baby eczema as the daily bath. In fact, its the seal part of the soak and seal method.
After your baby’s bath, moisturize their skin right away to “seal” the remaining moisture from the bath into their skin, and help prevent it from escaping.
- Follow the 3-minute rule! Moisturize babys skin within 3 minutes after the bath. The moisture from the bath will escape through babys skin barrier if you wait too long to moisturize.
Choose a moisturizer that mimics and supplements the skin’s natural barrier, which is made up of cholesterol, fats, and fatty acids.
This barrier usually lets the skin hold in enough moisture. But babies with eczema have a compromised skin barrier, so they need support from moisturizer to build up their barrier.
- Look for moisturizers that contain ceramides. Ceramides are the fats that the skin naturally makes to form the skin barrier.
- You could also use coconut oil, because it moisturizes, eases inflammation, and helps fight against skin bacteria with lauric acid.
- Ointments that are free from alcohol are also recommended. Avoid creams that contain alcohol, as alcohol can sting and burn the skin.
Please read this article to learn more about the best baby eczema moisturizer ingredients, as well as moisturizer ingredients to avoid.
Liberally moisturize all areas of babys body, especially the areas where the eczema is worst. Theres no such thing as too much moisturizer!
D Use A Moisturizer On The Skin
A moisturizer can be used on the area of scalp affected by eczema as well. This will help reduce dryness and redness of the skin. It will also prevent itching at the site of eczema. Unscented moisturizer is the way to go. Sometimes fragrances can irritate sensitive skin. The use of moisturizers is best right after a bath because the scalp of the baby is still moist. This helps lock in the moisture.
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