Baby Skin Concerns: Eczema
We are so Excited to launch our interviews with Dr. Eyal Levit.
After an influx of questions concerning skin related issues we decided to go to the experts. Dr. Levit graciously agreed to talk about the top concerning skin problems occurring in babies.
During the month of November we will be posting new videos throughout the with Dr. Levit as he explains each skin concern and puts our worries to rest.
Today he is talking about Eczema.
What is Eczema?
Eczema can show up as red, crusty patches on your baby's skin, often during their first few months. It’s common and very treatable. Many infants outgrow it.
Not sure if your baby's itchy, irritated rash is eczema? Your doctor can tell you for sure
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.
It’s easy to confuse baby eczema (also called infant eczema or atopic dermatitis) with cradle cap. But there are some key differences. Cradle cap is much less red and scaly. It generally clears up by 8 months and usually appears on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyelids and eyebrows, and behind the ears.
Causes of Eczema
It can be genetic. If a parent has eczema, a baby is a lot more likely to get it, too.
Problems in the skin barrier, allowing moisture out and germs in, could also be a cause.
Eczema happens when the body makes too few fatty cells called ceramides. If you don’t have enough of them, your skin will lose water and become very dry.
Most children do outgrow it before they start school. However, some kids will have eczema into adulthood. They may have times -- even years -- without the symptoms. But they may still tend to have dry skin.
What To Avoid When Eczema Is Present
Each baby is different. But there are some common eczema triggers to avoid, including:
Dry skin . It can make a baby more itchy. Especially during the winter when the humidity is low.
Irritants. Think scratchy wool clothes, polyester, perfumes, body soaps, and laundry soaps. These can all trigger symptoms.
Stress. Stress in children with eczema 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. It’s not certain, but some experts believe that removing cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, or certain fruits from a child’s food may help control eczema symptoms. Remember that your baby can get exposed to these foods if her mother eats them before she breastfeeds.
Home Remedies for Eczema
Moisturizers. One with ceramides is the best option. Otherwise, a good moisturizer, fragrance-free cream, or ointment such as petroleum jelly, when used several times daily, will help your baby's skin retain its natural moisture. Apply immediately after a bath.
A lukewarm bath. This hydrates and cools the skin. It may also ease itching. Make sure the water isn’t too hot! Keep the bath short -- no more than 10 minutes. To soothe itchiness even more, you could try adding oatmeal soaking products to your baby's tub.
Use mild, unscented body and laundry soaps. Perfumed, deodorant, and antibacterial soaps can be rough on a baby's sensitive skin.
Clean carefully. Use soap only where your baby may be dirty, such as the genitals, hands, and feet. Simply rinse off the rest of your child's body.
Dry off. Pat skin dry. Don't rub.
Dress for comfy days. To avoid the irritation of clothing rubbing on the skin, your child should wear loose clothes made of cotton.
Always wash new clothes before you put them on your baby. Use a mild, fragrance-free detergent.
To keep your little one comfy, don’t overdress her or use too many blankets. If she gets hot and sweaty, that can trigger an eczema flare.
What About the Itching?
Try to keep your baby from scratching. Scratching can make the rash worse, lead to an infection, and cause the irritated skin to get thicker and more leathery.
Trim and file nails often. Some parents also slip "scratch mittens" onto their little one's hands. Others try long socks, tucked in under a long-sleeved shirt, so they're harder for a baby to remove.
- Jennifer Akiyama