Causes Of Scalp Eczema
Like eczema on other parts of the body, eczema on the scalp is related to family history and allergies, especially food allergies. Eczema tends to run in families in most cases. If one or both parents of the baby have eczema, the child is more likely to have eczema. Sometimes, scalp eczema in a baby may also be due to contact allergy. In some babies, contact with different kinds of shampoo and chemicals in hair products can cause eczema on the scalp.
Why Is It Important To Control My Child’s Eczema
When eczema is not well controlled, it can affect a child’s quality of life and health. It increases the chance of skin infections, and it can also be painful. Itching and scratching can be distressing for your child and for you as a parent to watch. Physical comfort, sleep, social interactions and self-image can all be affected. Good control allows your child to feel well and stay focused on childhood activities such as learning and playing.
Some new research shows there may be an additional benefit to keeping eczema under good control. Good control might help prevent food allergy. This is especially good news for parents who have babies and toddlers who are at increased risk for food allergy.
Where Does Eczema Most Often Appear
Eczema tends to appear in different places on the body in younger babies, older babies, and toddlers. It also tends to look different depending on a childs age. Here are the eczema symptoms to look for in babies and toddlers of each age group, as outlined by the National Eczema Association.
Remember, though, that eczema could appear in any area of the body, regardless of your little ones age. The table below just outlines where eczema appears most often.
In young infants, baby eczema usually appears on the face at this stage, including the chin, cheeks, scalp, and forehead. But it could appear on any area of the body, including the arms, legs, or torso. It usually wont appear in the diaper area, because that area usually remains protected by moisture.
At this stage, skin affected by eczema often looks red and weepy .
In older babies, eczema usually appears on creases of the skin, especially on the elbows, knees, and elbow and knee joints. It may also appear on the face, like with younger infants. Again, though, it could appear on any area of the body, but not usually the diaper area.
Sometimes, baby eczema rash may become infected and form a yellow crust on the skin.
In toddlers, eczema often appears on the face in patches. It may show up around the eyelids or around the mouth. It also often appears in the skin creases .
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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.
At The End Of The Routine
I started this routine at the first sign of eczema, maybe even before. As a result my babys skin is clearing up right now. Emmys skin is clearer than Elis was at any point in the first 8 months of life. He still has eczema beneath the surface and every morning theres some dryness on his forehead. But the red bumps and roughness on his cheeks have faded away.
A lot of the routine is daily hygiene that you can add to any newborn care system you already have. For example, moisturize before diaper changes. After all, you will be changing a lot of them.
The other part of the routine is harder, its finding out what is causing newborn eczema to flare and eliminating it. To do that, find out all you can about eczema and minimize the problems. Walk through the steps in this post: address airborne allergies, dry skin, your routine, and bathing. Always talk to your doctor about all of your concerns.
What have you tried that works or doesnt work? Tell me your eczema routines below. Until next time enjoy those new baby cuddles.
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What Should I Do If I Think My Baby Has Eczema
Dr. Kiran: Remember, if you think your baby has eczema, early recognition and treatment is best. Its important not to try and use home-based remedies before you seek advice from a healthcare professional. These can make eczema worse and more difficult to manage. The mainstay of treatment for eczema is daily bathing, steroid therapy, and regular emollient use.
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.
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First Identify Baby Eczema
Eczema is a general term for a group of inflammatory skin conditions.
Sam Casselman, Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, program director for the Severe Eczema Clinic and Eczema school at Phoenix Childrens Hospital, and recognized Ecz-pert for the National Eczema Association, explains eczema like this: At a skin level, skin without eczema has an intact skin barrier, so its like a strong brick wall. Meanwhile, eczema skin has a compromised skin barrier, so its like a brick wall with missing mortar. An eczema babys skin barrier is not as strong, so allergens and bacteria can easily get through. This causes irritation, or flares, beneath the skin.
Atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, causes red, dry, and itchy skin. In babies, this form of eczema usually affects the face, scalp, and skin creases, but can also involve other areas of the body.
How does eczema differ from cradle cap?
Cradle cap is a dandruff-like rash with scaly patches. Its not as red as eczema.
How does eczema differ from the hives that food allergies cause?
The hives that food allergies cause are red, raised bumps. Meanwhile, eczema rash is a red, scaly and itchy rash. For more on the differences between food allergy hives and eczema flare-ups, be sure to read our linked article.
Will My Baby Outgrow Eczema
Many babies who develop eczema in their first year eventually outgrow eczema by the time they start elementary school. Other children outgrow it by their early teens. Still others dont completely outgrow eczema by these ages, but notice that their eczema is less severe as they get older.
But eczema, especially chronic eczema, can also be lifelong. Some babies never outgrow eczema, and have the condition for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, theres no cure for eczema, and no way to tell whether your little one will outgrow it.
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Will My Baby Have Eczema All Her Life
In some babies with atopic dermatitis, the condition stays put. But, fortunately, eczema clears up in many babies by the time they turn 4 years old.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Best Treatments For Baby Eczema
Dr. Kiran: Since each childs skin and trigger is different, their skin treatment needs to be tailored to them. Some therapies work better for some and dont for others. Its important to trial and error to find what suits your baby and their skin. The basics of eczema management are based on a combination of three things:
1. Daily Bathing. A daily bath with an oil and emollient can help soothe the eczema and reduce dry skin and itching in your baby. An emollient will also act as a cleanser, remove dirt and protect your babies skin barrier. General recommendations for bathing are:
A 15 minute lukewarm bath. Avoid baby washes, bubble baths or fragranced products
Use a bath oil
Use a soap-free cleanser
2. Emollients. These are essentially moisturises that soften the skin and maintain hydration by providing a surface film of oils. Emollients increase water content in the layers of the skin, repairing your babys skin barrier and preventing flare-ups. They can come as oils, gels, creams, or ointments and vary in their greasiness, and should be used twice a day. Theyre very safe to use and you cannot overuse them. You might need to experiment with a few types and combinations to see what works best for your baby. For example you may use a cream in the day and an ointment or gel at night.
