How To Treat Baby Eczema
Though there is no cure for eczema, there are some steps you can take to help manage the condition.
It is important to remember that even after the redness and itchiness has gone away, inflammation still remains under the skin. That means you shouldnt stop treatment until the skin feels totally smooth, not just when redness subsides. Usually, this can range anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on the area of the body and thickness of the eczema.
Eczema In Babies With Black And Brown Skin
According to the National Eczema Foundation, eczema affects more African American babies than any other racial background. About 1 in every 5 thats about 20% African American babies has some form of eczema. This compares to 10.7% of Hispanic babies, 12.1% of white babies, and 13% for Asian and Native American, respectively.
Eczema doesnt appear red like it does on white skin. Instead of red patches, eczema may cause gray, darker brown, or even purple patches. These discolored patches may still be dry, warm, swollen, itchy, and/or scaly.
Eczema Around The Eye
When eczema occurs on the face, it often affects the skin around the eyes or eyelids . Eczema that develops near the eyes needs special attention because the eyes themselves can be affected.
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Can Food Allergies Cause Eczema
Many children with eczema will also have food allergies, but the foods themselves will not cause eczema. In fact, its often the other way around. Children with eczema are 600% more likely to develop a food allergy.
This is known as the atopic march, which describes a pattern where eczema generally appears first, followed by a food allergy, then seasonal allergies and asthma. When your child has eczema, allergens and irritants entering through the skin triggers an immune response in the form of inflammation. This hypersensitivity of the immune system can cause an exaggerated response later on when food allergens are eaten or inhaled.
Though food allergies dont cause eczema, they can trigger a worsening of existing eczema symptoms. These eczema flares can differ by the type of food eaten as well as the childs immune system response.
First Of All What Exactly Is Baby Eczema
The term âeczemaâ is really an umbrella term for various conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. While there are many types of eczema, when we refer to âbaby eczemaâ we are most commonly referring to atopic dermatitis. This is a recurring inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. In other words, something in the childâs environment triggers their immune system and the skin has a reaction to itagain and again and again.
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What Is Baby And Toddler Eczema
Similar to adults, baby eczema is marked by red, itchy, inflamed skin. There are several types of eczema, and one called seborrheic dermatitis is the cause of cradle cap, which is unique to infants.4 Although there is no cure, a combination of preventative measures, avoiding triggers and managing symptoms like itching can help keep baby eczema under control.
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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Avoid Irritants And Triggers Where Possible
Many people with atopic eczema have flare-ups from time to time for no apparent reason. However, some flare-ups may be caused or made worse by irritants to the skin, or by other factors. It is commonly advised to:
- Avoid soaps, bubble baths, etc, when you wash. They can dry out the skin and make it more prone to irritation. Instead, use a soap substitute plus a bath/shower moisturiser see below.
- Biological washing powders and fabric conditioners can also sometimes cause problems.
- Try as much as possible not to scratch. To help with this, keep nails short and use anti-scratch mittens in babies. If you need to relieve an itch, rub with fingers rather than scratch with nails.
- Wear cotton clothes next to skin rather than irritating fabrics such as wool. However, it is probably the smoothness of the material rather than the type of the material which helps. Some smooth man-made fabrics are probably just as good as cotton.
- Avoid getting too hot or too cold as extremes of temperature can irritate the skin.
- After you wash clothes with detergent, rinse them well. Some biological detergents are said by some people to be irritating. But there is little proof that commonly used detergents that are used in the normal way make atopic eczema worse.
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We were getting prescription creams and a home regimen to start. The months that followed have been chaotic to say the least. Something would work for a few days, then it wouldnt. As a result, we tested each of the things below to manage her eczema for at least three weeks. I wanted each potential remedy to have a fair chance to do its thing. Eczema is a strange thing, where unless you experience it, I dont know if people can really understand the amount of time you obsess over it because its always there . Its been frustrating because others dont see it so its easy to suffer in silence because people always just say, she looks great! when you bring it up.
