Eczema in Babies and Children

September 01, 2011

Today, the Elave Team answered 3 questions you must be asking yourself if your baby/child has eczema. If you have any more questions or tips for other parents, don't hesitate in commenting at the end of the article.

1. Will my baby grow out of eczema?

  • Baby eczema, which is also called infantile eczema, is common and usually develops when a baby is about two to three months old.
  • Most children will eventually grow out of eczema by the age of three, if not by seven.
Some important points:
  • Baby eczema is less common in babies who are breast-fed than in those who are fed formula.
  • Baby eczema isn’t caused by an allergy and allergy tests sadly won’t help.
  • Children with eczema won’t get any benefit from special diet.

2. What should I do for my child’s eczema?

  • If your baby is scratching, look at his or her neck, scalp, face, hands and the creases of his or her elbows, knees and groin. These are all classic sites for baby dermatitis.
  • Keep their fingernails short to minimise the possibility of breaking the skin. If the skin does happen to become broken, put mittens on him or her to prevent infection.
  • If you’ve just started weaning your breast-fed baby, return to breast-feeds until you’ve seen your doctor. If you’ve been using formula, return to that.
  • Apply an oily calamine lotion to ease irritation and soothe the skin.
  • Soap and all detergents should be avoided as it ‘de-fats’ the skin and makes it drier, more scaly and irritable.
  • Use a ‘combined therapy’ approach to daily washing routine i.e. use a mild wash, cream and shampoo daily that won’t irritate the skin. Remember if washing the child’s hair ensure the sudd’s from the shampoo doesn’t run over the body and undo the benefits of the body wash.
  • Where possible use products free from common irritants and chemicals - such as Elave Baby Range that are free from soap, colourings, phthalates, lanolin, perfume, parabens, alcohol and formaldehyde.
  • Avoid woollen or hairy garments. Use cotton or linen instead.
  • Wash the child’s clothing and bedding in a non-biological washing powder/liquid.

3. What more can I do to prevent my child’s eczema flare-ups?

  • Use an emollient cream or an non-irritating wash whenever your child washes. This will keep the skin soft, prevent it from drying out and damp down the itchiness.
  • Underplay the condition in front of your child. Your anxiety can make the condition worse.
  • If the eczema is found to be made worse by pet fur, you may need to consider giving your family pet away.
  • Use Ovelle Aqueous Cream available in your pharmacy as a soap substitute.
  • Use a bath emollient such as Elave, dissolved in bath water to create a protective layer for your child’s skin.
  • Try to keep dust down in the home as dust mites can trigger flare ups.
  • Use Ovelle paraffin gel under a cotton baby grow/pyjama’s on the child’s body at bedtime to lock in moisture to the skin.
  • Use natural fabrics such as linen and cotton but avoid wool as it will cause an itch.

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