Concerned about baby eczema ? Not sure why eczema in babies is so common? Let us explain…
Eczema is a condition that affects the skin, is recurring, and is now one of the most common conditions affecting 1 in 5 children, making eczema in babies and baby eczema extremely common. Characterized by a red, inflamed rash that could be either dry and scaly or wet and weeping, the baby with eczema usually experiences an intense constant itching on the area affected.
Eczema in babies tends to make its first appearance during infancy approximately 2-6 months of age and starts on the face, behind the knees, behind the ears or on the elbows. Some people may have it all over their body.
Causes of Eczema
Research is finding that genetics play a major role in the development of eczema in babies. If one parent has eczema, asthma or hay fever then the child has a 30% chance of developing baby eczema. If both parents have either of these conditions then the child's chances of developing baby eczema can increase to 50-80%.
Another factor playing a major part in the development of baby eczema is an impaired skin barrier. When the skin is exposed to potential irritants it can breakdown the stratum corneum (skin barrier) which is responsible for keeping potential irritants out and keeping water in.
Certain chemicals used in house hold and personal care products such as soap, surfactants (bubble baths), washing powders, fragrances, preservatives, and essential oils. Also:
Become educated, talk to your family doctor or child health specialist to properly diagnose the problem.
Get in touch with organizations such as the Eczema Association of Australasia who are a wealth of information on eczema treatments.
A fantastic book is one written by Sydney Dermatologist Dr Phillip Artemi and Pharmacist Tina Aspres. All About Kids' Skin is a very informative look at children's skin and how best to care for it.
Eczema Skin Care Treatments
Keep your child's skin moisturized and hydrated to minimize itching and dryness by using an emollient moisturiser that is completely fragrance free and apply this to your child's skin at least 4 times a day.
UK based research has shown that by following this method the occurrences and severity of eczema outbreaks are significantly reduced.
Avoid chemicals and fragrances on your child's skin the fun of a bubble bath can be the worst trigger for baby eczema.
Maintain moisture in the skin by using a humidifier as it keeps the air moist
Eczema and Infant Massage
Dr Tiffany Field, Ph.D., from the Touch Research Institute in Miami, has spent the past 25 years researching massage therapy. She conducted a study on young children with eczema who received daily massage from their parents, to see whether their symptoms decreased.
For one month, the parents of the first group massaged their children’s prescribed eczema treatment into their skin for 20 minutes each day.
The second group applied their prescribed eczema treatment to their children’s skin with no massage.
The study found that the children from the first group who received the daily massage were less anxious and that the symptoms of redness, scaling, itching, thickening and skin abrasions had decreased significantly.
Eczema and Diet
Avoid processed, refined foods and stick with lots of vegetables, see a dietician, nutritionist or naturopath to diagnose food sensitivities.
For formula fed babies try a hypoallergenic formula that contains omega 3, taurine and glycine.
For breastfeeding mums, incorporate Omega 3 into your diet with oily fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, herrings and sardines, and seeds such as linseed and flaxseed oil. Watch for eczema triggering foods such as dairy and salicylates (tomatoes, oranges, grapes, sultanas).
As there are so many different triggers of eczema what effects one child won't necessarily be a problem for the next.
There is no known cure for eczema - Eczema treatment aims at observation, assessment and management of the condition.