Baby eczema is a common skin condition that appears as red patches on the surface of the skin and is often crusty in texture. In most cases, eczema is passed from parent to child through heredity. If you suffered from eczema when you were a child, it’s more common that your newborn will also experience this same skin condition.
Science has confirmed eczema outbreaks occur when your baby’s body does not produce enough fatty cells (ceramides). The lack of ceramides cells causes your skin to become dry and lose water. This results in the skins natural barrier having difficulty releasing moisture and germs.
What Causes Baby Eczema
- Genetics – Is the most common culprit attributed to causing baby eczema.
- Dry skin – Increased itchiness occurs if you live in a low humidity environment, such as during a cold winter when your home remains heated, and the air is dry.
- Stress – We don’t often think about the stress experienced by babies, but when children with eczema are affected by stress this can lead to an outbreak.
- Natural Allergens – Doctors and scientists continue to study the impact of food allergens such as peanuts, dairy, and even fruit on babies. This research is leading to connections of eczema outbreaks.
- Skin Irritants – The textiles your baby’s skin comes into daily contact with can trigger irritation. Ordinary materials such as wool and polyester are leading irritants.
- Additionally, your perfume or soap can bother your child.
Is Eczema Contagious?
No – Baby eczema is definitively not contagious. There is zero concern of your baby coming into contact with other babies, children or adults before, during or after an eczema outbreak.
Baby Eczema Symptoms
Every baby starts exhibiting symptoms of baby eczema at different times. It’s most common between your child’s second and sixth month of age to start developing and displaying symptoms.
The most common symptoms to help you identify eczema are;
- Dry skin
- Red colored skin
- Skin that’s crusty textured
- Small bumps found on the forehead, scalp or cheeks
In more severe cases you might find;
- The rash on your child’s legs or arms with open lesions
If you notice your child starting to rub or itch an affected area this can worsen the rash and even lead to a thicker permanently discolored skin.
Baby Eczema Treatments
There are baby eczema treatments that may alleviate the skin irritation that your baby is suffering from. Here are helpful tips to soothing your baby’s eczema.
- Use emollients – Applying an emollient such as petroleum jelly on your little one’s skin can help lock in the moisture to prevent dry skin. If you are going to use a new brand of emollient cream as a moisturizer, make sure that you do a patch test first to see if there is an allergic reaction.
- Cover hands – It’s not easy keeping an eye on your baby the entire 24 hours just to prevent them from scratching their itchy skin. Cover their hands with soft gloves. It would be a good idea to keep your baby’s nails short too because you don’t want them to scratch and infect their irritated skin.
- Go for gentler fabrics – When it comes to providing relief for atopic dermatitis, you don’t want to dress your baby in clothes that are scratchy or irritating to their sensitive skin. Skip the lace and go for soft, and breathable fabrics instead. Go for detergents that are fragrance-free when washing your baby’s clothes. You will be doing some experiments at this point until you find the right blend for your little one’s skin.
- Minimize irritants during bath time – Children with eczema should not be exposed to allergens or irritants when they take a bath, which means that dyes and soaps are not recommended. Keep your baby happily splashing without worrying about their atopic eczema by making bathtime fun, with bright and bold colored toys, to occupy their hands and distract from scratching.
Baby Eczema Prevention
While there is no prevention of eczema as it’s passed through genes, scientists do believe there are certain triggers that you can prevent to help mitigate outbreaks.
- Dry air with low moisture
- Pet dander
- Harsh soaps
- Excessive exposure to heat
- Food allergies
- Tobacco smoke
You don’t have to wait until your baby has eczema to start protecting their skin. As a matter of fact, here are a few that you should keep in mind especially during the first few months of your little one’s life.
- Avoid too many layers of clothing – Covering your baby in several layers of clothing is not really helpful as it traps the heat in their body which can rob their skin of its much-needed moisture. Instead, dress your baby in loose and comfortable clothing to avoid irritating their skin.
- Reduce bath time – Your baby will not need to be bathed daily during the first few months because they don’t really do much except to eat, sleep, and move their bowels. As long as you keep their diaper area clean, a full bath twice a week is okay. This way, your little one will still retain its protective barrier and avoid dry itchy skin.
- Apply moisturizer – According to the American Academy of Dermatology, applying an emollient on your little one’s skin right from the start may help reduce their risk of baby eczema considerably because you are ensuring that there is enough moisture on their skin. If you are looking for creams and ointments that will act as a moisturizer, go for those that don’t have any synthetic fragrances to them.
- Pay attention to a food allergy – Some babies may develop food allergies a few months later such as an allergy to cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, or soy to name a few. Some become allergic to dust mites, pet dander, and the like. Once you have noticed the trigger, it would be good to avoid them as much as possible to avoid flare-ups.
WANT TO READ MORE?
If you are looking for more information on baby eczema, check out Treating Baby Eczema Naturally.
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Sources: Eczema, Understanding Your Child’s Eczema, Eczema Causes and Triggers, Can Anything Prevent my Child from Getting Eczema?