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What Causes Eczema In Toddlers

Why Did My Child Develop Eczema

The Eczema Podcast S1E8: Healing Eczema, Root Causes & Eczema in Children with Dr. Jason Lee

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.

What Causes Eczema In Infants And Children

Eczema is brought about by the complex interplay of a genetic predisposition and the childs environment. Many things from the climate to possible allergens can cause eczema to flare. We know that eczema tends to run in the families with a predisposition to other atopic diseases, such as food allergies, asthma and hay fever. Individuals with atopic dermatitis may lack certain proteins in the skin, which leads to greater sensitivity. Parents with eczema are more likely to have children with eczema. However, the exact way it passes from parents to children is still not known. Most children who have eczema will show signs of the condition in the first year of life. It tends to wax and wane in severity.

Signs And Symptoms Of Eczema In Children:

Research states that around 10 to 20% infants and children are affected by eczema . The symptoms are mostly visible during the first five years of your kids life. After that, the condition is likely to reduce drastically or even disappear.

Here are some signs and symptoms that you have to watch out for in your child to know if it is the case of eczema:

  • Itchy, dry, and red skin
  • Small bumps on cheeks, forehead, or scalp
  • Rash that spreads to limbs, often in the elbow, knee or ankle crease.
  • Red, crusted, and opened lesions that are seen on the skin of any body part
  • Circular and elevated scaly rashes that are frequently itchy
  • Frequent scratching to reduce the itchy sensation
  • Usually, eczema tends to disappear as your child grows older. Your kid may encounter the condition at the onset of puberty during the hormonal shift in the teen years.

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    Managing Babys Eczema: Other Lifestyle Tips

    Bathing and moisturizing are the cornerstones of baby eczema management, but they arent the only ways to manage baby eczema. Follow these other tips to help soothe your babys skin:

    Moderate or severe eczema requires more in-depth care than mild eczema. The tips in the linked article may help you develop a detailed routine based on babys eczema severity.

    Causes Of Eczema In Children

    Atopic Dermatitis/Eczema in Children &  Adults

    It is thought that eczema is caused by genetic factors that weaken the skin barrier, allowing moisture to escape and bacteria and viruses to enter more easily. There may also be environmental factors at play, with triggers like dust mites prompting the immune system to overreact.

    Most cases of eczema appear by the age of five, and a large percentage of children develop symptoms in the first few years of life.

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    What Does Baby Eczema Look Like

    Eczema doesn’t look the same on every baby. In babies with light skin, it usually shows up as patches of red skin. In darker-skinned babies, the rash might look purplish, brownish, or grayish. Eczema can be harder to see on babies with dark skin.

    These patches are almost always dry, itchy, and rough.

    Babies can get the condition just about anywhere on their body. Most often, it affects their cheeks and the joints of their arms and legs.

    Its easy to confuse baby eczema with cradle cap. But there are some key differences.

    Cradle cap is much less itchy and irritated. It generally clears up by age 8 months and usually appears on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyelids and eyebrows, and behind the ears. See a photo of what cradle cap looks like.

    Home Remedies For Eczema In Babies

    While steroid creams and antihistamines work, there are several natural remedies for eczema in children. However, experts suggest that home remedies are best avoided as they can cause flare-ups in atopic dermatitis. Please consult your doctor before employing any of the following methods to treat your child.

    Recommended Reading: Start Of Eczema In Babies

    Tips For Dealing With Babys Eczema

    Parents often invest time in a day to day routines of their child and when a child has eczema, dealing with eczema also becomes a daily routine. School or surroundings will expose your child to many aggravators of their eczema. Along with that, Its obvious that your kid will definitely start to notice that not everybody has a skin disease and not all are troubled with eczema/atopic dermatitis.

    Here are a few ideas you can do to boost up your childs health and confidence:

    1. Praise and Communicate:

    As a parent you always want your little one to stay cheerful and sound. A little talk from your side can help your understand eczema. Whether its about their interests, gaming, school, friends or something else, prepping your child about certain social situations will help them ease into the environment. Its important that your child may understand his/her condition and should also know that eczema is not a communicable disease. Applaud them while they are doing great as kids are more dynamic to positive attitude from his/her friends and family that can do wonders in enhancing the fearlessness. Attempt to make them flawlessly agreeable in their own particular skin.

