Eczema in babies (also called infantile eczema) can look a bit scary to the parents. It appears with red patches of dry itchy skin which may become crusty. The area where eczema breaks out usually depends on the age of the baby.
Before the infant is six months old, he or she is likely to have eczema on the forehead, cheeks, and scalp. That doesn't mean it can only develop on those parts of the body, as skin on other parts of the body may become affected.
After the first six months and up until the baby is one year old, eczema can affect any part of the body. It is usually worst on the surfaces that touch the ground while crawling such as elbows and knees. By the time the infant is two, eczema starts showing mostly on the inner sides of the knees, elbows, wrists and the hands.
The cause of eczema in babies is still unknown, and there's no cure for it. However, it's not a serious medical condition and it can be easily treated and managed. The first step should be to remove the thing that triggered the eczema. It can be triggered by:
Keeping the baby's environment as stress-free as possible, avoiding any possible irritants, and dealing with heat and sweat are all pretty easy things to do. Irritants can be found in scented soaps, perfumes, and laundry detergents. Woolen clothes can also irritate the baby enough to trigger eczema.
Using neutral, unscented soaps, thorough rinsing of clothing after washing, and keeping any perfumes away from the baby's skin could help. Cotton clothing can be used instead of woolen, which will both remove the irritant and help with the sweat.
The second step of infantile eczema care should be treatment of the affected parts of the skin directly. It's important for the skin to be well hydrated, which can be done by applying moisturizer to the affected part, especially after a bath. This will help the skin in retaining moisture and not drying out.
The bathing should be done in lukewarm water and special care should be taken to avoid rubbing the affected parts of the skin. This is also important when drying your baby after the bath - it's better to gently tap affected areas than to rub.
It's also a good idea to leave the skin a bit moist before applying a moisturizer. When moisturizing eczema - affected areas, creams and ointments are better than lotions.
The affected skin can also be treated by topical steroids, called steroid creams. They could help with itching and reduce inflammation. Sometimes, a doctor may prescribe antihistamines to help with the itch too. In severe cases, UV light therapy can be used to decrease the severity of the breakout, and antibiotics can be used if the rash becomes infected.
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