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Is Eczema Common In Babies

Does Baby Eczema Go Away On Its Own

Why Eczema Is Common in Infants and What You Can Do about It

Baby eczema needs treatment to go away completely. The best treatment is using moisturizer daily or several times each day to keep your babys skin hydrated.

Most cases of baby eczema clear up by the time they start school, around age 4 or 5. Sometimes eczema can go away or reduce in severity as your child reaches adolescence or by the time they turn into adults. As your child grows, they may have sensitive skin or flare-ups of eczema symptoms throughout their life.

Why Is Treatment For Eczema Important

The early diagnosis and treatment of eczema are important for relieving symptoms and reducing the risk of scarring and discoloration.

If we are able to get patients on the right treatment to reduce inflammation, and we educate them about what to do and what not to do so they stop scratching, then we are much more likely to prevent long-term discoloration and scarring, said Dr. Hsu.

However, many Black people with eczema may not get the treatment they need.

In a 2017 study in the U.S., researchers analyzed healthcare utilization data from 20012013. Among children with eczema, Black children were less likely than white children to have visited a doctor for the condition. However, Black children who had visited a doctor received more prescriptions and were more likely to see a dermatologist. This suggests that they might have had more severe eczema by the time they received treatment.

The study authors note that financial or insurance barriers to care did not fully explain the gap in care. They highlight the need to identify and address other potential factors, such as social stressors, understanding of eczema, trust in the medical system, and access to care.

Black people may face several barriers to getting a diagnosis and treatment for eczema. Some of these barriers relate to gaps in knowledge about the condition. Others are due to larger disparities in healthcare access.

When To See Your Doctor

Itâs a good idea to see your doctor if you think your baby might have eczema. That way you can be sure of getting a proper diagnosis and the right treatment, if itâs needed.

If your babyâs eczema is severe, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter treatment or prescribe medication.

Sometimes eczema can become infected, especially if your child scratches the itchy patches of skin. Itâs important to see your doctor if you notice any of these signs of a skin infection:

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What Exactly Is Baby Eczema

Eczema is the general term for several skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, contact dermatitis, and cradle cap which is also called seborrheic dermatitis . When we say eczema, we mostly refer to atopic dermatitis.

The bodys immune system triggers a skin inflammation that causes patches of skin to become dry, red and itchy. It may also be painful and tender to the touch .

How Do I Know If My Baby Has Eczema

How to naturally ease babys eczema

It can be worrying at first if your infant has eczema, but with care from your doctor and effective home treatment, your babyâs skin will likely improve in time.

In the meantime, get more advice on how to care for your babyâs skin and keep showering your little one with lots of love and kisses.

How we wrote this articleThe information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service . You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.

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What Is The Difference Between Baby Eczema And Acne

Symptoms of baby eczema and acne can look similar but there are differences between the two conditions. Baby acne causes pimples to form on your babys skin, specifically coming from the oil glands in their hair follicles. Eczema causes dry and itchy patches of skin that form a rash. Eczema can also cause bumps on your babys skin. These bumps arent filled with fluid. Some acne pimples are fluid-filled. Baby acne can resolve on its own, but baby eczema needs treatment to rehydrate your babys skin.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Baby eczema usually affects your childs face and it can be concerning to see a rash suddenly form on your babys cheeks. Avoiding irritants and triggers and keeping your babys skin moisturized and hydrated helps improve their skins healing time and prevent future flare-ups. While your baby isnt able to vocalize that theyre itchy, you can stay a step ahead of their condition by scheduling times throughout the day to put moisturizer on their skin to keep them from scratching their eczema rash. You might also consider putting mittens on your babys hands so they cant scratch at their skin, which can make their symptoms worse.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/05/2022.


Why Is Eczema More Common Among Black Children

More research is necessary to learn why eczema is more likely to affect Black children. Multiple factors likely play a role, including genetic and environmental factors.

We know that theres a strong familial trait to eczema, and a lot of it has to do with a genetic component, Dr. Jeffrey T. S. Hsu told MNT. Dr. Hsu is a board certified dermatologist and the co-founder and co-director of Oak Dermatology in Naperville, IL. He specializes in the treatment of skin of color.

Children may inherit genetic mutations from their parents that raise their risk of eczema. A 2015 review found that many of these mutations occur more often in certain ethnic groups than in others. This may help explain the differences in the rates of eczema to some extent.

