An Irish dermatology expert on what to do when your baby has eczema
Got a little scratcher at home?
Chances are, both your heads are wrecked trying to ease the frustration. So we caught up with Selene Daly, a specialist Dermatology Nurse from Sligo University Hospital for some tips on how to identify it is is eczema, and what to do next.
You'll try anything, right? And currently, there is no cure for this chronic inflammatory skin disease – no vaccine, pill, diet or cream which will eradicate eczema completely.
Serena Daly has the lowdown:
"Medically, eczema is characterised by dry skin, irritation and inflammatory lesions, but moderate to severe eczema can lead to flare-ups that cause intense itching, discomfort and sleepless nights.
1. Common substances like animal hair, pollen, and preservatives in cosmetic products can trigger allergic inflammatory action.
2. Children with eczema can also suffer from a sensitivity to and an increased amount of a bacteria (aka Staphylococcus Aureus). Too much of this bacteria can cause a flare, and ultimately treatment with antibiotics is needed.
3. One of the most important aspects of eczema care for children and babies is the exclusive use of soap substitutes. This means never washing body or hair with any products which contain soaps or preservatives as it strips the skin of its natural oils. In normal skin, these oils are replaced within 5 – 6 hours, but in dry skin, this may never happen leaving the skin dry and open to triggers. It's important when washing children that both a bath additive and bath wash are used together. This increases the amount of water absorbed in the skin while washing.
4. My favourite product is Irish skincare brand Elave – it has an ECOCERT Sensitive Baby Bath which contains Organic Camomile and Organic Aloe Vera to protect and hydrate your delicate baby’s skin. I think, it's one of the cleanest, safest baby baths in the world plus it's Irish, which is nice.
5. Topical steroids have got a really bad rep, but they remain the most effective way of treating bad eczematous skin. Research has found that using topical steroids in children actually reduces the incidence of developing asthma and hayfever. Side effects can be avoided if prescriptions are adhered to.
6. Moisturising is another important element of treating eczema. Dry skin should be moisturised even when there is no flare up. This builds a protective barrier, preventing flares from triggers. Regular use of moisturiser has been proven to reduce the amount of topical steroid needed. Products should not contain preservatives. Research has also shown that children of parents who have a history of asthma, hayfever or eczema should use soap substitutes and moisturisers from birth. This practice has proven to reduce the incidence or severity of eczema in children.
7. Seeking help is vital. The first port of call is to get to your GP for prescription-strength steroids and advice on moisturisers. Onward referrals for a consultation with a Dermatologist might be necessary.
8. The Irish skin foundation is a great helpline website which provides support for patients and carers.
9. Most importantly, don’t Google cures for eczema. They simply don’t exist, but you will find so many websites claiming to have a miracle cure. As I said, an appropriate skin care routine is the only way to manage this condition."