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Why Do Kids Get Eczema

Causes Triggers And Risk Factors

what causes eczema

Researchers are still unsure of the exact cause of pediatric eczema. However, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology suggests that it may result from the leakiness of the skin barrier. This can lead to the skin drying out, making it more prone to irritation and inflammation. Factors that can contribute to the development of eczema in children include :

  • Genetics: Children with a family history of eczema, allergies, or asthma are more susceptible to developing eczema. Mutations in certain genes, such as CARD11 and FLG, also have associations with eczema.
  • The immune system: A person may experience a flare of eczema when their immune system overreacts and causes an exaggerated response to a trigger.
  • The environment: The envirome refers to potential triggers an individual may have exposure to, including pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, climate factors, such as temperature, and social factors, such as stress.

Evidence also highlights a link between allergies and eczema in younger children. Many experts refer to the progression of allergic conditions as the . It typically begins with atopic dermatitis and food allergies in infancy, then develops into allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis in childhood.

People with eczema are

When diagnosing eczema, doctors will likely ask about:

Currently, there is no cure for eczema, but the condition is manageable. Treatments typically involve keeping the skin moist and reducing inflammation. A treatment plan may include:

Key Points About Atopic Dermatitis In Children

  • Atopic dermatitis is a long-term skin condition. It’s common in babies and children.

  • A child with allergies or family members with atopic dermatitis has a higher chance of having atopic dermatitis.

  • Itching, dryness, and redness are common symptoms.

  • The goals of treatment are to ease itching and inflammation of the skin, increase moisture, and prevent infection.

  • Staying away from triggers is important to manage the condition.

  • It usually gets better or goes away as a child gets older.

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 babys 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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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Eczema

  • How can you tell that I have eczema?
  • If I dont have eczema, what other skin condition might I have?
  • Is there a specific brand of moisturizer that you recommend?
  • Is there a prescription cream that you can prescribe?
  • How often should I see a dermatologist regarding my eczema?
  • What soaps, lotions, makeup, etc. should I avoid?
  • What medications do you recommend?
  • What at-home treatments do you recommend?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Eczema is very normal, very common, and very, very uncomfortable. It can affect your quality of life. At its worse it can keep you from sleeping, distract you and make you feel self-conscious in public. See your dermatologist or other healthcare provider as soon as you start to see signs of it. Explore at-home remedies and prescribed treatments.

Youre not alone! 15% to 20% of people experience eczema or another type of dermatitis at some point in their lives.

What You Can Do

New research into what causes eczema â Eczema Outreach Support

You can help reduce your child’s discomfort by:

  • keeping their fingernails short to reduce the damage to their skin from scratching
  • washing them with aqueous cream instead of soap – ask your pharmacist about aqueous creams and always follow the instructions on the product
  • using non-biological detergent and a double rinse cycle when washing their clothes or bedding
  • avoiding herbal, ‘natural’ or alternative creams – these can make eczema worse, as they may contain bacteria or high doses of steroids
  • rinsing and drying them well after swimming
  • dressing them in cool, breathable fabrics like cotton
  • keeping them away from anyone with a cold sore – as the cold sore virus can cause eczema to become infected
  • using extra moisturiser on areas your child scratches a lot
  • avoiding anything you know that causes your childs eczema to get worse

Around 6 out of 10 children with eczema will grow out of it by the time they’re teenagers.

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What Can Caregivers Do

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.

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.

Itâs 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.

Read Also: What Does An Eczema Patch Look Like

When To Seek Medical Help For Burning Sensation

When a person feels a tingling or a burning sensation in any part or all over the body, medical consult should be sought in order for the necessary tests to be done and to arrive at the correct diagnosis for prompt and appropriate treatment. Here are some facts that are associated with burning sensation all over the body,

Eczema Burned My Skin Leaving It Itchy Cracked And Angry Until I Found My 8 Miracle Cure

Why Eczema Is Common in Infants and What You Can Do about It
  • Gemma Mullin, Digital Health Reporter
  • 10:46, 28 Aug 2019

A WOMAN whose eczema left her feeling like she was on fire claims shes finally cured her agonising skin condition with a £7.99 cream.

Amy Roberts, of Glasgow, says shed tried more than 30 different prescribed lotions, including steroid creams.

But nothing could temper the 24-year-olds angry, itchy and cracked skin, which had tormented her for most of her life.

Earlier this year, the nursery worker stumbled across a natural cream, made of hemp, beeswax, olive and sunflower oils.

She started using Balmonds Skin Salvation cream every day and claims that within two weeks it had cleared up.

Amy said: My skin completely changed. It stopped feeling fiery, stopped flaking and people even started to compliment me telling me my skin looked really nice.

Also Check: Does Eczema Move Around The Body

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.

