Quick Guide: Baby Eczema Symptoms, Triggers, and Treatments
When we think of babies we think of smiling bundles of joy with smooth and soft skin. While almost all babies grin from ear to ear, over 10% do not have the luxury of living their early years with silky smooth skin. Instead, these babies suffer with red, dry, and itchy skin from baby eczema.
These babies are not the only ones that have it tough. Mothers can grow frustrated and crushed as eczema persists on their baby’s skin.
One of the best gifts you can give your child, and yourself, is a feeling of control over baby eczema. This blog article will help you grow closer to this control by educating you about the symptoms of baby eczema, its triggers, and potential treatments.
Symptoms of Baby Eczema
Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed.
Baby eczema is very common for children between the age of six months to five years old. Its symptoms usually include itching, scratching, and dry red skin. It can appear differently across age groups:
- 1-6 months: During your baby’s first 6 months, eczema is likely to appear on the face, cheeks, forehead, and scalp. The skin looks red and ‘weepy’.
- 6-12 months: As your baby begins to crawl, eczema typically begins to appear on the elbows and knees.
- 2-5+ years: Eczema may continue to appear in the creases of elbows and knees as your baby becomes a toddler. It may also start showing up around your toddler’s ankles, wrists, hands, mouth, and eyelids. The skin may start to look more dry and scaly.
Causes and Triggers of Baby Eczema
The exact cause of baby eczema is a mystery.
However, researchers have agreed that a combination of genes and outside irritants can lead to eczema. Children with eczema are more likely to come from families with a history of eczema or other allergies. Eczema is also likely to show up when your child has food allergies. About 30% of babies with severe eczema have food allergies.
Some of the most common triggers of baby eczema include:
- Chemicals in laundry detergents and soaps. The chemicals and fragrances in these products can irritate the skin, causing dryness, itchiness, and redness.
- Heat and sweating. Heat can stimulate the itchy feeling of eczema and sweating may lure bacteria and unwanted chemicals to the skin.
- Clothing. Fabrics that are rough, too tight, or itchy can irritate the skin and cause an eczema flare-up.
- Food. Eating certain foods, like dairy products, eggs, nuts and seeds, soy products, and wheat can trigger eczema flare-ups.
- Allergens. Dust, pets, pollens, mold, and dandruff can lead to eczema flare-ups.
- Dry Air. Eczema is most common in the winter because the dry air makes it difficult for the skin to stay moist on its own.
- Saliva from drooling. This may cause irritation on your baby’s cheeks, chin, and neck.
- Anxiety and stress. When your baby’s body creates too much cortisol, it can suppress the immune system and cause inflammatory responses in the skin.
Treatments for Baby Eczema
Because the exact cause of eczema is a mystery, treating it is extremely difficult. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
The first step in treating your baby’s eczema is to build a plan and set goals for yourself.
Goal 1: Relieve the pain and itch for your baby
"We FINALLY have a treatment other than a steroid cream for my little one who has been fighting eczema since birth. We have only used for 2 days and it’s already clearing up her toughest patches." — Krista W.
Goal 2: Find the cause of your baby’s eczema flare-ups
Goal 3: Avoid the triggers that cause your baby’s flare-ups as best you can
Goal 4: Maintain healthy routines and fight flare-ups as they pop up
It can be extremely painful for babies and infants that suffer from eczema. It can be even more stressful for you as you watch your child itch and squirm. Although the exact causes of eczema are unknown, there are triggers you can watch out for and routines you can build to help conquer your baby’s flare-ups. At the end of the day, all you can do is make sure your babies are being taken care of to the best of your ability. At the Eczema Care Company, we are here to help you do just that.
- “Eczema in Children.” National Eczema Association, nationaleczema.org/eczema/children/.
- Harden, Melissa. “Real Mom: My Baby Has Eczema.” Parents, www.parents.com/baby/health/eczema/eczema/.
- Coates, Hannah. “Suffer From Eczema? Here's How To Approach Your Skincare Routine.” British Vogue, British Vogue, 22 Sept. 2019, www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/article/eczema-skincare-routine.
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