We all know that our precious babies are born with sensitive skin, but did you know that it’s also possible for babies to develop eczema? If you, your partner or other children are prone to skin conditions and allergies, there are some specific signs you may want to look out for in your baby.
What is baby eczema?
It’s thought that around 1 in 4 babies can develop eczema and your baby may start showing signs from around two months of age. A combination of responding to their surroundings, allergens and genetics, your baby is more likely to develop eczema if there is a family history of skin conditions and allergies.
Eczema looks like patches of dry, crusty, rough, or flaky skin that can occur anywhere on your baby. However, the most common places to see signs of eczema are on your baby’s face, arms, chest and legs. For toddlers and older children, you may also find patches in the high friction areas such as the back of the knees and inner elbows.
What form may eczema take?
Eczema can present itself in various ways. As well as dry skin (which is very common in babies and young children), you may also observe scaling and flaking, red inflamed patches, rough areas of skin and a thickening of the skin – with an almost leather-like texture. Your child may also show noticeable signs of itching and discomfort, scratching at their skin with their hands.
How can you manage your baby’s eczema?
If you think your child has eczema you may want to approach your doctor or pediatrician for advice and guidance. That said, there are some simple ways you can look after your baby’s skin at home.
- Avoid using scented products – heavily scented or perfumed products, whether that be toiletries, bath products or shampoo can easily exacerbate the symptoms of eczema. Instead, opt for fragrance-free or mild baby shampoos and body washes which are kinder and gentler on sensitive skin.
- Choose your detergents wisely – When washing your baby’s clothes, you may wish to wash them on a different cycle to the rest of the family, using a gentle non-bio detergent and washing at higher temperatures to remove allergens and bacteria.
- Moisturise your baby’s skin – after a bath, your baby’s skin can dry out incredibly quickly, allowing patches of eczema to build up. Using a specialist crema or moisturising lotion, make time to moisturise your baby’s entire body twice a day, massaging gently until absorbed into the skin.
- Avoid overheating – in the winter months, it’s important to protect your child from the elements. That said, for babies with skin conditions, you should opt for lightweight and breathable layers that allow the air to circulate and can easily be removed once inside. Central heating combined with thick clothing can not only lead your baby to overheat but can dry the air in the room too, often worsening the symptoms of dry skin and eczema as a result.
- Consult your doctor – If your baby’s skin conditions start to become severe, causing significant pain, blistering or broken skin, it’s time to consult your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a topical hydrocortisone cream which can be used to soothe and treat extreme eczema; however this should only be used for a limited time.