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Eczema Vs Dry Skin Baby

Can Infantile Seborrhoeic Dermatitis Become Infected

Eczema In Babies And Children | La Roche-Posay

Mild infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis is unlikely to become infected if the skin remains intact. However, if the skin becomes sore and raw, especially in the nappy area, it may then become infected by a yeast called Candida, which normally lives on the skin in this part of the body and can cause thrush. Special creams are available to treat this if your doctor thinks they are necessary. Sometimes seborrhoeic dermatitis can become infected by bacteria if areas of skin, particularly the creases, are severely affected. If your babys skin feels hot, smells odd or weeps, consult your GP.

What Caused My Babys Eczema

There is no single cause of atopic eczema. Eczema is a complex condition it is genetic but also involves an overactive immune response to environmental factors, which cause eczema flares. Because the atopic gene is hereditary, it runs in families, and is responsible for three conditions: eczema, asthma and hay fever.

Fifty per cent of people with eczema have an additional genetic element a difference in a skin protein called filaggrin which leads to further problems in the skin barrier. All atopic conditions can be linked to allergies in some people, but there are also many universal irritants, such as soap and heat.

How Does Baby Eczema Differ From Dry Skin

Dry skin is a symptom of eczema. Your pediatrician can diagnose eczema by examining your baby’s skin. He or she may send you to a pediatric dermatologist for confirmation and treatment if the condition is severe.

In general, dry skin can be handled at home with some moisturizer and isnt as bothersome as eczema. However, babies with darker skin tend to have drier skin than those with lighter skin making moisturization even more crucial.

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Why Do Children With Eczema Get Frequent Skin Infections

The skin has many important jobs. One is to keep out germs and other harmful substances. Eczema makes the skin less effective at doing this job, so its easier for bacteria, viruses, and other germs to get inside the body.

Following the dermatologists treatment plan helps to build up the skin so that it can do a better job of keeping out germs and other substances.

Related AAD resources


  • Blisters, crusts and open sores: Photos used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

  • Honey-colored crusts: Photo used with permission of Moise L. Levy, MD, FAAD.

  • Small, crusted bumps: Dermatology DDx Deck, Photo reprinted with permission of Elsevier-Moby.

ReferencesArkwright PD, Motala C, et al. Management of difficult-to-treat atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2013 Mar 1:142-51.

Eichenfield LF. Perspectives in atopic dermatitis: Optimizing outcomes Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2012 Sep 31:S1-2.

Pride HB, Tollefson M, et al. What new in pediatric dermatology? Part I. Diagnosis and pathogenesis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2013 Jun 68:885.e1885.e12.

Pride HB, Tollefson M, et al. What new in pediatric dermatology? Part II. Treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol 2013 Jun 68:899.e1899.e11.

Silverberg J Garg N et al. New developments in comorbidities of atopic dermatitis. Cutis 2014 May 93.222-4.

All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology

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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Is Dry Skin A Risk For Eczema

Dry skin doesn’t cause eczema, but it can set off symptom flares in people who are already at risk. When skin gets very dry, it becomes cracked and scaly. This makes it easier for irritants to get inside.

Dry skin is also a symptom of eczema. If you have an eczema flare, dry skin may be the first sign. And because the two conditions look so much alike, it can be hard to figure out which one you have.

How Do Symptoms Of Eczema And Ringworm Compare

Both eczema and ringworm tend to inflame and redden the skin and can make it dry, swollen, crusty, and itchy. In addition, both can happen almost anywhere on the body, head to toe.

One symptom that sometimes helps tell the difference is that ringworm often produces a scaly, ring-shaped rash, typically on the trunk, arms, or legs. But nummular, or âdiscoid,â eczema also produces a round, scaly rash that can look like ringworm.

If you think you have ringworm, but over-the-counter remedies fail to work, it may be time to see your doctor. You may have eczema, psoriasis, or some other skin condition. Only your doctor can tell for sure the source of your symptoms.

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How Do Doctors Tell Whether Its Eczema Or Ringworm

Doctors diagnose eczema in large part by looking at it and by eliminating other possible causes of your symptoms. They might ask if anything seems to trigger an outbreak and whether you have a history of eczema in your family. They also may test your skin for allergic reactions or draw some blood to look for alternate causes.

Ringworm is one of the conditions they may try to eliminate. Your doctor might be able to tell simply by looking at your skin you have ringworm and not eczema. If theyâre still unsure, they might scrape some skin cells from the area to look at under a microscope.

Why Did My Child Develop Eczema

What is Eczema? – Eczema, Dry skin, and How to Treat

The exact cause of eczema is unknown. Researchers do know that children who develop eczema do so because of a combination of genes and environmental triggers. When something outside the body switches on the immune system, skin cells dont behave as they should causing flare ups.

