Being a parent of a child diagnosed with eczema is not easy. You have to be mindful of your surroundings, and make sure your baby is always out of possible baby eczema rash outbreaks.
Eczema is considered as one of the most common skin conditions among babies and children. In fact, according to a report published by the National Eczema Association, 31.6 million people in the United States have developed certain forms of eczema. In another report published by the Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby website, which is an online service provider of the national Australian Government, it shows that one in every five children below two years old develops eczema.
As a parent, the increasing number of people (adults and children alike) being hit by this skin condition is quite alarming. However, as much as we want to get rid of this skin condition, unfortunately, up to this day, experts and scientists have yet to find out what causes eczema. At the same time, they have yet to discover the right treatment for the disease.
We know what you are thinking – this skin condition is indeed very mysterious. Thus, we have to be extra careful, and mindful of our children’s health – especially babies and young children.
Moving on, one of our mommy friends once shared her experience on how they found out their baby’s eczema condition.
All along, she thought their baby is healthy. She was bubbly, she drinks milk a lot, etc. Until one day, everything suddenly changed. The once bubbly baby turned out to be fussy and would cry non-stop for long periods of time.
Right there and then, the mom felt something is strange. Something is wrong with her kid. She checked on her and found some rashes on her cheeks. Initially, she thought it was just like any other ordinary rash. But when the crying wouldn’t stop the whole night, following her maternal instinct, she wasted no time the next day and had her baby checked by her pediatrician.
To cut the long story short, the rash on her baby’s cheeks were apparently baby eczema rash.
Imagine if the mom did not listen to her instinct. What if she just relied on typical rash creams bought over-the-counter? What if her baby was not diagnosed correctly yet she resorted to self-medication? That could have been worse!
So, what’s our point? Simple. When it comes to your baby, no rash is typical. You got to have it checked by a doctor to be sure. Do not think twice. Just go and see your baby’s doctor.
Now, to help you understand more about baby eczema rash and the skin condition itself, here is a few important information that would be helpful for you and other parents out there.
What is Baby Eczema?
The Pregnancy, Birth and Baby website refers to eczema or dermatitis as a “common skin condition that causes the skin to become fragile, dry, itchy, rough and red”.
Baby eczema rash normally develops anywhere in a child’s body, but, most commonly, rashes appear on the cheeks or in the joints of the child’s arms and legs, and in some cases, it also shows up in the scalp.
If you are not an expert, baby eczema rash can be easily confused with other types of rashes caused by other skin conditions like cradle cap, ringworm, or diaper rash. Although it is uncommon for eczema rash to develop on the diaper area.
There are several types of eczema. But some of the most common forms of eczema that affects babies and children are atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis, which is also known as “cradle cap” in infants.
What Causes Baby Eczema?
If you are a parent of a child diagnosed with eczema, you probably know by now (your doctor must have informed you already) that eczema has no definite cause. For those who are unaware of this fact, yes, what causes eczema specifically is still unknown.
However, experts believe that the skin condition can be inherited. Meaning, if one of the parents has a family medical history of eczema, there is a greater chance that eczema will develop on their child.
Apart from the parents’ genes, experts say that some babies or kids develop eczema because of other allergic conditions, which in some cases may include asthma and hay fever.
Having dry skin is also considered as one of the main culprits of baby eczema flare-ups. When a baby or a child’s skin gets dry and becomes more fragile because of his or her eczema condition, it can easily get irritated and releases chemicals that cause itchiness on the affected skin.
But apart from the aforementioned, mommies and daddies, you also have to be aware of the following triggers that may cause the development of baby eczema rash:
- dry skin
- stress (yup! Babies can get stressed too!)
- scratching the affected area
- skin barrier problems
- food allergies like cow’s milk, peanuts, wheat, corn, etc.
