A newborn’s skin is the most sensitive, delicate, and susceptible to skin infections and diseases. Some of these conditions go away on their own while others require treatment and more attention, such as eczema.
Eczema appears as red patches on your baby’s skin, usually affecting cheeks and arm and leg joints. Some babies develop eczema as early as six months. Take time to know more about this condition so you can manage it if (knock on wood!) your child develops eczema.
What are the causes?
While the exact cause of eczema has not been determined yet, both genetic and environmental factors can lead to it. Problems in skin barrier, which happen when germs get into your baby’s skin, as well as dry skin are likewise usual suspects for this condition.
Types of eczema
The most common types of eczema that affect children are:
- Atopic dermatitis, a long-lasting type of eczema that starts in infancy up to early childhood. It is characterised by itchy, red and scaly skin, rashes, and open and crusty sores. Children with family members who have atopic dermatitis are more at risk to have the condition. Other risk factors include asthma and hay fever.
- Contact dermatitis, which is caused by exposure to things a child is allergic to. Contact dermatitis is usually just situated within the area of exposure and does not spread to other parts of the body.
- Dyshidrotic eczema is characterised by small, itchy blisters that usually appear on the edges of a baby’s fingers, toes, and even feet.
- Seborrheic dermatitis, which is common in areas with oil-producing glands like scalp, nose, and back. Seborrheic dermatitis appearing on the scalp of a baby is also known as “cradle cap” and is identifiable with the presence of red and sometimes swollen skin with yellow flakes and crust.
How can I manage it?
There is no perfect formula to prevent your child from having eczema. Any child is at risk, especially the ones with the family history of the condition.
If your child has already developed eczema, the best thing you can do is to manage the flare-ups. You can do that by:
- Avoiding irritants like perfumes, soaps, and even clothing fabrics like wool. Use natural materials, like cotton, instead.
- Using emollient wash instead of soaps and bubble baths. The gentler the product you use on your baby’s skin, the better.
- Ensuring proper ventilation at home. Poor ventilation promotes heat inside the house and contributes to baby’s dry skin. Keep your home cool and avoid your child from getting too sweaty.
- Protecting your child from too much stress by providing her with a quiet, peaceful environment.
- Not smoking near your baby, or at all, as this may also expose her to toxins that cigarettes have.
- Observing if your pet makes your baby’s skin worse because this might be another thing your little one is allergic to. Groom your pets accordingly and if it’s really contributing to your baby’s eczema breakouts, consider moving your pet to a different home, as tough as it may be.
What products can I use?
Before giving your child any treatment for eczema, make sure to consult your doctor first. If you’re sure that your baby has eczema, you may use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve the skin’s itching and inflammation. Other prescriptions from your doctor may include antihistamines and oral or topical antibiotics.