Baby Eczema: Diagnosis And Treatment
Your childs doctor will diagnose eczema based on symptoms, the appearance of the rash, family and individual medical history, and evaluation for potential allergies.
There is no specific test to diagnose eczema, but a doctor might order blood tests and skin tests to look for allergies or rule out other skin conditions.
Causes Of Baby Eczema
Eczema shows up as a dry, itchy rash that can become very rough, flaky or scaly. There are a few different types, including seborrheic dermatitis, which can cause cradle cap in infants. While there is no cure for eczema, it is possible to keep symptoms under control by avoiding certain environmental triggers like rough fabrics, soaps and certain allergens. Check out our Eczema Dermclass to learn more about what may be causing your babys eczema flare-ups.
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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If you enjoy shampoo and body wash in one product, you are in luck because this body wash and shampoo from Taylor Made Organics is just what you need. Frequently, eczema comes with hair dandruff, and the organic ingredients used in this product come together to address both problems. It will also help with other issues such as psoriasis, itchy skin and dermatitis. It is hugely nourishing with coconut oil, jojoba and olive oil.
This body wash and shampoo has healing agents brought by calendula, tea tree and chamomile. It is gentle, soothing and healing enough to use on sensitive skin and treat dandruff. Taylor Made Organics made this body wash versatile, effective and safe, and it is one of the best options for eczema.
What Causes Eczema In Toddlers
Before you panic that your child will have lifelong bouts of itchy rashes, its important to remember that some kids are just prone to eczema because of their unique skin makeup. And even thats not always fixed or permanent.
Theres no way to predict what will happen in the future, but lots of kids outgrow their eczema when they reach their preschool years.
Your child is more likely to have eczema if they also have:
- a family history of eczema
Food allergies dont cause eczema, but they are related.
For the most part, though, environmental triggers are the biggest cause of eczema flares. Common triggers include:
- excessive heat or sweating
Although eczema is bothersome and often hard to treat, you can take some steps to get your toddlers eczema under control.
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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.
Symptoms Of Baby Eczema
Eczema in babies appears as dry, red, scaly, itchy and flaky skin. In young babies, the scalp,face, ears and neck are the most commonly affected areas. In older babies, the arms and legsmay be more commonly affected, especially around the elbows and knees, as well as the diaperarea. In severe cases, baby eczema can cause painful cracking of the skin, with oozingand bleeding. As children get older, the skin that is affected by the condition normallybecomes less red but scalier, leatherier and thicker â this is known as lichenification andmay also occur as a result of persistent scratching.
If your baby is experiencing possible symptoms of baby eczema, carry out a symptom assessment with the free Ada app now.
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Does Laundry Make A Difference
Some ingredients in detergent can cause eczema to flare up. I look for products that are free of fragrance and dye. Also, consider running an empty cycle to wash away residual detergent before washing your laundry. Double washing clothes to rinse away detergent might be something to consider as well
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 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.
What Does Eczema Look Like
In babies with paler skin, when eczema is flaring the skin is red and itchy. In babies with darker skin, the irritated, itchy areas may be red but are more likely to show as darker patches. They may also appear paler around the front or back of knees or elbows.
When an area of darker skin is treated for eczema, it may become lighter and may take several months to return to the babys normal skin tone.
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Does My Child Have Eczema
Eczema can look different at different ages:
- Babies usually have a rash on their face and neck which may weep and crust.
- Children often have a dry rash, characteristically in the creases of knees and elbows, around the mouth, neck, wrists and ankles.
- From age 12, the it may be more widespread and severe.
When the skin is red, dry and itchy, it is known as a ‘flare-up’. It is common for the severity of eczema to change, sometimes it is very mild and other times it gets worse. Between flare-ups, people with eczema tend to have dry sensitive skin.
See your doctor to diagnose your child’s rash, as other skin conditions can look similar to eczema. Your doctor will examine the rash, ask you about how and when it began, and ask whether other family members have noticed a similar rash. This is because while not contagious, eczema may have a genetic basis and does tend to run in families. A child with eczema often has one or more relative with eczema or a related condition, such as asthma, hay fever or allergic conjunctivitis.
Use Distractions To Help Your Baby Stop Scratching Eczema
Taking my babys mind off of the itch is always the first line of defense against itchy eczema.
But it can be hard to execute when dealing with babies who are limited in their interests and development.
Just take it as a challenge to try and make your baby laugh. Play simple games like peekaboo, sing nursery rhymes, or use stuffed animals as puppets.