    2. Encourage your child to express emotions:

    3. Focus on childs capabilities:

    4. Give time to your Kids:

    5. Address Carefully:

    Managing Babys Eczema: Moisturizing

    Causes of Eczema and How to Treat It Naturally

    Regular moisturizing is just as crucial for managing baby eczema as the daily bath. In fact, its the seal part of the soak and seal method.

    After your baby’s bath, moisturize their skin right away to “seal” the remaining moisture from the bath into their skin, and help prevent it from escaping.

    • Follow the 3-minute rule! Moisturize babys skin within 3 minutes after the bath. The moisture from the bath will escape through babys skin barrier if you wait too long to moisturize.

    Choose a moisturizer that mimics and supplements the skin’s natural barrier, which is made up of cholesterol, fats, and fatty acids.

    This barrier usually lets the skin hold in enough moisture. But babies with eczema have a compromised skin barrier, so they need support from moisturizer to build up their barrier.

    • Look for moisturizers that contain ceramides. Ceramides are the fats that the skin naturally makes to form the skin barrier.
    • You could also use coconut oil, because it moisturizes, eases inflammation, and helps fight against skin bacteria with lauric acid.
    • Ointments that are free from alcohol are also recommended. Avoid creams that contain alcohol, as alcohol can sting and burn the skin.

    Please read this article to learn more about the best baby eczema moisturizer ingredients, as well as moisturizer ingredients to avoid.

    Liberally moisturize all areas of babys body, especially the areas where the eczema is worst. Theres no such thing as too much moisturizer!

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    Two Types Of Eczema Your Baby Could Have: Atopic Dermatitis Or Contact Dermatitis

    Atopic dermatitis is the type of eczema that runs in the family. Food allergies, hay fever, and environmental allergies may be related to flare-ups of atopic dermatitis.Contact dermatitis occurs when an irritant or allergen comes into contact with your babyâs skin, causing an allergic reaction in the form of a rashâin other words, eczema.

    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.

    These triggers may include a variety of allergens and irritants, such as:

    • 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.

    Doctors recommend the following strategies to parents whose babies have eczema:

    Your doctor may also recommend other eczema treatments for your child, including:

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    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.

    Helping Your Child Cope With Eczema At School

    Baby Eczema: Causes, Symptoms, &  Treatments

    Its a good idea to discuss your childs eczema diagnosis with the teacher at the start of the school year. A teacher who is familiar with eczema can help your child cope with the practical aspects of the condition and any social or emotional issues that may arise in the classroom.

    To help the teacher make your childs school experience as normal as possible, set up a meeting to discuss your childs eczema and what you have learned about coping. Below are some topics you may wish to cover in your meeting.

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    What Does Eczema In Children Look Like

    Eczema in young children and babies usually presents as a painful and itchy rash. It can appear anywhere on the face or body, but usually not the groin area. A rash on the groin area is more likely to be nappy rash.

    The location and appearance of eczema tends to be different in younger children and babies than in older children and adults. Here are the symptoms of eczema to look out for during each stage of your little ones development.

    Eczema In Children: Its Causes Symptoms And Prevention

    Charlie had red lesions on his hands and scaly, red rashes on the elbow. He had an itch and wanted to scratch, but remembered what his mom said, Scratch it and it will stay. Charlie wanted it to go away, so bad! His eczema was diagnosed when he was seven. He is nine now and uses topical medication for the rashes. He also follows a strict lifestyle to prevent flare-ups.

    Charlie is not alone.

    Around 20% of children in the world are affected by some form of eczema. MomJunction tells you about eczema in kids, what causes it, and how to manage it.

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    How To Treat Eczema In Children And Babies

    Whilst there is no known cure for eczema, you can manage flares of your childs condition by following a few basics:

    • Keep a diary of your childs eczema flare ups to help identify environmental triggers.
    • Bath your child daily and moisturise their skin whilst still damp to lock in the moisture.
    • If your doctor has prescribed any medication, ensure that you use it consistently, even when your child is not having an eczema flare.

