Is there anything more delicious than baby's soft, smooth skin? While babies are known for exactly this, flawless skin isn't always the case, and baby eczema is often the culprit.
Babies have particularly sensitive skin and are therefore more prone to rashes than older children or adults. So the next time you find suspicious dry patches on your child's body, don't worry, it's probably baby eczema. But what causes it? Also, what does baby eczema look like? We share all the ins and outs of this common condition, as well as some baby eczema treatments that will soon have your baby comfortable in their own skin again. Read on to find out what baby eczema is, how to recognize it, and how to treat it.
In this article:
What is baby eczema?
How is baby eczema?
causes eczema in baby
baby eczema treatment
Can breastfeeding prevent baby eczema?
When to Contact a Doctor for Baby Eczema
How long does baby eczema last?
What is baby eczema?
Baby eczema (or atopic dermatitis) appears as patches of red or dry skin and is usuallyitchyand rough. In babies with a predisposition to eczema, the first eruptions usually appear around 2 to 4 months of age. "Baby eczema often starts with a scaly, pink rash on the cheeks and chin in young babies," she says.Ana Bender, MD, a pediatric dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian in New York City. "Older babies who crawl may be more likely to develop a rash on the outside of their arms and legs with patches of dry, itchy, irritated skin. It can also feel rough like sandpaper."
What types of baby eczema are there?
TempoNational Eczema AssociationHaving defined seven different types of skin conditions, baby eczema generally falls into one of four categories: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis or dyshidrotic eczema.
•atopic dermatitis:The most common type of eczema, atopic dermatitis, is chronic.skin irritationthis is usually hereditary, meaning there is a family history of this condition or other allergies.
•Contact dermatitis:This type of rash is caused by an external element. Usually, the condition disappears when the baby is no longer exposed to the offending ingredients or allergens. Chemicals, fragrances, and soaps are some examples of substances that can cause this type of rash.
•Seborrheic dermatitis:widely known asmilk crustThis type of infantile eczema is characterized by scaly patches of skin on the scalp. It can be caused by genetics, hormones, oil buildup, yeast, or a combination of these factors. Unlike most other forms of eczema, it is not caused by an allergy.
•Dyshidrotic eczema:This type of eczema occurs on the hands and feet. It is usually caused by contact with certain metals, but it can also be caused by sweat and stress. Although it can occur in babies and children, it is more common in adults.
Is eczema common in babies?
The short answer is yes. Up to 20 percent of children in the United States may have some form of eczema, says Bender. according to thatNational Eczema Association, atopic dermatitis specifically affects 13% of children under the age of 18.
How is baby eczema?
It can be stressful when you see sore, irritated patches of skin on your child. So if you can identify eczema, you can ease your anxiety and treat your baby faster. How is baby eczema? It's easy to get confusedbaby eczema vs. Acneas both can appear on the cheeks. But baby acne often occurs before eczema. "Baby acne can start right after birth, while eczema can show its first signs between 2 and 5 months of age," he says.said benjamim, MD, a pediatric dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon based in Florida andSociety of Pediatric DermatologyCouncil member. “Also, baby acne presents as classic pimples and small red bumps on the face, often without symptoms. Eczema, on the other hand, affects both the face and body with dry or oozing red patches and is quite itchy."
While eczema usually looks pink in babies with lighter skin, it may have a purple or gray tinge in children with darker skin.
Another clue that your child might have this skin condition? Babies with eczema tend to rub their faces against their parents' hands or clothes, or rub their legs, feet, or hands.
Eczema in babies can be divided into three categories:
•Mild baby eczema:Minor cases often appear as dry, itchy, light pink patches of skin, says Benjamin, and can only be treated with moisturizers.
•Moderate baby eczema:More conspicuous cases have redder hot spots. Also, moderate eczema can affect the surface area of the body more, says Benjamin; Your baby may need a cortisone cream or ointment (see belowbaby eczema treatments).
•Eczema infantil grave:This is the reddest and most scaly of the three varieties; It is characterized by red, rough, thick patches that are very itchy and often crust over or have deep cuts or crusted tears. Severe baby eczema is often more difficult to control with over-the-counter products.
