Baby Eczema S.O.S.
Your 4 month old has had a red, irritated rash on his face for the past two months. Everyone has told you it's just baby acne. You now start to see the rash breaking out on his arms, legs, and body. It seems to
It is a very common condition, affecting approximately 10% of infants and children. It can start as early as two months of age.
WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema is a skin condition that has two distinct components:
- Dry, easily irritated skin – children with this condition have a genetic tendency toward dry skin. Moisture is very important for our skin. It helps skin stay healthy. It prevents irritation. It speeds up healing. Moisture essentially helps our skin function better. With eczema, the skin does not retain moisture very well, thus giving it a dry, slightly rough texture and making it prone to irritation. To further complicate matters, this dry, irritated skin is itchy, causing children to scratch frequently. This further irritates and damages the skin, which leads to worse itching and scratching, and so on.
- Allergies – children with this condition also have some underlying allergies that are manifested in the skin. When exposed to these allergens, the skin over-reacts and breaks out in a rash. The already dry and slightly irritated skin is less able to handle this allergic rash, and less able to heal itself quickly.
- Thus, children with eczema have an ongoing battle on two fronts – trying to retain moisture in the skin and prevent irritation and itching, and limiting exposure to allergens and skin irritants. This is a battle we plan to help you and your child win!
- HOW DO I TREAT ECZEMA?
The top 5 Eczema S.O.S. of preventing and treating eczema.
- 1. AVOID DRY SKIN – moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! This is the single most important step in minimizing your child's eczema. This needs to be part of your daily routine with your child. Use gentle, natural and fragrance-free moisturizer or Baby Oil (Try our Tippy Toes Calming Baby Oil or Baby’s Best Daily Essential Lotion)
- 2. Luke warm baths – hot water can dry the skin. Let your child play and soak in the bath. Do not let him soak in soapy water. It used to be felt that frequent bathing made eczema worse. (Try our Soothing Oat & Milky Bath)
• Towel off gently by patting the skin. Do not rub dry.
• Do not use plain soap – soap dries the skin, even liquid baby soap.
• Use a moisturizing soap with no perfume –soap-free and good for eczema. Try our Mild Baby Wash and Shampoo.
- 3. Daily moisturizing lotion – this is very important. 2 to 4 times a day apply a moisturizing lotion or cream to the whole body, especially the affected areas. One good time to apply this is right after the bath – it locks in the moisture. Try our Happy Soothing Stick.
- 4. AVOID SKIN IRRITANTS – this is the second most important aspect of prevention.
• Cotton clothing is best. Avoid wool and synthetic materials; they can be more abrasive and irritating to the skin.
• Use cotton sheets and soft, cotton blankets.
• Wash new clothes before wearing them – this will get out any chemicals from the manufacturing process.
• Do not use any perfumed or scented lotions.
• Do not use bubble bath.
• Laundry detergents – use a mild, dye-free detergent such as Dreft, Ivory Snow or All Clear. Liquid detergents rinse out better.
• Double rinse the wash to get out all the detergent.
- Check for food allergies such as milk protein allergy and egg white allergy
• Maintain humidity of 25-40% in your home. Buy a humidity gauge. During the dry winter months, use a humidifier in your home. During the humid summer months, the air conditioning can keep the humidity stable.
• Suntan lotion – use one that doesn't irritate your child's skin. PABA free is better.
- 5. AVOID ALLERGIC TRIGGERS
• Food allergies – if your child has any food allergies, then they will play a major role in causing eczema. The problem is, you may not know if your child has any food allergies, and if he does, which foods is he allergic to? Thankfully, there are six common foods that make up nearly 90% of possible allergic foods. These are milk, egg, soy, peanuts, fish and wheat. Eliminate all 6 foods for 2 to 3 weeks. If you see dramatic improvement, then re-introduce each food one at a time to determine which is causing the allergy.
• Environmental allergies – these include dust, mold, pets, and seasonal outdoor allergies such as pollens. These environmental allergies are more likely to cause nasal allergies and asthma rather than eczema. However, they can contribute to the eczema. Identifying and preventing these allergies is a very complicated process. Click on nasal allergies for a detailed discussion on preventing environmental allergies.
CONTROL THE ITCHING – this is a major problem for children with eczema. They are in a continuous cycle of itching and scratching. The dry, irritated skin itches, so your child scratches. The scratching further irritates the skin, which causes the rash to flare up. This itches even more and your child scratches even more. If you can keep the skin moisturized, decrease the rash, and prevent itching and scratching, then you can avoid this endless cycle.
- Keep fingernails cut short and very clean – when your child scratches, the bacteria that live under his nails and on his skin get pushed deeper into the rash. This can lead to a skin infection. Shorter nails also will lessen the trauma to the skin.
- Wear long sleeves and pants, weather permitting – this keeps his skin covered so your child is unable to scratch as much.
When to use these medications – do not just automatically give these to your child every day. When the eczema is under control, the rash is mild, and your child has little or no itching, then give your child a break from the medication. But do not be afraid to use it during flare-ups and for periods of moderate to severe itching.