Let’s face it. An itchy baby is a fussy baby… and no one wants to see their child in discomfort. To help ease your parenting stress (or maybe even ‘distress’), let us first say that baby eczema is both common and treatable — and, in fact, most babies will outgrow it.
But while you’re trying to help your itchy baby with their eczema, here are some of our top tips to help you manage symptoms and flare-ups. Also, you want to be sure that red rash is really eczema and the root cause of their frustrating skin condition. Here’s everything you need to know:
What Does Baby Eczema Look like?
Infant eczema, like adult eczema, appears as patches of red, dry, flaky skin. Eczema can show up anywhere on your baby’s skin, but it is most common on the cheeks or in the creases of the elbows and knees.
It sounds pretty straightforward, but sometimes eczema is confused with other common baby skin conditions like cradle cap and neonatal or infant acne, so let’s take a look at how they differ:
Eczema vs. Cradle Cap
Cradle cap is another common condition that can cause flaking skin, so it’s important to be able to distinguish between eczema and cradle cap. Luckily, if you take a look at the color and location of your baby’s dry skin, you should have no problem identifying the correct condition.
Eczema typically appears red and pink, while cradle cap results in white or yellow flakes. Cradle cap also typically occurs on the scalp, behind the ears, on the eyelids and eyebrows, or on the sides of the baby’s nose.
Eczema vs. Acne
20% of newborns have neonatal acne, which is a type of acne that typically develops around two weeks of age. As with eczema, baby acne causes red, sensitive skin. However, instead of flaky, dry patches, neonatal acne appears as little red bumps or white pimples, commonly on the face, neck, chest, or back.
Neonatal acne also appears before a baby is 6 weeks old, while eczema typically begins between ages 3 and 6 months. If you believe your child is suffering from acne after six weeks of age, be sure to see the pediatrician or a pediatric dermatologist.
What Causes Eczema in Babies?
It’s completely natural to wonder why your baby is suffering from this itchy, frustrating skin condition. As with adult eczema, the exact cause of eczema in little ones is unknown.
The cause is believed, though, to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. We also know that children who have a family history of eczema, asthma, or seasonal allergies are more likely to develop eczema. It’s also thought that problems with the skin barrier and an imbalance of bacteria in the skin microbiome could be at play.
Baby Eczema Treatments
Once you’ve determined your child’s red, itchy rash is eczema, there are steps you can take to help soothe the skin and minimize flare-ups.
As you probably know from your own experience with dry skin and rashes, scratching only makes things worse. When your baby scratches their eczema, they put themselves at risk for infection. That’s why it’s important to keep their nails trimmed and filed and prevent scratching as much as you can.
You may want to try onesies or shirts with built-in mittens to cover your little one’s fingers and prevent scratching. Most parents find that traditional baby mittens are too easy for the baby to pull off and pose a choking hazard. While using clothing with built-in mittens, you can rest assured the covering will stay snuggly on your baby’s hands.
Keep Your Baby Cool
Both heat and sweat can contribute to eczema flare-ups and make your baby’s itching worse. Avoid overusing blankets and dress your little one in breathable cotton clothing.
You may also want to keep bathtime short and only use lukewarm water to keep your little one’s body temperature cool.
Moisturizing immediately after your baby takes a bath is one of the most important steps in managing eczema symptoms. You’ll want to choose a fragrance-free cream or ointment and apply several times throughout the day — including but not limited to after bathtime.
Gladskin’s Eczema Cream is a fragrance-free, cleanly formulated, safe for everyone 3 months and up.
But it goes far beyond just moisturizing…
The Gladskin Eczema Cream addresses one of the most under-talked-about contributors to eczema: bacteria imbalances in the skin microbiome.
Using endolysin Micreobalance® (our patented smart protein), Gladskin’s Eczema Cream works naturally with the skin to restore balance among the good and bad bacteria. As a result, four out of five users experienced reduced redness and itching! And using Gladskin every day, even without a flare, has been show to keep the itchies at bay.
Identify Your Baby’s Triggers
Eczema is often exacerbated by environmental factors, some of which can be minimized to help reduce flare-ups. Potential triggers of your baby’s eczema could be:
- Clothing materials — Wool is a major irritant. Nylon and acrylic materials may also irritate.
- Soaps — Harsh soaps and bath products (like bubbles) can dry the skin or contain irritating fragrances. Avoid laundry products with fragrance also.
- Common allergens — Common allergies seen in children with eczema include dust mites, pet dander, and grass pollen.
- Foods — Some experts may recommend cutting out common allergens such as cow’s milk or peanuts from your diet if you are currently breastfeeding. If you suspect food may be playing a role in the health of your baby’s skin, consult with your pediatrician or a pediatric dietician.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to eczema, but by better understanding the skin condition and its underlying causes, you can help soothe your baby’s eczema. And always remember: you’re not alone on this journey. In fact, parents just like you are opening up about their frustrations with infant eczema and how they finally helped their babies stop itching.