And believe me when I say it gets much easier once they enjoy watching TV or using an iPad! Now as a toddler, we sit can sit him in front of the TV, aim the fan so its blowing directly on him to cool him off, and give him an ice pack to hold over the itchy skin.
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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.
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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Eczema : The Basics Of Managing Your Child’s Itchy Rashy Skin
The type of moisturizer you select is very important. It is best to use an ointment or a heavy cream . Lotions are undesirable because they contain more water and tend to contain more preservatives and ingredients that can sting on open skin or cause irritation. In general, moisturizer should be applied to the skin at least twice daily, but more often if your child’s skin seems unusually dry or if their eczema is more severe. If you have been given prescription topical medications for your child’s eczema, those products should be applied sparingly to the affected areas prior to the application of moisturizer. I typically recommend application of topical medications twice daily, but you should follow the instructions given by your child’s doctor.
Add A Protective Barrier
Slather an extra layer of petroleum jelly on your babys cheeks and nose before heading out for a wintery walk to prevent chapping and irritation from dry winter air. If your baby gets an eczema flare around her mouth, apply petroleum jelly or another thick barrier cream to the area before meals and snacks, advises Michele Ramien, a dermatologist at the Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. Kids with eczema have the genetics to develop allergies, and one of the main ways they become allergic is through exposure on broken or damaged skin, she explains. The barrier will also prevent acidic foods such as strawberries and tomato sauce from irritating the skin when they inevitably get all over your little ones face.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Baby Eczema
The characteristic symptom of atopic eczema is dry, itchy skin that may also be scaly, red, inflamed and sore. It may also crack and bleed.
Eczema can develop anywhere on the body, but in young children it is commonly found on the face, head and scalp, and in the creases around the neck, behind the knees and inside the elbows. You might see small red patches that look dry and scaly, or notice that your child is scratching the same areas repeatedly.
A risk of eczema is that the skin becomes infected. This can happen if the skin cracks open due to dryness, or if it breaks after being scratched. If you notice the following symptoms, its a sign that your childs eczema has become infected:
- Fluid oozing from the skin
- Yellow crust or yellow-white spots on the skin
- Inflamed, painful skin
- High temperature and generally feeling unwell
You should take your child to see a doctor as soon as possible if you suspect that they have a skin infection.
Its recommended that you keep your childs fingernails cut short to minimise damage from scratching and reduce the risk of infection. Your child could also wear cotton gloves or socks at night time.
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Give Your Baby A Bath A Soak In Water Can Help Rehydrate Itchy Dry Skin
If my baby has itchy skin all over, and distractions and cooling off hasnt helped, we go straight into the bath tub.
I soak him for twelve minutes in the bath with a bath oil. We use Oilatum Junior Bath Additive per our dermatologist. And we set the timer because soaking for too long can dry out the skin too.
As soon as he comes out of the bath, we apply a layer of lotion to trap the moisture and hydrate the skin.
Maintain A Consistent Temperature
Large fluctuations in temperature can have an adverse effect on the condition of your skin and cause flare-ups. For example, exposure to heat and sun can dry out the skin and cause irritations. Being in a dry and cold environment can also be very drying to the skin and will prompt the skin to have an eczema breakout. Although we cant always control the weather, we can still take extra precautions to cover up appropriately to protect the skin from prolonged exposure to these elements.
Hot showers are good for the soul but harmful to skin, especially eczema-prone skin. Hot showers are prone to scald the skin and cause even more discomfort, even if you use a specific body wash for eczema.
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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.
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.
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Choose Pajamas And Bedding Wisely
Fabrics are one of the worst culprits for triggering eczema, so make sure you dress your baby in lightweight, soft pajamas that wont irritate them. While youll find a lot of synthetic fabrics in baby clothes, natural fibers like cotton are preferable if your baby has any skin issues.
If your baby does sweat, cotton is absorbent, so the sweat wont stay trapped on their skin. Choose thin blankets that wont trap heat, either. Be sure to remove all tags that could be irritating to your little one!
Itchy Little World Recommends:
One-Piece Footed Pajama for Kidsa soothing suit that provides full body scratch protection and a restful nights sleep. Featuring tear-off tags and flat seams, its comfortable without being too hot.
ScratchSleeves Baby Eczema Pajamaseczema sleepwear offers cooling comfort as well as scratch protection. Made with 100% cotton, the breathable pajamas are perfect for children and babies with eczema.
Remedywear Long Sleeve Baby Eczema Onesie with Mittensmade with super soft TENCEL and embedded with anti-inflammatory zinc, these baby pajamas protect and soothe the arms, back, and tummy. The moisture-wicking sweat controls ensure comfort all night long, without any sweaty irritation.