Hi there, Susan here.
Have you ever wondered why some baby eczema treatment methods are not working out for your baby? The reason being there are many types of baby eczema. Before we can implement any eczema treatment, we need to first identify what type of eczema your child is suffering from.
Once we have identified the eczema type, then we can come up with effective treatments to treat your baby. It is simply a case of matching the right baby eczema treatment to the right eczema condition.
In this concise article, I will share with you my findings on the various types of baby eczema, what you can do to identify and treat them. Do note that baby eczema is sometimes referred to as childhood eczema.
There are mainly 3 types of eczema which affect babies and young children and they are: Cradle Cap, Nappy Rash, and Atopic Eczema. Cradle Cap and Nappy Rash are commonly found in newborn and young babies while Atopic Eczema usually starts in babies over the age of 3 months and young children.
1. Cradle Cap
Soon after birth, a lot of infants acquire Cradle Cap, that is the result of a scaly build-up of dead exterior skin. It’s usually a moderate and short-term issue. The scaly skin is often carefully washed out by using baby hair shampoo right after conditioning using a moisturizer like aqueous ointment or extra virgin olive oil.
It is not advisable to use Arachis oil since it originates from peanuts and could trigger peanut allergy. Occasionally a scaly, reddish rash develops all the way down onto the forehead and in many cases, affects the nappy region. This is known as ‘infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis’. Even though parents usually get worried, the infant is generally not irritated by this particular skin issue.
Occasionally, there might be irritation which induces the infant to scratch, and the affected skin area can become infected. When this happens, a great baby eczema treatment will entail a brief course of antibiotic ointment or even medication.
Cradle Cap generally becomes better in a couple of months. A little slight scalp scaling might persists for longer durations into toddlerhood.
2. Nappy Rash
Before the introduction of disposable nappies, nappy rash used to be an extremely common problem affecting babies around the globe. The rash is brought on by the constant rubbing of the babies’ delicate skin against the wet nappy, which is then irritated by the accumulation of faeces and urine, causing the skin area to become infected.
Nappy rash is a great example of irritant contact dermatitis, a type of eczema that is triggered by the skin’s interaction with something harsh from the external environment. Modern nappies are made to absorb large amounts of moisture and draw fluids from the skin surface to maintain the dryness of the babies’ skin. An essential baby eczema treatment for nappy rash involves the continual changing of nappies (about 7 instances daily).
Breastfed babies are at a lower risk of contracting nappy rash compared to formula-fed babies. This form of rash has a shiny-red appearance, like those of a minor burn mark. It will settle down to form parchment-like skin which is very dry and crinkled after some time. Nappy rash is most prevalent in places where there is frequent contact with the nappy, like the curvature of the bottom and scrotum.
3. Atopic Eczema
Most eczema that starts in babies over the age of 3 months and young children are known as Atopic Eczema.
Atopic Eczema is the most common form of eczema and main type of eczema that affects children. It usually starts before school age and typically appears first around the age of between 3 to 6 months.
It usually affects the cheeks and forehead in babies, then the knees when they crawl, and later the hollows or ‘flexures’ of the arms, wrists, knees and ankles.
Atopic eczema can be confused with other forms of eczema or other rashes, and so research studies now use the following criteria for making a diagnosis:
- An itchy skin condition
Plus three or more of:
- Rash in the skin creases such as the bends of elbows or behind the knees
- Sufferer or their immediate family has asthma or hay fever
- Generally dry skin
- Rash starts under the age of 2 years
Now that you know how to identify atopic eczema, you may be wondering what the various baby eczema treatments for atopic eczema are. Well, when it comes to atopic eczema, you need to use a more holistic approach to combat the symptoms.
Atopic Eczema requires that you pay attention to your child’s home environment, the mother’s and baby’s diet.
There are many baby eczema treatment strategies for your child’s home environment and it lies with eradicating house dust mites.
Dust mites are tiny beetle-like organism that can only be seen under a microscope. They do not bite and are harmless except to people who are allergic to them. They feed on fragments of dead skin and are abundant in places where there are a lot of skin debris such as pillows, bed clothes and mattresses.
