Eczema, or atopic dermatitis (AD), is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects up to 20 percent of all babies.
These skin conditions are the indications of impaired skin barrier. Studies have found that maintaining a healthy skin barrier in infants has a long-term positive impact on the health of an individual. Healthy skin can help in preventing allergies, skin disorders and various other diseases such as allergic rhinitis, food allergy etc.
Read through below to understand what is Eczema and what are it's causes, how you can prevent and treat Eczema in babies and few tips to maintain Healthy barrier of your newborn.
What is Eczema ?
Eczema , also known as atopic eczema or atopic dermatitis, is a dry, itchy skin condition. It usually appears for the first time before your child is two years old. Eczema,is frequently seen in babies with a family history of eczema, asthma or allergic rhinitis. It is usually experienced as periods of flare-ups followed by periods of no or few symptoms.
It's generally characterized by dry, itchy, red and cracked skin, which can sometimes ooze fluid and bleed.
The areas most affected in babies are the hands, face, neck, elbows and backs of the knees.
Having eczema means that the skin's barrier doesn't work as well as it should, which makes it drier. His skin will be more prone to infections and allergens can enter the skin more easily, which can make the condition worse.
Eczema can't be cured, but it can be controlled with the right treatments.
The good news is that most children who have eczema will grow out of the condition by the time they are in their teens.
Watch this video to know more:
What Causes Eczema in babies ?
It's not known exactly what causes eczema, but studies have shown genes may play a role. Also in some cases, certain foods (such as cow's milk, eggs, wheat or oranges) may provoke a flare-up.
In babies, eczema often appears as a rash on the hands, face, neck, inside of the elbows and back of the knees, but may spread to other areas Eczema rashes are associated with intense itching (pruritus). If the condition continues or is severe, you should definitely talk to your baby’s doctor to understand if the condition is clinical eczema (atopic dermatitis) or dry skin, and to learn the best way to treat and manage.
Eczema affects the skin in flare-ups. Eczema flare-ups can sometimes be triggered by skin irritation caused by chemicals, such as the detergents in shampoos, washing powders, bubble baths and fabric softeners. Your doctor may recommend you use bath emollient rather than soaps. You could also try changing your washing detergent to non-biological (enzyme-free), to see if this improves your baby's eczema.
Eczema can be extremely distressing in babies because they find it very difficult not to scratch, which can lead to infections. In some cases, eczema can disturb your child's sleep and affect his confidence.
How to Prevent & Treat Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis in babies?
The opportunity to prevent skin barrier defects is often missed because of the use of harsh cleansers like adult soaps/detergents and not following a daily moisturizing regimen.
Recent developments in baby skin care products include specialized baby soaps and washes. The skin barrier function can be further improved by using emollient creams and lotions.
An emollient which has pure ingredients that provides 100% gentle care from day 1 and clinically proven mild cleansers can help in improving skin barrier function and prevent the onset of atopic dermatitis or Eczema.
Here are some tips for dealing with eczema, as well as extremely dry or sensitive skin:
- Avoid the things you think may cause itching, such as dust, grass, wool clothing and certain soaps, detergents, fabric softeners and perfumes. It may help to keep a diary to determine the cause
- Give your baby short baths—no more than 5 to 10 minutes—in water that is warm, not hot
- Use mild skin cleansers or shampoos specially made for babies with sensitive skin. Be extra careful on areas often exposed to the environment
- Dry the skin after a bath by patting with a soft towel, and then immediately apply moisturizer. Do not rub the skin
- Moisturize frequently throughout the day, especially after bathing
- Use an emollient cream, smoothing it into the skin in a downward motion
Although eczema can be an irritating condition, especially during periods of flare-ups, by following these tips, you can help make your baby more comfortable, while engaging his sense of smell and touch.
In conclusion, infant skin is not only different from adult skin but also has a long-term impact on the health. Hence, it needs extra care to maintain hydration, skin barrier function and prevent disease progression. Use of mild cleansers and a daily moisturizer regimen like Johnson's Baby Lotion with 24 hour moisture lock should be used for infants for the healthy development of the skin and long-term well-being of your baby.
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