What Should I Do If My Babys Eczema Gets Worse

If your baby has wet, weepy skin and their eczema is not getting better with steroids, their skin may be infected and they may need antibiotics. If your babys eczema flare does not get better with the standard treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence , your GP should refer them to a dermatology specialist. If they suspect an allergy, they should refer them to an allergist or joint dermatologyallergy clinic.

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When To Seek Medical Advice

See a GP if you have symptoms of atopic eczema. Theyll usually be able to diagnose atopic eczema by looking at your skin and asking questions, such as:

  • whether the rash is itchy and where it appears
  • when the symptoms first began
  • whether it comes and goes over time
  • whether theres a history of atopic eczema in your family
  • whether you have any other conditions, such as allergies or asthma
  • whether something in your diet or lifestyle may be contributing to your symptoms

Typically, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema you should have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months and 3 or more of the following:

  • visibly irritated red skin in the creases of your skin such as the insides of your elbows or behind your knees at the time of examination by a health professional
  • a history of skin irritation occurring in the same areas mentioned above
  • generally dry skin in the last 12 months
  • a history of asthma or hay fever children under 4 must have an immediate relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, who has 1 of these conditions
  • the condition started before the age of 2

Washing Bathing/ Showering With Eczema

Holistic Squid

Washing helps treat eczema skin by removing dry skin and any build-up of emollients, reducing bacterial levels on the skin and softening the skin ready for the application of emollients and/or steroids. Soaps and detergents can be very irritant to the skin in eczema and cause it to worsen. It is recommended to use a soap substitute in place of standard soap, cleansing products for hand washing, bathing and showering.

The following tips can help to reduce any discomfort to the skin when bathing or showering

Tips for bathing/ showering

  • Water alone is very drying on the skin so using a soap substitute when washing showering or bathing including adding a bath oil or emollient to the water is important.

*Caution Emollients and oils can make the bath or shower environment slippery for a baby or child so be careful.

  • Bath water should be tepid/ luke warm , as heat is a common trigger for eczema and having the bath water too hot may trigger the itch scratch cycle.
  • Skin should be patted dry rather than rubbed dry to prevent any further damage and stimulating the itch scratch cycle.
  • Use a separate towel for the individual with eczema that has not been used by the rest of the household so there is no soap residue on the towel.
  • Even with the addition of a bath oil or emollient wash product, emollients need to be applied after bathing to trap moisture in and prevent dryness.

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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:

  • 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 childs diet does not usually help eczema

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

What Causes Eczema Flare

The main causes of child eczema flare-ups include:

  • Too much bathing

Even though there are many factors that can lead to an eczema flare-up, treatment is simple and effective, regardless of what caused the reaction in the first place. Before we discuss the seven ways to treat and prevent child eczema flare-ups, lets find out a bit more about the condition itself.

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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.

You should call your doctor if your baby is around anyone who has cold sores or genital herpes. Eczema can make your little one more likely to pick up those germs.

Show Sources

Quality Of Life Issues

Managing eczema: 4 top tips for a healthy skin microbiome | La Roche Posay

Eczema often has a significant effect on the quality of life of both the child with eczema, their family and wider networks. Babies and children with eczema may not sleep as well which can have a knock-on effect on sleep quantity and quality of life for the rest of the family. For older children it may make concentrating on tasks and school work hard. Sometimes children with eczema are embarrassed by how their skin appears and can be subject to bullying. The following tips can help improve some of the issues highlighted.

  • Creating the best possible sleep environment enables the skin time to repair: Applying emollients and/ or steroids before bed, keeping the nursery/bedroom cool, and placing them in light cotton sleep wear.
  • Use distraction techniques and rewards for treatment times at an age appropriate level. Examples include singing, watching a favourite cartoon, and the use of a star chart or stickers.
  • When talking about eczema use positive language avoid saying stop scratching or using negative terms like bad skin.
  • Older children, depending on maturity and confidence can start to become more involved in the daily management of their eczema treatment and may like to have their own emollient supply to put on at school.

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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.

What Are The Symptoms Of Atopic Dermatitis In A Child

Symptoms may come and go, or occur most or all of the time. Any area of the body may be affected. In babies, symptoms usually affect the face, neck, scalp, elbows, and knees. In children, symptoms usually affect the skin inside the elbows, on the back of the knees, the sides of the neck, around the mouth, and on the wrists, ankles, and hands.

Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:

  • Dry, scaly skin

  • Pale skin on the face

  • Small, raised bumps that may become crusty and leak fluid if scratched

  • Rough bumps on the face, upper arms, and thighs

  • Darkened skin of eyelids or around the eyes

  • Skin changes around the mouth, eyes, or ears

  • Raised, red areas

The symptoms of atopic dermatitis can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Also Check: Does Dairy Cause Eczema In Babies

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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