A 2021 review reports that exposure to certain chemicals, pollutants, and allergens may also increase the risk or severity of eczema. For example, people are more likely to develop eczema if they live in urban areas or have exposure to allergens, such as dust and mold.

Due to housing discrimination and other forms of structural racism, Black people may have an increased risk of harmful environmental exposures. However, more research is necessary to understand the role of specific environmental risk factors.

  • oozing, weepy, or crusty sores

Black people with eczema are also more likely to have:

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How Is Baby Eczema Treated

Treatment varies for baby eczema based on what caused your childs symptoms to flare up and the severity of their symptoms. Treatment for baby eczema could include:

  • Eliminating or avoiding triggers: Avoid scented or fragranced soaps, lotions or detergents. These things can cause eczema to flare. Your provider might test your babys skin to identify if theyre allergic to certain things in their environment that they contact regularly. If youre able to identify what causes your babys eczema triggers, avoiding those causes helps your babys skin heal and prevents future eczema flare-ups.
  • Using topical corticosteroids: These are prescription-strength ointments that you rub on your babys skin like a lotion. Corticosteroids help reduce itching and swelling. For mild eczema, apply topical OTC 1% hydrocortisone ointment twice a day for no longer than two weeks. For moderate to severe eczema, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription-strength steroid ointments. Any steroid ointment should not be applied for longer than two weeks since it may lead to discoloration by thinning out the skin.
  • Applying moisturizer to your babys skin: Keeping your babys skin hydrated can reduce symptoms, soothe their skin, remove discomfort and prevent flare-ups. Choose moisturizers designed for babies and products that dont contain fragrances. The best time to apply moisturizers to your babys skin is after a bath and a couple of times throughout the day when their skin appears dry.

When Should My Baby Go To The Doctor For Eczema Treatment

Does My Child have Eczema?

If your baby has symptoms of eczema and at-home treatments have not helped, make an appointment with your pediatrician.

If your baby’s eczema is crusty, oozing fluid, or if your baby is showing any other signs of infection , call your pediatrician right away. Eczema rashes can become infected and may require antibiotic treatment.

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What Should I Look For When Selecting Skin Care Products

Choose soaps and moisturizers made for sensitive skin. Although there is no single group of products that are right for every child, generally, products with fewer ingredients are best. Expensive products are not always better. If you need help finding products for your child, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Emollients And Fire Safety

Lotions, creams or ointments used to moisturise your childs skin are also known as emollients.

Emollients are very effective at treating chronic dry skin conditions, such as eczema.

But it is important to be aware of the fire risk linked with them.

Emollients won’t cause a fire on their own. But if there is a build-up of emollient residue on clothing and bedding, this can quicken the speed of a fire.

Do not smoke near your baby or allow them near naked flames:

  • while they are wearing emollient
  • if they are wearing clothes or bandages that may have emollient on them

There is a fire risk with all paraffin-containing emollients. There may also even be a fire risk with paraffin-free emollients. There might also be a fire risk with other products that you put on skin over large body areas for more than a few days.

Washing clothing or fabric at a high temperature may reduce emollient build-up. But it might not totally remove it.

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Avoid Triggers And Treat Infection

Stay cool

Getting too hot from clothing or heating can make eczema worse – stay cool.

Avoid soap and fragrances

Soap and fragrances are the most common triggers of eczema. Only use skin care products designed for eczema. Many are available on prescription from your doctor or nurse prescriber.

Eczema is made worse by infection such as from:

  • school sores
  • the cold sore virus which can cause severe painful infection of eczema

Avoid contact with cold sores. See your family doctor urgently if your child gets an infection from cold sores.

Find out more about school sores.

Removing foods from your child’s diet does not usually help eczema

Removing foods from your child’s diet does not usually help eczema and can be dangerous, leading to anaphylaxis.Please talk with your doctor about this.

What To Do About Itching

Atopic Dermatitis

Try to keep your baby from scratching their itchy skin. Scratching can make the rash worse, lead to an infection, and cause the irritated skin to get thicker and more leathery.

Trim their nails often, and then take the edge off of them with a file if you can. Some parents also slip “scratch mittens” onto their little one’s hands. Others try long socks, tucked in under a long-sleeved shirt, so they’re harder for a baby to remove. View a slideshow to get more eczema skin care tips.

