“That red itchy patch seems to be growing bigger”, I wondered. 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 spreading to the other body parts. “It’s time I consult my doctor about this.” I panicked.
If you can relate to the concerns, chances are your child has Eczema.
What is Eczema?
Eczema is a condition where the skin becomes very dry, itchy and inflamed. Blisters and skin discolouration may also sometimes occur. The symptoms, their severity and the body parts where they appear differ from one person to another – depending on the age and phase of the condition. Eczema tends to flare periodically.
While the exact reason behind what causes is unclear, a family history or personal history of asthma can play a role in your baby developing eczema. Certain triggers can cause eczema to flare up and become worse. These triggers can be:
- Dust and pollution
- Skin infections
- Dry skin
- Food allergies
- Harsh soaps and detergents
- Certain fabrics such as wool or polyester
- Heat and sweating
- Allergens such as pollen, dust or moulds
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. While it’s more common for the infants 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.
In order to relieve the itch, babies tend to rub the irritated area which can aggravate the condition, making them cranky & sleepless. So, if you find your baby struggling with an itch, look for the following symptoms –
- Very dry, sensitive skin
- Red, inflamed skin
- Scaly, rough patches of skin
- Areas of swelling
- Dark coloured patches of skin
- Lesions(sores) that may become infected by bacteria and other irritants
If your child shows any of these symptoms, make sure to visit the doctor so they can perform a thorough examination to diagnose treat it correctly. Identifying your baby’s triggers also helps as you can discuss it with your doctor and devise ways to minimise your baby’s exposure to it.
Once you know that your baby has eczema – you have to follow an extensive skincare regime that essentially involves lukewarm baths, intense moisturisation & avoiding any possible triggers that can cause flare-ups.
Choose natural, toxin-free skincare products for your baby’s bath routine to prevent her skin from drying out. The best baby cream for eczema are usually ones that have natural ingredients such as Colloidal Oatmeal, Aloe Vera and Calendula Oil. Colloidal Oatmeal is known to relieve skin dryness and itchiness while Aloe Vera Gel moisturizes the skin and Calendula Oil soothes irritations.
Moisturize your baby’s skin immediately after bath to prevent dryness and itching. In order to ensure that your baby’s skin remains moisturized, choose a baby rash cream that is free from synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, alcohol and other chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin. Opt for one that is clinically proven to provide 24-hours moisturization and is certified toxin-free to keep your baby’s skin healthy.
Avoid using products with chemicals and toxins on your baby’s face as not only can it irritate the skin, it can cause irritation to the eyes and nose as well. The best baby cream is usually one that is free from harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrances that’s the one you should go for.
Take care to dress your baby in light clothes made of cotton to prevent skin irritation. If your baby is allergic to a food substance then speak to your doctor on how you can substitute it or prevent your baby’s exposure to it.
Apart from these tips, ensure that you use baby care products that are natural, safe and gentle on your baby’s skin. Choosing natural products and keeping your baby’s skin moisturized can make a world of difference.