Baby eczema: what is it and how to prevent eczema in your baby?

Baby eczema: what is it and how to prevent eczema in your baby?

There is nothing worse than seeing your baby go crazy with itching and scratching. But what is eczema? And can you prevent eczema in your baby or reduce the symptoms?

What is baby eczema

Another word for eczema is Dermatitis, and it is a collective term for various forms of skin diseases that cause inflammation of the skin. This inflammation causes symptoms such as dry flaky skin, redness, itching, bumps and rashes. About 10% of babies suffer from eczema and fortunately, in most cases, it goes away on its own when they are around 3 years old.

Cause of eczema in babies

The exact cause is unknown, but researchers strongly suspect that eczema in infants arises from a genetic predisposition, but environmental factors such as heat, moisture and sensitivity to certain substances also play an important role. A baby's skin barrier is not yet fully developed and if the skin comes into contact with any of these factors it can disrupt the of skin barrier, dry out the skin, infect it and lead to eczema.

Factors that can affect eczema

  • Genes: a hereditary predisposition
  • Allergens: cow's milk, pets, wool
  • Weather conditions: humid weather or heat
  • Irritants: urine, soap, perfume
  • Stress or lowered resistance
  • Rubbing or scratching

3 most common forms of eczema in babies

1. Atopic eczema in babies

Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema and is also known as 'constitutional eczema. It causes rashes, flacky, red or swollen skin and babies often tend to scratch open the skin and rub the itchy skin on bedding or objects due to the terrible itching. This scratching and rubbing often makes the eczema worse and can even lead to infections. Atopic eczema often has a hereditary predisposition, but environmental factors outside the body, such as allergens and external stimuli to which the skin is exposed, make it difficult to control. This scratching and rubbing often makes the eczema worse and can even lead to infections.

Atopic often has a hereditary predisposition, but environmental factors outside the body, such as allergens and external stimuli to which the skin is exposed can also cause eczema. This form of eczema manifests in two successive phases. During the first inactive phase, the skin feels dry and shows irritation and scaling. During the second phase, your baby may experience severe eczema outbreaks, also known as 'flare ups' where in some cases the skin is so inflamed that only medications can calm the skin again.

2. Contact eczema (contact dermatitis in babies)

Contact eczema usually occurs when the skin comes into contact with an external substance from the environment (allergen) resulting in an allergic reaction and inflammation of the skin. Prolonged exposure of the skin to an irritant substance can also cause this form of eczema.

Consider also nappy rash in babies, where the skin comes into prolonged contact with urine and faeces that irritate the skin and cause rashes, itching, redness or swelling.

If your baby suffers from contact eczema, it is important that the skin does not dry out you keep your baby's skin well clean and moisturised. Avoid using products that can irritate the skin and only use mild care products tailored to baby's skin. For nappy rash or 'wet eczema', a natural zinc ointment can help dry out the damaged area and protect the skin so it can recover better.

3. Seborrheic eczema (cradle crap in babies)

Seborrheic eczema is a form of eczema that occurs in areas of the skin that produce a lot of sebum. This form of eczema is called 'cradle crap' in babies. It is common in babies on the scalp, but can also occur on the eyelids, eyebrows and around the nose. On the scalp, it can be recognised by patches of greasy crusts or white-yellow flakes. This form of eczema in babies is harmless and does not cause complaints such as itching, but can sometimes smell a bit unpleasant.

In most cases, after as soon as disappears on its own and no treatment is needed. But if you want to remove flakes gently, the best way to do so is to first soak the flakes loose from the scalp with a soothing baby oil. You can then gently wash the flakes out of your little one's hair with water and gently comb them out.


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