Causes Of Atopic Eczema
The exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, but it’s clear it is not down to one single thing.
Atopic eczema often occurs in people who get allergies. “Atopic” means sensitivity to allergens.
It can run in families, and often develops alongside other conditions, such as asthma and hay fever.
The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.
Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema.
You may be asked to keep a food diary to try to determine whether a specific food makes your symptoms worse.
Allergy tests are not usually needed, although they’re sometimes helpful in identifying whether a food allergy may be triggering symptoms.
Talk To A Doctor About Food Allergies
If you ever notice that your childs skin is red and irritated after eating certain foods particularly on their face or mouth then their eczema may be a reaction to a food allergy. If its a mild reaction, we recommend consulting your childs dermatologist and informing them of the food your child consumed prior to their reaction.
But remember that baby skin is sensitive, so its possible that if you find yourself rubbing away food mess from the corner of your little ones mouth during mealtime, the rubbing sensation may be irritating their tender skin.
Ask your childs doctor if you can apply a thin layer of emollient cream to the area where food often is stuck and must be rubbed away. This could mitigate the increased irritation.
Its rare that your childs eczema flare-ups are caused by food allergies, but it is possible. If you have removed all potential environmental triggers and are applying a daily emollient but the flare-up refuses to go away, its time to consult your doctor or pediatrician. They can test your child for food allergies and help identify what might be irritating your childs sensitive skin.
Treating Eczema In Babies And Toddlers
Eczema is not contagious. You cant catch it from someone else.
For most types of eczema, including atopic eczema, managing flares comes down to these basics:
- Know your childs particular triggers to avoid exposure
- Implement a daily bathing and moisturizing routine to protect skin and lock in moisture
- Useover-the-counter and prescription medication consistently and as prescribed to curb symptoms
There is no cure for eczema but there are treatments and more are coming. These include OTC remedies, prescription topical medications, phototherapy, and immunosuppressants.
Eczema, especially atopic dermatitis , may look and act very differently as your child gets older. Its important to understand which type of eczema they may have and their symptoms and triggers so that you can better treat and manage it as they grow and change. The only way to be sure what type of eczema your child has is to make an appointment with your doctor.
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The Basics What Is Eczema
Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition that makes skin dry, red, and itchy. A child with eczema may break out in a rash, as is common when dealing with allergies. Eczema primarily affects kids, but some children may actually outgrow eczema as they age.
Although most cases of dry skin and peeling in a newborn are normal, there are certain conditions, like eczema, that cause persistent dryness and extreme peeling. If your baby develops these symptoms, see your pediatrician. Eczema does have a strong genetic component however, it does not necessarily have to run in your family for your baby to be prone to eczema. Additionally, there are certain detergents, foods, and other products that can cause eczema to flare up.
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Other Types Of Eczema Treatments
Wet wraps can be an effective way of cooling the skin and providing relief from the intense itch associated with an eczema flare and are very useful for reducing night time itch. Wet wraps should only be used after assessment by a specialist and guidance on how and when to apply them given.
Antihistamines are not recommended to be used to treat itch in eczema, as the itch in eczema is not caused by the release of histamine. However sedating antihistamines are sometimes used where the eczema is causing a severe lack of sleep for the child. In this case a short course can help sedate the child so they dont scratch and to establish a sleeping pattern.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors are used for controlling flares of eczema that have not responded adequately to topical steroid treatments, particularly in delicate areas, such as around the eyes, the neck and flexures of the arms and legs. They work by altering the immune system in blocking one of the chemicals that contributes to the flare of eczema. There are two types of calcineurin inhibitors called Tacrolimus and Pimecrolimus , and they are usually initially prescribed by a specialist rather than a GP. Occasionally a mild burning sensation can be experienced on the first few applications of these products which usually stops after more frequent use. Calcineurin inhibitors are very useful for use on delicate site such as the face, neck and flexural areas.
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Why Did My Child Develop Eczema
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.
Does Baby Eczema Go Away On Its Own
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.
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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.
Seattle Childrens. Eczema.
