Let’s talk about Eczema in kids and babies!
Eczema is dry skin that becomes inflamed.
A baby with eczema has dry, scaly skin that becomes red, irritated, and itchy. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is the most common skin condition in kids, affecting 20% of all kids, especially during dry and cold weather. Luckily, most children have easy-to-treat, mild eczema.
Newborns and young children commonly get dry skin behind the ears, on the cheeks, and in the scarf distribution as I call it – the upper chest, back, and shoulders. Eczema can be present all over the body, and children tend to get patches in the same areas that flair up over time.
What Causes Dry Skin?
Most people with eczema notice their skin becoming drier in the winter when the dry air and cold saps the skin of moisture. When we heat our home, this leads to further drops in humidity and dryness.
Interestingly, some children have a flair with their eczema when wet or exposed to moisture, such as swimming or bathing. Some kids develop eczema year-round, or it can worsen at specific times of the year.
The winter tends to be worse for children with eczema as the weather is drier and colder. Many kids with eczema have itchy areas that come and go, flaring intermittently.
Why does eczema bother me?
For three reasons:
1. Itch – Eczema is itchy and uncomfortable. The irritation from eczema can be incredibly distracting and annoying for children. Some kids have challenges sleeping due to itching and discomfort. Eczema may prevent your child from sleeping well, leading to a host of other issues with behavior and feeding.
2. Infection – Eczema is dry, sometimes cracked skin. Eczema is itchy, and when kids scratch, bacteria and viruses that commonly live on the skin can cause an infection. Herpes and bacterial infections are common and can be a challenge to treat.
3. Scarring – Some children develop scars from untreated or undertreated eczema. When eczema is adequately controlled, the ongoing inflammation can damage the skin. Scars can be permanent. Eczema is caused by inflammation, and this active inflammation can lead to long-term thickening and darkening of the skin, sometimes permanently.
Baby Eczema Treatment:
· I suggest bathing your child no more than once a day or even less often – bathing frequently can lead to more dryness, counterintuitively.
· Taking brief baths, no more than 10 minutes
· Try adding oil to the bathwater. Coconut or baby oil or a commercial bath oil product can help lubricate the skin. Please be careful about removing your child from the bath. They may be slippery!
· Pat, your child, dry gently after a bath. Avoid rubbing your child’s skin, as friction can exacerbate eczema.
· Baby eczema treatment: apply lotion or product that is lubricating. Essentially, anything greasy. Baby eczema cream can be petroleum jelly, petroleum-free jelly, or oil-based products (such as coconut oil) liberally on dry areas.
· Consider using a prescription ointment or cream from your doctor. Your health care prover may give you a steroid ointment or cream to apply to eczematous areas 1-3 times a day. Ointment tends to work better than cream.
· Keep the skin clean and lubricated
· Continue to lubricate the skin several times a day. The greasier the skin, the fewer flair-ups.
What does the American Academy of Dermatology suggest as far as treatment for eczema?
Here’s a skincare plan to help you treat your baby’s atopic dermatitis (eczema)
First, keep up with the appointments so that you can receive treatment for it. Once treated, use moisturizers as needed and stay away from triggers such as stress or allergens.
Does air conditioning reduce eczema flares in babies?
Air conditioning in summer months can worsen eczema symptoms by drying out baby’s skin and making them more susceptible to flare-ups.
Does Infant Eczema go away by itself?
Some children will have eczema into adulthood, but most kids outgrow it before starting school.
What is the difference between eczema and severe eczema?
Eczema is one of the most common types of skin condition that causes red, dry, and itchy patches on the body. More than half of people with eczema have atopic dermatitis which includes severe cases or symptoms like bleeding and crusting among the skin barrier.
Do food allergies cause Eczema?
Eczema may be a symptom for children with food allergies but is not as common after the age of 3 or 4. Eczema can also be caused by an allergic reaction to things like dairy products and eggs, which typically cause hives that look similar but are different from eczema.