“That red itchy patch seems to be growing bigger,” I thought to myself. For some time now, my infant had developed an itchy patch on her neck which she kept scratching all the time. The patch did not seem to go away and started appearing on other body parts too. “It’s time I see my doctor about this.”
If you can relate to these concerns, chances are your child has dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin. But that’s nothing to worry about! 1 in 5 babies have dry, sensitive, eczema prone skin and the itching and redness can be controlled. All you need is a solution that’s clinically-proven to provide intense moisturisation for baby’s skin.
But before you begin to manage those dry, itchy rashes, its important to learn about the causes, symptoms & potential triggers. So without further ado, let’s figure it out.
What is Eczema?
Eczema, sometimes referred to as Atopic Dermatitis(the most common form of eczema) is a condition that causes the skin to be dry, itchy and inflamed. People with eczema-prone skin have an overactive immune system, which when triggered by a substance outside or inside the body can results in inflammation.
The skin condition most often appears in children, though many outgrow it as they get older.
How do you get it?
While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, researchers believe that it is caused by a combination of factors that include –
- Improper functioning of the immune system
- Inefficient skin barrier that allow moisture out and germs in
Here’s more details on eczema causes:
Eczema runs in families – Kids who have eczema often have family members with asthma, hay fever and other allergies, making experts think that children are genetically inclined to get the condition.
Lack of moisture – Research suggests that people with eczema-prone skin are deficient of Filaggrin protein that helps form and maintain a healthy barrier on the top layer of the skin.
Due to the lack of an efficient skin barrier, the moisture leaves the skin and it becomes susceptible to bacteria, virus & other irritants. This is why people with eczema have very dry, sensitive skin.
Eczema is not an allergy – While eczema is not an allergy itself, certain food allergies are known to be associated with it. A large number of children who have eczema are also allergic to foods like eggs, nuts and dairy. But be sure to consult your doctor before removing a particular food from your child’s diet.
Role of triggers – Triggers are responsible for making eczema worse. To live comfortably with eczema, it is important to recognise the potential triggers – which are different for different people – and prevent them from causing flareups or making a flare worse. Some of the most common eczema triggers include:
- Pollution, dust and excessive heat
- Allergic reaction to certain foods
- Soaps & household cleaning items
- A cold, flu or an allergic reaction
- Certain clothes like wool & polyester
- Irritants in the environment
- Hormones and stress
Eczema in children
Eczema is very common in children and tends to show up during the first few months of life or before the child turns 5. Doctors say that 1 in 5 children in India have dry, sensitive & eczema-prone skin.
While it’s more common for the babies to develop eczema on their cheeks, chin and scalp, it can appear anywhere on the body depending upon the age of the child & the severity of the condition. Common symptoms of eczema-prone skin include skin that is:
- Crusting or oozing
- Has circular patches of red areas
Some of the symptoms mentioned above can also indicate other skin problems such as diaper rash. So, before assuming it to be eczema, make sure to consult your pediatrician.
And what should you do now that you know your child has it?
There is no full cure for eczema. However, there are ways to heal the infected skin or prevent flare-ups of symptoms. Once you know that your baby has eczema – all you have to do is follow an extensive skin care regime that essentially involves lukewarm baths, intense moisturisation & avoiding flare-up triggers.
You might also want to incorporate some home care tips in your baby’s daily regime such as dressing her in soft cotton clothes, keeping the surroundings clean & making her wear mittens to prevent scratching.