- pollens, mold, dust mite
- artificial colors and preservatives
- harsh body and laundry soaps
- certain chemicals
- wool or synthetic fabrics
- heat or very hot rooms
- a too cold environment that may cause sweating
- viral or bacterial infections
- chemicals used in swimming pools
- sand, particularly from sandpits
- contact with certain carpets or grasses
Please note though that not all of the above-mentioned triggers will cause an eczema flare-up. It still is a case-to-case basis. Every child reacts differently to triggers. But, there is totally nothing wrong if you keep your baby away from these triggers – to be sure. It is better to be extra careful than being sorry, right? After all, you will never know if a certain trigger will cause flare-up until it causes baby eczema rash.
What are the Symptoms of Baby Eczema?
Normally, when babies get eczema, it usually appears on the face first. But again, as we mentioned earlier, it can show up anywhere. Also, one baby is always different from another. So, if for instance, one baby developed baby eczema rash on the face, it may or may not be the same on your baby. With that said, it is always best to be mindful of whatever comes out in your baby’s body, particularly rashes.
When a baby gets older, like when he or she reaches toddler years, the symptoms often appear on the neck, wrists, elbows, and knees.
For some reason, baby eczema rash can be itchier at night (compared to during the day) and in hot weather.
Is Eczema Curable?
Normally, the first question parents would ask when they are told that their child has eczema is, is it curable?
By the way, as parents, as much as possible, we should stay calm when dealing with situations like this so we can think straight, and ask the right questions to the health providers. It is important that we are fully informed and aware of the condition.
Anyway, going back to the question, the answer is none. But don’t panic just yet! While eczema is generally not curable, some children may outgrow such skin condition. However, it would take a lot of care and management to ensure it never reappears, because there are also cases that it disappears and then gets back when the child is older.
How to Differentiate Baby Eczema Rash from Other Types of Rashes?
To be honest, for normal people like us – without a medical background, it is really hard to tell the difference.
When you look at it, baby eczema rash is like any other rashes. What makes it different is that it can get itchy and dry.
With that said, the best way to know whether or not it is baby eczema rash on your baby’s skin is to consult an expert immediately. While it is okay to approach a pediatrician, we highly recommend having your baby checked by a pediatric dermatologist. Since they specialize in skin conditions, they can better diagnose and inform you about your baby’s skin condition.
How to Manage and Treat Baby Eczema?
One thing is sure, you got to give your little one some tender loving care, mommy (and daddy too!). While baby eczema is not curable, the good thing is, it can be managed. Well, the symptoms, in particular, can be managed.
To avoid flare-ups, it is our responsibility as parents to ensure that our babies are showered with extra care. With that said, here are some of the tips to help manage the appearance of baby eczema rash:
- Keep your babies skin moisturized.
Baby skin moisturizers are everywhere. There are, in fact, over-the-counter moisturizers that are specifically made for babies and children with eczema. There are also prescription-based moisturizers, which are, obviously, commonly prescribed by doctors for babies and children with severe eczema or dry skin condition.
When choosing a moisturizer for your little one, make sure to choose the ones with a good amount of ceramides. Ceramides help keep the skin healthy and moisturized. Also, do not forget that the moisturizing cream or lotion has to be fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and does not contain any other harmful chemicals that may cause further skin damage or irritation.
The application of moisturizer is at least 2 to 3 times daily. Ideally, you apply it on the skin immediately after bathing your baby – within the first 3 to 5 minutes after bathing so the skin gets to lock in the moisture.
- Always use lukewarm water when bathing your baby.
Too hot or too cold water may cause baby eczema rash or flare-ups. Thus, always make sure to use lukewarm water when bathing or cleaning your baby. While soaking in water helps a lot in keeping the skin hydrated and cool, it is not advisable to take long baths or soaks. A good 10 minutes of bathing or soaking is ideal. Well, generally, babies are not allowed to take long baths anyway as they might get cold.
If in case your baby has flare-ups or rashes, it would help if you add oatmeal soaking products to your baby’s tub. However, you better make sure first that your baby is not allergic to oats or it may worsen the situation.
