If your little one has eczema and you’re having a hard time treating it, don’t worry—you’re not alone! In fact, eczema (a non-contagious skin condition that causes itchy, inflamed skin) is most common among children. It usually appears in babies up to six months old. Luckily, there are lots of helpful things you can do to care for your baby’s eczema.
Causes of baby eczema
Eczema shows up as a dry, itchy rash that can become very rough, flaky or scaly. There are a few different types, including seborrheic dermatitis, which can cause “cradle cap” in infants. While there is no cure for eczema, it is possible to keep symptoms under control by avoiding certain environmental triggers like rough fabrics, soaps and certain allergens. Check out our Eczema Dermclass to learn more about what may be causing your baby’s eczema flare-ups.
What does baby eczema look like?
Babies often get eczema (which looks like a red or brownish rash, depending on skin tone) around their face and on their cheeks and chin area, as well as at key joint points, like elbows and knees. You’ll also notice lots of itchiness. Don’t panic! It’s a common occurrence, and although it can look pretty bad, it can be managed with the right care. Consult your pediatrician or dermatologist to help figure out what type of eczema your baby may have and what can trigger it.
Can baby eczema go away?
Yes! Most kids will outgrow their eczema by the time they start kindergarten, around age four or five. But there is a small percentage of infants who will continue to have eczema into adulthood (though they can go years without experiencing symptoms).
Five tips to help you prevent eczema-prone skin in babies
It’s important to keep the skin nourished and moisturized to keep symptoms like dryness and itchiness at bay. Remember to apply a balm or an emollient just after your baby’s bath, when the skin absorbs the most moisture.
Steer clear of allergens.
If you know what type of eczema your baby is suffering from and what triggers it, stay away from the causes. Common culprits are scratchy wool clothing, strong or fragranced detergents, dust and even pet dander.
Remember to check all your baby’s skincare products to make sure they are fragrance-free. In fact, the fewer ingredients the better!
Go for emollient.
Adding an emollient oil to your baby’s bath water can be nice and soothing. Dr. Stefanie Williams, a dermatologist based in London, England, also recommends shortening bath times and keeping the water at a mild temperature — not too hot and not too cold.
Go for glycerol.
When you’re choosing a moisturizer for your baby’s skin, skip the preservatives. Opt for one with a glycerol base that can help relieve the rough, itchy patches that often come with eczema. Dr. Justine Kluk, a skin expert and dermatologist, recommends avoiding products that contain urea or lactic acid, which can irritate the skin of very young children.
To learn more about eczema and to find resources, visit the Eczema Society of Canada at https://eczemahelp.ca.