Dust mite allergy is an important cause of asthma and nasal allergies. Many atopic eczema sufferers are allergic to house dust mites, but it is not clear how much this allergy contributes to their skin condition.
However, it is always better to take this baby eczema treatment precaution before things get worse. So here are some suggestions on what you can do to reduce dust mites in your home:
Encase the mattress and pillows with special mite proof covers which are readily available in departmental stores. If possible, buy a mattress and encase it in the covers before use.
Choose hard flooring like wood, tiles or lino, rather than carpets.
- Soft Furnishings
Consider leather or leather-like furniture when you are getting new sofas and chairs, as these are easy to clean and wipe. Otherwise, choose items with washable covers.
- Indoor Temperature
Dust mites thrives well in temperature between 17 deg C to 24 deg C. Therefore, it pays to keep your rooms well-ventilated and cool. Avoid drying washings indoors as this will increase the humidity. Air the room and living areas regularly.
Remove dust from corners and surfaces regularly using a slightly damp cloth. Vacuum everyday with a modern vacuum cleaner which has a micro-filter and avoid old-fashioned models with a cloth dust bag. Do not brush or shake rugs indoors.
Beddings should be washed in warm water (at or above 55 deg C) every week. Washing at lower levels does not kill dust mites.
- Soft Toys
These can harbour dust mites, so choose a cuddly toy which can be hot washed regularly with your child’s beddings.
After you are done with your home, you need to pay attention to your diet and your child’s as well.
Mother’s Diet and Eczema Prevention
Another atopic baby eczema treatment revolves around the mother’s diet when she is pregnant. It is extremely important that pregnant mothers have a healthy and varied diet in order to provide their growing baby with a good balance of nutrients.
Mothers should not smoke or drink during pregnancy because this has many harmful effects on their baby such as increasing the risk of allergies.
Breastfeeding and Eczema
Breastfeeding your newborn for the first 6 months is another good preventive measure for allergy development in your child. The reason being breast milk is germ-free, at the right temperature and contains protective antibodies that give your baby some immunity against infections.
Breastfeeding is a fantastic atopic baby eczema treatment option as studies have shown that it probably halves the chance that the baby will get eczema although it can’t prevent it totally.
One of the complicating factors of breastfeeding is that breast milk is not a simple substance, but contains traces of food that the mother has recently eaten, including for example, cows’ milk.
If a baby is at a high risk of getting atopic conditions, it may be of help if the mother stops taking certain allergy provoking foods like cows’ milk and nuts while breastfeeding.
The ideal diet for a baby who is at risk of atopic eczema or already suffers with it is not known. However, some experts recommend avoiding cows’ milk-containing foods for the first year, with continued breastfeeding if possible, or giving hydrolyzed formula milk.
A baby’s digestive system needs time to adapt to food, so solids should not be introduced before 6 months. However, it is important that babies start some solids at this age in order to gain weight and learn how to feed. Babies should be weaned to pureed fruit and vegetables, then on an extra energy source like baby rice or potatoes.
Ideally, food should be prepared fresh to avoid artificial colourings and additives, and any convenience foods should be as free from these as possible. Breast or formula milk should still be the main source of protein and fat for at least the first year.
It is recommended that infants at a high risk of developing allergies should not eat peanut-containing food until over three years old, but current advice is that all other foods can be introduced gradually after weaning.
Hope the above-mentioned baby eczema treatment methods have been useful for your child’s situation. With that I have come to the end of this article as I am almost close to 1800 words…
This article was supposed to be a concise baby eczema treatment guide. I guessed I got a little carried away with providing useful information that you can put to use. I mean there is really so much in eczema that just a simple article like this would not cover the entire scope.
On a lighter side, I hoped I have given you enough baby eczema treatment tips that you can put to use to help your precious ones. Anyway, if you are looking for a step-by-step natural eczema treatment strategy to eliminate your child’s eczema symptoms once and for all, you may want to take a look at the Beat Eczema guide by Susan Clark. This guide is written by Susan Clark, a past eczema sufferer.
Last Updated: 28 March 2012
1. Dr Sarah Wakelin MBBS, FRCP(UK). Your Guide to Eczema. 2005. Great Britain: Hodder Arnold 2005.