We also know that children who come from families with a history of atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever are more likely to develop atopic dermatitis.

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How Is Eczema Treated What Medications Are Used

Treating eczema can be difficult if the cause is something you cant control, like genetics. Fortunately, you may have some influence over your environment and stress levels. Do your best to figure out what triggers or worsens your eczema, and then avoid it. The goal is to reduce itching and discomfort and prevent infection and additional flare-ups.

Consider these treatment tips:

If your child has skin problems, such as eczema, you can:

  • Avoid long, hot baths, which can dry the skin. Use lukewarm water instead and give your child sponge baths.
  • Apply lotion immediately after bathing while the skin is still moist. This will help trap moisture in the skin.
  • Keep the room temperature as regular as possible. Changes in room temperature and humidity can dry the skin.
  • Keep your child dressed in cotton. Wool, silk and manmade fabrics such as polyester can irritate the skin.
  • Use mild laundry soap and make sure that clothes are well rinsed.
  • Watch for skin infections. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice an infection.
  • Help them avoid rubbing or scratching the rash.
  • Use moisturizers several times daily. In infants with eczema, moisturizing on a regular basis is extremely helpful.

When Should I Take My Child To The Doctor For Their Eczema

If you think your child might have eczema, make an appointment with your pediatrician. A trained eye can tell the difference between eczema and other skin conditions.

Speak to your childs doctor right away if skin appears infected , if the eczema seems painful and blistered, or if it’s preventing your child from sleeping or is just generally making them miserable.

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How Do You Treat Baby Acne

If your baby has acne, its not a chronic condition. Infantine acne usually clears spontaneously by late in the first year of life but may persist until three years of age, says Dr. Agarwal. Topical benzoyl peroxide or topical antibiotic can be used for severe cases. While baby acne resolves on its own, you definitely dont want to do anything to exacerbate the issue. So avoid irritants like harsh detergents and soaps so that your baby doesnt feel uncomfortable.

How Does Treatment Differ Between Eczema And Ringworm

Baby acne vs. eczema: How to tell the difference

In general, you can get rid of ringworm with over-the-counter antifungal medications. Your pharmacist may be able to guide you to the right product for you, depending on the location of your symptoms. In some cases, you may need stronger antifungal medications, which you can only get with a prescription from your doctor.

Eczema is different. You canât get rid of it, or âcureâ it, in the same way that you can cure ringworm. There are, however, a number of things that may help you manage your symptoms and keep flare-ups to a minimum:

  • Keep the air moist. Use a humidifier if necessary.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Use lukewarm or cool water for bathing instead of hot, which can dry out your skin.
  • Put on moisturizer several times a day, especially after washing and bathing.
  • Use mild soaps and moisturizers without fragrance, perfumes, or dyes.
  • Take steps to lessen stress if itâs a trigger, including therapy if needed.
  • Use over-the-counter cortisone creams to lessen itching.
  • Use over-the-counter antihistamines for serious itching.
  • Talk to your doctor about prescription-strength medications if you still canât control your symptoms.

Keep in mind that you might do all of the ârightâ things at the right time to help lessen your symptoms and still have serious eczema flare-ups. Eczema is an unpredictable condition, and scientists and doctors continue to look for better ways to treat it.

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How Do I Prevent My Child With Eczema Having Flare

The goal of treating eczema is to prevent and minimise flare-ups, as well as maintain skin health between flare-ups.

Moisturisers should be used between flare-ups to keep the skin in good condition, reduce the itch associated with dry skin and reduce the chance of infections. It is important to moisturise after showering or bathing once the skin is dry.

People with eczema have sensitive skin so irritants should be avoided. This includes many soaps and moisturisers. Your pharmacist can help you choose products suitable for eczema.

Trying to avoid triggers is worthwhile. Food allergies are not common eczema triggers. It is important not to put your child on a diet without medical advice, as nutrition for children shouldn’t be compromised unnecessarily.

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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Does Your Baby Have Eczema

Our babies inherit a lot from us: our height, our hair color — and our tendency toward sensitive skin, including eczema.

If someone in your immediate family has allergic tendencies, eczema may be the first sign that your baby shares that tendency, too, says pediatrician Chris Tolcher, MD, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.

Eczema can start as early as your baby’s second month. Symptoms can be mild and barely noticeable, or itchy and intense. Know the signs of baby eczema, how to treat it, and what eczema treatments to avoid.

