Not sure if your baby’s itching, an irritated rash is eczema, your pediatrician can tell you for sure. These problems and answers can help you understand what to look for.
What Does Baby Eczema Look Like?
It appears as patches of red or dry skin. The skin is virtually always rough and itchy, too.
Babies can get the ailment nearly anywhere on their body. Most commonly, it affects their cheeks on the face and the joints of their arms and legs.
It’s easy to mistake baby eczema (also called infant eczema or atopic dermatitis) with cradle cap. But there are several key differences.
Cradle cap tends to be much less red and scaly. It ordinarily clears up by eight months and normally appears on the scalp, sides of the nose, eyebrows, eyelids, and behind the ears.
Eczema can run in families due to genetic predisposition. If a parent has eczema, a baby has a higher likelihood of developing eczema as well.
Issues within the skin barrier, allowing moisture out and pathogens in, could also be a reason for eczema.
Eczema occurs when the body does not generate enough fatty cells called ceramides. If you don’t have enough of them, your skin will lose moisture and become very dry and brittle.
Does Baby Eczema Go Away by Itself?
Yes, most babies outgrow eczema as they become older, generally before they begin school.
It’s not common, but a few children will have eczema into adulthood. They may have times — even years — without the symptoms. But they may still suffer from dry skin.
What Can Make It Worse
Each baby is unique. But there are some general eczema triggers to dodge, including:
Developing and not addressing dry skin – It can make a baby itchier. Low humidity, particularly during winter months when homes are well-heated, and the air is dry due to the heat removing moisture, is a cause.
Irritants – Think polyester, abrasive and rough wool clothes, perfumes, lotions, laundry soaps and body soaps, These can all produce symptoms.
Stress – Children with eczema may respond to stress by flushing. That can form irritated, itchy skin. Thus increasing the intensity of their eczema symptoms.
Heat and sweat. Both can cause the itch of infant eczema worsen.
There are assumptions that allergens can play a part in the developing of eczema however some experts believe that eliminating cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, or certain fruits from a baby’s diet may aid in controlling eczema symptoms. Remember that your baby can come into contact with these foods if her mother consumes before she breastfeeds.
First looking at the moisture levels within the child’s skin – That’s the first step in treating their eczema. Try:
Moisturizers. One with ceramides is the best prospect. These are accessible over the counter and by prescription. Otherwise, a good moisturizer, fragrance-free cream, or ointment such as petroleum jelly, when used several times daily, will assist your baby’s skin to maintain its natural moisture. Apply directly after a bath.
A lukewarm bath. This hydrates and provides cool relief for the skin. It may also ease itching. Make sure the water isn’t too to hot causing discomfort or injury. Keep the bath short — no longer than 10 minutes. To soothe itchiness, even more, you should try adding oatmeal soaking products to your baby’s tub.
Clean carefully. Use soap only in areas where your infant may be dirty, such as the hands, genitals, hands, and feet. You’ll only need to rinse off the rest of your child’s body.
Dry off. Pat skin dry. Don’t rub the skin with the towel.
Dress your child for comfort. Providing loose clothing that does not irritate the skin by rubbing against it. Softer materials such as cotton help to sooth the skin
Regularly wash new clothes before you put them on your baby. New clothing can have different factory/manufacturing chemicals as well as a composite from the warehouse and packaging. Use a gentle. Mild and fragrance-free detergent.
To keep your little one comfortable, don’t overdress her or use an excessive amount of blankets. If she gets sweaty from being too hot, that can trigger an eczema flare.
What should I do about itching?
Try to keep your infant from scratching her itchy skin. Scratching can make the rash worse, lead to an infection, and cause the irritated skin to get thicker and more leathery.
Cut and trim your baby’s nails regularly, and then take the edge off of them with a file if you can. Some parents also put “scratch mittens” onto their child’s hand to prevent scratching. You can even try long socks, tucked in beneath a long-sleeved shirt, so they’re difficult for a baby to remove.
Some over-the-counter medications, such as hydrocortisone creams and ointments, are primarily used to reduce itching and inflammation and swelling. Review the instructions and don’t apply them for extended periods of time (over a week), or they can thin the skin in the impacted area.
There are also medicines that need a doctor’s prescription if other treatments don’t work.
When to Call a Physician
Make the call if your child’s eczema does not begin to improve within a week of starting over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams. It may be an indication that prescription medicine is needed.
Also, check with your doctor if yellow or light brown crust or pus-filled blisters appear on top of eczema. This could be the symptom of a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.
You should call your physician if your baby is near anyone who has cold sores or genital herpes. Eczema can increase the likelihood of your child picking up those germs.