So lets start at the beginning with some eczema basics, and then Ill walk you through all of the things weve tried over the months and how theyve worked in helping us manage our daughters eczema. This post is sponsored by Hancock Regional Hospital as part of their empowering women and children site. All thoughts, experiences, and opinions are my own. This is not medical advice, but my personal experience. Every situation is unique and you should always talk with your doctor before making any decisions. Be sure to check out Hancock Regional Hospital for additional resources and support. This post contains affiliate links.
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Managing Eczema In Winter And Year Round: A Parents Guide
Cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can rob skin of its natural moisture in the winter. Red, crusty, dry patches can be common on a baby’s skin, particularly in winter, and cause concern for parents. Such symptoms can be treated, however, and many babies and children do outgrow the dry, itchy skin of atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.
We spoke with pediatric dermatologist Katherine Puttgen to learn more.
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What Is Childhood Eczema
Eczema is a genetic condition that causes the hydrolipidic layer that covers your childs skin to become thin in certain spots and eventually break down. This protective layer does two things:
- It prevents moisture from evaporating.
- It protects skin from external irritation.
So when a small hole in the hydrolipidic layer develops, it allows moisture to escape and allergens to come in contact with the deeper layers of your childs skin. When that happens, a flare-up is likely to occur, causing your childs skin to become red, swollen, and itchy.
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. Itâs not certain, but some experts believe that removing cowâs milk, peanuts, eggs, or certain fruits from a childâs 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.
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When To Call A Doctor
Make the call if your babyâs eczema doesnât begin to get better within a week of starting over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams. It may be time for a prescription medicine.
Also check with your doctor if yellow or light brown crust or pus-filled blisters appear on top of the eczema. This could be the sign of a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics.
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.
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What Often Goes Along With Eczema
Eczema is part of a group of conditions called the atopic triad. The atopic triad includes eczema, allergies and asthma.
We know that people with eczema have a greater chance of also having allergies, including food allergies. People with eczema are also more likely to have asthma.
People with known allergies may notice that their eczema worsens if they are exposed to something they are allergic to, including foods or pollens. Someone’s allergy triggers are usually not the main cause of eczema.
What To Do About Itching
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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What Doesnt Cause Eczema
Eczema is not contagious. You can’t catch eczema by coming in contact with someone who has it.
Eczema is not an allergic reaction. Even so, a large number of children who have eczema also have food allergies. That doesn’t mean that certain foods such as dairy, eggs, and nuts — common food allergy triggers in children with eczema — cause it or make it worse. Before removing particular foods from your child’s diet, talk with your doctor to be sure your child’s nutritional needs will be met.
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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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.
What Does Baby And Toddler Eczema Look Like
In addition to persistent itching, baby eczema causes redness and a rash-like appearance. The skin can become very dry or scaly and develop crusted or oozing blister-like lesions. Baby eczema and eczema in children most often appears first on the face, elbows and knees since these spots are easy to scratch and exposed to friction while crawling. Infant eczema can spread to other parts of the body, but is rarely seen in the diaper area because of the extra moisture. As children age, eczema can develop inside the elbows, on the hands, behind the ears, on the feet and scalp. However, its important to keep in mind that symptoms of eczema in babies and children can vary from case to case, so it is best to consult your dermatologist or pediatrician if you believe your child may have eczema.1
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Identify And Avoid Products That Cause Irritation
You can also treat facial eczema by identifying triggers and removing the source of irritation. Keep in mind that labeling a product as sensitive doesnt mean that it cant cause irritation.
Even so, choosing fragrance-free or hypoallergenic makeup and skin care products can reduce the risk of irritation.
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.
- 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.
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.
Triggers Of Eczema Flare
- Soaps. Never use bubble bath. It can cause a major flare-up.
- Pollens. Keep your child from lying on the grass during grass pollen season.
- Animals. Avoid any animals that make the rash worse.
- Foods. If certain foods cause severe itching , avoid them.
- Wool. Avoid wool fibers and clothes made of other scratchy, rough materials.
- Dry Air. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
- Herpes Virus Infection . Keep your child away from anyone with fever blisters . The herpes virus can cause a serious skin infection in children with eczema.
- Eczema is not caused by laundry soap you use to wash clothing.
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