Signs And Symptoms Of Toddler Eczema
Dermatologists have a saying: If its not itchy, its not eczema. These are some of the other hallmarks of eczema in toddlers:
- Dry, scaly, rough patches of skin that may appear red and inflamed
- Rash, which may have small, raised bumps that bleed or ooze when scratched
- Skin that becomes thick, dark, and leathery when excessively scratched
Eczema can occur on any part of the body, but in toddlers, its most likely to appear:
- In the creases of the knees and elbows
- On the wrists, hands, and ankles
- Around the mouth and eyelids
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Give Your Little One An Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal baths arent reserved for folk tales about soothing chickenpox they really work!
Colloidal oatmeal is a naturally soothing, emollient product that adds moisture to the skin and soothes itchy irritation. It can provide immense relief to your child during those nights when their inflamed skin is getting the best of them.
To use colloidal oatmeal, add it underneath a running faucet or to warm water. Allow your child to relax and play in the oatmeal bath for at least 15 minutes so their skin has time to be soothed and absorb the oatmeals beneficial properties.
Colloidal oatmeal is safe to apply to the face as well, though you should be careful not to let the oatmeal enter your childs mouth or eyes. You can crank up the fun by hopping in the bath with them, as its great for your skin, too!
Once they exit the bath, your child may be a little slippery. Gently pat their skin just dry enough that they still feel damp without dripping. Then, apply your favorite emollient cream to lock in their skins new nourished, soothed state.
Does Your Child Need To See A Doctor About Eczema
Yes. Take your child to see your GP if your child:
- might have eczema for the first time
- is very itchy and uncomfortable
- has eczema thats weeping or bleeding
- has eczema that hasnt improved much after a few days, even though youve been treating it as usual
- is having trouble sleeping because the rash is so itchy
- has painful or eczema that has developed pus
- has eczema and is generally unwell for example, has a fever and/or is sweating, feeding poorly or tired.
You should also take your child to the GP if youre not sure whether the rash is eczema.
If your childs eczema doesnt improve with a combination of medical treatment and management at home, your GP might refer your child to a dermatologist. If the GP thinks your childs eczema might be from allergies, they might also refer you to an allergy and immunology specialist.
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What Should Parents Know About Baby Eczema
Eczema in babies is common. Many babies grow out of it, or at least see their symptoms improve over time.
We are not always sure what causes eczema in babies, explains Stephanie Jacks, M.D., a pediatric dermatologist in Roseville, California. Genetic factors certainly play a role, and babies who have at least one parent with eczema are two to three times more likely to get eczema. However, some babies have eczema even with no family history of the condition.
In adults, eczema usually appears as skin that is rough and dry. But the skin condition can show a little differently in infants. Itchy cheeks are usually one of the first signs of infant eczema, Dr. Clark says.
In most infants, eczema is not due to an allergy to foods or other triggers but instead reflects an intrinsic tendency for skin that is more dry and easily irritated by temperature, clothing and other external triggers, says pediatric dermatologist Kara Shah, M.D., Ph.D., of Kenwood Dermatology in Cincinnati, Ohio. As such, the basis for treatment is good skin care.
To treat infant eczema, you might try keeping babyâs nails short to prevent scratching, giving baby a lukewarm bath and patting babyâs skin dry. Immediately after that, apply any topical medicine prescribed by your doctor and finish with a moisturizing cream.
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Gently Apply A Cold Compress
For those swollen, red patches of skin that feel like theyre burning up, we recommend applying a damp, cool towel to the area.
Make sure you squeeze the towel or cloth until it no longer drips water. If your child can handle things on the icier side, soak the rag in the coldest water possible.
Leave the compress on the affected area for 30 seconds on and off until the swelling begins to subside.
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Keeping Up The Momentum
POWER OF PACKAGING Encourage your child to decorate their tubs, dispensers and spray bottles with stickers and, if the packaging allows, stick-on gems and bows. Give emollients enticing new names, like Princess Amelias Arctic Snow Spray, Jellyfish Jelly or Magic Unicorn Wonder Cream.
PRAISE AND REWARDS Give your child lots of praise when they apply their emollient. Add a sticker to a star chart every day they apply emollient themselves, and if theyve stuck to their routine, give them a reward at the end of the week. If they make the chart themselves, and are able to choose the sticker, this should help them feel more invested. Rewards could include an extra bedtime story, making play dough or a picnic in the park.
