Eczema in infants affects about 1 in 5 children. Most cases develop before the sixth month after birth and they largely disappear by the second birthday. It is a chronic condition, which means that it may keep coming back if triggered. The good thing is that most children grow out of it after their teen years.
Babies born to parents with a history of atopic eczema, hay fever or asthma have higher chances of developing the condition. While it cannot be cured, treatment options to manage it are readily available.
If eczema occurs before a child is past 4 months of age, it is referred to as eczema in infants.
Types, symptoms, what causes and eczema in infants pictures
Infant eczema pictures usually show red, dried skin patches on baby’s cheeks. The forehead and the scalp can also be affected. There are many pictures of eczema rash available online that can always help to confirm a diagnosis.
- Atopic eczema – this is the most common type of eczema in infants. Experts believe that the condition is inherited from either or both parents.
- Contact eczema – this type develops after contact with allergens or irritants.
- Seborrheic eczema – in infants, seborrheic eczema may develop on the scalp. It is characterized by appearance of greasy, yellow skin patches.
It is not known exactly what causes infant eczema. Other than hereditary factors, the following may trigger it:
- abrasive fabrics
- dust mites
Appearance of red, dry and scaly skin patches is usually the first and most prominent symptom. The patches tend to be intensely itchy, especially at night. The cheeks are most affected but it can also spread to the scalp, behind ears and elbows.
In infants, eczema can be confused with ringworm, other skin conditions but mostly psoriasis. In fact, even doctors sometimes encounter difficulties telling eczema from psoriasis. The main difference between eczema and psoriasis is that eczema forms blistered red patches of dry skin. Psoriasis on the other hand results in accumulated layers of dead skin. Both are intensely itchy but not contagious.
Infant eczema treatment
The best infant eczema treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. Mild cases respond well to emollients and moisturizing creams or ointments. These keep the affected skin from drying further.
Steroid creams will prove helpful if the eczema symptoms are not responding well to moisturizers and emollients. Topical steroids are relatively mild, so you need not worry about them possibly harming your baby. They are best used in conjunction with moisturizers. All the same, it advisable that you consult your doctor before using a steroid cream for infant eczema treatment.
Itchy eczema rash on infants can be eased with antihistamines. These are not medications meant to cure the condition. Rather, they address difficulty getting sleep which is usually caused by eczema itch.
Severe infant eczema treatment calls for prescription medications and treatments. Stronger steroids can be considered. If not effective, immune inhibiting medications may be necessary.
How to treat eczema in infants at home
Try cold compress
Cold compresses will soothe irritated skin and reduce the urge to scratch. After the compress, remember to dress the affected area with a moisturizer. A cold compress is not only effective but also very safe. It is one of the natural treatments to be considered for how to get rid of eczema on the face and other sensitive body areas.
Review your baby’s wardrobe
Abrasive fabrics such as wool are discouraged as part of your baby’s clothing. Also, get rid of things such as price tags, which can cause eczema on the neck. When dressing your baby, go for loosely fitting clothes, which will allow the skin to breath.
Keep baby moisturized
Emollients and moisturizers form a very crucial part of infant eczema treatment. In the absence of patches, dress your baby with lotions, several times a day. Creams and ointments are best when dealing with excessively dried skin and patches. A bit of research will be needed to find out which is the best cream to use on your baby.
Use mild soaps
Fragrance soaps are potential irritants to sensitive baby skin. Always use mild soaps for bathing and mild cleansers for washing baby clothes. Try soaking the baby in lukewarm bathwater for about 10 minutes. Ensure the water is not soapy. After the bath, pat your infant dry and apply a moisturizer.
Keep baby nails short
It is most likely that your baby will not resist the urge to scratch eczema rash. The problem is that the affected skin worsens the more it is scratched. You can start by keeping baby’s nails short. Socks on hands can also help prevent scratching.
Infant eczema treatment with natural remedies
Some natural remedies may prove effective when it comes to treating eczema in infants. They include:
Expose the baby to direct sunlight for not more than 15 minutes. Natural sunlight is a rich source of vitamin D and is noted to have positive effects on atopic eczema. Phototherapy at home can also help with how to treat eczema on the eyelid.
A cup of colloidal oatmeal added to bathwater keeps moisture from escaping the surface of the skin. Oatmeal also has a soothing effect to irritated skin.
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that probiotics do effectively fight eczema. However, their immune boosting effect is thought to be some benefit eczema treatment benefit.
Coconut oil and sunflower oil
Coconut oil is a great moisturizer. It is also touted to have antibacterial benefits. Sunflower oil on the other hand a moisturizer as well, but also with loads of fatty acids. Fatty acids are needed for skin health and recovery.
Vitamins and minerals
Lack of vitamins D and E are associated with increased risk of eczema in infants. While these vitamins can be sourced from foods, supplements are richer sources. Fish oil supplements and oils have also been recommended in different reviews as good natural remedies for baby eczema. Infants who are still on breastfeeding exclusively can source these minerals and vitamins from breast milk.
Epsom salts and sea salts are said to be effective in getting rid of bacteria and promote skin exfoliation. When considering salt baths for eczema in infants treatment, ensure that the baths will not irritate baby skin further.
Eczema in infants, causes and treatments summary
Below is a quick summary on how to treat Eczema in infants (babies): diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment remedies:
Eczema in infants is characterized by red, dry skin patches, mostly on the cheeks.
It is not known what causes the condition. Experts have reasons to associate it with hereditary factors.
The condition is not fatal. In fact, appropriate treatment at home will successful get it treated effectively. Infected eczema in infants is dangerous.
Treatment mostly involves keeping baby’s skin moisturized enough. Steroid creams can be used alongside moisturizers.
Severe cases should be treated by a doctor with stronger medications. Advice from a doctor on the best creams to use for treatment is important.
Prevention measures at home are perhaps the best long-term treatment options. In any case, atopic eczema is chronic and will keep coming back If not properly prevented.
Natural remedies for eczema are possible options to consider. You will find that medical options such as use of steroids and immune suppressing medications are shrouded in possibilities of side effects. Before using a home remedy, ensure that it will not irritate your baby’s skin.