Does your little one suffer from eczema? As a parent, it can be difficult and not to mention frustrating to watch your baby’s smooth soft skin become red, flaky, and irritated. Two of my kids developed eczema at around 3 months old so I completely understand your pain and fustration.
Although there is no one size fits all answer to eczema
What is eczema
So what exactly is eczema? Eczema (also called Atopic Dermatitis) occurs what the skin become irritated causing dry, red, scaly patches that are often itchy or painful. It occurs in about 10% – 20% of infants but luckily most children who suffer from eczema will eventually grow out of it.
My boys would get thick scaly rashes but they would also get almost perfect round red raised spots which were also eczema. So it can take on a few different appearances.
What Causes It?
Although the exact causes of eczema are still unknown it is believed that it is caused by the body’s immune system reacting to some sort of allergy or irritant. So eczema could be a physical symptom of an allergy or
5 Ways to Manage Eczema In Babies and Children
Take Them To the Doctor
As soon as you notice eczema book a doctors appointment for your baby. Talk to them about possible medical causes for eczema and also have your child tested for allergies and food intolerances.
Allergies and protein intolerances is common in babies and often the symptoms include
My middle son was suffering from a milk protein intolerance but since he was such a large baby and had no problem gaining weight the doctors treated his colic and eczema as two different issues. They almost refused to believe he could have a protein intolerance until I demanded they test him for it.
Within a few hours of the test I received a call from his doctors saying he did, in fact, have a protein intolerance and had developed food protein enterocolitis. Which was causing both his colic and his eczema. The Doctor also had him do a skin prick test to rule out environmental allergies, luckily he didn’t test positive for any.
Trust your gut as a mother, if you feel like something is wrong then 9/10 times your instinct is right. And if your doctor doesn’t seem to be taking your concerns seriously then don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
Cut out chemicals and artificial fragrances
Artificial fragrances, colors, and other harsh chemicals are all things that can either cause eczema to flare up or make it much worse. And unfortunately, they are found in almost all of the products that you put on your baby’s skin, wash their clothes with, and clean your home with. If your little one is developing eczema a few ways to reduce the chemicals that are irritating their skin and making eczema worse are;
- Use a hypoallergenic laundry soap (ALL Free & Clear for Sensitive Skin)
- Stop using dryer sheets
- Use hypoallergenic lotions
- Check bath soaps for artificial fragrances
- Clean the surfaces they come into contact with natural cleaning products. Or if you still need to clean those surfaces with harsh chemical cleaners, once the cleaner has dried wipe down the surface with a wet rag.
It’s a good idea to keep track of what products or specific ingredients are causing your child’s skin to reacts. Once you get a good idea of what those are it will make it easier to avoid them.
If you are finding that there are things your child is reacting but you’re not able to find an alternative, let your child’s doctor or dermatologist know and they should be able to work with you to find a solution.
Be careful with bath time
When it comes to bathing with eczema there are two different schools of thought. One is to limit baths to twice a week since bathing removes the skins protective barrier and can dry out the skin which makes eczema worse. The second is to bath daily to keep the skin hydrated.
Just like everything else the best course of action is going to be the one that works best for your child. You can give both a try and see which one gives you the best results. For both of my sons we got the best results by limiting baths to twice a week and using tons of lotion in between.
Regardless of which method you choose to do, a few tips are pretty universal when it comes to bath time when you have eczema;
- Use lukewarm water
- Avoid harsh soaps
- Gently wash, do no scrub skin with a washcloth
- Limit baths to between 5-10 minutes
- Gently pat dry, make sure to leave the skin slightly damp
- Apply lotion right away. This is key to helping “
lock in” moisture and prevent skin from drying out
Keep their skin hydrated
Just like I touched on above, keeping skin hydrated when you have eczema is super important. Three of the
- Lotion, lotion, lotion! Did I mention use lotion?
- Use a humidifier like this Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier
- Change bedsheets often, especially in cribs. Dirty bedsheets can dry out and irritate delicate skin
One other thing to consider for kids who use a pillow is using an inexpensive Satin Pillowcase. Satin is very gentle on skin and won’t dry out their face like a cotton pillowcase will. You can also switch to Satin Sheets if cotton seems to dry out or irritate their skin.
When it comes to lotion, again it might end up taking some trial and error to find what works best. The two products I’ve had the most success with are Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream and Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment. Generally, I lather on the Vanicream all over and then put the Aquaphor over any areas of eczema or super dry skin. Adding the Aquaphor over the lotion really helps lock-in the moisture over the areas that need it the most.
Before you start using new lotions, soaps or anything that is going to be coming into contact with your baby’s skin its always a good idea to test the product on a small patch of skin, or to use a small amount of it to make sure it doesn’t cause a flair up.
Begin to pay attention to food that may be triggering eczema
This is a big one. It’s currently believed that 1 in 3 children with Eczema has an allergy/intolerance that is triggering it or making it worse. If you suspect that food may be triggering your child’s eczema keep close track of what they are eating and what seems to be causing a reaction. Keep a list of foods you think could be a problem and talk with your child’s doctor about allergy testing and how to eliminate those foods without losing out on important nutrients.
My middle son had milk protein intolerance which triggered his eczema. Switching him to hypoallergenic formula helped reduce his eczema but didn’t clear it up completely. We didn’t realize until he was a little older he was also suffering from other food intolerances including eggs, pork, peas, and beans. Working with a doctor we removed those foods from his diet, and his eczema cleared up completely. We also worked with his doctor to slowly introduce those foods back into his diet as he began to outgrow the intolerances (at around 3 years old).
My youngest son also had to deal with food intolerances and eczema. After working with a pediatric gastroenterologist we discovered he not only had a milk protein intolerance but he also had a corn intolerance. And corn is in EVERYTHING. Luckily we were able to find one brand of formula that was corn-free (and cost us more than a monthly car payment) and he hasn’t had any eczema issues since.
Like I talked about earlier, ask your doctor to run an allergy panel to test for food allergies and environmental allergies. None of my boys had food allergies but they did have several food intolerances/sensitivities that were causing them to have eczema as well as gastrointestinal issues and sinus issues. And one area of difficulty I ran into with doctors was that some believed in food “intolerances/sensitivities” and some did not. Our pediatric gastroenterologist explained to us that even though a particular food might not be causing an allergic reaction doesn’t mean that the body isn’t reacting to it in an inflammatory way. So if you feel like your doctor is not taking you or your worries seriously get a second opinion.
*I am not a medical professional and this information is not indented as medical advice*
Dealing with eczema in babies can be difficult for both you and them. Hopefully, some of these tips and tricks can help your little one find some relief! Had you had any success in treating your child
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