    To find out more about treatments for eczema in children and babies, take a look at our blog post.

    What Causes Eczema In Children

    Eczema | What Causes Eczema | Eczema Treatment

    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 .

    Also Check: What Can Flare Up Eczema

    When To See Your Healthcare Provider

    Itâs a good idea to see your provider if you think your little one might have eczemaâthat way your provider can diagnose it and recommend treatment, if itâs needed.If your babyâs eczema is severeâif it looks purple, crusty, or weepy, or has blistersâyour provider might prescribe an over-the-counter or prescription cream or ointment.If your baby has only mild eczema, your provider might recommend no treatment at all and recommend waiting to see if it clears on its own.

    What Causes Eczema In Babies & Toddlers

    • According to the National Eczema Association, atopic dermatitis is one of the most common forms of eczema, affecting roughly 13% of children in the United States
    • Babies and children with a family history of eczema are more likely to develop this skin condition3
    • Baby eczema is believed to be caused by genetics and external factors3

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    How Can You Help A Toddler With Their Eczema

    Helping your toddler deal with the itch can go a long way in helping them manage their eczema. When you notice your toddler scratching, distract them with another activity, particularly one that keeps their hands busy, like coloring.

    You can also try wet wrapping the affected skin to help alleviate the itch and keep little hands from getting at the rash.

    Wet wrapping involves wrapping the skin with a cloth or bandage dressing thats first moistened with warm water. When the wrap is in place, apply a dry cloth or dressing over the wet one.

    Clothing can act as another barrier between your child and their eczema. If your child has eczema around their elbows, dress them in long sleeves when possible. If its on their legs, try long pants.

    What Can Caregivers Do

    Eczema: Symptoms

    When treating eczema, caregivers need to follow the treatment plan and try to reduce symptoms in the child. Equally, they should remain vigilant for any skin infections, monitor the childs condition, and schedule doctors appointments as necessary.

    However, this can be stressful for caregivers. A 2020 study highlights that many experience sleep disturbance, exhaustion, worry, and social isolation relating to their childs atopic dermatitis. Following treatment regimens, coordinating appointments, and communicating with insurance can create time and financial pressures.

    This highlights the need for caregivers to seek support and advice for both emotional and physical well-being.

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    Can You Control Eczema By Controlling Food Allergies

    Many people think that controlling food allergies means eliminating foods. The problem with eliminating food such as dairy, dairy products, or egg from your childs diet is that it can cause nutritional deficiency. Therefore, incorporating in limited amount and frequency of these foods is a better option than complete removal of these foods from the diet. There is also the thought that introducing foods that may exacerbate eczema will help build tolerance for these foods as children get older.

    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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    Try Wet Wrap Treatments

    Wet wraps can increase moisture intake. A caregiver can take the following steps to apply a wet wrap to the toddler after bathing them and before putting them to bed:

  • Apply any medicine a doctor has prescribed to any rashes and apply some moisturizer to the rest of the skin.
  • Soak some close-fitting items of clothing in warm water.
  • Wring out the clothes until they are damp but no longer dripping.
  • Dress the child in the damp clothes, then put dry comfortable clothes on top.
  • Ensure the childs bedroom is warm or give the child a blanket if they feel cold.
  • Keep the wet wraps on for at least 30 minutes, or leave them on overnight.
  • Remove the wet wraps.
  • Toddlers with eczema may be more prone to infections that require treatment with antibiotics. However, a caregiver can help prevent infections by giving a toddler diluted bleach baths 23 times a week.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics gives the following instructions for a diluted bleach bath:

  • Add half a cup of unscented plain household bleach or one-third of a cup of unscented concentrated household bleach to a full adult tub of lukewarm bathwater. Stir the water well to dilute the bleach and spread it out in the water. For a smaller, infant tub, only use 2 tablespoons of bleach for a full tub of water.
  • Rinse the bath water off the toddler thoroughly.
  • Dry the skin by patting it gently with a towel.
  • Apply eczema medicine to any rashes.
  • Apply a moisturizer all over the toddlers skin.
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