If you are reading this article, then chances are you are concerned about your baby’s skin covered with red patches. Fret not, people! You will be surprised to know that eczema is quite common in babies.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90% of people with eczema experience it before age 5, and almost 60% of people with atopic dermatitis, also known as infantile eczema, develop it before age 1.
So if your baby has been diagnosed with eczema, you probably want to prepare yourself with the information of what it is, what is causing it, and what you can do to treat it. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know about it.
What is baby eczema?
Eczema (EG-ZUH-MUH) is a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. Atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis, also known as cradle cap in infants, are the most common types of eczema that affect children. Always remember, eczema is not contagious. It usually appears after your infant turns about a month old, and most kids grow out of it between the ages of 2 and 3.
What causes it?
Researchers are not sure what exactly causes baby eczema, but they believe it’s most likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some scientists also believe that infant eczema can be due to an immune system dysfunction that affects the skin barrier and its ability to hold in moisture.
What can trigger your baby’s eczema?
Some of the most common eczema triggers include:
- Dry skin
- Heat and sweating
- Allergens such as specific foods, pet dander, pollen, or dust
There is also a high chance that your baby’s eczema may worsen in the winter due to dryness in the air. Saliva from drooling can also irritate your baby’s cheeks, chin, and neck.
What is the difference between eczema and dry skin?Extreme dry skin can look rough or scaly. But, if your baby has eczema then her skin will be inflamed, dry and scaly with bumpy red patches. Remember! In most cases, eczema starts on the face, cheeks, forehead, or scalp. Eczema patches are often small, but they are extremely itchy, which can make your baby irritable. If this is the case with your little one, speak to your healthcare provider.
Most common types of infant eczema:
- Atopic dermatitis: It is usually the type of eczema that is genetic and runs in the family. Food allergies, hay fever, and environmental allergies mostly flare-ups this kind of eczema.
- Contact dermatitis: It occurs in the form of a rash due to an allergic reaction. This type of eczema is caused when an irritant or allergen meets your baby’s skin.
- Try these few home treatments for your little one to see what works for you.
- Moisturize: Moisturizers with ceramides are the best option for moisturizing your baby’s skin. They are easily available over the counter and by prescription. Otherwise, remember, always use a fragrance-free cream, or ointment such as petroleum jelly. They will help your baby’s skin retain its natural moisture. Apply immediately after a bath for better results.
- A lukewarm bath:It will also hydrate and cools your little tot’s otherwise irritated skin. However, make sure the water isn’t too hot and don’t exceed the bath for more than 10 minutes. You can also try adding oatmeal soaking products to your baby’s tub for reducing maximum irritation of your baby’s skin.
- Buy soft, unscented body and laundry soaps: Always remember fragrant and antibacterial soaps are rough on sensitive skin and they can irritate your baby’s skin even more.
- Don’t excessive clean: Use cleaning products only where it’s necessary, such as the genitals, hands, and feet. You can rinse off the rest of your baby’s body with simple water. For the cleaning of nails, try using an electric nail polisher to prevent accidental irritations and cuts.
- Dry off:Always keep your baby’s skin dry. And remember to pat it dry but DON’T RUB.
- Dress Comfortably: Dress them in comfortable loose clothes made of cotton. That way your baby’s skin will be less irritated. Consider using swaddle wraps made of cotton to keep them warm and comfortable.
- Wash new clothes: Use a mild, fragrance-free detergent to wash new clothes before you put them on your baby.
Keep them cool and don’t overdress: Remember, hot and sweaty can trigger an eczema flare. So, keep your little one cool and comfy.
Baby’s diet and Eczema:
Diet plays a major role in your baby’s eczema. Signs that your baby is reacting to her diet include an itchy red rash on the chest and cheeks and hives. If you do find a trigger food, then get rid of it to subside your baby’s symptoms.
Foods that can Trigger Eczema:
Some foods are more likely to bring symptoms. The common offenders are:
- Tree nuts
However, keep in mind that these foods aren’t the real cause, they only make eczema worse. Instead, it seems to result from “leakiness” in the outer layer of skin that lets in irritants, germs, and allergens.
Cow Milk, a major culprit:
Don’t give your child whole cow milk before she turns 1 year old. If you notice any skin problems even after your baby is 1 year old, then ask your doctor if you should switch to soy milk.
Yes! It looks scary if your little one has eczema. However, Don’t worry! With care and effective at-home treatment, your baby’s sensitive skin will improve in time. So, in the meantime, shower then with lots of love and kisses. After all, that’s really all your child needs.
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