Eczema is the most common skin problem in babies and young children. The inflammatory skin condition is also sometimes known as dermatitis.
Eczema can vary in severity, ranging from small persistent patches of dry skin on the face, limbs and trunk, to itchy dry skin creases affecting the wrists, ankles, arms, behind the knees and under the chin. In severe cases, the eczema is widespread and in need of medical attention.
Eczema can be uncomfortable and irritating for the infant. It can also be distressing for parents because of its appearance, and confusing, with the wide range of lotions and treatments available.
The good news is that most children will outgrow their eczema by the time they’re two to five years of age.
What causes eczema?
Unlike nappy rash or contact dermatitis, which are caused by direct external irritants, eczema’s exact cause is unknown. But eczema tends to happen in babies with families that have an allergic history of conditions like eczema, psoriasis, asthma or hayfever. It’s also believed to be linked to having a hypersensitive immune system.
Things that aggravate eczema and cause flare-ups. There are several things known to aggravate eczema. Here are some tips on how to avoid them:
Babies with eczema tend to get hot and clammy skin. Heat dries the skin out further and increases its itchiness. This leads to scratching which can make the eczema worse.
To avoid this problem:
- Dress your baby in loose-fitting, cotton clothing. Use thin layers, so you can add or remove a layer when you need to.
- Bathe your baby in tepid water only.
- Avoid heating your baby’s environment (car, house, bed etc.)
- Use cotton blankets only.