As individual as babies are, they can also inherit a lot from their parents (and that means you!). Eye and hair color, height and even skin conditions. If you or someone in your immediate family has eczema, it’s possible that your baby may develop it as well.
Diagnosing eczema in babies is usually pretty straightforward, however, there are things you should look for prior to contacting your pediatrician.
Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a hereditary skin condition that affects approximately 10 to 20 percent of children worldwide. It causes dry, itchy patches of skin, which can be isolated to only one area or widespread, covering the entire body.
Although it’s not contagious, eczema can vary severity
Some children only experience mild symptoms whereas others require medical intervention. Eczema flares are caused by a variety of triggers. For babies, eczema can be a direct result of fabrics, soaps and detergents, allergies or extreme temperatures. Since eczema can mimic other skin conditions, you should consult your pediatrician for a proper diagnosis.
Since eczema can present in a variety ways, it’s important to know what to look for. Younger babies may develop areas that appear dry and flaky, are red and possibly tender to touch. The skin may also look leathery in texture, ooze and the rash may appear circular in appearance. Because the symptoms can vary from person to person, you should seek out body and hand eczema information to learn how best to care your flares.
Keeping baby’s skin moisturized is the key to minimizing symptoms. When bathing, use a mild, fragrance-free cleanser with lukewarm water. Note, that very warm water can irritate plaques of eczema, so it’s best to use water just warm enough for baby. In addition, baths should be no longer than 15 minutes. Instead of rubbing your baby’s skin after bath, gently pat skin dry and apply a soothing, fragrance-free moisturizer.
In addition, you should use laundry detergent that is free of dyes and perfumes. If you use fabric softener, make sure that it free of artificial scent as well.
Keeping baby’s skin free of eczema can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle, especially during the winter. If your baby already carries a diagnosis of eczema, prevention is key. Keep the heat in your home at a comfortable temperature, never overdress your baby and contact your pediatrician if it seems the condition is getting worse.