Eczema in babies and toddlers

When babies and toddlers suffer from eczema, it’s not only painful and distressing for them but also an incredibly stressful and difficult experience for parents. It’s so difficult to see your little one suffer, as itchiness and discomfort can disrupt their general mood and sleep patterns. Luckily, there are steps you can take to provide relief for your baby or toddler.

Symptoms in babies and toddlers

Eczema normally shows up as red, itchy baby skin rash, and can lead to dry, flaky and even cracked skin. Eczema in babies most often start on the forehead, cheeks, chin or thighs as early as the first few months after birth. In children over two years old, it mostly occurs in skin folds such as the elbows, behind the knees and ears, as well as on wrists, ankles and hands.

Causes

Eczema is a very common skin disease, affecting up to 20% of children in the world.1 Even so, the causes of eczema in babies are unknown, though there are a number of factors that are likely to contribute to this occurrence. Young children’s skin, especially baby skin, is more sensitive to environmental influences than that of adults, so external or environmental factors often contribute. Irritants ranging from wool or synthetic fabrics, excessive heat or soaps – even drool around a baby’s face – can all contribute. Genetics are also a factor, with research showing that children are more likely to develop eczema if they have siblings or parents who suffer from the condition.2 A third factor is allergies which can include food allergies or allergies to external sources such as household pets, dust mites or pollen.

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Eczema treatment for your little one

Many of the same recommendations that apply to adults apply to eczema in babies or toddlers. However, because your little one’s skin is particularly delicate, we recommend visiting a healthcare professional who can recommend the best eczema treatment to help you and your child. In the meantime here are some general information and suggestions that you may find useful.

  • Daily bathing in warm water for several minutes will help cleanse your baby’s skin and prevent infection or baby skin rashes. Immediately after bathing, it’s very important moisturize the skin and keep it moisturized throughout the day – moisturizers, emollients in particular, can help to keep symptoms such as itchiness at bay.3

TOP TIP: Use complex barrier repair formulas as your emollient to actively repair the skin barrier and soothe itching

Preventing scratching is important – scratching baby skin rashes exacerbates eczema as it damages the top layer of the skin and can lead to infection. Especially in the nighttime, putting scratch mitts on your baby or toddler can help them sleep better and avoid injuring themselves in the night.

TOP TIP: Place your baby’s emollient in the fridge to keep it chilled. This can help cool and soothe your baby’s skin when you apply it.

If your baby or toddler’s eczema is severe, your doctor may recommend eczema treatment like different emollients, topical treatments such as steroid creams or antibiotics to help heal the skin and avoid or treat any infections.

Lastly, identifying triggers can help you to manage your baby or toddler’s eczema. Sometimes you won’t be able to determine what causes a flare-up, but it’s good to be aware of particular irritants that bother your little one such as warm temperatures or the ingredients in certain products. Although food allergies may be part of the problem, always consult a doctor about allergy testing before removing foods from their diet.

 

Parent applying barrier cream to baby's arms and hands.

What about you?

When your baby or toddler suffers from eczema, it’s not just hard for them – it is often very tough for parents, too. All parents know that seeing your child suffer is a terrible thing, and when it comes to eczema, you often feel very out of control which can make you feel even worse. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault and there are many other parents going through the same thing. It may be helpful to reach out to a local eczema society as they often have support groups for parents where you can talk to and learn from others who have had similar experiences.

 

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ASC Reference No.: B019P012221BS