By Blake Eligh
Eczema is a common skin condition in very young children that occurs when water and natural oils from skin cells are lost. The result leaves skin covered in red bumps that are sensitive, itchy and vulnerable to infection. While there is no cure for eczema, there are steps you can take to help keep symptoms under control, and make your baby comfortable.
Slather on the Moisture
Keeping skin moisturized is crucial to keeping eczema under control. An emollient cream, such as AVEENO® Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream, helps to create a barrier on the skin, keeping irritants and bacteria out. Apply moisturizing creams two to three times daily, even if your child’s skin looks fine. Gently smooth cream on—never rub, which could irritate your child’s skin. Apply cream while skin is still damp after a bath, and be generous with lotion, applying extra wherever you see signs of redness or itching. Freshly-healed skin can be especially vulnerable to flare-ups for weeks after it heals, so make sure to pay extra attention to these areas.
Keeping skin clean is an important step to preventing eczema-related infections. Keep bath products to a minimum, making sure to use unscented cleansers and rinse away all suds completely. AVEENO® Baby Eczema Baby Care Body Wash is one product specially formulated for eczema-prone children, and carries the “Seal of Acceptance” from the Eczema Society of Canada.
Don’t Scratch That Itch
Itchy, tender skin is the worst part of eczema, and small children will find it difficult to resist the urge to scratch. Keep fingernails short. If itching is keeping everyone up at night, covering hands with scratch mittens or socks may help with very young infants; older babies can benefit from a “sleep suit” or “scratch sleeves” which securely cover hands, much like footie pyjamas cover feet. Keeping cool will also help, as overheating can exacerbate itchy skin.
Eczema and Allergies
Allergies can aggravate eczema, however the cause can be difficult to narrow down. Keep notes when you see a flare-up, which could be aggravated by nickel-based clothing snaps, a new food or other environmental factors.
Talk to Your Doctor
If skin is inflamed enough to “weep” fluid or blood, consult your doctor immediately, but also make an appointment if your child’s itching doesn’t get better, or gets worse. Doctors may prescribe antihistamines or topical steroid creams to provide relief from symptoms.
Looking for more? Be sure to read our tips for bathing a baby with eczema.