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Criteria For Considering Reviews For Inclusion

Our inclusion criteria for all Cochrane and non-Cochrane reviews were as follows:

  • Reviews must have included participants between zero and 18 years of age only. If reviews contained both adult and paediatric data, we must have been able to extract the paediatric data separately.
  • Reviews must have had a search that was conducted no more than five years ago.
  • Reviews must have contained randomized controlled trials only. For two topic areas in which RCTs are ethically difficult to conductâbreastfeeding and pet avoidance â we included reviews that contained non-RCTs to collect data covering all relevant aspects of eczema prevention.
  • Reviews must have contained at least one piece of quantitative data to enable calculation of a RR and CI.

All Cochrane reviews met the above criteria and were included. For all topic areas that did not have an included Cochrane review, a maximum of one non-Cochrane review on that topic area was included. If two or more non-Cochrane reviews covering the same topic area met the above inclusion criteria, we included the review that was the most up-to-date. Non-Cochrane reviews were excluded if they analysed data from one or more Cochrane reviews that we had already included in this overview.

How Is Infected Eczema Treated

Infected eczema needs to be treated with an antibiotic. See your doctor or nurse if you have the following symptoms:

  • weeping and/or crusted areas
  • lots of yellow or white pimples
  • sudden flaring of eczema all over the body
  • shivering or fever
  • skin that is painful to touch
  • painful chicken pox-like blisters and sores.

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Ways To Prevent Baby Eczema

Eczema itself cannot be prevented, but knowing and avoiding triggers can help prevent flare-ups of the condition.

Some ways to reduce triggers include:

  • Keep your child out of cold, dry air.
  • If they are 6 months or older, make sure your child gets an annual flu shot.
  • Read labels on products to help your family avoid common irritants.
  • Double-rinse your laundry to remove detergent residue.

Can I Do Anything To Prevent My Babys Eczema Flare

Food allergies and eczema in children
  • Keep your babys fingernails trimmed, to reduce any damage to her skin when she scratches. You could also consider buying some anti-scratch mittens to help protect her skin .
  • If she gets a flare-up when she wears certain fabrics, dress her in natural materials such as cotton instead . Avoid wool though, as this can also be a trigger .
  • Replace soaps and bubble baths with an emollient wash , which is kinder to your babys skin .
  • Theres no evidence that using non-biological washing powder can help, however many parents say it works for them . You can also use a double rinse cycle to make sure that any detergent residue is gone from your babys clothes and bedding before she uses them .
  • Keep your home cool, especially your babys bedroom, as getting too hot and sweaty can cause a flare-up .
  • When you take your baby swimming, rinse her skin well with fresh water afterwards to remove the chlorine, and moisturise her thoroughly after that .
  • If being around your pets seems to make your babys eczema worse, keep them out of her bedroom and vacuum the rest of the house regularly . Its also a good idea to wash and groom your pets, and their bedding, frequently . If your childs eczema is particularly severe, you may even want to consider rehoming your animal . As tough as this can be, it may be the best option for your baby.

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What Can Trigger Eczema

Individual trigger factors vary from person to person, some trigger factors may be easy to identify whilst others may not be so easy to work out. If you suspect a specific food or something in the environment may be a trigger factor keeping a symptoms diary can help work out patterns of exposure and signs and symptoms and may be useful to provide to your doctor.

Eczema may be made worse by coming into contact with one or more of the following trigger factors:

  • Heat or changes in temperature
  • Irritants for example
  • Chemicals for example swimming in chlorinated water
  • Fabrics like wool or synthetics
  • Food allergy or intolerances
  • Contact allergens in the environment for example house dust mite, pollen or animal dander can make eczema worse.
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Changes in the weather or sudden changes in temperature

How Is It Treated

Because there is not yet a cure for eczema, our treatment goals are to reduce itching and skin inflammation, and to prevent infection. The best treatment for eczema is a proactive one, using gentle skin care and moisturizers to re-establish the skin barrier.

Infants and older childrens skin should be kept well moisturized, and washed with fragrance-free non-soap cleansers. We also recommend a fragrance-free ointment-based moisturizer, with petrolatum as either the only or the first ingredient. In young children and infants, it is reasonable to use an over-the-counter topical hydrocortisone ointment, which is a mild topical steroid, for up to a week.

But if the rash either persists or you find that you need to use the hydrocortisone more than one week out of the month, you should discuss further use with your childs pediatrician. You can apply the ointment, as prescribed, then a coat of petrolatum-based moisturizer, to help keep in the moisture.

If your childs skin does not respond well to any of these measures or becomes infected, contact your pediatrician, who can diagnose the condition and then prescribe another topical cream or antihistamine.

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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.

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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