- Only use mild, fragrance-free body and laundry soap.
Some baby body and laundry soaps may include harmful chemicals that may affect the skin of a baby with eczema. Thus, when choosing a body soap or laundry detergent for your baby, make sure to opt only for products that are 100% hypoallergenic, mild, and unscented. Also, avoid laundry products that have deodorant or have an antibacterial element as it can be rough on the baby’s sensitive skin.
2. When cleaning your baby, clean him or her carefully.
Apart from ensuring that you use the right cleaning soap – meaning, you use mild, unscented body soap – it is also important that you only use the soap in the right places or parts of your baby’s body, which include the hands and feet, as well as his or her genitals. The rest of the body may just be rinsed off.
From time to time, you may wash them with soap, too, but as much as possible, avoid too much soap application on your baby’s skin.
3. Be gentle, pat dry the skin.
Rubbing or scrubbing is a big no-no for babies with eczema. They have very sensitive skin. Rubbing or scrubbing may cause further damage or may worsen the eczema condition of your baby. With that said, gently pat dry your baby’s skin instead after bathing or cleaning.
4. Put on comfortable clothing to your baby.
Stay away from using clothing made of wool or polyester fabrics, and other synthetic fabrics in the market. Instead, put on loose clothing made of cotton fabric.
We highly recommend using 100% cotton fabric to make sure your baby’s skin is protected from any possible chemicals or irritants. As with the loose clothing, it helps the skin breathe. Also, fitted clothes tend to rub the skin, which may lead to the appearance of baby eczema rash or flare-up.
5. If breastfeeding, mommies, stay away from allergenic food.
This is especially true if your baby is diagnosed to have an allergic reaction to certain food. Allergies lead to flare-ups. So, if you are breastfeeding your baby, remember that what you take in, your baby takes in as well. So you have to be super extra careful. Make sure to avoid the food that your baby is or suspected to be allergic to.
For your idea though, some of the most common allergenic foods are peanuts, cow’s milk, soy, wheat, eggs, and even corn.
6. Avoid triggers of baby eczema.
The best way to help prevent or manage baby eczema rash or flare-up is to avoid eczema triggers, which some of them we mentioned earlier. Always make sure your home is free of dust, pollens, etc. As mentioned above, for breastfeeding moms, stay away from food that may cause an allergic reaction to your baby.
7. When the flare-ups continue, treat it using the right medication as prescribed by the doctor.
There are cases when no matter how you try to avoid baby eczema rash or flare-, you just can’t. In that case, it is highly advised that you immediately see your baby’s doctor so he or she can prescribe the right medication for your baby.
Typically, steroid creams or ointments may be required to help heal your baby’s eczema rashes. While there are available over-the-counter products like hydrocortisone creams and ointments, which targets the healing of inflammation and itching, there are also creams that require a doctor’s prescription.
We, however, suggest to always ask your doctor before using or applying anything on your baby’s skin. Remember, your baby’s skin is very sensitive and delicate. You better do things right all the time.
When to Call a Doctor?
Although generally, baby eczema rash can be managed and treated, there are cases when you should immediately consider seeing a doctor.
These cases include:
– When your baby’s eczema does not get better even after a week of applying hydrocortisone creams.
– When you see yellow or light brown crust or pus-filled blisters on your babies’ skin, particularly in the area where the baby eczema rash is. This may be caused by a bacterial infection, which needs immediate treatment.
– When the baby is around with people who have genital herpes or cold sores.
You see, if there is one thing sure here, your baby is one very delicate human being. He or she needs proper care, especially if the baby is or suspected to have baby eczema.
As parents, it is obvious that we have a big role to play in ensuring that our babies are free of baby eczema rash or flare-up. How comfortable our babies can get, and how free they are from flare-ups depend on how we are going to take extra care of them.
While having a baby with eczema may tend to get overwhelming, take it one day at a time and keep a positive outlook in life. After all, there is a chance of your child getting rid of this skin condition forever, right?