Evening Primrose Oil And Borage Oil
For a while, taking supplements of these oils, which are rich in essential fatty acids, was thought to help reduce eczema symptoms. But recent studies have cast doubt on their effectiveness. Although there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that they can make a difference, the practicalities of giving these supplements to babies and children coupled with inconclusive evidence suggests that its probably best to stick with a good, varied diet.
What Is Baby Eczema / Infant Eczema
Baby eczema, or infant eczema, is a highly common and treatable skin condition which typicallyfirst occurs in children before the age of five. Also known as atopic eczema, infantile atopic dermatitis or just atopicdermatitis, the condition results in red, dry, itchy and cracked skin that may sometimescrack and bleed. Eczema can affect the whole body, though the hands, face and neck are the most commonly affected areas in babies.
Baby eczema will generally disappear before the child reaches their teens, but in some casescan continue into teenage and adulthood. The condition can be treated with a variety of creams,ointments and minor environmental changes.
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
Read Also: The Best Hand Soap For Eczema
Natural Remedies For Baby Eczema: Which Ones Work A Review Of The Evidence
Calendula cream has been used to promote healing and treat skin conditions for centuries. While it has not been scientifically proven as effective of baby eczema, the results of small scale studies are encouraging.
We know from experience that watching your child suffer the constant itch and irritation of baby eczema is frustrating. It doesnt help when you feel there is little you can do to make the itch go away and while the doctors have a cupboard full of conventional remedies, they dont always work as quickly, or well as we parents would like.
A combination of natural remedies and the prescriptions from our doctor really helped us to control our kids scratching, especially during the all to frequent flare-ups. To make sure we were really helping our son we did some research into which traditional and other natural remedies for baby eczema actually make a difference.
Here is our run-down of the evidence supporting the most popular natural remedies for baby eczema:
Soaking In Sea Salt Baths
Sea salt has anti-bacterial properties that can help avoid infections sea salt baths are also extremely good for the skin in general due to the minerals present in salt. Soak your baby in a sea salt bath for 20 minutes, and it should reduce the itchiness and soothe the skin. To prepare this bath simply add sea salt to warm water, mix until the salt dissolves and youre ready to go.
Recommended Reading: Itchy Bumps On Skin Eczema
Wash Clothes To Prevent Eczema
To care for and prevent baby eczema, reduce allergens and irritants when you do laundry. To do so, use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent and consider putting clothes through an extra rinse cycle in the washing machine to rinse off any residual allergens.
After, dry your babys clothes inside. As nice as it is to let onesies and tiny pants dry in the sun and breeze, allergens from the great outdoors could get on your babys clothes and then irritate their skin.
How Reducing Indoor Allergens Can Ease Your Eczema Symptoms
Eczema usually isnt a persistent condition, but rather one marked by long symptom-free periods followed by flare-ups.
Various environmental factors may cause the immune system to respond as if the body has encountered a harmful substance, resulting in inflammation and worsening eczema symptoms.
These triggers may include a variety of allergens and irritants, such as:
- Pet dander, pollen, mold, and dust mites
- Allergenic foods
- Clothing made of wool or synthetic fibers
- Cigarette smoke
Theres no cure for baby eczema, but the condition usually becomes less severe over time.
Treatment focuses on managing skin dryness to prevent flare-ups and on reducing skin inflammation.
Doctors recommend the following strategies to parents whose babies have eczema:
Your doctor may also recommend other eczema treatments for your child, including:
Recommended Reading: Gold Bond Medicated Eczema Relief
How Is Eczema Diagnosed
There is no specific test used to diagnose eczema. The doctor will look at the rash and ask about symptoms, the child’s past health, and the family’s health. If family members have any atopic conditions, that’s an important clue.
The doctor will rule out other conditions that can cause skin inflammation, and might recommend that your child see a dermatologist or an allergist.
The doctor may ask you to ban some foods from your child’s diet, switch detergents or soaps, or make other changes for a time to see if your child is reacting to something.
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?
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Eczema On Back Of Neck
Apply Natural Topical Eczema Treatments To The Skin
Topical herbal salves can moisturize, protect and heal eczema naturally. Salves containing comfrey, plantain, and calendula are good for babies with eczema, serving as natural emollients instead of a prescription eczema cream. You can apply these salves 1-2 times daily for dry skin, at the onset of a flare and to treat active flares. You can also consider trying 2% licorice gel to apply topically as an eczema treatment.
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.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Home Remedy For Eczema
When To Seek Medical Care
Eczema And Food Allergies
Babies with eczema are at a higher risk than the general population for developing food allergies. In fact, up to 67 percent of infants with severe eczema and 25 percent of infants with mild eczema will develop a food allergy, says Jonathan Spergel M.D., board certified allergist.
- If baby has mild to moderate eczema, early and sustained exposure to allergenic foods, like peanuts, cows milk, and eggs, has been shown to decrease this risk by up to 80 percent. When baby starts solids around 6 months, I recommend trying Ready, Set, Food!, a program that gives parents the option to add the most common allergenic foods to breastmilk, formula, or purees in a safe and effective way
- If baby has severe eczema: Consult your pediatrician before starting early allergen introduction. They may recommend allergy testing prior to introducing any allergens.