How Can You Prevent Baby Eczema


If your baby has contact dermatitis, you can try your best to prevent a flare-up by identifying and avoiding common triggers, which might include:

  • Moisture . Dress your baby in lightweight cotton clothing. Gently pat drool away when you see it.
  • Scratchy fabrics. In addition to clothes and rugs, even your babys stuffed animals can trigger eczema.
  • Allergens. Think pet dander, pollen or dust.
  • Harsh detergents and soaps. Consider using a sensitive detergent when washing babys clothes and crib sheets.

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What Should I Do If My Child Seems To Have A Skin Infection

Flu-like symptoms or a fever : Get immediate medical care.

Signs of infection without fever: If you see signs but your child seems the same as usual, contact your childs dermatologist.

If you are using wet-wrap therapy, occlusion , or soak and smear, stop. These can worsen the infection. Before using one of these treatments again, ask your childs dermatologist when its safe to start.

What Role Do Your Genes Play In Eczema Vs Ringworm

Doctors know that certain genes make you more likely to develop eczema. And youâre more likely to get eczema if you have a history of skin irritation or allergies in your family.

For ringworm, the role of genes is less important and less clear. For the most part, anyone, no matter what their genetic makeup is, can get ringworm if they come into contact with it. But certain genes can make some people more likely to get skin fungal infections like ringworm. More research is needed to be sure if this is true and how much of a difference it makes.

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When To Schedule A Medical Appointment

If this isnt your toddlers first go-round with eczema, you may not need to call your doctor. But if the eczema is new or looks different than before, its OK to call and get another set of eyes on your childs rash. There may be other medications or treatments your childs doctor can prescribe to help them feel better, too.

  • You think your childs eczema rash is infected, which may look crusty or scabbed, or if its weeping or oozing.
  • The rash is cracked or bleeding.
  • Your child is having trouble sleeping because of eczema discomfort.
  • Your child has never had symptoms of eczema before.
  • Your child has a fever or seems to not be feeling well.
  • None of your usual remedies for your childs eczema are working.

Can I Prevent New Skin Infections

What is Atopic Dermatitis or Atopic Eczema?

If your child gets frequent skin infections, the following can be helpful:

  • Bathe your child as often your childs dermatologist recommends. Bathing helps remove bacteria, viruses, and other germs from the skin. It also helps the skin heal.
  • Moisturize your childs skin as often as necessary to reduce dry skin and cracking. Germs enter the body through cracks in the skin.
  • Avoid dipping your fingers into your childs moisturizer. Dipping your fingers into your childs moisturizer can spread bacteria and other germs from your childs skin to the moisturizer. If youve been dipping your fingers into your childs moisturizer and your child develops a skin infection, youll need to throw away the moisturizer.
  • You can avoid spreading bacteria and other germs by:

  • Using a pump applicator
  • Scooping out the moisturizer with a spoon
  • Ask your childs dermatologist about bleach bath therapy. For children who get frequent skin infections, this therapy may be helpful.
  • If your child continues to have just as many skin infections and youre doing everything to prevent these, tell your childs dermatologist.
  • A bit of detective work may be necessary to find out whats causing the infections.

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    What Causes Infantile Seborrhoeic Dermatitis

    The exact cause of infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis is not known, but it is believed to be linked to developing sebaceous glands. It usually appears around birth or in the first couple of months of life, and is thought to be caused by hyperactivity of sebaceous glands responsive to residual circulating maternal hormones shortly after birth. This is why the condition usually resolves by one year of age and does not return. Malassezia yeasts are also indicated in this condition, although their exact role is not clear. A family history of eczema or other skin conditions does not seem to be of great significance, although some babies with seborrhoeic dermatitis will also develop atopic eczema, especially if seborrhoeic dermatitis is more severe and extensive.

    It can sometimes be difficult for a doctor to determine whether a baby has seborrhoeic dermatitis or another skin condition, such as psoriasis or nappy rash, because they all look similar. However, if the skin creases are unaffected, it is probably nappy rash. Fortunately, treatments for these different conditions in the nappy area are often the same. Infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis usually clears by the babys first birthday and is very unlikely to lead to further skin problems later on in life.

    Why Does Eczema Bother Me

    For three reasons:

    1. Itch Eczema is itchy.

    The irritation from eczema can be incredibly annoying. Many babies with eczema scratch at night and are not able to sleep. If your baby cannot sleep well, this can lead to other issues with behavior and feeding.

    2. Infection

    Eczema is open, dry skin, and when kids scratch, they can introduce infection. Bacterial and herpes infections on eczema are common and are a mess to treat.

    3. Scarring

    Scarring from untreated or undertreated eczema can be permanent. When eczema flairs, it causes inflammation that can lead to long term thickening and darkening of the skin, sometimes permanently.

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