causes of baby eczema
Baby eczema is believed to be caused by a combination (or more specifically, an interaction of) genetic and environmental factors. "It runs in families with a history of eczema, asthma and seasonal allergies," explains Bender. "The immune system of people with eczema is more susceptible to allergies." Plus, she says, skin lacks a strong barrier against the outside world, so it can be easily irritated and dry. As a result, these babies are more sensitive to certain factors that trigger an outbreak. Different babies can be particularly susceptible to different agents. Some common triggers for eczema in babies are:
• Dry skin (this is why eczema can be common in winter)
• Irritants (such as soaps, household cleaners, wool, polyester)
• Heat and sweat
• Allergens (pet dander, pollen, house dust)
• Saliva (from babar)
baby eczema treatment
Mild baby eczema may need nothing more than aover the counter moisturizer, but more severe cases may require treatment by your pediatrician. "The severity of the eczema will determine the best treatment," says Benjamin. "But any form of eczema requires proper skin care, including effective hydration and itch control." Depending on the severity, your doctor may suggest some or all of these baby eczema treatment options:
•Creams:A gentle moisturizer is your first line of defense for baby eczema. "My son has eczema on his face and legs," says one mother. "I use Aquaphor Ointment on the rash patches. After that, we use Eucerin's regular lotion after every bath and her breakouts have been really minimal."Apply all over baby's body to soothe rough areas and improve the skin's barrier function.
•Short showers with mild cleansers:Rightdaily skin careIt is crucial to moisturize your baby's eczema-prone skin. EdgeBath timeto 15 minutes and use lukewarm, not hot, water. Choose mild, unscented detergents and avoid harsh soaps. After bathing, dry the baby's skin three minutes after removing it from the water, do not rub. Finally, apply a moisturizer all over your body.
•Prescription creams and ointments:If the problem doesn't go away, your pediatrician may suggest a prescription for a low-to-moderate topical steroid ointment or cream that can be used once or twice a day to help with inflammation and heal the skin. If you are prescribed creams or ointments, it is important to see a doctor as prescribed to make sure they are working properly. One mother we spoke with was given a cream that she applied four times a day to her daughter, who had dry, bumpy skin on her arms, legs, stomach, and back. "It went away. Then it came back about three weeks after I stopped using the cream, but not as bad as the first time," she says. “I applied the cream a few more times and never again. That was about three weeks ago."
•Diluted bleach baths:Inflamed skin is also more prone to infections. According to Benjamin, diluted bleach baths can not only safely treat infected eczema, but also help minimize the use of various oral antibiotics in children with repeated bacterial skin infections. She suggests adding ¼ to ½ cup of regular bleach to a large bathtub filled with 1 inch of water. Talk to your pediatrician before trying a diluted bleach bath for baby eczema.
natural remedies for baby eczema
Since babies have very sensitive skin, it's natural to want to treat it naturally. But, says Bender, "Even natural products can cause a worse rash called contact dermatitis, so check with your doctor first before applying anything new to your baby's skin." for "smooth products with simple ingredient lists". Here are some natural baby eczema remedies that are safe for babies:
• Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer.
• Medicinal honey can help with superficial cuts and prevent local skin infections, suggests Benjamin.
• A home remedy for baby eczema is “wet wrap therapy” (also called wet pajama therapy). Bathe your child and apply a thick moisturizer to slightly damp skin. Soak cotton pajamas in warm water, wring them out, and place them directly on top of baby's thick layer of moisturizer. After that, put on a second dry cotton pajamas. Leave your baby swaddled like this for a few hours or more.
Can breastfeeding prevent baby eczema?
Good news for breastfeeding mothers: there may be a link between breastfeeding and a lower incidence of baby eczema. ONElearnfound that babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first three months of life were less likely to develop eczema by age 6. While breastfeeding may not completely prevent these flare-ups, it can potentially reduce some flare-ups.
When to Contact a Doctor for Baby Eczema
If this is the first time your baby has had red or irritated skin, it's best to see your doctor to determine if it's baby eczema or another condition. Once you get a diagnosis, you can take the right steps and try some baby eczema treatments.
But if the skin irritation is accompanied by a fever, or if the bumps and spots start to ooze, form crusts or blisters, this could be a sign of an infection and you should see your child's doctor immediately.
How long does baby eczema last?
according to thatAmerican Academy of PediatricsWhile some babies continue to suffer from eczema well into adulthood, many outgrow it by age 4.
Baby eczema can also develop as your child gets older. according to thatNational Eczema Association, can appear on the baby's face in early childhood, but appears in key areas such as the knees, elbows and hands as the baby grows. When it gets close to big boy territory, eczema often hides in the creases of the knees or elbows and other sweat-prone areas.
Whether eczema is an acute or ongoing problem for your child, it's comforting to know that there are many baby eczema treatments and preventative measures you can take to alleviate symptoms and relieve itchiness.
No one likes it when their baby is uncomfortable, and the appearance of a rash can be distressing. But when you spot eczema, rest assured, it's common and treatable.
About the experts:
Ana Bender,MD, is a pediatric dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian in New York City. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
said benjamim,MD, FAAD, FAAP is a Florida-based pediatric dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon and board member of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology. He earned his medical degree from Drexel University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Note: The Bump and the materials and information contained therein are not intended to constitute health or medical advice or diagnoses and should not be relied upon as such. You should always consult a qualified physician or health care professional about your specific circumstances.