TRY SOMETHING NEW If your child is reluctant to apply emollient, ask whether theyd like to try a different one. Emollient preference is individual and can change over time. There are different types and textures: ointments, creams, gels, lotions and a spray. See the Emollients page on our website for an idea of whats available.
Will Babies And Children Outgrow The Need For Treatment
One open question is how long younger children might need to stay on Dupixent. Adults with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis may need to remain on this drug for years, if not for their entire lives, in order to sustain symptom relief, Fuxench notes.
For young children, this may be a whole different ball game for many reasons, Fuxench says. Some younger patients might outgrow their disease, ending the need for this medication. Its also possible that taking Dupixent early in life might prevent eczema from worsening in the future, limiting the need for lifelong treatment.
Despite the uncertainty around long-term usage, it makes sense for parents of young children with eczema to ask their doctor about Dupixent if kids symptoms are poorly controlled by other interventions, Fuxench advises.
I do not think that for the majority of patients dupilumab will be the first-line option, as most pediatric patients have mild disease that can be managed with a gentle skin care regimen and occasional use of prescription topical therapies, Fuxench says. But it is a treatment option that can bring relief to those whose disease is poorly controlled.
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Establish A Daily Skincare Routine
As soon as you see signs of a flare-up or suspect that your child might have eczema, the best thing you can do is start a daily skincare routine that includes emollients like Mustelas Stelatopia Emollient Cream, Stelatopia Emollient Balm, or Stelatopia Intense Eczema Relief. These products provide four essential benefits:
- They reinforce the protective moisture barrier on your childs skin.
- They add moisture to your childs skin.
- They prevent moisture from evaporating.
- They soothe the itchiness and discomfort caused by eczema flare-ups.
All of Mustelas eczema-prone skincare products are safe for children, newborns, and adults.
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.
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More Than Half The Kids In Trials Experienced A 75 Percent Reduction In Disease Severity
In a clinical trial reviewed by the FDA as part of the approval process for patients under 5 years old, patients used topical corticosteroids alone or combined with Dupixent every four weeks for 16 weeks. More than half the kids treated with both topical corticosteroids and Dupixent achieved at least a 75 percent reduction in disease severity by the end of the trial, according to data shared by the companies selling the drug.
With topical corticosteroids plus Dupixent, 28 percent of children achieved completely or nearly clear skin by the end of the trial, compared with just 4 percent of the kids who only used topical corticosteroids, according to data from the companies. And, 48 percent of patients on topical corticosteroids and Dupixent experienced a clinically meaningful reduction in itching, compared with 9 percent of those who only used topical corticosteroids.
It is the itch that severely adversely affects childrens sleep and thus adversely affects their activities or daily living, says Saxon Smith, PhD, a dermatologist and a clinical professor at the Australian National University Medical School in Canberra.
Rectifying this with effective disease control can be transformational in the lives of these young patients, Dr. Smith says.
These side effects didnt cause young patients to stop treatment with Dupixent in the trial, according to the companies.
What Can I Expect If My Baby Has Baby Eczema
Eczema causes your babys skin to be dry and itchy. Your baby might try to scratch their skin to relieve the itchiness. While it may be difficult to prevent your baby from scratching their skin, scratching can make your baby more likely to get an infection. An infection occurs when bacteria or a virus enters your childs body. This can make your childs symptoms worse. Visit your childs provider if their symptoms get worse or if they have an infection.
To prevent side effects like an infection on your babys skin, keep your babys skin moisturized with creams, ointments or lotions designed for a babys skin. Rehydrating your babys skin can reduce their symptoms and prevent itchiness.
Is there a cure for baby eczema?
No, there isnt a cure for baby eczema. Treatment is available to help your babys skin heal and make their symptoms go away. Some cases of baby eczema go away by the time your child grows into an adult, but they may experience skin sensitivity or minimal symptoms of eczema throughout their life.
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Teach Your Child To Avoid Or Cope With Stressful Situations
Stress can cause flare-ups just like environmental triggers can, so you should teach your child to avoid or cope with stressful situations whenever possible. When major changes in your childs life occurfirst time at daycare, starting preschool or kindergarten, a move to a different townbe sure to reassure your child that everything is going to be okay.
If necessary, teach your child some coping techniques such as deep breathing or visualization. These will help your little one deal with the inevitable stresses that they will encounter throughout life.