Eczema is a description of conditions which cause skin to appear as red, dry and itchy patches. It is also known as atopic dermatitis or allergic skin condition. Between 10-15% of infants suffer from eczema. It normally shows up on cheeks, as well as the creases of the arms and legs.
Eczema happens when the body does not produce enough ceramides (fat cells that protect the skin). When the skin is not protected, moisture gets out and the skin dries. Eczema is also hereditary, which makes babies more prone to developing it if their parents had it. Most infants and children will outgrow eczema before they are adults. Some children will experience eczema later in life, or will have reoccurring episodes of dry skin.
Some triggers that flare up eczema include dry skin, irritants such as perfumes and soaps, wool clothing, allergens, the heat, sweat and stress. Try to avoid these triggers and use moisturizers on the skin. If your infant is experiencing eczema, these at home remedies may help temporarily until you can see a specialist.
- Use an over-the-counter, non-fragrance moisturizer with ceramides, or petroleum jelly
- Warm baths (about ten minutes-try oatmeal baths as well)
- Over-the-counter antihistamines
- Hydrocortisone cream (temporary use only on affected area)
- Any other anti-inflammatory topical cream
- Clip your infant’s finger nails to prevent them from scratching (skin tears may require antibiotics)
Foods cause one-third of atopic dermatitis and should be tested for by an Allergist. If you feel your infant has eczema, schedule an appointment with an Allergist. They will evaluate your child and recommend specific treatment, such as soak and seal. If it is allergy related, they may prescribe antihistamines. Your infant does not have to suffer from eczema!