Your guide to managing your baby's eczema: 7 things to consider 2 years ago

Your guide to managing your baby's eczema: 7 things to consider

Eczema can prove distressing and if your little one suffers from it, we're here to help.

Since the skin condition affects roughly 25 percent of children, with many of us not aware of the signs or treatments to look out for; we caught up with Joanna Gardiner, CEO of Irish skincare company, Elave to answer all your queries.

1. What are the signs of skin eczema?

Generally, symptoms of eczema include raised red, dry and itchy skin. Due to an intense itch, the skin might be cracked or rough. Eczema comes from the Greek word to “boil” and often the skin can feel hot and sore in addition to being dry and itchy. Sadly, over 25 percent of babies develop eczema now as opposed to just three percent two generations ago.

2. Where does it appear?

Eczema is a very individual skin condition and can vary which makes it highly frustrating to manage. Eczema can appear anywhere really, but often it appears on the flexes on the arms and legs, hands and on the face. If your baby is teething and dribbling and there is a lot of wetness around the face, this can lead to symptoms appearing around the mouth, chin and neck.

3. What age can it first appear at?

Eczema usually develops in the first six months of life but again this can vary and can develop at any stage. If Mum or Dad had/have eczema or asthma then a baby is pre-disposed and it is more likely but sometimes this is not the case.

Advertisement

Research shows the dramatic rise in baby eczema started after the second world war with the introduction of “modern living” including washing detergents and cleaning products like washing-up liquid which would be classed as environmental triggers.

 4. Is it contagious?

Eczema is absolutely never contagious although this is, unfortunately, a very common perception.

 5. How is it treated?

Firstly, it is important to get a medical diagnosis so it's recommended visiting your GP if you are concerned. Once you have a diagnosis of eczema, then you can go into the eczema skincare regime which does involve a lot of work. The skin needs to be moisturised twice a day or more.

This isn’t easy for your baby or toddler may find this distressing if their skin is sore, red and dry but it is the proven route to an improved skin barrier.
In some eczema cases, a baby or child may need to get a prescription for topical steroids to get eczema under control but moisturising remains a key part of the routine. That said, dermatologists recommend constant daily moisturising for eczema.

Moisturise twice a day with an intensive moisturiser for eczema-prone skin. Avoid soaps, perfumed products and products with no sulfates or MI, both of which are harsh ingredients linked to the flare-up of eczema. The key to managing baby eczema is keeping the skin hydrated, reducing chemical overload and that includes shampoos which are often overlooked.

Shampoos affect the skin as the “suds” are often harsh and drying and contain lots of sulfates which are medically researched to trigger eczema flare-up. It is very important to choose a specialist shampoo with no sulfates.

6. Can children ‘grow out’ of eczema?

Most mild to moderate cases of eczema improve by six-eight years but, usually that child will always have sensitive skin and be prone to flare-ups throughout their life. Roughly one in 12 adults have eczema so not everyone grows out of it.

7. What is your top tip for minding your babies skin if they suffer from eczema?

Always apply moisturiser to baby’s skin in a downward direction to more effectively & safely moisturise. Use long downward strokes all over the limbs starting from the top of the body. If you have any concerns about your baby’s skin you can visit irishskin.ie to find out more about signs and symptoms, triggers and ways to manage the condition.