Also, more from The Bump:
Your ultimate guide to baby diaper rash
Desperate! How to treat and prevent diaper rash
Cradle Cap 101: How to recognize and treat
Cause of Eczema
Flare-ups are from skin contact with soap, shampoo, pollen or other irritating substances. About 30% of babies with severe eczema also have food allergies. The most common is cow's milk. Over 10% of children have eczema.
Use a mild cleanser and warm water. After a bath of no more than 15 minutes, rinse completely, gently pat your baby dry and apply a fragrance-free cream or ointment such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline), while the skin is still damp. Moisturize at least twice a day, perhaps at diaper changes.What are the first signs of eczema in babies? ›
Babies with eczema usually have a red, dry rash on their face. The rash may be on their scalp, body, arms and legs or behind their ears. The rash is very itchy and may keep them awake at night. In toddlers and older children, the eczema rash is often in the skin creases around the knees, wrists, elbows and ankles.What foods cause eczema in babies? ›
The commonest foods children with eczema are allergic to are egg, milk and peanuts. Allergy can occur to many other foods including wheat, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, soya, lentils strawberries and other fruits.Can baby eczema go away? ›
Does Baby Eczema Go Away by Itself? It often does. Most children outgrow it before they start school. It's not common, but some kids will have eczema into adulthood.Is baby eczema serious? ›
Eczema, especially atopic dermatitis, often appears in the first six months to five years of a child's life. Along with itchy skin, eczema can cause more severe allergies because it weakens the immune system, can cause blisters, and breaks down skin barriers that protect from skin disease.How can I treat my baby's eczema naturally? ›
- Cold pressed coconut oil. ...
- Cold pressed sunflower oil. ...
- Vitamin B12 cream. ...
- Calendula cream. ...
- Oatmeal baths. ...
- Salt. ...
- Evening Primrose Oil and Borage (Star Flower) Oil. ...
- Vitamin D.
Appearance of yellow crust on the eczema patches.
Yellow crust indicates that there may be a bacterial infection. This needs to be checked out immediately by a doctor because if it goes untreated, it will get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if antibiotics should be prescribed to stop the infection.
There's no cure, but many children find their symptoms naturally improve as they get older. The main treatments for atopic eczema are: emollients (moisturisers) – used every day to stop the skin becoming dry. topical corticosteroids – creams and ointments used to reduce swelling and redness during flare-ups.What age does eczema usually start? ›
Eczema is a very common childhood skin problem. It can start when a child is an infant or sometime thereafter, typically before age 5. As kids age, they won't break out as much on the cheeks and outsides of the limbs.
A skin infection can look a lot like eczema. Both cause swollen, itchy skin that can ooze fluid and form crusts. By looking closely at your child's skin, you can find signs of a skin infection.Can Formula cause eczema? ›
As eczema is caused by genetic factors, bottle-feeding a baby definitely cannot cause eczema.How long can eczema last in babies? ›
Eczema is a common skin condition that often occurs in babies before the reach the age of one. Babies tend to start showing symptoms of eczema at around 2-3 months, which can continue for several years and sometimes even into adulthood.Can moms diet cause baby eczema? ›
Certain foods in a mom's diet could cause problems for their baby with eczema. If you're breastfeeding, you may want to avoid common triggers like: Cow's milk. Peanuts.What foods help eczema go away? ›
Vegetables and fruits that are high in inflammation-fighting flavonoids: Apples, broccoli, cherries, blueberries, spinach, and kale. Flavonoids have been found to help improve the overall health of a person's skin and fight problems such as inflammation (which is associated with eczema).What foods should a child with eczema avoid? ›
- Dairy. ...
- Fish and shellfish. ...
- Soy products. ...
- Eggs. ...
- Tree nuts. ...
- Wheat or gluten. ...
As breastmilk naturally protects against infections, it can actually help significantly with your baby's eczema. Research has shown that breastmilk is as effective, if not more so than hydrocortisone cream at treating childhood eczema.Can breastmilk cause eczema? ›
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Longer breastfeeding may increase, not decrease, the risk of a common itchy skin condition called atopic dermatitis that develops in about 12 percent of babies, a new study from Taiwan suggests.What happens if baby eczema is left untreated? ›
Complications of eczema
In severe long-term cases, untreated childhood eczema may interfere with growth and development. It is also possible that untreated eczema may result in an increased risk of subsequent problems with hay fever, asthma and allergies.
Help prevent or treat eczema by keeping your child's skin from getting dry or itchy and avoiding triggers that cause flare-ups. Try these suggestions: Kids should take short baths or showers in warm (not hot) water. Use mild unscented soaps or non-soap cleansers and pat the skin dry before putting on cream or ointment.
- Cow's Milk. Cow's milk is one of the most commonly cited culprits of eczema flare-ups in children. ...