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What Does An Eczema Flare
An eczema flare-up is simply the visible reaction on your little ones skin when an allergen triggers their eczema. It usually goes something like this:
As serious as flare-ups sound, there are simple, effective ways to manage them. With a little extra love and care, you can relieve your babys symptoms and work to prevent future flare-ups.
Is A Cure Or Better Treatment For Eczema On The Horizon
Without a cure on the near horizon, we here at Johns Hopkins are creating an Eczema Day Treatment Unit to help our patients with moderate to severe eczema keep their symptoms under control and prevent flare-ups. We anticipate that this novel, multidisciplinary program will include experts from Child Life, behavioral psychology, allergy, dermatology and infectious diseases to provide the comprehensive care these children need care that cannot be provided in an average clinic visit.
A primary goal of the day treatment unit will be education children and their families will learn techniques such as wet-wrap therapy, to help deeply moisturize the skin. This therapy involves coating the skin with a topical ointment, followed by a greasy ointment like petroleum jelly, then dressing in wet pajamas, followed by dry pajamas, allowing the skin to soak in the moisture.
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Prevent Skin Damage Caused By Scratching
Constant scratching can break the skin. To prevent bleeding and an infection, dermatologists recommend the following:
Keep your child’s nails short: Checking nails after your child’s bath lets you know when the nails need trimming.
Cover itchy skin: When skin is covered, children seem less likely to scratch. When dressing your child, be sure to:
Dress your child in lose-fitting clothes made from a soft, natural fiber-like cotton, a cotton blend, silk, or bamboo.
Consider using eczema mittens and eczema sleeves.
Eczema mittens can be effective when eczema flares on your baby’s face. Your baby may still scratch, but the scratching will cause less damage because the fingernails cannot dig into the skin.
Itch relief can be fickle
You may find that a technique works one day and not the next. If one technique fails, try another.
Related AAD resources
ReferencesEichenfield, LF, Tom WL, et al. Part 2: Guidelines of care for the management and treatment of atopic dermatitis with topical therapies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Jul 71:116-32.
Sidbury R, Tom WL, et al. Part 4: Guidelines of care for the management of atopic dermatitis. Part 4: Prevention of disease flares and use of adjunctive therapies and approaches. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014: 71 1218-33.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
What Is Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is simply the combination of atopy and dermatitis. So if atopy is the tendency to develop allergic reactions and dermatitis is a skin condition characterized by irritated skin, then atopic dermatitis occurs when your little ones skin becomes irritated as the result of an allergen.
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When To See A Doctor
While you can do a lot to control your babys eczema, sometimes you have to seek medical attention. Look out for the following signs and see a doctor if any of these occur.
- Unresponsiveness to over-the-counter medications. There are a lot of over-the-counter creams available that can sooth eczema. These ointments are very good at treating eczema for your baby. If they arent working, however, you should see a doctor to get prescription medicine instead.
- Changes in responsiveness to prescription medicine. Just because one medicine is working today doesnt mean it will always work. If you have prescription medication for your babys eczema and you see it doesnt work as well as it previously did to control symptoms, its time to reevaluate the medicine. Your doctor will be able to examine your baby and see if another medicine will be better.
- Appearance of yellow crust on the eczema patches. Yellow crust indicates that there may be a bacterial infection. This needs to be checked out immediately by a doctor because if it goes untreated, it will get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if antibiotics should be prescribed to stop the infection.
- Development of pus-filled blisters on the eczema patches. Blisters are also a sign that there may be an infection. They are also very painful and a sign that the eczema isnt being managed adequately. A doctor can evaluate your management plan and make adjustments, so you can better control your childs eczema symptoms.
What Causes Baby Eczema
In babies, Eczema generally develops on the cheeks and scalp regions. It may spread to arms, chest, legs, elbows, back of the knees and other parts of the body. While family history is a significant cause of developing eczema, other factors that can trigger it are
- Irritants or allergens found in the environment
- Deficiency of fatty cells called ceramides
- Poor skin barrier
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What Causes Eczema In Children
Researchers dont know exactly what causes baby eczema, but they believe its most likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Eczema is not contagious.
Infants are more likely to develop eczema if family members have a history of eczema, hay fever, or asthma.
While these conditions don’t cause one another, infants are more likely to develop hay fever or asthma if they already have baby eczema.
Scientists believe eczema results from an immune-system dysfunction that affects the skin barrier and its ability to hold in moisture.
Eczema is a general term to describe a number of inflammatory skin conditions. Aside from atopic dermatitis, other types of eczema that commonly affect children include contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema , and seborrheic dermatitis, or scalp eczema .
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Even if the skin issue isnt very problematic, you should show your pediatrician the affected area when you go in for your babys regular medical checkup. If the rash seems to come and go, its a good idea to take a photo of it in case your babys regular appointment doesnt coincide with a skin outbreak.
If the skin reaction lasts for more than a few weeks, call your healthcare provider to ask what you should do about it.
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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.