Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a type of skin rash that often occurs in children under 5. When it occurs in babies, it is usually localized on the scalp and cheeks, but it is not unusual to notice baby eczema on the legs, arms, chest and some other body parts. After the child turns one, it is very likely that this skin condition will spread on the inner side of the elbow, the wrists, the backs of the knees and even on the ankles. Once again, there is a chance that it will show up on other body parts too.
There is no definitive answer to this question, although scientists have been trying to answer this question for decades. But, according to many of them, there is evidence and statistics that support the theory that this is an inherited skin condition. In other words, if the parents or their close family members have asthma, eczema or allergies, there is a great chance that their child will have this health issue too.
It’s good to highlight the fact that eczema is not some sort of allergic reaction to specific compounds or substances. However, irritants and/or allergens that are frequently found in the environment, like cigarette smoke or pollen, can lead to the emergence of baby eczema. In rare cases, baby eczema is a result of allergens found in the food consumed by the baby. The same goes for the diet practiced by breastfeeding mothers. Obviously, they can transfer these allergens through milk.
The rash that is typical for baby eczema can be worsened and intensified by irritants that are commonly found in products like detergents, lotions, fragrances and soaps, by heat, a sudden change in temperatures and skin dryness. There are some initial studies that suggest that stress can cause or worsen baby eczema too. Finally, parents should know that when one type of eczema is present, there is a greater chance that the baby will develop another type of this skin condition. This means that it is the best idea to act quickly and treat this issue.
According to the latest statistics, almost 20% of babies and infants are dealing with some sort of eczema. In most cases, this skin condition occurs for the first time in infancy. About 65% of these small patients are experiencing the symptoms in the first year and nine out of ten of them before they turn 5.
The rash we’ve mentioned before usually looks like thick, dry, scaly skin. But, in some cases, it might include small, oozing red bumps. In a smaller number of cases, the bumps can get infected after intense scratching. This scratching can also make the skin scarred, darkened and thickened after some period of time..
What makes eczema a unique skin condition is that it usually comes and goes without any apparent reason. As previously mentioned, this is not a contagious condition, but due to the fact that it causes itchiness and may bring discomfort to children, it must be treated right away. The scratching can cause additional problems. The rush can become hideous if it is left untreated. On the other hand, these situations may affect the process of socialization of young children.
The simplest way to diagnose baby eczema is to let the doctor examine the kid’s skin. Doctors may direct patients to dermatologists which can confirm the health issue and recommend the most suitable treatment.
Modern science still can’t predict whether an infant will be able to outgrow eczema. The good news is that this kind of problem typically becomes less visible and less intense with age. Almost half of the kids outgrow baby eczema when they turn two. There are also many children that outgrow this problem before they become adults.
Experts are still looking for the most effective treatment for baby eczema. A study conducted not while ago, has shown that using bleach for this purpose may be an effective remedy. Soaking babies in a diluted bleach bath for up to ten minutes, two times a week, has significantly improved the condition of many babies suffering from baby eczema. The only downside of bleach is that it can reach your child’s eyes and mouth and that’s why it is highly recommended to consult a doctor before using this method. In addition, this method should be avoided for the treatment of baby eczema located on the face.
While we are talking about bathing, it’s worth mentioning that many experts consider daily bathing to be a good way to ease the symptoms of eczema in young children. Lukewarm baths are ideal for this activity. In addition, during this process, people should use non-soap cleansers of very mild, neutral soaps. The child should not remain in the soapy water for a long time. In fact, it is better to be placed at the bath’s end. Once the procedure is finished, parents are encouraged to use an emollient (a special lotion, cream or ointment that keeps the moisture of the body) or a moisturizer.
The clothes that children dealing with baby eczema wear can affect the treatment too. It is highly recommended to dress these children in natural and smooth fabrics like cotton. On the other hand, wool and similar scratchy materials can cause irritation and problems. The kid’s clothes should not generate the excessive level of heat.
Scratching is a form of relief that children use, but this practice can only make the situation worse. One of the things that parents can do is to cut the nails of their child regularly and to use very soft sheets in their beds or cribs. In case the itching is very intense, doctors may recommend an antihistamine.
Frequent exposure to environments with extremely different temperatures can trigger baby eczema or make existing cases worse. In addition, in most cases eczema is usually started by allergens found in the environment, like seasonal allergies, for example, it would be a good idea to talk to a professional. These professionals can help parents understand how they can prevent and eliminate these allergies. In any cases, babies and children should not be exposed to cigarette smoke. In the end, parents that are worried about the occurrence of baby eczema must locate and minimize stressors that may activate eczema. De-stressing is very helpful in situations like this. In addition to adults, children, and even babies need de-stressing too.
The fact is that eczema is not some sort of allergy, but in many babies and infants, specific allergenic foods lead to the emergence of eczema or make existing eczema worse. There are many different foods that have been associated with this skin condition and some of them include cow’s milk, eggs, wheat soy, fish, and peanuts. So, parents are advised to stay away from these foods. All these foods have been associated with eczema so there is no reason why they should still be present in a child’s diet if she or he is prone to eczema or already has baby eczema. Another important thing about children’s diet is that many new mothers that are using formula are advised to use a hypoallergenic variety.
The first thing that parents should do is to contact a doctor or a specialized pediatric dermatologist. In case parents have tried all the above-mentioned activities and the infant is not showing any progress, it is very likely that the medical professional will recommend mild topical steroids. While this not a great option, it will clear the skin for a short term fix. We would always recommend trying our natural baby eczema cream first, as we have had great results!