- Eggs. Eggs are another common trigger of eczema exacerbation in babies and young children. ...
- Peanuts. ...
- Soy. ...
- Gluten. ...
- Fish. ...
- Citrus Fruits. ...
An infection from Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, or other bacteria is just one cause of infected eczema. Others include fungal infections (especially from Candida) and viral infections. People with eczema may be more prone to herpes simplex viruses, so it's important to avoid others who have cold sores.Can eczema be fully cured? ›
No, there isn't a cure for eczema. There are treatments available, but no treatment can eliminate your symptoms 100% of the time. Eczema is a chronic condition, which means it can go away and come back unexpectedly. Treatments are very effective in reducing the symptoms of itchy, dry skin.Which brand is best for eczema? ›
- CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion. ...
- Baby Dove Soothing Cream Lotion. ...
- Aveeno Eczema Therapy Daily Moisturizing Cream with Oatmeal. ...
- Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream. ...
- Cetaphil Restoraderm Soothing Moisturizer. ...
- Sarna Eczema Relief Whipped Foam. ...
- Josie Maran Intensive Daily Repair Body Butter.
Common triggers include: irritants – such as soaps and detergents, including shampoo, washing-up liquid and bubble bath. environmental factors or allergens – such as cold and dry weather, dampness, and more specific things such as house dust mites, pet fur, pollen and moulds.Why does eczema suddenly start? ›
Having extremely dry skin, coming in contact with allergic substances in shampoo or cleansers, having certain food allergies, hay fever (also called rhinitis), living in cold mountainous areas or places that are cold and damp for at least part of the year or living in places that are swampy and hot: all of these ...How do you confirm eczema? ›
Your doctor may recommend patch testing on your skin. In this test, small amounts of different substances are applied to your skin and then covered. During visits over the next few days, the doctor looks at your skin for signs of a reaction.Does baby eczema mean allergies? ›
Eczema and food allergies are linked together. Eczema is a sign that your baby's immune system is over-reactive. The more severe the eczema is, and the earlier it starts, the more the immune system is going crazy, and the more likely a baby is to develop food allergies.What are the 7 types of eczema? ›
- Atopic Dermatitis.
- Contact Dermatitis.
- Dyshidrotic Eczema.
- Nummular Eczema.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis.
- Stasis Dermatitis.
Occasionally older children with mild eczema will find their skin is better with sheep's or goat's milk rather than cow's milk.
Some foods which can support eczema-prone skin include: Apples. Avocados. Bananas.Can eczema recover naturally? ›
Does eczema go away? There's no known cure for eczema, and the rashes won't simply go away if left untreated. For most people, eczema is a chronic condition that requires careful avoidance of triggers to help prevent flare-ups.What is the best home remedy to get rid of eczema? ›
- Change your laundry detergent or fabric softener. Liquid detergents may be less irritating than powders or tablets. ...
- Put on a cool compress. ...
- Take lukewarm (not hot) showers or baths for no more than 10 or 15 minutes to prevent dry skin. ...
- Add colloidal oatmeal to the bath or as a paste on your skin.
Some evidence supports the idea that the risk of baby eczema can be reduced by breast-feeding and by taking probiotics during pregnancy and while breast-feeding. Research also suggests that petroleum jelly (Vaseline), when applied from birth to children at high risk of eczema, may help prevent the rash from developing.What are triggers for eczema? ›
Common triggers include: irritants – such as soaps and detergents, including shampoo, washing-up liquid and bubble bath. environmental factors or allergens – such as cold and dry weather, dampness, and more specific things such as house dust mites, pet fur, pollen and moulds.
While dairy can aggravate symptoms of eczema for some people, a 2019 study has shown that some types of fermented dairy can actually help eczema. Fermented dairy, such as yogurt, is an important source of probiotics, which can treat eczema by improving the gut and skin microbiome.Why is my baby's eczema getting worse? ›
Different "triggers" can make eczema worse. For infants, these can be irritants such as wool, certain detergents or extreme temperatures, or other immune triggers, such as food allergies and asthma, and even pet dander. Most kids with the condition have the hardest time in winter, when the air is cold and dry.What makes eczema worse kids? ›
The symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers, such as soaps, detergents, stress and the weather. Sometimes food allergies can play a part, especially in young children with severe eczema. You may be asked to keep a food diary to try to determine whether a specific food makes your symptoms worse.What deficiency causes eczema? ›
Recently eczema phenotypes have also been found to be associated with multiple vitamin D pathway genes . Thus, vitamin D deficiency is a strong candidate in the rising predisposition to eczema.What foods improve eczema? ›
Vegetables and fruits that are high in inflammation-fighting flavonoids: Apples, broccoli, cherries, blueberries, spinach, and kale. Flavonoids have been found to help improve the overall health of a person's skin and fight problems such as inflammation (which is associated with eczema).