Read Also: How To Clear Up Eczema On Hands
What Are The Differences Between The Skin Symptoms Of Food Allergy And Eczema
An allergic reaction to a food typically happens quickly. Symptoms of an allergic reaction then go away, usually after several hours, as long as the food is not eaten again. Eczema is a chronic condition that does not go away quickly. Eczema tends to show up in predictable places, such as on the cheeks of young babies or elbow creases of older children. The places on the skin where symptoms of an allergic reaction to food appear are more unpredictable. Hives, redness and itching from an allergic reaction can show up just about anywhere on the body and even in different places each time the food is eaten.
Eczema Management During The Day
7. Look at quality of life, not quality of skin.
Every day with your child becomes more valuable when you start thinking in quality of life terms as opposed to focusing only on the status of their skin. Even on days when her eczema flared, we still took time out of the day to enjoy quality time with our daughter, such as visiting the library and reading some books.
8. Put the care in skincare.
I always make sure to keep my daughters skin moisturized using a hypoallergenic moisturizer. We found it helpful to try dry wrap and wet wraps. Finding the right treatment was very important. We were so glad to see our daughters eczema improve after we consulted with a specialist. For topical corticosteroid usage, we used the medication as directed, ensuring that it was of appropriate potency, frequency, duration, quantity and for the right skin area. Getting an allergy test to figure out eczema triggers was helpful too.
Last but not least, dont be afraid to ask for support from your spouse. Remember that as a couple, you are going through this together. You cant let blame or resentment fester. Stay strong in the marriage, and dont let eczema define the family!
Mei is the mother of Marcie , whos had eczema from two weeks old. Since Marcies eczema has improved from about one year of age, Mei has started an eczema blog for parents EczemaBlues, co-authored a book Living with Eczema: Mom Asks, Doc Answers and illustrated a children book A to Z Animals are not Scratching!
Don’t Miss: Best Hand Cream For Severe Eczema
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.
How To Heal Face Eczema In Babies
Work to Eliminate Environmental Triggers
Facial eczema in babies or a baby face rash can simply be a result of environmental triggers combined with sensitive skin. Both synthetic materials and chemicals have been known to trigger eczema, so be sure to check:
- Linens: This includes pillowcases, sheets, towels, even tablecloths and placemats.
- Baby Clothing: Dont forget to check all clothes, including hats, bibs, and even mittens.
- Bath Time Products: Shampoo, facewash, bodywash, bubble bath, bath bombs.
- Household cleaners: Laundry detergent, carpet cleaners, face wipes
- Miscellaneous: Makeup, pet dander, dust buildup
The best way to check if a specific substance is the cause is to isolate each item and remove it from the childs daily routine before reincorporating it. If there is an eczema flare up after the specific component is reintroduced, that can most likely be the cause.
Adjust Diet as Needed
Eczema can be linked to food allergies or sensitivities, so if there are no environmental triggers, diet may be the factor. Although it is more likely for diet to play a role in adult eczema, several child eczema cases have been related to food allergens.
In fact, Jennifers sons eczema was triggered by dairy and environmental allergies.
ILW Recommends: How a Diet for Eczema Changed This Toddlers Eczema Rash
Stop the Scratching
Also Check: Best Over The Counter Eczema Cream For Hands
Researchers Identify Subtype Of Eczema Tied To Food Allergies
Other studies, though, have had contradictory findings. For example, one study of American children published in August 2016 in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology suggested that a hot and sunny climate combined with high particulate matter and ozone levels actually appears to protect against eczema.
A small Australia-based study, published in March 2019 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found an association between ultraviolet sunlight exposure in early infancy and lower incidence of eczema by 6 months of age.
The scientists, though, caution against intentionally exposing babies to direct sunlight until researchers better understand this complicated issue.
Can Baby Eczema Be Cured
The simple answer is no, eczema cannot be cured. This form of eczema is encoded in your babys genetic makeup and can never be removed completely. The red, itchy patches that flare up on your babys skin are caused by a combination of:
- Atopic-prone skin
- A reaction to some allergen in your babys environment
As bad as that may sound, eczema does not pose a threat to your babys long-term health or happiness. Because eczema is essentially an allergy like the hay fever that most adults suffer from, that means there is relief that can improve your babys comfort level and temperament.
Unlike you, your baby cant take an allergy pill. Instead, they just need a little TLC in the form of a daily application of an emollient cream. When your babys body reacts to the allergens, its with inflamed, itchy skin instead of with sneezing and a runny nose. When put that way, it doesnt seem like such a major thing anymore, does it?
Recommended Reading: How To Help Eczema Itching
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 Long Does Baby Eczema Last
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while some babies may continue to experience eczema through adulthood, many will outgrow it around age 4.
Baby eczema may also evolve as your little one gets older. According to the National Eczema Association, it might appear on babys face in early infanthood but pop up in key areas like the knees, elbows and hands as they get older. As they approach big-kid territory, eczema often hides in knee folds or elbow creases and other sweat-prone spots.
Whether eczema is an acute or perpetual problem for your child, its reassuring to know that there are many baby eczema treatments and preventive measures you can take to reduce the symptoms and alleviate the itch.
No one likes to see their baby in discomfortand the appearance of any rash can be disconcerting. But if you recognize eczema, you can rest assured that its common and treatable.
About the experts:
Anna Bender, MD, is a pediatric dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian in New York City. She received her medical degree at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Latanya Benjamin, MD, FAAD, FAAP, is a Florida-based pediatric dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon and Society for Pediatric Dermatology board member. She earned her medical degree at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Plus, more from The Bump:
You May Like: How To Stop Eczema From Flaring Up